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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 03/29/2007

Lost Dueling Analyses: Death to Poochie(s)

By Liz Kelly movies editrix Jen Chaney and I overanalyze last night's episode of "Lost." Warning: There are spoilers.

Buh-bye Nikki (Kiele Sanchez) and Paolo (Rodrigo Santoro). (Photo courtesy ABC)

Jen: I never thought I'd say this, but I actually enjoyed the Nikki/Paolo episode. Okay, so the twist ending was basically stolen from an episode of either "The Twilight Zone," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Amazing Stories" or all of the above. Still, it was nice to have a new mini-mystery to distract from the larger mysteries. I also thought it was interesting to follow the Locke episode with another installment about paralysis.

What did you think?

Liz: I'm out of sorts because last night played like one big wet desperate Valentine to longtime fans who despised the bungled addition of Nikki and Paolo (AKA the Poochies). The execution (no pun intended) was manic -- part "Scooby Doo," part "Murder She Wrote," part Edgar Allen Poe, part clip show and reunion (Shannon, Boone, Arzt, Ethan) -- and did little absolutely nothing to advance the plot.

The producers retrofitted Nikki and Paolo into season one scenes and handily self-contained their storylines so that their deaths would not affect the plot at all, but all that spliced-in old footage felt too much like laziness on the part of the writers.

I do have to give credit where it's due, however: Billy Dee Williams was fabulous.

Much more after the jump...

Jen: Agree about Billy Dee -- big props to Lando.

I also agree that it was a little jarring to see Nikki and Paolo pop up in some of the season one scenes. But I watch "Lost" now more as a detective. I try to find clues and determine motives for virtually every choice the writers and directors make. So I felt like there was an overarching reason, perhaps, that we were seeing older moments from a new perspective. Perhaps a hint that everything is not what it seemed, that we the viewers need to look back at what we know with a fresh pair of eyes? That notion is backed up by Hurley's spiel about the surprise reveal on the last episode of "Expose," which I also found amusing.

It was definitely weird, but I didn't mind the weirdness. I also, strangely, was almost happy to see Arzt.

Liz: I don't know. I think the entire episode was the producers' way of saying: "We goofed. Nikki and Paolo are lame and we sacrifice them to win back your good opinion." But poisonous spiders? Nikki and Paolo finding the Pearl early on and not even wondering what a ladder to nowhere is doing in the middle of the jungle? Charlie sheepishly admitting to kidnapping Sun? And -- most unbelievable of all -- Sawyer willingly parting with $8 million in diamonds? No way. I'm not buying it.

I'm interested to see what this week's show does for the season's momentum, too. According to Doc Jenson, last week's (really interesting) Locke-centric episode reached an all-time viewership low. I can't help but think that this week's -- which could be left off the DVD without impeding the story -- did any better.

Jen: Yes, viewership is definitely down. But "Lost" still remains a top 20 show so it's not like no one's watching. You can't really be a casual viewer, though, and for our "American Idol"-loving public, the commitment may be a little much.

First of all, I'm not sure Nikki and Paolo have been sacrificed. They're not dead, so I fully expect them to show up again later, in classic Scrappy-Doo fashion. I will agree that some of the dialogue last night was clunky, particularly the scenes involving Sun. It almost seemed like they were revisiting the Others kidnapping incident to tie up a loose end that I thought already was in a knot. And the spiders reminded me a little of the Hawaii episode of "The Brady Bunch."

Liz: If only Vincent Price were still alive.

Jen: We did find out, just in case there was confusion, that Ben really is full of it. When he and Juliet were caught in the Pearl, their exchange made it clear they were setting up Jack. There was never any way he was going home.

And speaking of Doc Jensen, his column yesterday raised an interesting point about Jack's father that's been rattling around in my head. Apparently Damon Lindelof confirmed that we should be thinking about the fact that Jack's father's coffin -- way back in season one -- was empty. As Locke said last night, "Things don't stay buried on this island." I'm wondering what other dead or missing daddies, in addition to Locke's, we may discover.

Liz: Thank you, Jen, for these good points. Obviously last night's episode wasn't as much of a throwaway as I'd initially thought. Re: Jack's dad -- maybe no one dies on the island. Maybe "death" equals moving to a different plane or kind of existence in the Lostie world.

Which actually ties in nicely to the title of next week's episode: "Left Behind." Do you think it's coincidental that "Left Behind" is also the name of the best-selling Christian evangelical books about the apocalypse?

Also, just because it's interesting, here's a collection of maps of the "Lost" island that someone gathered together. Not sure how accurate these are (as if maps of a fictional TV island need to be accurate), but they do help to visualize the characters' movements. They also serve as a good reminder for some as yet unexplained island features, like the colossal statue and the pirate ship.

Jen: The foot! Yes, we still need to know what that is.

As far as next week, given my religious postulations about the show, of course I don't think that title is coincidental.

I don't buy that Juliet is completely on board with Ben either, but we know she's crafty enough to manipulate Jack, even though she clearly thinks he's super-cute. It will be interesting to learn more about what's happening with her next week since the teaser indicates that she figures prominently into the Kate-centric episode. (Girl fight! Girl fight!)

One thing I wonder about Nikki and Paolo: Are Rodrigo Santoro and Kiele Sanchez ticked that they were hired to hang out and then immediately die? This is why I'm not sure they're dead, or that their inclusion in the series was entirely random.

But perhaps I'm gullible.

Liz: I honestly think the producers were totally surprised at the level of hatred for those two and their particularly brutal death scene was a gift to us, the Poochie haters. Still, as you and Locke say, nothing stays buried on this island.

By the way, these two have no reason to be ticked. Rodrigo Santoro has a thriving career in Brazil and co-starred in one of the biggest movies of the year, "300." And it looks like Kiele Sanchez's consolation prize is a part in ABC's Americanized version of the British soap "Footballer's Wives." Not bad considering her previous credits for bit parts in "Young MacGyver" and "Stuck on You."

Till next Thursday...

Continue talking "Lost" below and in today's Celebritology Live chat at 2 p.m. ET.

Next Week: Kate is left to fend for herself in the jungle with Juliet. Meanwhile, Hurley warns Sawyer that he faces banishment if he doesn't change his selfish ways.

By Liz Kelly  | March 29, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Lost, TV  
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