4 8 15 16 23 42
Hugo “Hurley” Reyes is one of my favorite characters on LOST so it was way overdue to have a flashback episode featuring him. However, little did I expect that Hurley’s flashback would forever be so ingrained on LOST mythology because the episode introduced the numbers.
4 8 15 16 23 42 repeated several times on Rousseau’s notes surprised Hurley. Those numbers were the same numbers that he used to win the lottery. And they seem to have placed a curse on him and everyone around him.
Hurley picked up these numbers during his time in a mental institution from a Connect 4 player named Leonard. Leonard worked with a guy in the military named Sam Loomis and they picked up a transmission repeating those numbers. We find out that the transmission was coming from the Island and it is also what attracted Rousseau’s boat to the Island.
The numbers are one of the most enduring mysteries of LOST and I believe that they are the one thing that is not sufficiently answered. I believe that they never really had a good answer for the numbers so once they started using them, they could not stop. The riddle of the numbers is like a MacGuffin, always being chased- especially by Hurley.
The interaction between Hurley and Rousseau during this episode is one of the best moments of the show, and should be considered one of the best in the first season. Even crazy Rousseau is put at ease with Hurley’s friendly and kind nature. Hurley gives Rousseau a big hug as well when she agrees that the numbers are cursed. Hurley was so happy to find someone who believed him.
The episode does a tremendous job of creating a ominous and sinister tone surrounding those numbers as we discover the terrible things that happened to Loomis after he used them and the fact that Leonard wound up in the mental institution repeating the numbers to himself. Hurley has lots of things happen as well. His Grandpa Tito died. His mother breaks her ankle. The new house Hurley bought his mother catches on fire. Lightning strikes the preacher at his Grandpa’s funeral etc. It is enough to make anyone wonder.
And Hurley was fresh out of the institution himself. While we do not know why he wound up there (yet), we learn he was there. Hurley is also fairly sensitive to anyone calling him crazy.
There have been a lot of theories about what the numbers meant over the years,but I am not sure that anything specific has ever been explained. It might just be one of those LOST mysteries that will never be fully revealed.