?4 8 15 16 23 42… Just what did the Numbers on Lost mean? To the 9,000+ people that recently won with them in New York’s Mega Millions Lottery (not to mention God knows how many people must play the Numbers on a regular basis in lotteries around the world), they obviously meant something. According to the show, they were the numbers of Jacob’s Candidates. According to official sources outside the show, they were the Valenzetti Equation, which predicted the end of the world. Why exactly they were being broadcast from a radio tower on the Island we’ll probably never know.
Whatever the case, the Numbers were a constant presence on Lost, a core part of the fabric that bound all of its characters together. They were so prevalent that they appeared numerous times throughout the series, popping up again and again, hidden in the background and in unexpected places. Here are the coolest appearances of the Numbers, many of them well-hidden, inserted by the creators of Lost into the show. Thanks to Lostpedia for info and pix.
10) Safety Deposit Box
?When Kate was a kid, she and her friend Tom buried a time capsule containing a toy airplane and other random objects from childhood on an August 15 (8/15). Years later, the duo retrieved the time capsule, but Kate soon after got Tom accidentally killed in a police chase. A grief-stricken Kate then went far, far out of her way to retrieve the toy plane from a safety deposit box, #815.
9) Eko’s Stick
?Mr. Eko was a badass in every way, and his time on the show was cut way too short. One of my greatest wishes is that Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse would detail what their original plan for Eko would have been had the actor not departed the show. A self-made priest, Eko carved many biblical verses into his walking/beatin’ stick. One of these was the 23rd Psalm, which speaks of God protecting a believer from the fear of evil, such as how Eko stared the Smoke Monster right in the face. The stick also featured the full sequence of Numbers, of course.
8) Copy Machine
?Charlie, fresh out of the rock star lifestyle and still addicted to heroin, meets a rich girl named Lucy and plans a con on her and her father. But he actually falls for her and takes a job working for her father in an effort to become respectable and go straight. Both hilarious and sad, Charlie horribly botches his new job selling C815 copy machines when withdrawal symptoms kick in and he barfs into the copier during a demonstration to clients and then faints.
?Somebody on Lost Island had a bunch of white bunnies, a box of Sharpies and way too much time on their hands. The Dharma Initiative, as depicted on the show and in Orientation films related to the show, had a penchant for writing the Numbers on rabbits and then subjecting the bunnies to various experiments, possibly including time travel. At one point, two bunnies numbered 15 show up in the lab, suggesting either a “Back to the Future II”-style moment or just that someone lost track of the bunny numbering.
6) Electromagnetic Anomaly
?The computer in the Island’s Swan station required that the Numbers be typed in every 108 minutes (with 108 being the sum of the Numbers), lest some supposed disaster come to pass. All was well and good for decades, until the Flight 815 survivors showed up. Locke and Desmond decided to see what would happen if the Numbers weren’t entered, figuring it was all a psychological experiment. They were wrong, and magnetic energy began to wrench the station apart. Desmond saved the day by activating a fail-safe mechanism, which created a huge discharge of electromagnetic energy. Memorably, the sky turned purple and the Swan imploded, blowing off Desmond’s clothes. An off-Island tracking station commissioned by Desmond’s long-lost love Penny detected the electromagnetic discharge, which was identified on the tracking station’s computer as 7418880 – the product of multiplying the Numbers together! Someone on the Lost writing team had a lot of fun with their calculator.
5) Hurley’s Car
?Poor Hurley was haunted by a lot of things — the curse brought on by playing the Numbers in the lottery, the ghosts of his dead Island friends, and an invisible buddy who encouraged him to eat more tacos. The Numbers taunted Hurley mercilessly, seemingly possessing his bithchin’ red Camaro in an effort to drive him mad. After being rescued from the Island, Hurley’s dad presented the Camaro to his as a birthday present. Only the gift didn’t go over well, since the odometer readings displayed the exact sequence of the Numbers! On another occasion (the mad dash to the airport mentioned elsewhere in this article), the Numbers showed up on the car’s speedometer, odometer and temperature gauge.
4) Girls’ Soccer Team
?As Hurley raced through the airport to make sure he made it onto the doomed Flight 815, the Numbers spun around him like an angry hurricane that was just outside his perception. He paid $1,600 to an elderly man for the use of his scooter, which got Hurley to Gate 23 just in time. The coolest visual, though, was when Hurley rushed by a girls’ soccer team that was wearing the Numbers in sequence on their jerseys.
3) Numbers Station Transmissions
As Ajira 316, guided by kick-ass pilot Frank “We’re not going to Guam, are we?” Lapidus, approached the Island for a rough landing, the Numbers mysteriously called out through the radio. The freaky part about this was that Island nutjob Danielle Rousseau had shut down the Numbers transmission that had been broadcasting from a radio tower on the Island sometime in the ’80s and replaced it with a distress call. So who turned the Numbers back on during the time the Oceanic Six were away from the Island? Was the transmission coming from the past? It’s a startling mystery, and one that’s easy to miss over the chaos of the panicked landing.
To add even more intrigue, actor Jorge Garcia (Hurley) admitted that in the previous episode, it was his voice reciting the Numbers that Danielle’s science team originally followed to the Island (although it didn’t sound like him in the transmission later picked up by Ajira 316). It makes you think that the writers might have originally envisioned a paradoxical plotline in which time-traveling Hurley (during his Dharma days) recorded the very Numbers that a fellow mental patient later heard and repeated to Hurley, who played them in the lotto and was led by them to the Island in the first place. But it never happened on-screen and we’ll probably never know.
2) “Make Your Own Kind of Music”
Unlucky Desmond got saddled with Hatch duty, in which his life was guided and surrounded by the Numbers. Every 108 minutes (the sum of the Numbers), he had to enter the Numbers into the Swan station computer to prevent the Earth from being destroyed. (God knows how he got any restorative sleep.) He had to inject himself daily with a vaccine that was labeled with the Numbers and was protecting hjm from a possibly bogus Island Sickness. At least Desmond got to enjoy spinning some vinyl, blasting “Make Your Own Kind of Music” by Mama Cass as he went through his morning routine. That’s how we met him and first saw what was down the Hatch in the fantastic opening to Season 2. However, Desmond’s morning groove began 42 seconds into the scene and was cut short at exactly 1:08 into the song by Jack and Locke dynamiting the Hatch. Damn Numbers! There is no escape! Brilliant editing, all around.
1) Flight 815
The crash of Oceanic 815 is the crux of the Lost mythos, and it is fittingly surrounded by the Numbers. Just to name a few instances: The fact that it’s Flight 815. There were 324 passengers and crew on the flight (108×3). Jack, Rose and Bernard sat in Row 23, while Ana Lucia sat in Row 42. The Oceanic Six were rescued 108 days after the crash. The only members of the flight who survived their Island adventures despite being in the cross-hairs as Jacob’s Candidates were Hurley and Sawyer, #8 and #15, respectively. Just more proof that the Numbers were harbingers of destiny.