Numbers (Lost)

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Lost episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 18
Directed by Dan Attias
Written by David Fury
Brent Fletcher
Production code 116
Original air date March 2, 2005
Running time 43 minutes[1]
Guest appearance(s)

Mira Furlan as Danielle Rousseau
Lillian Hurst as Carmen Reyes
Jayne Taini as Martha Toomey
Ron Marasco as Ken Halperin
Ron Bottitta as Leonard Simms
Dann Seki as Dr. Curtis
Michael Adamschick as Lottery official
Archie Ahuna as Tito Reyes
Derrick Bulatao as Diego Reyes
Joy Minaai as Reporter
Brittany Perrineau as Mary Jo
Maya Pruett as Nurse

Episode chronology
← Previous
"...In Translation"
Next →
"Deus Ex Machina"
Lost (season 1)
List of Lost episodes

"Numbers" is the 18th episode of the first season of Lost. The episode was directed by Dan Attias and written by Brent Fletcher and David Fury. It first aired on March 2, 2005, on ABC. The character of Hugo "Hurley" Reyes (Jorge Garcia) is featured in the episode's flashbacks.



In flashbacks, Hurley wins the lottery, and over the ensuing weeks, everyone around him seems to suffer increasingly bad luck. Hurley's grandfather dies of a heart attack, the priest officiating the burial is struck by lightning, Hurley's brother's wife walks out, his mother breaks her ankle while the house Hurley bought her goes up in flames, and Hurley himself is falsely arrested. He then visits a mental asylum where he apparently had resided for a time, to talk to another patient, Leonard Simms, who keeps repeating to Hurley the numbers he used to win the lottery. When Hurley tells him that he used the numbers, Lenny panics and shouts, "The numbers are bad! You gotta get away from them!". As the hospital staff drag him away, Leonard calls out the name of Sam Toomey in Kalgoorlie, Australia. Hurley travels there and learns that Toomey had died four years earlier. However, Toomey's widow relates a story of how Toomey and Leonard had served together in the U.S. Navy, being stationed at a listening post in the Pacific, monitoring longwave radio transmissions. Most of what they heard was static, but at one point 16 years earlier (which coincides with the time that Rousseau was stranded on the island), Toomey picked up a signal of a human voice repeating the numbers over and over. After using the numbers to win a 50,000 AUD at a fair in Kalgoorlie, Toomey experienced a steady stream of bad luck until he finally committed suicide by shotgun. Sam's widow tells Hurley that the numbers are not connected to anyone's luck.

On the Island[edit]

On Day 35, October 26, 2004, Hurley steals some of the documents that Sayid Jarrah (Naveen Andrews) had found in Danielle Rousseau's (Mira Furlan) camp in an earlier episode. The documents contain the repeated 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, and 42, the same numbers which Hurley had used to win a lottery jackpot. Hurley is agitated at seeing the numbers, and sets off on his own to find Rousseau, ignoring Sayid's warnings about the danger.

The next day, on Day 36, Hurley finds the same mysterious cable that Sayid had followed, which extends from an unknown location in the ocean, up into the island's hills and then disappears down into the underground within a few hundred feet of a ravine with a rope bridge across it. When it was first discovered, it was slightly damaged, revealing wires within it. Rousseau has set traps alongside the cable but Hurley seems to have no fear of Rousseau's boobytraps, which through apparent good luck, seem to keep missing him, although one almost kills him. Sayid, Jack Shephard (Matthew Fox), and Charlie Pace (Dominic Monaghan) eventually catch up with him just after he steps on a pressure plate. The group discover the bridge which Hurley crosses first, but it then collapses under the much lighter weight of Charlie and the group is separated.

Jack and Sayid, for their part, eventually set off another of Rousseau's traps, causing an explosion that destroys her old shelter. Sayid concludes that Rousseau knew he'd come back, and had set traps for them.

After Hurley and Charlie are split up while being shot at, Hurley encounters Rousseau, who threatens him at gunpoint. Hurley refuses to back down, and adamantly insists that she tell him what the numbers mean. Rousseau appears convinced of his sincerity and lowers her gun, but says that she does not know: only that her party was drawn to the island by the radio transmission of the numbers, but when they tried to come ashore, their ship was destroyed by submerged rocks. It took them weeks to find the transmission tower, which was near the Black Rock, but her team became "sick". As she describes it, after the last of her team was gone, she changed the message that was being transmitted into a distress call. Hurley and Rousseau conclude that the numbers are cursed, and Rousseau points out that the numbers that brought her to the island, were evidently responsible for bringing Hurley to the island as well, and that just as they had brought bad luck to him, the numbers had caused her to lose everyone and everything that she ever cared about. Hurley expresses huge relief that he has finally found someone who agrees with him that the numbers are cursed, and hugs her.

Hurley later makes his way back to Sayid, Jack and Charlie, giving them a battery he got from Rousseau, which can be used for Michael's raft. On the beach, Charlie talks to Hurley and reveals his heroin addiction. Hurley in turn tells Charlie how much wealth he possessed before the crash, though Charlie takes it as a joke and insulted, storms off. At the end of the episode, the numbers are revealed to be engraved on the side of the hatch that Boone and Locke found in a previous episode.

While Michael is rebuilding the boat, Sawyer is seen sitting in a chair reading A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle which deals primarily with tesseracts and time travel, perhaps hinting at future events.


A reference is made to Curb Your Enthusiasm, as Hurley is mistaken for a drug dealer and arrested. In Curb Your Enthusiasm, Jorge Garcia plays a drug dealer, and his role as the drug dealer got him the role of Hurley in Lost.[2]


The episode had 18.85 million American viewers.[3] In Chris Carabott of IGN's review of "Numbers", in which Rousseau makes her second appearance, Carabott described Hurley and Rousseau's encounter as "the episode's best moment", as "Hurley finds comfort with someone who we would least expect."[4] Lost co-creator J.J. Abrams commended Furlan for giving the character "heart and soul", and managed to make her "identifiable and complex".[5]

After the episode aired, numerous people used the eponymous figures (4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42) as lottery entries. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, within three days, the numbers were tried over 500 times by local players.[6] Likewise, in the same period, over 200 people in Michigan alone used the sequence for the Mega Millions lottery[7] and by October, thousands had tried them for the multi-state Powerball lottery.[8][9] The issue came to attention after a Mega Millions drawing for a near-record US$380,000,000 jackpot on January 4, 2011 drew a series of numbers in which the three lowest numbers (4-8-15) and the mega ball (42) matched four of the five numbers. The #42 is also the "Mega Number" in Hurley's "Mega Lotto" ticket. The players who played the combination won $150 each (or $118 in California).[10]


  1. ^ "Lost - Netflix". Netflix. Retrieved 24 November 2017. [permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Before They Were Lost (DVD). Lost: The Complete First Season Disc 7: Buena Vista Home Entertainment. 2004. 
  3. ^ "Weekly Program Rankings" (Press release). ABC Medianet. March 8, 2005. Retrieved 2008-07-30. 
  4. ^ Carabott, Chris (2008-10-09). "IGN: Numbers Review". IGN. Retrieved 2008-12-23. 
  5. ^ Keck, William (2007-05-22). "After 3 long 'Lost' seasons, a Rousseau family reunion". USA Today. Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  6. ^ "No winning ticket found with Lost numbers". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. June 19, 2005. Archived from the original on December 27, 2005. 
  7. ^ Rook, Christine (March 5, 2005). "Lost numbers come up losers". Lansing State Journal. Archived from the original on March 7, 2008. 
  8. ^ Serpe, Gina (October 20, 2005). "Lost Numbers Lose Millions". Archived from the original on February 3, 2009. Eva Robelia, spokeswoman for the Wisconsin Lottery, says more than 840 people across five states played the TV-inspired numbers, including 266 more in New Hampshire 
  9. ^ Weaver, Teresa (October 19, 2005). "In record Powerball, some to bank on bad luck". Columbia Missourian. Archived from the original on December 20, 2005. For the Powerball drawing on Oct. 12, 461 people selected the six numbers within Missouri, said Susan Goedde of the Missouri Lottery. If you add those to the 204 tickets in Kansas, 117 in Louisiana, 134 in Iowa and the rest of the 25 states included in the Powerball take, you end up with a lot of people sharing the winnings. 
  10. ^ Bonner, Jessie et al. (2011-01-05). 2 winners for $380M lottery sold in Wash., Idaho[permanent dead link]. Associated Press. Retrieved 2011-01-05.[dead link]

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