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S1 Ep 18: Numbers

Michael and Jin are working on the raft, with Hurley's help. Michael has an idea: it would be easier for them to be rescued by a passing ship if they could send out a distress call. Maybe Sayid could rig something up? Possibly, says Jack, but there's one problem - how will they power it?

Hurley remembers Sayid saying that the French woman had batteries, but Sayid is less than keen to go find her again. Jack offers to go, but Sayid is reluctant to send anyone else after her either. Besides, he was unconscious when he was taken to her hut and disorientated when he left, so he doesn't really know where she is. But what about the maps Sayid took - maybe they will help them find her? Sayid hands them over and Hurley begins to look through them, until he suddenly freezes at a page. What's on it? A sequence of numbers listed over and over again. 4,8,15,16,23,42.

We flashback to Hurley at home eating a bucket of chicken and watching the lottery on TV. While his mother chides him about finding a girlfriend Hurley becomes transfixed by the draw. It's one of the biggest lottery payouts ever and Hurley has the numbers.

When Hurley and his family are interviewed by the press about their lucky win, Hurley tells them he will give his grandfather the holiday he always wanted and his mother the house she's never had. But while Hurley smiles for the cameras his grandfather suddenly clutches his chest and drops dead on the pavement.

Much later, Hurley is driving his grandmother in a brand new Hummer to see a surprise he has for her. He points out how badly things have been going for them lately - his grandfather dying, the priest being struck by lightning at the funeral, his brother's wife cheating on him...he wonders if the money he won is cursed. Hurley's mother slaps him and says that's blasphemous, Catholics don't believe in curses. Hurley looks uncertain.

Before they arrive at their destination Hurley makes his mother put on a blindfold. He pulls up outside a big house in an up-market neighbourhood. His mother is grumpy about the blindfold even as he helps her out of the car. He tells her she can take it off but before she does she trips on the curb and hurts her ankle. Hurely's big surprise - a brand new house - is drowned out in her cries of pain over her ankle. But her ankle is soon forgotten when she suddenly smells smoke and they look up to see the house is on fire. Hurley goes to ring 911 but we can already hear sirens - except it's not the fire department, it's the police. Two patrol cars pull up and guns are pointed at Hurley, who is arrested.

The arrest turns out to be a mistake - they thought Hurley was a drug dealer - and in fact it turns into a windfall for Hurley because of the police settlement. Hurley learns this from his accountant, who is informing him that his fortune is getting bigger. His orange juice investment has made money because of a storm that pounded Florida. One of Hurley's factories in Canada burned down, killing 8 people, but it was over-insured so Hurley is set to make a lot of money off it. And his box company in Tustin (is that where Locke worked?) is doing well. Hurley starts to voice his suspicion that the money is cursed, but his accountant laughs it off, saying he's not the first lottery winner to think that. He asks Hurley where he got the numbers from and something clicks. It's not the money that is cursed, it's the numbers!

Hurley goes to visit an old friend in a mental institution. At first he has trouble getting past the nurse at the reception desk until a doctor recognises him and asks how he's doing. It's not clear how the doctor knows Hurley, but he escorts him through to see his friend. Leonard is playing a game of Connect 4 by himself and muttering, he is clearly not right in the head. Hurley starts to ask him about the numbers, wanting to know what they mean. Leonard is unresponsive until Hurley mentions that he used them to play and win the lottery. Leonard stops mid-game and looks at him in disbelief. He tells Hurley he has opened the box and it won't stop, and that he has to get away from the numbers. Leonard becomes more and more hysterical until a nurse comes to take him away. Hurley manages to get one more bit of information out of Leonard before he's gone - the numbers came from a guy called Sam, who heard them when they were working one Australia.

So now we know what brought Hurley to Australia before the fateful flight. Hurley goes to find Sam in deepest, darkest outback Australia. The door is answered by Sam's wife, who tells Hurley that Sam died four years ago. It turns out that Sam heard the numbers being repeated over and over again while serving in the US Navy, where he was stationed at a listening post in the South Pacific. Later Sam used those numbers in a competition to guess the number of beans in a jar. After 40 years of no-one guessing correctly Sam's guess was right, and they won the prize. On the way home they had a car accident and his wife lost her leg, although Sam was unscathed.

Sam's wife says her husband began to believe the numbers were cursed and moved them to a house in the middle of nowhere so that others would be safe. But he couldn't escape his curse and eventually stuck a gun in his mouth. The wife is cynical, she doesn't believe in curses, but Hurley is easily convinced.

Back on the island, Hurley believes the French woman, Rousseau, can help explain the numbers. He steals the map back from Sayid and sets off on his own to find her. When Jack, Sayid and Charlie realise what he's done they go after him and tell him he's crazy - a word Hurley doesn't like very much. Several booby traps, a rickety bridge and a few gun shots later, Hurley finds himself separated from the others and face to face with Rousseau, who is holding a gun. But Hurley isn't scared, he's desperate. He wants to know what the numbers mean.

But Rousseau doesn't know. She explains that her ship picked up the transmission of the numbers and changed course to investigate, which was what led to them being shipwrecked on the island. Her team found the transmission tower and spent a long time trying to decipher the numbers, but then the sickness got everyone. After her team were gone she went to the transmission tower and changed the signal to the one our survivors overheard. Hurley asks if she thinks the numbers are cursed. Rousseau replies that it was the numbers that brought her to the island, and Hurley too, so yes, she believes they probably are cursed.

Hurley is so relieved to have someone agree with him that he embraces Rousseau.

Later, Hurley catches up with Jack, Sayid and Charlie and hands them the battery they were needing. He tells Sayid that Rousseau says 'hi'.

Back at camp, Claire has spent the day helping Locke build something, which she suspects is a trap for animals. She tells Locke it's her birthday, but she doesn't feel like celebrating given her circumstances. Finally Locke finishes the contraption and puts it together - it's a crib for a baby. "Happy Birthday Claire".