Lost in Retrospect: Numbers

Hurley’s part in the Lost saga had been pretty minimal to this point, mainly in delivering funny lines and an interesting spin on the big dramatic situations. But here, Hurley gets his chance to really shine–and you know what? It’s friggin’ awesome!

For a refresh on this episode, I suggest you check out Lostpedia’s excellent Wiki page.

Now, so much of this show is debatable, and deliberately so, but I think we can all agree on one objective fact: Hurley is completely awesome in this episode. He’s the character you expect to do not much more than crack jokes, but this story sees him try his hand at adventuring, manipulation, all sorts of stuff that usually gets left to Jack or Sayid or Locke. It doesn’t seem like it on the surface, but Jorge Garcia is really getting to stretch his acting muscles in this episode because the Hurley we see traipsing around the jungle, interrogating Sayid and talking down a crazy Frenchwoman with a rifle is almost a completely different character to the one we know and love, and yet the whole time it’s unequivocally Hurley, approaching every situation with a great mix of genre savvy and Bill-and-Ted-like zen that I think most of us wish we could bring to the wackiness of a magical Island. And more amazing than his ability to deliver the funny is Garcia’s ability to bring the emotion. I had this giant grin on my face and possibly–probably not, but possibly–the beginnings of a tear in my eye when Hurley, completely overcome with joy, just descends on Rousseau and wraps her in this huge bear hug. Minutes earlier, his passionate explanation of the Numbers’ curse is riviting, and when earlier still he turns and tells Charlie flat-out that he’s not crazy, I jerked back from the screen. While I don’t think I’d put Jorge Garcia on the top tier of Lost actors, he always excelled at bringing the potentially one-note Hurley to life in a convincing, three-dimensional way.

The flashbacks were brilliant. I will forever envy the episode’s writers, David Fury and Brent Fletcher, for their ability to make the story of Hurley’s curse lottery winnings both horrific and hilarious at the same time. There’s death and carnage and mayhem and destruction all throughout the episode, but it’s just so gosh-darn funny from beginning to end! The third (I think?) flashback stands out, where Hurley and Carmen discuss the recent turn of events, letting the string of bad luck unravel slowly and hilariously, before they get out of the giant hummer that have all that badness descend on them at once. But the way the humour drops off in the last couple of flashbacks is very organic as we get first the revelation of Hurley’s time in the mental institution, then the trip to Kalgoorlie, the explanation of where Lenny heard the Numbers and what Sam Toombs did to stop their influence. By the end of the flashbacks, I was just as freaked as Hurley.

Now. The Numbers themselves. We know now that they have to do with the Candidates, so my question is, do the Numbers have power as a result of being assigned to Candidates, or were the Candidates assigned to those particular numbers as a result of the Numbers’ power? I honestly don’t know, and the above question is the result of lots of thinking and speculation on my part. But I’m cool with having no idea about the Numbers. They remain mysterious, even all these years after their introduction, and as a result the Island itself and the Lost universe retain a lot of mystery, as they all should.

So. “Numbers”. It’s an absolute cracker–all Hurley episodes are, in my humble opinion–that showed us a lot of new facets of the big guy and expanded on the mythology and the general weirdness of the show in strange and unpredictable ways. A must-watch. An absolute must-watch.

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