Plot Points: Hurley’s Unlucky Lottery Win On ‘Lost’

Eric Raskin

lost lottery hurley numbers

Closing in on the 20th anniversary of its debut on network TV, there’s plenty to hate about Lost.

You can hate the last 10 minutes of the finale. Or maybe the entire sixth and final season.

You can hate the lack of answers the show delivered to its various mysteries. You can also hate a bunch of the answers they did give us.

You can hate Damon Lindelof and/or Carlton Cuse with all your soul.

You can hate any number of characters from the show. Tons of viewers hated Jack. Maybe you hated Locke, or Ben, or Kate, or Ana-Lucia.

But you couldn’t hate Hurley (played by Jorge Garcia). It just wasn’t possible. Whatever you remember less-than-fondly about your experience watching the polarizing hit series Lost, you have to be happy you got to know Hugo “Hurley” Reyes.

And it was in the 18th episode of the first season that we finally got to know Hurley’s off-island story. That episode, titled “Numbers,” featured the first Hurley flashbacks.

And those flashbacks revealed him to be a lottery winner whose life fell apart after the big score.

Money can’t buy happiness

That’s a common occurrence for lottery winners — the windfall can absolutely be a curse for people who don’t know how to handle large sums of money or who aren’t prepared to deal with all the “friends” and “distant relatives” coming out of the woodwork.

But Hurley’s tale took a different sort of negative turn. It wasn’t that he did anything foolish with the money. Actually, the money kept growing. But every other element of Hurley’s existence crashed about as hard as Oceanic Flight 815.

The flashback begins with Lost’s heavyset, comic-relief character watching the “Mega Lotto Jackpot” on TV, and the payout had grown quite handsome, as we learn via the broadcaster that “this is the 16th week without a winner.” One assumes that clunky writing is meant to refer to the prior drawing, because nobody could have known yet whether this latest drawing had a winner.

Nobody except Hurley, who looks at the ticket in his hand and holds it up in front of the TV screen. 4. 8. 15. 16. 23. 42. Any Lost superfan knows those numbers by heart. Hurley plays them, and they’re a perfect match for the Mega Lotto Jackpot.

He makes a few extravagant purchases: a nice watch, a Hummer, a new house for his mom. But he can’t buy any run-good. Hurley’s grandpa has a heart attack and dies — and we’re told another family member got struck by lightning at the funeral. Hugo’s mom trips and breaks her ankle visiting the new house, that house catches fire, and Hurley gets falsely arrested.

“You know, ever since I won the lottery, we’ve had nothing but bad luck,” he says. “It’s almost like we’re cursed or something.”

Are the numbers cursed?

Hurley’s accountant says to him, “Hugo, you are not the first lottery winner to believe the money’s brought him nothing but trouble.” This is art imitating life, as that is indeed how some real-life stories often go.

But Hurley doesn’t think it’s the money that has cursed him. He’s convinced it’s the numbers that are cursed — those numbers that will play such a key role in Lost island lore.

Hurley got the numbers from a mental patient named Leonard, whom he learns got them from a guy named Sam Toomey, who also came to believe the numbers were cursed and ultimately killed himself.

So are the numbers cursed? Feel free to read some fan theories if you want to make horrible use of your time on Earth. The show itself never answered that question definitively.

But the possibility of the numbers bringing bad luck didn’t stop Lost fans from playing them in the lottery. Four of the six numbers (4, 8, 15, and 42) came up in the Jan. 4, 2011 Mega Millions drawing, and the world got some insight into just how popular they had become as lottery plays.

Mega Millions reported that 41,763 customers matched four numbers on that drawing, earning $150 each.

For comparison, in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing, 2,451 tickets matched four numbers. In the drawing before that, it was 2,433. Prior to that, there were 2,647 such hits.

So, yeah, a whole lot of people were playing Hurley’s numbers. Here’s hoping they weren’t ravaged by bad luck with only a $150 payout to show for it.