Hurley finds out that among the garbled and nonsensical items that comprise the Rousseau Papers is a sequence of numbers repeated over and over. Thing is, those are the exact numbers he won the lottery with not long before getting marooned on the island. So he sets off in search of Rousseau, much to the chagrin of Sayid, Charlie, and Jack, who go off after him because of all the danger and whatnot. And they're dodging spike traps and rickety bridges and explosions like they're a bunch of goddamn grown-up Goonies.
Hurley's more than a little obsessed with finding out the significance of those numbers, because the lives of his loved ones and even complete strangers around him have pretty much gone to shit since he won the lottery, even as Hurley's wealth continues to grow, to the tune of $156 million (if Shannon finds out, Hurley's in for some lovin'). In fact, the numbers are the reason he was on the plane in the first place, since he traveled to Australia to find a colleague of a man Hurley knew in a mental institution, Lenny, a man who repeated those numbers over and over again. And Lenny did that because of a long-ago radio transmission in the Pacific, which Rousseau tells Hurley she heard as well. I don't think that really explains the supposed curse on the numbers as much as it adds more weight to that theory, but all Hurley really wanted was to know that he wasn't crazy for thinking the numbers were jinxed. It sounds like a stupid reason to put himself (and others) in harm's way, until you remember that, having already spent time in an institution, Hurley clearly cherishes his hard-won mental health. And besides, when is it not a good time to risk Charlie's life? Really, if Charlie had been killed, in a preferably painful and speech-disabling manner, no one would suggest the trip had been a waste of time and effort.
And remember that hatch that Boone and Locke are whatevering? It has that same sequence of numbers. I wouldn't advise using them for your own lottery ticket, though. Not because they're cursed, but because even if you win you'll be splitting the jackpot with just about everyone who watched this episode. Then again, that could provide a much-needed boost to the oversized novelty cheque industry.
Waves are crashing on the beach as Mercutio supervises Raft 2: The Floatening. Jin makes an urgent circular gesture in Hurley's general direction, and Hurley tiredly wonders if Jin wants him to make a snowball, which, yeah, I know Jin doesn't speak English, but I'm thinking Hurley might try a little harder here. Mercutio says Jin wants him to bundle the bamboo tighter, so I guess Mercutio's given up some of the raft-designing to Jin, the one guy who can't communicate with anyone other than his wife, to whom he's no longer speaking.
Jack happens along, as he usually does, to see how things are coming along, and Mercutio says they're coming. Jack for some reason reminds everybody about the last raft being sabotaged, and Mercutio assures him that the raft is being guarded 24/7 (one can only assume that the assaulting and kidnapping and killing of unguarded castaways will continue for the near future). So it looks like Locke didn't rat Walt out for starting the fire, even though we've yet to find out more about that. Mercutio says the chances of a passing ship spotting their raft are pretty slim, so he wants to be able to send out some sort of distress signal. Jack says he'll ask Sayid, but adds that even if Sayid can make something, he's got nothing to power it with. Hurley says he thought Sayid said "the crazy French chick" had batteries.
Whether she does or doesn't, Sayid categorically refuses to go back or to help Jack go back himself, even though Hurley offers his most sincere and pleading "dude." Sayid says he was unconscious when Rousseau brought him to her hidey-hole, and he was disoriented when he escaped, so he wouldn't be able to find the place again. That's no excuse for not calling her, Sayid. Hurley suggests Sayid just doesn't want to, and Sayid spazzes off on how Rousseau's maps and notes are a whole lotta crazy, mixing song lyrics with equations. Dude, that's no reason to crumple them up! Jack wants to use the map to find Rousseau, and he and Sayid argue about it, but Hurley tunes them out, as he's found, in the crazy scribblings, numbers printed over and over again: 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42. Hey, I don't suppose anyone's interested in taking a wild stab at finding some significance in those numbers? Didn't think so. Due to the ascending numbers, they immediately looked like lotto numbers to me.
And here's the thing about interpreting the numbers, which has turned into this whole cottage industry. I understand that it's fun for people, but numbers are endlessly manipulatable, and there are ultimately only ten numerals and various cultural and spiritual significance attached to all of them if you look hard enough, so multiplying and subtracting and adding digits is more like finding numbers that fit your theory, rather than finding a theory that fits the numbers. It kind of reminds me of -- remember the band Presidents of the United States of America? Yeah, me neither. But they had that one song -- well, they had "Lump," which was a little piece of greatness, but they also had that other song, "Peaches": "Movin' to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches." And a friend of mine posited that the song was not actually about eating peaches, that it was about eating something that, while not without its charms, technically was not a food. Not that I was by any stretch an expert on, um, peaches, despite possessing the rather common college guy's obsession with them, but the theory seemed to fit, especially, as my friend pointed out, you substitute the word "peaches" with the other possibility.