I’m writing this for one reason and one reason only: To save my good buddy Dave from making a horrible mistake. Dave thinks he is about to give up on LOST, but I’m going to convince him to stay. It’s probably just another case of his red hair seeping into his brain, anyway.
LOST has long suffered from the complaints of fans wanting the show’s major questions to be answered, and often times those complaints have been well deserved. In this, the show’s final season, fans are dually hungry and skeptical. They are hungry for the answers they waited six seasons for but skeptical that they won’t get answers. Dave’s main complaints seem to be two:
- They haven’t addressed the numbers;
- The creators don’t know where the show is going.
I can address these questions two quickly. One with fact, one with what I believe is a damn solid theory. I’ll deal with the second complaint first.
In a February 2007 interview with Entertainment Weekly , Darlton addressed Adam & Eve specifically in the context of their plan for the show:
Independent of ever knowing when the end was going to be, we knew what it was going to be, and we wanted to start setting it up as early as season 1, or else people would think that we were making it up as we were going along. So the skeletons are the living — or, I guess, slowly decomposing — proof of that. When all is said and done, people are going to point to the skeletons and say, ”That is proof that from the very beginning, they always knew that they were going to do this.”
So the writers definitely aren’t winging it like I did so many college exams because of too much Playstation in Dave’s room. Some things we know have changed, such as Ben Linus becoming a central character and Mr. Eko being killed off, but as far as the over-arching mythology of the show, it seems clear that Darlton has had it set from the beginning.
Along the same lines, they didn’t delay the start of the season in order to work out what they were going to do. They simply wanted the episodes to run uninterrupted like they have in past years, and like we’ve seen with lesser shows such as 24.
Now, on to what the numbers mean. For this, I must delve into theory and deep LOST mythology.
4 8 15 16 23 42 = 108 I’ve long believed there is nothing more central to LOST’s story than what the numbers stand for. After watching last week’s episode and seeing Jacob’s wall of names, I have what I feel is a pretty solid theory.
But before I get to that I have to give Dave acknowledgement for correctly quoting Damon in an interview question on the subject:
You can actually watch Star Wars now, and when Obi-Wan talks about the Force to Luke for the first time, it loses its luster because the Force has been explained as, sort of, little biological agents that are in your blood stream. So you go, “Oh, I liked Obi-Wan’s version a lot better.” Which in the case of our show is, “The numbers are bad luck, they keep popping up in Hurley’s life, they appear on the island.” … But if you’re watching the show for a detailed explanation of what the numbers mean—and I’m not saying you won’t see more of them—then you will be disappointed by the end of season six.
But he’s also said this:
Here’s the story with numbers. The Hanso Foundation that started the Dharma Initiative hired this guy Valenzetti to basically work on this equation to determine what was the probability of the world ending in the wake of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Valenzetti basically deduced that it was 100 percent within the next 27 years, so the Hanso Foundation started the Dharma Initiative in an effort to try to change the variables in the equation so that mankind wouldn’t wipe it itself out.
Which brings me around to my theory. We know that the numbers represent values in the Valenzetti Equation, which predicts the end of the world. These values, according to the Sri Lanka Video, represent “the numerical values to the core environmental and human factors of the Valenzetti Equation.” We also know that the Dharma Initiative spent years trying to change any of the factors and thus prevent the end of the world, to no avail.
Be patient, I’m getting to the theory.
I subscribe to Al Trautwig’s theory that we are seeing the end of a long-repeating time loop in which Jacob and Man In Black fight each other over the fate of humanity. As the loop continues, each of them makes a move that triggers new things which require counter moves and counter counter moves, and on and on. Man in Black’s end goal is to murder Jacob, end the game and go home, wherever home is. This outcome is man’s destiny, for dark to prevail over light. It’s what the Valenzetti Equation says will happen every time the loop repeats. “They come, they fight, they destroy. It always ends the same,” he says to Jacob in The Incident pt. 1.
“There is only one end,” Jacob says to him. “Everything that happens before that…is just progress.” He brings people to the island, on The Black Rock, on Oceanic 815 and on Ajira 316 to make this progress toward the one end.
Jacob’s end goal, and here’s my theory, is to – for one time – disrupt this natural order. To change one of those core human factors of the Valenzetti Equation so that in this iteration of the loop things do not end the same. He has to change 4, 8, 15, 16, 23 or 42 in order to prevent dark from triumphing over light. Each number represents a person, as scribbled on the wall in the cave, and if Jacob can change the destiny for just one of them, he will change a value in the equation and end the loop. He’ll win.
Man in Black found his loophole in masquerading as John Locke and getting Ben Linus to kill Jacob. Now, Jacob has as his last chance for one of these human values, who he has chosen, to bring the progress of all the previous time loops to the final end, bringing down his nemesis in black.
That’s what the numbers are: Numbers assigned to the human values in Jacob’s game with Man in Black. Locke is four, Hurley is 8, Sawyer is 15, Sayid is 16, Jack is 23 (as in Psalm 23?) and Kwon as 42. (There’s debate about which Kwon – Jin or Sun. I think it refers to them both as one married couple. If you’ll recall, Jacob touched both of them at their wedding.)
Now, the most obvious first question about my theory is why all the other names had numbers by them as well. One could hold that my theory is bogus because of the numbers attached to the other names. My comeback lies in my dependence on Trautwig’s time loop theory. This isn’t the first time Jacob and MiB have been through this. In previous loops, the numerical values of the Valenzetti Equation may have been different, and so were the people Jacob thought would represent those values. He learned through those loops that Garner, Troupe, Jones, Domingo, Mattingley, etc wouldn’t change the equation and crossed them off the list. In last week’s episode we say Man in Black cross of Locke’s name because he and Jacob know John won’t change the equation, won’t alter man’s destiny in the age old battle between light and dark.
I don’t think we can expect to know why the numbers repeat so much throughout the show except to say that each time they appear is an event for which Jacob’s intervention is responsible. It would be a monumental task for someone to go back through every episode to document when each number comes up in order to try to gain some picture that might yield a clue to a deeper meaning. Thought I wouldn’t put it past anybody.
That’s all I got. It’s two hours past my bedtime, so I better have convinced Dave to stick with the show or else I’m going to be really pissed.