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SPOILER ALERT: All About Lost‘s Numbers Game

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Bob D'Amico ABC(2)

And you thought “the numbers” would never add up to anything significant.

The riddle of the recurring digits 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 … … the source of much fan fascination and debate since they popped up on Hurley’s winning lottery ticket in season 1 … … was solved Tuesday when Locke Monster (Terry O’Quinn) informed Sawyer (Josh Holloway) that the numbers are why Lost‘s characters are on the island: Certain members of Oceanic 815 are on a numbered list of “candidates” to take over Jacob’s role as the island’s “protector.” If the mysterious authority figure wore shoes, those would seem to be some big ones to fill.

So who made the cut? Here’s the rundown:

4: Locke 8: Hurley 15: Sawyer 16: Sayid 23: Jack 42: Sun/Jin

Listed only by last name, it’s too soon to tell which “Kwon” — Sun or Jin — Jacob was referring to when he scrawled the couple’s moniker on the inside of a cave in some sort of permanent super chalk. He did touch both at their wedding. (Of course, he also laid his magic hands on lead heroine Kate, and her name was notably absent.)

Confused? So is Lost‘s Yunjin Kim. “This whole candidate thing is crazy!” she says. Should Sun turn out to be one, the actress hopes she’s not called on to serve. “If Sun is in her right mind, as soon as she finds her husband, she’ll go back to her daughter, who’s still in Korea,” Kim says. “There’s no way she’s gonna abandon her daughter just to be the ruler of this mysterious island. That would definitely not be in character for her.”

Continues Kim with a laugh, “But maybe if they could bring the daughter over to the island.”

Of course, many more questions about Jacob’s chosen ones remain. Among them: What happened to the others whose names were crossed out? Will Sayid’s name be joining that group now that he’s “infected?” How much of what Locke Monster/Man in Black said should we trust? He told Sawyer, “It’s just a damned island. There’s nothing to protect it from.” But the man clearly has his own agenda: He wants to get off the island and return home, wherever that may be. And he has no problem preying on a miserable, vulnerable Sawyer — the exact thing he accused Jacob of doing — in order to successfully recruit him. Sawyer seemed to play along — but might the con man really just be working a con?

• O’Quinn and Holloway — good friends in real life — were both firing on all cylinders in this episode. But ultimately, the hour belonged to O’Quinn’s Locke, who was finally buried on the island and given new life in the flash-sideways. No, the man in the wheelchair didn’t go on his walkabout in this timeline, either. But he’s happily engaged to true love Helen (who, at one point, was pointedly was rockin’ a “Peace & Karma” T-shirt) and seems to have a much healthier relationship with his father. (Did you catch his picture in Locke’s cubicle?) Locke got fired by jerky boss Randy, only to run into owner-of-the-company Hurley, who kindly referred him to his temp agency — where he encountered Rose! Still battling terminal cancer, she encouraged him to be realistic about his strengths and make the most of his life. His new job? A substitute teacher at the school where Ben teaches European history! Emmy winner O’Quinn is clearly getting a kick out of playing two distinct roles this season. “It’s like trying to ride a wild horse,” he says. “A really crazy one. But I’m learning how to steer, and it’s fun.

• Ajira passenger/Jacob bodyguard Ilana (Zuleikha Robinson) began to emerge in Tuesday’s episode, crying over the deaths in the foot statue before bagging some of Jacob’s ashes. (The same ash Smokey can’t cross?) She seems to know an awful lot about the island and the Locke Monster. Why that is will become clear in the next several episodes. There’s a reason Robinson is now a series regular — and you can trust that it’s a big one. –Shawna Malcom

Tell us: What did you think of the episode? And what do you make of the mysterious blonde boy who appeared to Locke and Sawyer in the jungle?Bob D’Amico/ABC(2)