In advance of the 10th anniversary, here is a bit of information that I have been holding onto since the end of Season 4 in 2008. I did not release this for the past 6 years for reasons that no longer seem relevant so now it is all yours to explore or ignore as you choose.
From the beginning, we were told that all the names mean something. While there were plenty of attempts to interpret some of the names at face value it never seemed to me that all of the names could possibly have a meaning. That is, until I found that all the names, in fact, had a hidden meaning because all of the names are encoded. We have plenty of examples for the use of anagrams in the show, however, most of the names use a special case of anagrams. This special case involves changing one of the letters in the name and then rearranging all the letters to decode the hidden meaning. This results in many possible decodes so it makes it a somewhat difficult to determine which decode is actually the correct one. The key is to pick the decoded anagram which best fits the character in the show. Below are a few examples, listing a character with the decoded name and the relation of the decoded name to the character.
- John Locke decodes to "join flock" which is reflective of his always wanting to belong to some group.
- Daniel Faraday parachuted onto the island and found that he "landed far away" from his group.
- Kate Austen found herself chained to Sawyer with whom she shared the need for revenge showing that "hate unites".
- Sawyer constantly behaved like a scheming "lawyer" and then there was that encounter with the shark.
- Danielle Rousseau was marooned on the island and consequently had to "lead life as Crusoe".
- Miles Straume is a con artist who "milks traumas".
- Charlie Pace sacrificed himself showing that he was "a heroic chap".
- Juliet Carlson was a "jilted scholar" and her brutal ex-husband Edmund Burke a "damned brute" killed by a bus.
- Roger Linus was gassed and ended up being a "goner in bus" which left Ben Linus as the "one in bus".
- Eko showed that he was a cut-throat businessman, a regular "CEO".
- And let's not forget about "tall" Walt or "taller" Walter.
This is just a small sampling of encoded names. There are well over 100 more names of both major and minor characters. Not all are easy to decode. With some of the minor characters having limited presence you have to dig deep to figure out which decode applies, a good reason to re-watch the entire series. It also helps to have a copy of the script handy if you are really serious.
In the title, I said the numbers also hold a secret so let's see how this applies. In order to use the above encoding scheme the first step is to assign a letter for each of the numbers (4,8,15,16,23,42). However, we have a problem with the number 42 since there is no corresponding letter. To resolve this we turn to Jack's tattoos which are, the number 5 and symbols translating to: "He walks amongst us, but he is not one of us". If we make the presumption that this refers to the numbers and we eliminate the number 42, since it is unlike the others, we are left with 5 numbers (4,8,15,16,23). Substituting letters for the numbers we get "dhopw" and using the special anagram decoding we get "Dr Who" as a result. Damon Lindelof said that "The time travel elements of the show have been built into the DNA of the show all along
". Since DNA is a form of encoding and Dr Who is all about time travel and the numbers were present from the beginning, we can take Damon at his word.
This still leaves the recurring number 108 to deal with. To see if there was a relationship I Googled - "Lost Dr Who 108" and got an interesting hit referencing Wikipedia - Doctor Who missing episodes. If you were to do this today the only 108 that shows up in this entry is a reference number, but in 2008, when I first did this, the total number of missing episodes was 108. In the current Wiki article, looking at the Recovered Episodes list you can see 2 episodes were recovered in 2011 and 10 more in 2013. However, one of the episodes recovered in 2013 (041 The Web of Fear Episode 1) was already counted as recovered in 2008 so in reality there were only 9 new episodes recovered in 2013. As of Sept. 2014 there are still 97 missing episodes and if you add to that the 11 new episodes found since Lost ended in 2010 you have a total of 108 missing episodes during the run of the Lost series. So if you were to ask "What was Lost?", a legitimate answer could be "108 episodes of Dr Who".
Earlier, I stated that most of the names followed the special anagram encoding but in fact that is not the only encoding used. Some of the names are encoded using a different scheme which I will not go into at this time. However, I will give a clue. Another encoding scheme is directly related to Widmore changing the rules.
So Happy 10th Anniversary and good hunting.