As you may have heard, the cryptic Fringe glyph code which has had fans killing far too many brain cells, has finally been cracked — and it turns out the reveal is a bit of an anti-climax. First off, credit where credit is due — after some excellent piecing together by Erica Sadun, her Ars Technica colleague, Julian Sanchez, decided to lay the smack down on the cryptic puzzle. After a few hours investigating he discovered that the answer is actually quite simple. Here, I’ll let him explain:
Erica did a whole bunch of work that ultimately enabled me to crack the thing in a couple of minutes, but stopped just a hair short of the solution. From where she left off, it’s actually incredibly simple once you make one crucial assumption. Alas, there’s no deep dark mystery about the show’s arc concealed here, and the solution’s actually a bit anticlimactic, but it’s below the fold for those who are interested. So the code is nothing fancy: It’s a simple one-to-one, monoalphabetic substitution cypher. But it’s isolated words, not a sentence, so handy strings like “the” or “and” don’t recur.
You might want to read his full blog post to understand the finer points in his code-cracking. (in other words, it’s Saturday, and I’m feeling a wee bit lazy).
I have to say, I’m a little disappointed by the outcome. I was expecting to find out the answer to eternal life, or something — I was all ready to join Richard and the “Others” . You think I’m joking? There’s always a part of me that hopes to be amazed by art, which is probably why I gravitate to kookie shows like “Lost” and “Fringe” in the first place. No offense to non-kookie shows, but I’m not easily shocked.
So, does this mean that the other Fringe mysteries will be false dawns? Will the Observer turn out to be nothing more than a “Where’s Waldo“? Can I kiss goodbye to my ‘Blue Light’ theories? What about Astrid – is she just an underutilised sideshow character? Writers, you’re messing with my world view here — say it ain’t so, tell me you still have the ability to shock and surprise!
Of course, it’s silly to assume that the other mysteries will be a let-down just because the glyph-code has been — and anyway, it’s all about the journey, right? (riiiiiight). I’ve also got a sneaking suspicion that there might be more to the glyph-code than has currently been unearthed. Especially when we remember what Exec. Producer Jeff Pinkner said a few months back, about the reveal speaking “to some of the larger and controlling mythology behind the show”. The substitution-cipher could just be phase 1 (of several), in which case ‘the powers that be’ would be more tricky than I thought.