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Fringe glyphs poster © 2008 Warner Bros. Entertainment.

I've had a review of Fringe nearly ready to post for too long. Here are some quick bits in the meantime.

On last week's episode we finally heard — but didn't see — the mysterious William Bell on an old videotape. Even if you weren't aware of the recent casting news, it was easy to recognize the voice of Leonard Nimoy, soon to be seen as Spock for perhaps the final time in Lost and Fringe co-creator J.J. Abrams' Star Trek film. (I couldn't help but think, with respect, that perhaps Zachary Quinto should have done the voiceover, because latter-day resonant, phlegmy Nimoy sounds distinctly more... mature than he did 30 years ago.)

Bell finally appears in the flesh on the season finale, with Abrams already confirming that Nimoy will be seen again next season. Who else is wondering if any of that flesh will be synthetic? For all we know the guy could be entirely made out of the cybernetics we've seen in Nina Sharp's arm at Massive Dynamics.

I've talked Fringe with some friends, but don't have an online hangout for theorizing about it as with Lost over at Nikki Stafford's blog. Earlier this month on Tony Isabella's message board, however, someone linked to Julian Sanchez's essay on decoding the symbols that appear when Fringe goes to commercial; it and the next day's follow-up, which includes the sentence "I'm going to go to the fridge rhinoceros teacup insipidly jellybean," are dense but intriguing reading and remind me that it's been too long since I read Douglas Hofstadter.

Each glyph has an English-alphabet letter equivalent, and the five or six glyphs in each episode form words (cells, taken, Olivia), but there is apparently a larger puzzle as well. The symbols are also bizarre in their own right upon closer inspection; the page devoted to them at the fan-created Fringe Wiki informs us, for example, that "[the] Fringe Apple glyph has human embryos instead of seeds." (While there are only nine basic symbols, their rotation and placement of a yellow dot generates a greater number of unique images.) More of the series' motifs and mysteries are explored by Erica Sadun in the article at Ars Technica that prompted Sanchez's codebreaking.


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