During the 6th season of everyone’s favorite clandestine cartoon comedy, a few fans noticed a strange string of letters and numbers here and there. At one point, there were even a couple of URLs. Intrepid Archer-loving Redditors (such as myself) began following the trail of breadcrumbs the show provided. Utilizing the observations of a legion of fans, some math and cryptology skills, and a bit of trial and error, we were lead down a rabbit hole of puzzles, including a secret website and a lot of stock photographs of farm animals.
The 7th season is breaking and it’s time to catch up on the tangled web of show references and cryptography. Put on some Kenny Loggins and grab a stiff drink; you’re in for a wild ride.
Highway to the Danger Zone
The first real break in the Easter egg hunt began with season 6 episode 2 where Conway Stern’s agent serial number was shown on his badge as “74 69 6e 79 2e 63 63 / 70 69 67 6c 79”. Turns out this is hexadecimal for the URL: “tiny.cc/pigly”, which redirects to a YouTube clip. It was around this point that the fan community began to realize we were on to something. Spectrogram of the audio from that video (shown below) reveals “RPH8GBIMBU1WF0RVHXIUDWYQHIDR”.
Just following the title sequence for season 6 episode 7 are two URLs, one of which is “yiav://uqzz.wy/ehhhghabgvfdqey”. This is where a little bit of cryptology comes in. If you run that through a Vigenére cipher (an old cryptography technique for referencing letter shifted alphabets) using the spectrogram letters as the code word, you get a URL which redirects to this Craigslist ad, which is hosted on a website created by Krieger.
After a bit of nudging from Krieger himself via the Craigslist email, it was found that the first and last letters of each paragraph spell out “tinycc/nhgs”. The tiny.cc for “nhgs” redirects to a comment from what appears to be Dr. Krieger’s Reddit account. The numbers mentioned in the comment can be decoded to “tiny.cc/yyz” (an obvious Rush reference) which redirects to Krieger’s Flickr account (which is worth a visit).
Have we lost you? We’re almost to the awesome part.
The profile for Krieger’s Flickr account lists a website. Krieger’s website. “Krieger/guest” works as a username/password and the site revealed from that combo is full of interesting things. An arson simulation game, some ringtones from various characters on the show, a way of operating some simulated closed circuit cameras, a whole lot of PDFs, a passworded ZIP file, and 200 low quality stock pictures of pigs.
There’s also a way to login as Krieger’s holographic girlfriend using “Mitsuko/tentacle”, which has a PHP page which leads to this Flickr account.
At this point the puzzles grow innumerably. It’s almost too much to list.
Winning the arson game gives you the message “pig 101”. If you do a paintbucket fill on the “101” pig picture on the site you find a barcode which scans as “ALWAYS QUESTION THE SOURCE”. If you look at the sourcecode for the website you find “MNZWFTXGKUDBRVAJMYJUCNKKW” which can be used as a Vigenére codephrase to decode the second URL shown in season 6 episode 7 to a URL which redirects to a PHP page on the Kriegerwebsite, which points to various pastbin images of ASCII art, which you can animate to look like the image below. WHAT DOES IT EVEN MEAN?
Check out the Reddit thread here for discussion on these puzzles and a list of open mysteries. The show creators have said that the final pieces were put into the last two episodes of season 6, but there’s still much to decode even from what we have. Who knows, maybe this season will have even more, so keep an eye out for anything suspicious.
Have any insights to the ever growing mysteries? Let us know in the comments below!
Featured Image Credit: FX Networks, LLC
Image Credits: FX Networks, LLC