Is Harrison Wells' Lair Covered in Braille on 'The Flash'? It Just Could Be Symbolism, But Maybe There's More
My biggest "geek out" moment during the series premiere of The Flash on The CW had nothing to do with comic books. At the end of the episode, Dr. Harrison Wells went into a secret room in S.T.A.R. Labs and pulled up news from the future where Barry Allen is missing and Queen Inc. has merged with Wayne Tech. With more and more Batman characters popping up on Arrow, this has me very interested. That said, what really got me going was not the content of the 2024 newspaper so much as the room's decor. The wall is covered with some kind of bumps or dots in a pattern. Is Wells' secret lair lined with Braille? What does it mean? What does it say?
Luckily for you, I studied Braille in elementary school and remember it... just about as well as I remember anything else I learned in the fifth grade, but well enough to conduct a rudimentary investigation. I can also speculate how it connects to this already mysterious character. There is also, of course, the term "flash blindness" — a typically temporary condition caused by a bright or quick flash of light. I think this is a dead end, theory-wise, but it's worth mentioning. Here are some more plausible explanations for the lair's non-time-traveling mystery.
If the dots are in fact Braille, the most probable reason that Harrison Wells could have lined his secret lair with Braille is the ancient connection between blindness and prophecy. Legends are filled with blind prophets and oracles and sooth sayers. Wells has his little wanna-be "Cerebro" all hooked up and uses it to see into the future. The idea is that losing one sense strengthens the others. An example in comic books is Daredevil, but that's Marvel. The quintessential example of this is, of course, Tiresias in the Greek play Oedipus Rex. We don't need to get into Sophocles' gory details, but even though he was physically blind, as a Seer Tiresias saw more than King Oed.
I think the wall is a nod to that old adage. Does Harrison Wells consider himself to be an Oracle of sorts? Does that give us any clue as to who this man really is? There is a character named "Oracle" in the DC Universe, but it's Barbara Gordon, currently a Gotham character, and unrelated to this series.
Let's get technical. After some deep investigating, I'm not so sure if the walls say anything in Braille. A full Braille cell has six dots. When you scan the wall, especially looking at the floor and where the wall panels begin, it doesn't add up to even rows of six potential dots. Some only have four. They could be numbers — numbers in Braille only use the top four dots in the cell. However the empty space should still be indicated and the Braille sign for "#" placed in front.
If you Google the Braille alphabet and try to read along, you'll discover a problem that I ran across as well. Some of the more distinguishable symbols do not appear. They just aren't letters. At first I thought they were placed on the wall upside-down or printed backwards. That would be embarrassing for old Dr. Wells. Then I remembered to check Second Grade Braille. This is your cool lesson of the day. Braille has a system of contractions in addition to the alphabet. Certain symbols can mean letters, prefixes, suffixes, or common words. So, those symbols that I wasn't able to identify are Second Grade symbols. However, with a poor idea of where sentences and words start on the wall, I still wasn't able to decipher anything meaningful. Two symbols that appear next to each other a lot could mean "-ed as" or "-ed z." Deep stuff.
Of course, I could be accidentally insulting The Flash's art department. Perhaps this is supposed to mimic Braille, but doesn't actually say anything and I'm just being an over-analytical jerk. They could have put a panel in upside-down for all we know. Maybe it's not Braille at all. But it definitely is some sort of pattern that's too significant to ignore.