Mabel decides to put on a sock puppet rock opera to impress a local puppeteer, but her show goes awry when Dipper’s drive to uncover journal secrets leads to a supernatural disaster, in which Bill Cipher tries to convince Dipper to make a deal with him. 
- During the musical montage, Journal 3 is open to a page with "KFIV VMVITB MLG HPRM ZMW YLMV IRHRMT ORPV GSV HSVKZIW GLMV" written on it. In Atbash cipher, the message reads, "PURE ENERGY, NOT SKIN AND BONE, RISING LIKE THE SHEPARD TONE." The Shepard tone is an unnerving artificial sound wave that sounds like it is continually rising, but doesn't actually change pitch. This may imply something about Bill's biology.
- A piece of paper in the background titled "Codes" has "ZLGGOH," "VKLIWHU," "ZKDWHYV" and "EHDUR" written on it. When decoded using the Caesar cipher, they read "WIDDLE," "SHIFTER," "WHATEVS" and "BEARO" respectively. The first three are the keywords from previous episodes. The last word is the name of Mabel's childhood stuffed bear, as seen in "Tooth" and the keyword for the next episode.
- The cryptogram seen during the ending credits reads, "YM’KL ECN PPK WFOM UBR KQVXNLK, DCI SIK’U VDA JFTOTA AYQ BWL VVCT "EBTGGB BHWKGZH" HVV: TMEASZFA LOS YCDT PRWKTIYEKGL DBV XQDTYRDGVI." Once decoded, it reads, "WE’VE ALL HAD SOME FUN TONIGHT, BUT LET’S NOT FORGET WHO THE REAL "PUPPET MASTERS" ARE: REPTOIDS WHO HAVE INFILTRATED OUR GOVERNMENT."
- The keyword "CIPHER" can be seen in the mirror's reflection after Bill Cipher possesses Dipper.
- After the credits roll, there is a page fragment that reads: "10-9 8-3-8-8-19-4 5-4-6-15-10-17-5 21-23-10 16-9-12-20 11-19 20-9-1-10, 5-9 8-23-4-15-19-10-4-12-25 15 1-23-4-21-16 4-16-15-5 4-9-1-10. 23-22-10-9-6-11-23-12 5-9-9-10 1-15-12-12 22-19 4-16-19 10-9-6-11, 19-10-14-9-25 4-16-19 21-23-12-11 22-19-18-9-6-19 4-16-19 5-4-9-6-11." After being put through all of the ciphers, it translates to: "NO PUPPET STRINGS CAN HOLD ME DOWN, SO PATIENTLY I WATCH THIS TOWN. ABNORMAL SOON WILL BE THE NORM, ENJOY THE CALM BEFORE THE STORM.
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