Episode 2 of Archive 81 starts with Dan spooked but trying to remain composed as he continues to recover the tapes. The latest involves a pretty ominous meeting with a medium called Beatriz.
Beatriz reveals to Melody that the residents here are very weird, admitting she too has been hearing noises at night. Specifically, she’s hearing moaning and chalks it up to a midnight sex club that takes place upstairs.
As a medium, Beatriz can’t resist but read Melody’s fortune, turning over three cards; the past, present and future. When it comes to the present, Beatriz deduces correctly that Melody is trying to track down Julia Bennett, who just went missing and no one seems to have heard from her.
The future card? Well, that’s a different story altogether. Turning it over, it reveals Death. Brilliant. Beatriz smiles awkwardly and tells her that death can mean many things.
Melody soon shows up to Tamara’s opera that night but again, the music seems to have an adverse effect on her.
Taking a break, she does learn from Samuel – the guy who invited her along to the opera in the first place – that there’s actually a Visser Historical Society that meet at the apartment complex.
According to Samuel, these different residents gather to talk about various topics, with the last one happening to be witches. Samuel encourages her to show up and ask about Julia. He seems to be the only normal person she’s met in this building, and Melody quickly jumps all over that, kissing him outside the complex.
Inside the apartment, Melody finds her eccentric, loud friend Anabelle waiting. Melody is certainly not happy about her being there, and it’s only made worse when Samuel shows up to have that drink she promised earlier. Sensing some hostile energy, Samuel decides to leave.
For Dan, he’s starting to lose control of the situation altogether. He notices a figure in a red jacket running through the woods, and learns that Melody was actually one of his dad’s old patients.
That figure from outside appears before Dan that night, unveiling himself to be his father. Chasing him down the dark hallways of this strange house, it’s quickly revealed that this is all one big dream. Of course it is! However, it does help to show how the line between past and present is starting to blur.
As Dan looks around the house, Dan notices a hollow wall in the pantry, so naturally he breaks it down. In doing so, he reveals another part of the building, hidden away from everything.
All the rooms are locked – including an office that looks like it may be important later on. Stepping into this large room, he finds a song book, an ominously large cross and etched initials “TB-AF” on a bench.
Turning, he notices Virgil standing behind him. This makeshift church was used in the past for debates, with Virgil alarmingly taking the stance that Jesus was actually a demon.
The attention soon turns around to Wellspring, the advert we saw glimpses of at the start of this chapter. Vigil admits that he actually built this service himself and did so to help people know where they came from. He was also unaware that Dan’s father was involved in all this, given he doesn’t know what’s on the tapes.
He does, however, reveal that Dan’s father had a mental breakdown and may have actually started the fire himself.
This moves us along nicely to more of Melody’s moments in the apartment block. In the middle of the night she hears strange chanting and moaning, coming from somewhere in the complex.
With camera in hand, Melody goes exploring. She finds all the residents gathered together in the community room. All of them sit in front of an open armoire, showing some sort of strange demon statue. The residents begin gasping and humming in unison. It’s incredibly weird and even more so when they all inexplicably stop.
Melody, still filming this whole time, struggles to compose herself as the group depart for the night. We also learn that this sex club actually does have some merit, given Samuel and Tamara hook up together and moan loudly while they’re getting it on. Unfortunately it seems ‘Hot Guy’ isn’t so normal after all.
When Melody heads back to her apartment, shaking and visibly spooked, she reveals to Annabelle where she’s been and why she’s at Visser Apartment. It turns out Julia Bennett is her birth mother and she’s arrived to try and find her. She’s also documenting the building of course, but her main motivation stems from her birth mother.
Back with Dan, he rides out to meet with Mark, who’s done some digging. It turns out the song we’ve been hearing was actually written by Dan’s sister. Not only that, LMG is just the tip of the iceberg. This company has a shady history, as Mark rattles off a number of different subsidiaries.
Mark waits before delivering one final bomb shell. Melody is alive and well. She’s in Pittsburgh, and could hold the clues to what’s going on here.
The Episode Review
Archive 81 returns with a decent follow-up, one that starts to deepen the mystery and move away from the cliched opening with the haunted abandoned house.
This chapter seems to hint that we’re going into the territory of overlapping worlds, or at least some sort of strange otherworldly happenings, potentially linked to Virgil referencing Jesus as a devil. Could that be what the residents were all praying to?
It’s certainly a weird segment and plays into that whole cult-like status that’s one of the highlights of this show so far.
It looks like the next episode is going to move deeper into mystery territory rather than outright horror, and it’ll be interesting to see what new developments we learn along the way.