Terror In The Aisles
Episode 3 of Archive 81 begins with Melody revealing what happened with her mother in the past. She left Melody in the middle of winter as a baby inside a church. Alone and without anyone else to care for her, Melody then spent the next 10 years there.
Melody was a strange child, always getting in trouble and with the nuns believing the girl to be “damaged goods”. During her time in church, Melody experienced a whole bunch of frightening visions too, projected onto scribbling all over different documents and pictures. That is, until she was adopted by her foster mum, Lila.
In order to try and quell her anxiety and nervous disposition, Dan’s father, Steve, started therapy sessions with Melody.
All of this is revealed through the audio recordings of their sessions, which Dan listens to while walking around the house.
Dan is a smart cookie though, and realizes he’s being watched. Using his technical know-how, he reveals to Mark on the phone how he was able to infiltrate the feed and check all the different cameras from his laptop.
Dan is determined to map out exactly what Virgil can and can’t see, trying to get some privacy so he can get to the bottom of what’s happening around him. He quickly realizes that the chapel has no cameras and decides to set up his gear there.
While checking his laptop (and camera feeds) in the bathroom, a knock at the door brings one of Davenport’s cronies in to check up on him, the housekeeper called Bobbi.
She quizzes if Dan needs any help but he’s quick to point out the privacy he was promised – and hasn’t received. Just before she leaves, Bobbi mentions something about mold in the bathroom, which may or may not be relevant going forward.
We then cut back and see more of Melody in the apartment complex. She tries to get to the bottom of the community prayer session, which eventually sees her joined by Jess as they visit Steven at therapy.
Jess’s strange visions feel – according to her – like she’s being pulled somewhere. Steven doesn’t dive deeper than that though, uneasy at the prospect of Jess being there without her mother’s consent. Jess’s mother soon shows up and grabs her daughter, unhappy at Melody for going behind her back. Despite profusely apologizing, they walk away.
Back in the present, Mark heads off to visit Melody at her house. According to her, she never found her mother but does reveal that the tapes were all faked. With visible burns up her cheek, Melody doesn’t remember much about the fire but after surviving it, decided to live a brand new life.
She has absolutely no reaction to Mark playing the familiar haunting piano tune either, and he subsequently leaves empty-handed. However, there’s a lot more going on here than we’ve been led to believe.
Back in the house, Dan loops seven hours of empty hallway footage for Davenport to watch on his feed. That way, it gives him some genuine privacy.
Dan heads to the chapel and rings Mark. Mark reveals that the woman he visited isn’t actually Melody but an impersonator. She’s stolen Melody’s identity for her own in order to claim disability benefits. The only way to pull this off is for the real person to be dead, meaning Melody is most certainly deceased.
As we head back to see more of Melody’s time in the apartment, something is clearly going on between Jess and Father Russo. He believes she has a demon inside her and begins an exorcism, with the TV blaring loudly to block out the noise. When Melody does manage to open the door, she’s shocked at what she’s seeing, given the water poured over Jess.
Samuel suddenly appears too, and promises to help get Jess some proper help, away from Father Russo. Just before they leave, Russo takes Melody aside and urges her to leave. He reveals there’s a great darkness inside Visser Apartment and they all need to leave before it’s too late.
Back with Dan, he checks the tape recordings again. This time it’s a home video of Melody at the supermarket. It almost seems as if Melody is talking to him through the camera.
When Melody leaves the frame to catch up with Annabelle, creepy Cassandra appears in the shop and faces the camera. “Stay out!” She rasps at Dan, grabbing him by the throat through the TV.
Dan wakes up and realizes this is a nightmare but… was that really a dream?
The Episode Review
The line between reality and fiction continues to blur, with the reveal that Melody is still alive turning out to be a red herring after all. It seems that there’s more going on here than we’ve been led to believe, and Visser Apartment is definitely the key to all of this.
If that wasn’t enough, it looks like Dan and Melody may actually have some sort of connection to one another, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s actually the case or just a theory at this point.
This chapter is a little slow, with the story edging closer toward spiritual and religious connections instead. With exorcisms and devil worshipping the flavour of the day, this show is playing with some interesting concepts but we’ll have to wait and see how all of this connects together.
For now, Archive 81 delivers another decent, albeit slow, episode to this horror series.