Archive 81 – Season 1 Episode 4 “Spirit Receivers” Recap & Review

Spirit Receivers

Episode 4 of Archive 81 begins with a look at Eleanor and Cassandra. Through an old advert we see that the pair are art collectors, with the former known as a “Spirit Receiver”. Interestingly, the collection includes various different trinkets – including the demon armoire we saw last episode.

Where did this come from? And what significance does this have to the story? Alas, this chapter should hopefully shed more light on this.

Dan meanwhile, is still having trouble breaking into the locked room in the hidden part of the house. Even worse, he’s hallucinating, seeing Melody out in the woods. Bobbi snaps him out of his entranced state though, telling him he was just standing there, blank.

When Dan heads back inside, and continues to watch through the tapes, we return to Melody’s timeline.

Melody heads in to visit Cassandra and her timeless art pieces. After Eleanor’s death, she did think about selling everything but decided against that. One of the items inside also happens to be the demon armoire too.

Cassandra notices Melody looking at it and her forward questions see Cassandra nod knowingly and mention the cult. The cult she’s referencing though is the one Eleanor was a part of, not the midnight humming society

Annabelle has done her research though and after this meeting, speaks to Melody in confidence. She’s convinced that the pair were lovers, not sisters. She also reveals that Eleanor is dead and washed up in the Hudson river.

The line between reality and fiction continues to blur, and as the episode progresses it becomes more and more apparent that Melody and Dan are somehow finding one another and communicating. Given what Cassandra mentioned about other worlds, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that this is what’s happening.

Anyway, that night Dan ends up connecting with Melody again, this time with her holding his old tape player. Only, that’s not right given it was originally destroyed.

When Melody finds out that Dan is Steven’s son, she begins to lose control, pointing out that this “isn’t right”. Breathing heavily, the light bulbs blow and we’re back to reality. Or, at least Dan’s reality anyway.

On the bed sits the tape player and a notebook with the name “T. Bellows” scribbled on the back page. Inside the closet are stacks of other books, piled high. Each of them are full of notes, which Dan hurriedly looks through. On one of them, he finds a series of numbers, with one in particular circled. It appears that whoever wrote this was trying to gain entry to Virgil’s office and found the right code.

Inside, Dan finds a whole stack of different trinkets, including a file cabinet full of important files. Of course, the one Dan is most interested in pertains to his father.

Within Steven’s files he finds papers written regarding parapsychology. Speaking to Mark afterwards, Dan has his friend head off and look into T. Bellows and what this pertains to.

However, Virgil catches up with him first. He wants Mark’s “help” but his idea of spying on Dan and feeding back what he’s doing is met with a pretty unanimous “f*ck you” in reply.

Dan meanwhile, continues to look through the tapes. This time he watches as Melody heads to one of Cassandra’s gatherings. There, she meets Patricia, who claims that someone has a message for her but she can’t say who.

The big guest of honour here though is Evie Crest, who’s an actress and actually bought two of Cassandra’s paintings. She’s apparently very spiritual too. And her father was William Crest.

Now, William was working on a TV project called The Circle, which never actually saw the light of day. It was inspired by a strange cult ritual but there’s a lot of mystery and uncertainty around this whole project. It seems William committed suicide and a lot of the material was lost in the process.

When a séance is suggested to help Evie connect with her past, she jumps at the chance. Melody meanwhile, grabs a key and opens the armoire. Inside is a strange self portrait statue of Cassandra. Cassandra is quick to dismiss it though when she passes, as Melody turs her attention to the séance.

William appears to be inside Beatriz, who answers questions correctly about Evie’s past. Cassandra encourages her to ask about The snuff film, which is replied with “Peter Crawford” who seems to be connected.

Beatriz also starts sobbing, telling Evie to stay away as a demonic voice comes over her. The same “stay away” of course, that Dan heard through his TV when Cassandra grabbed him.

Melody is convinced to go next, and although Beatriz doesn’t sense Julia in the realm of the dead, she does mention “someone else” reaching out.

Well, Melody reaches out first, as we cut to Dan who sees Melody behind her. The tape is paused, and Melody accuses Dan of stealing her ring and notebook. “You’re dead, Melody.” Dan tells her, admitting she died in the fire.

When the tapes play again, Beatriz turns to Melody and repeats everything that Dan has just said in their conversation. Believing he can help Melody, Dan rushes out the room and phones Mark, telling him what’s happened. Mark, growing ever-more concerned, looks down at the business card for Virgil and contemplates what to do next.

When Beatriz snaps out of her entranced state, she quite literally claws her own face, bleeding and prompting Melody to phone an ambulance. As she’s taken away, Melody heads back to her apartment and finds Annabelle scribbling all over different pieces of paper, claiming that there’s “someone in there.”

The Episode Review

Well that was an absolutely mental episode, wasn’t it? Archive 81 has really stepped it up a gear with this episode and it appears everything is connected to another world or, at least, dimensions that seem to betray the sense of time.

There’s a really nice atmosphere hanging over this one now and Archive 81 has done beautifully to keep that eeriness going right the way across its run-time.

It doesn’t always make sense, and there’s a lot here we don’t know yet, but my gosh is this show becoming a really intriguing project. We’ll have to wait and see where this goes over time but after a relatively slow start, this one is just starting to pick up the pace and deliver some interesting material.

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2 thoughts on “Archive 81 – Season 1 Episode 4 “Spirit Receivers” Recap & Review”

  1. howdy brian, I think it was misunderstood.
    We and Dan only get to see or know anything Melody recorded. So she had to take the camera to the party and then she had to bring it back. But they wanted to show dan staring at one of melodies friends paintings and seeing a ‘demon face’ in the static, same as he seen when Jess having a ‘seizure’ on camera. It just was giving the impression it had been there the whole time when I think they just intended to show that where she layed it when she entered the room gave Dan a good direct view of one of the paintings so they could ‘end’ the episode on a direct view of him looking at it as the credits rolled.

    As for the oddities of having a first person direct camera based show. it doesn’t appear she bothered to take it with her down to the street while trying to hitch a ride on the ambulance cause that kind of seems thoughtless yet if she didn’t then how do we or dan get any idea that anything other than people ran out of the room as the camera shoots an empty room and we wait for melody to come back and get her camera. also its not always in the camera’s point of view, its often in multi camera shot point of view like most shows are. They don’t fully commit to first person camera point of view like some movies of that type do so it creates a bit of potential for weirdness and confusion. but its easier on the eyes.

  2. was i the only one who noticed the plot hole of the video camera being in two places at once ? it was at the party upstairs, and when melody returns to her apartment, it’s there on the table recording annabelle painting. come on.

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