Archive 81 – Season 1 Episode 6 “The Circle” Recap & Review

The Circle

Episode 6 of Archive 81 begins with a little snippet of William Crest’s movie, The Circle. With an air of Hitchcockian authority, he talks about the idea of other worlds.

Fast forward to the present, and Mark heads up to see Dan, worried about his outburst last episode. Although Dan ushers him away, when Mark mentions that he’s found T. Bellows (Thomas Bellows) then it piques his interest.

Thomas had a girlfriend called Alicia who revealed to him that her boyfriend was hired by Virgil to come and work at the very same facility. Only, Bellows lost his mind and admitted that he started to see things, experiencing visions of Melody.

Heading back to town again after the job, Thomas was never the same and commit suicide after several weeks. Mark is worried the same thing may wind up happening to Dan.

After smashing up the cameras in the building, Dan gets back to work. And by work, that means watching Melody’s tapes.

Following Chris’s death, Melody is questioned by police. She’s rattled and tells them she didn’t really know Chris but is adamant that he didn’t commit suicide. She goes on to theorize that he was pushed. Melody opens up and reveals that Samuel isn’t who he says he is too. However, she sounds erratic and not of sane mind, which she seems to realize midway through giving her statement.

Speaking of insane, Melody is brought to the health center where Annabelle is looking the worse for wear. She’s handcuffed to the bed and claims “she has a message for Melody”.

The scuffle at the art gallery, the one we saw a bit of last episode, ended up getting really nasty. Annabelle broke Gabby’s jaw and even stabbed a security officer in the eye with a nail. Good grief.

When Annabelle was brought in, she was hallucinating. According to the doctors though, her tox report is clean and she’s definitely not a drug addict. Melody believes the black mold may be responsible though and sets to work finding a sample.

When Melody returns to Visser, she learns Cassandra has got rid of all the paints, having given them to Annabelle originally.

Melody is not herself either, paranoid and believing Cassandra has spiked Jess’s, who shows up from the other room. She’s under instructions not to engage with Melody, but she ignores that and gives her some crucial information. Specifically pertaining to a key she needs to get into an area full of black mold.

When Melody shows up, she finds the mold all over the walls, molded (no pun intended) into circular patterns.

Melodic chanting distracts her though, and still with her handheld camera, Melody opens the door to find Samuel waiting for her. Only, the tape suddenly stops working.

Cutting back to Dan, he finds the tape is covered in black mold. Even worse, the whole deck recorder inside is covered in the stuff as well. Dan is shocked and rings Vigil, questioning just how the mold got there. Davenport is pretty blunt, asking again about his mental health and if he needs to be picked up.

Given there’s a spare tape-deck, Dan heads down to pick it up. Only, in the storage room he stumbles upon another camera, this one belonging to Thomas Bellows. As Dan watches this, more starts to come to light over what’s going on.

Davenport has him under instructions to digitize old soap operas. Thomas was also the one who etched his initials in the chapel.

It seems Bellows got a little too invested in his job and ended up snooping around. He found out details about Wellsprings, and specifically how it looks to be a front for collecting data. There are blood samples in the fridge too, and all of this points to Virgil looking for someone.

If that wasn’t enough, Bellows also brings up how there’s someone inside his TV screen. “F*ck you Patricia!” He rasps, demanding to know what’s been placed in these tapes.

Dan finds the archive that Bellows was using and discovers that every single VHS tape that was recorded over has Patricia’s name on it.

While this is going on, Mark digs deeper into the Evie and William Crest connections. It’s revealed that William used to hang around with the Agape Lodge guys from Los Angeles. The papers he kept seemed to have been linked to the Vos Society.

Now, the Vos Society look to be the inspiration around “The Circle” and they seem like a dangerous bunch. Their ringleader is a woman named Iris Vos, showcased in an old black and white photo.

Back at the house, Dan remains determined to finish the job nd get out of the house before things turn uglier than they already have. Dan soon gets rid of the mold from the tapes and Melody’s story continues.

Samuel drops his nice guy charade and claims that the mold is a proof of their devotion and promises Melody that he has the answers she’s seeking. It’s pretty unnerving, to be honest, but she eventually agrees to be led down into the basement. Alone.

Once there, Melody finds another little circle, humming and chanting like before. As Melody looks around the strangely familiar room, Samuel reveals that this mansion used to belong to the Vos family.

The song she’s hearing isn’t actually a song after all – it’s a prayer. Samuel sensed that Melody was the one he’s been searching for ever since her adverse reaction to the opera. Samuel also calls Melody the ‘Baldung.’

Playing a tape of the old ritual, Melody witnesses Iris slitting the throat of a girl used as a sacrifice and a cup of blood poured over the demon statue.

Samuel promises Melody that she’ll be reunited with her mother and encourages the woman to open her mind and embrace this cult. Instead, Melody curses him out and hurries away.

As Melody turns the camera on herself, she leaves a message believing that Jess has been taken. Melody tries to leave but she’s stopped by Steven, who takes her away. The camera is dropped on the ground and as the tapes appear to be over, and our backstory complete, Dan loses control.

With a wrench in hand, he destroys the monitors as a strange creature appears to come out of the screen and looks set to attack him.

Heading into the tape archives, Dan pushes over one of the shelves and finds a hidden compartment underneath, with black mold above it. Heading down, he finds that same ritualistic chamber  – with two pedestals holding the demon statue and the manual.

On the wall are Melody’s videos, playing endlessly on a loop. Is this the same place or somewhere different? It’s hard to tell at this point. As Dan looks set to smash one of the screens… he turns around and is knocked out by someone stalking him.

The Episode Review

It would appear that everything is connected now but how this basement area is linked to the apartments and the ritual is still unclear.

This show has been a pretty compelling watch and although this chapter is a bit slower, we do learn an awful lot more about Bellows and what happened to him. It appears he too suffered from hallucinations and it’s good to see the etchings in the chapel explained. It’s perhaps a bit of a simplistic answer, but it’s a satisfying one nonetheless.

Either way though, Archive 81 looks set to deliver more answers across its remaining two episodes, with the revelation surrounding the Vox family presumably the key to all of this.

It’ll be interesting to see exactly what happened to Melody and what this area under the complex actually is. For now, we’ll have to hold tight for the next episodes!

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You can read our full season review for Archive 81 here!


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