Our Biggest Questions After Watching ARCHIVE 81

To call Archive 81 a wild show is a huge understatement. The found footage horror drama, based on the popular podcast of the same name, is a dark, twisty dive into two perplexing stories that intertwine in surprising ways. Secrets and shocking connections abound as archivist Dan Turner discovers something sinister while restoring a set of tapes from fledgling filmmaker/documentarian Melody Pendras. Her tapes capture the unsettling and frankly terrifying days leading up to a tragic and mysterious accident at the Visser, a NYC apartment building that burned down in 1994. Archive 81 takes us between those events and Dan’s life in 2019 as the truth slowly unveils itself, making us question pretty much everything up until its cliffhanger ending. 

Mamoudou Athie as Dan Turner in the Netlfix series Archive 81
Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix

Needless to say, those who have consumed the series are already thirsty for more episodes. There are so many questions and threads that Archive 81 season two could totally answer, if it happens. And God knows we need it to happen for the sake of Dan. Now that you’ve seen it all, let’s talk about those big Archive 81 questions that need answers ASAPtually. 

How Does Time Work in Archive 81’s Otherworld? 

This season introduces us to the Otherworld, a shadow dimension or pocket universe of some sort with a connection to our realm. The Otherworld is where Archive 81’s villain Kaelego (well, he’s one of many bad things in this narrative), a still rather mysterious evil, resides. Right now, we know four people who have been inside the Otherworld: Iris Vos, Samuel Spare (or whatever the hell his name is), Melody Pendras, and now Dan Turner. We know that it can look like places in our world; however, people can flow from location to location and matter seems to change, much like a dream realm or mirror world. Think Stranger Things‘ Upside Down

There are many things we don’t understand about the Otherworld at this point but time is the most baffling aspect. The characters know that time moves slowly there but it appears to be at almost a complete standstill according to Dan’s watch when he first arrives. Despite being in the Otherworld for decades, Iris (for the brief moment we saw her), Samuel, and Melody still look the same. In fact, when Samuel drags Melody out (more on that later), she looks exactly the same in the “regular” world too. How long did Melody’s time there feel like for her? An hour or a day? Did she get hungry? So many questions that we want her to answer in a new Archive 81 season. 

Why Did Samuel Spare Disappear in the Finale? And Where Did He Go?
photo of Archive 81 characters Melody and Samuel sitting together in a dark theater with mounting questions
Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix

This might be the biggest Archive 81 question of all. Dan and Melody are trying to determine the right exit point from the Otherworld when Samuel comes careening out of a doorway, grabbing Melody and pulling her through. But, when we go back to the basement room in the present, we only see Melody. If Samuel didn’t come back into the “normal” Earthly realm, then where did he go? It doesn’t seem likely that he would have died or disappeared considering his arms were around Melody. Also, where was he in the Otherworld during all that time? There’s much more to explore with this weirdo. 

Is Dan Still in the Otherworld at the End of Archive 81? Could Time Travel Be Possible in the Show?

During the Dan/Melody/Samuel shuffle, we see two doorways with a light leading… somewhere. We know that the one Melody went through took her to Bobbi and Mark, but it appears that Dan may have been pulled through that other portal somehow. Or, at the very least, he may not be in the Otherworld dimension anymore. 

At the end, Dan wakes up in a hospital. His confusion grows when a nurse comes in and says he was lucky to survive the fire at the Visser. Somehow he is in 1994, as evidenced by the Kurt Cobain TV death announcement and a glimpse of the World Trade Center towers. It’s possible that the Otherworld is just playing mind games with him… but what if it isn’t? What if Dan somehow got transported to 1994? Did Dan actually time travel in Archive 81’s last episode? Is this in our dimension or in another parallel one? We are confusion.

Will Melody Pendras and Annabelle Cho Reunite? 
melody and annabelle stand beside each other in an apartment

Melody certainly has a ton of catching up to do. Besides the obvious culture shock of 2019 where people don’t use handheld camcorders anymore, there are many things on her to do list. A second season would certainly show her getting to know Bobbi, her birth mom, and Mark. She’s got a ton of questions for them for sure. But Melody Pendras and Annabelle Cho are best friends who survived this bizarre situation, so they must reunite. It will confirm to others that Annabelle’s visions and connection to Melody were not crazy. And they can team up and find out a way to bring Dan back. 

Is Archive 81’s Bobbi Good or Evil? Can We Trust Her? 

Bobbi is an infrequent yet interesting and important character. For much of the season, she was the creepy groundskeeper who kept harassing Dan at the remote compound. But, in the finale, Dan realizes she is Melody’s mom. The reason this entire Visser story began was because Melody went there looking for answers about her. Bobbi abandoned Melody at a Catholic church as a baby because she knew that her daughter, like herself, was powerful.

There are so many questions and general mystery around Bobbi. What did she do with her life after leaving Melody at the church? Why didn’t she admit to Dan who she was earlier? Where was she in 1994 when the Visser events took place? Is she a person who can truly be trusted? Season two would be a great time to really get to know Bobbi, perhaps in some flashbacks or through expanding her role.

What Will Happen to Mark Next?

Oh Mark. You are really into some mess. Lest we forget, Virgil is knocked out at the complex after Mark hit him in the head. Surely he will get up and realize that they have brought Melody (and maybe Samuel) back. He’s gonna want some level of revenge. There’s not much that can be done for Dan in the near future but Mark must contend with Virgil, a very powerful dude with a shady multimillion dollar company. Can Mark stay safe long enough to find his friend? We will see. 

When Can They Do Another Ritual to Access the Otherworld?
a group of people sit in a room worshipping kaelego statue archive 81 questions

As far as we know, there have been three rituals done to access the Otherworld in Archive 81. There was one in 1924 when Comet Kharon came whizzing by Earth, bringing the necessary energy to allow a thinning of the veil between realms. Then there’s 1994, of course, when once again a comet was coming close to Earth. The modern ritual did not have to rely on a celestial being (nor human sacrifice) thanks to Bobbi being a Baldung, a member of a long standing witch collective that aimed to stop Kaelego worshippers from accessing the Otherworld.

Bobbi was able to use herself and a tuning fork key to make the spell work so Dan could save Melody. But, how soon can they do the spell again? Playing the video footage helps to thin the veil but Bobbi did say she no longer has power. Melody can presumably do it but it certainly cannot be easy to do so. Season two would have to address the specifics behind this. 

What Happened to Iris Vos and the Vos descendants? 

Iris Vos is yet another character we don’t see much yet she’s quite important. We know that she survived in the Otherworld for several decades because we see her when the 1994 ritual happens. But, in the present, Annabelle tells Mark and Dan that Iris “was” in the Otherworld. Does this mean she is no longer there? Did she die in that realm? And, while we know one of her brothers was at that fiery, deadly ceremony, the other brother left. He presumably went on about his life, maybe having a family and keeping the lineage going. Did he fully let go of their ideology or is there a modern Vos bloodline out there ready to do dangerous things? Hmmm…

Why Did Jess Become Sister Mary Cecelia? And Where Is She Now? 
Jess from sits with mom and a priest in darkened apartment
Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix

We know that at least one person made it out of the Visser fire. Jess played a big role in Melody’s timeline as a teen who was being brainwashed (and drugged) to be Samuel’s human sacrifice. Melody helped her escape this harrowing fate but Jess had the determination to film the cult ritual that led to Melody’s disappearance. That tape later aided Dan and Mark with uncovering Melody’s whereabouts.

In 2019, Jess is around 39 or 40 years old. At some point, she changed her name and became Sister Mary Cecelia, but where did she initially go after the Visser fire? How and when did she get in touch with Annabelle to leave those final tapes? And does she know more than we think she does? She’s still presumably in Haiti for some reason but it will be hard to track her down. Jess obviously took on a new moniker to start a fresh life but, if there is a second season, she must be involved somehow.

What is Virgil Davenport’s Company LMG up to?

That company is clearly a front for other weird things. It was looking into witchy bloodline DNA but why are there so many shell companies? What else has Virgil Davenport’s LMG company been doing in regards to the Otherworld and other dimensions? Virgil claims he only wanted to know the truth about his brother but surely he is using some of this weird occultist stuff for his own benefit. LMG is hiding stuff and we need answers. 

Will there be a season two of Archive 81 on Netflix? We don’t know yet. But this list of Archive 81 questions only scratches the surface of fully understanding what is going on. Hopefully Netflix will bless us with another round of spooky episodes to show how Dan gets back to his normal timeline.

Featured Image: Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix

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