Archive 81 season 1, episode 5 recap – “Through the Looking Glass”

By Marc Miller
Published: January 14, 2022
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Netflix Archive 81 season 1, episode 5 - Through the Looking Glass


With each passing episode, Archive 81 proves to be that WTF series we have waited for.

This recap of Netflix’s Archive 81 season 1, episode 5, “Through the Looking Glass,” contains spoilers.

Read the review of season 1

Archive 81 season 1, episode 5 recap

Huntsman, Francis, and Church are the lead anchors leading an Eyewitness 7 News broadcast reporting a man has been struck and killed when he fell onto the subway tracks at 3:05 a.m. in Queens at the Forest Hill 71st Avenue Station. There were no witnesses. The broadcast playback then slows to a crawl.

The Chia Pet commercial plays on the hospital television. As Melody sees them pour water and watches them grow, she looks at Beatriz. She is bandaged and asleep. The hospital is empty as she grabs some coffee. Then, Dan appears out of nowhere and calls her name. She wakes up frightened. Just as she said, she saw Dan in her dreams in 1994.

Unfortunately, now she won’t let the poor woman sleep. Beatriz then yells, “…don’t let it out,” in a demonic voice. (When will Melody learn to stop asking questions?). She tries to find Dan’s father, but he is out of the office. So she goes to his home. She tells him she thinks she is being haunted. Worse, she lets it all out. The seance, talking to his son, Danny, said she was going to die in her dreams. 

Dan’s father is on leave and thought Melody was behind it. He posted about her without using her name (stupid HIPAA). The reason? Because a researcher was looking for subjects with specific characteristics for unusual psychic perception. Those are being drawn somewhere, paralyzing fear and drawings like Anabelle made. He called them “Baldung.” Later, Melody reviews the tape, and that image pops from the television during static interference. She mails the videos to her therapist.

Baldung may refer to The Witches from Hans Baldung. This is a famous woodcut from the Renaissance period. The work depicts witches that fly and their Sabbath.

Cassandra invites Anabelle to stay in her sixth-floor apartment. Melody locates her and wants to return to Brooklyn, but Anabelle won’t hear of it. She is now a painter and wants to put on an exhibit in the East Village. When she is about to leave, she unlocks a door and finds a decrypted apartment with a family of cockroaches. Oh, also, many people humming and huffing in a circle who are strung out on Stardust. They don’t like Melody very much. She is caught and saved by the super. 

It turns out Samual rents out the sixth floor. He allows addicts to sleep safe and dry them out. One of them is Chris (Zach Villa), who will tell Melody what is happening with her mother. If, and only if, she gets a ticket from Father Russo. He won’t explain what that means, and he cannot leave with her to get it. So, when Melody arrives at the Father’s church, of course, he is not there. He was the man that died on those subway tracks in Queens.

She then finds the “golden ticket.” It’s a referral to a substance abuse recovery center in Father Russo’s office. She also finds a key and proceeds to snoop around, finding a book on the occult. And one of them has a drawing of that damn little demon those crazy people at the Visser pray to. It is labeled, “Pedestal sculpture, Greenstone, 14th Century, provenance unknown.” It also has a name. A God and Demon known as Kaelego. She also finds a picture of the Baldung crest, precisely like on her necklace, and photographs of a coven. (A witches coven!). Also, a host of information on Samuel, including fake identities. One of them says, Virgil Samuelson. 

Anabelle presents her painting. They are all of the faces she sees in her black paint. She is now a Spirit Receiver. Tamara and Samuel are there too. Even Jess and Cassandra. They are drinking garbage wine, which seems like an actual witch’s brew. Anabelle sells her paintings, but she doesn’t want to give them up. She goes crazy and pushes Melody away for smothering her.

When she returns to the Visser, she finds Samual outside and interrogates him about everything. He accuses her of being drunk, high, or just crazy. And that’s when it happens. As the tape is rolling, Chris falls and smashes on the sidewalk. The camera is still taping, but it is on the ground because Melody dropped it. And that’s when it happens again. It catches Samual starring down at Chris. And a man walks up next to him and whispers something in his ear.

It’s Dan’s new boss, Virgil.

The ending

Virgil comes out of a secret room in the compound after Dan yells into the camera about lying to him. He comes clean. Samual was his brother, and he believed Melody murdered him. And he leaves Dan with a thought to ponder. What if Melody was the one who murdered his family, too?

What did you think of Netflix’s Archive 81 season 1, episode 5? Let us know in the comments below!

You can watch Archive 81 with a subscription to the streaming service.

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