Episode 6 keeps peeling back reveal after shocking reveal. Put a pillow on the floor because, by the time the final scene comes around the corner, your jaw will hit the ground.
This recap of Netflix’s Archive 81 season 1, episode 6, “The Circle,” contains spoilers.
Archive 81 season 1, episode 6 recap
Archive 81 opens with the title sequence of William Crest’s The Circle and the dramatic horror music plays on.
Dan puts back together the tape he broke given to him by his father. He transfers it back into a VHS tape, and it is a message from his father on it. He wishes his son a happy birthday. The following image is of those dancing skeletons. He then gets a visit from his buddy, Mark. And he brought gifts. He found Thomas Bellows. It turns out Virgil hired the man to fill out all those notebooks while watching soap operas decades ago. However, he was killed in a car accident in Nova Scotia after he finished.
He leaves Mark at the gate. In part, to protect him from what is going on here.
After Dan has smashed all the cameras, he puts in the last tape. It is of Melody, sleeping in her bed, but she doesn’t recognize it in an apartment. She finds that someone was taping her previous night with her camera. Melody looks out the window and sees Chris’s red splotch on the sidewalk. It is Samuel’s apartment. The cops question her, and she finds out the man has been bad-mouthing her all over the building.
If things couldn’t get any worse, Anabelle had a mental breakdown and assaulted a handful of people last night. She tells the doctor that she doesn’t do drugs or have a mental illness history. She thinks Cassandra’s paint may have infected her. How? It must be contaminated with mold. When Melody confronts the old bat about it, Jess is with her. She directs her to a floor that is being renovated. It is full of black mold. As Melody finds a locked door, Samual appears behind her.
Dan watches all of this on the tape. Because of the tape jams, he cannot make out what they are arguing about. When he pulls it out, it is covered in black mold. Dan then opens up the computer to look at the mainframe. Inside, again, he sees it is filled with black mold.
We have found a drinking game, folks.
Dan finds a digital camera that Bellows used for a video log while doing
God’s Virgil’s work. He is going through all those Soaps. But Tim came across the same basement that Dan found. He becomes undone, paranoid, stressed and sees the same things his predecessor found. The face that is coming out of the tapes. Oh, and then he swears and curses a woman named Patricia.
She is the woman that told Melody the tapes she used to record her soaps are talking to her. So, Dan grows another pair and takes a wrench to that secure office. He goes inside, and all those labeled LMG Deposition tapes are actually from the collection of Patricia Marston.
Mark finds that his friend, Dianne, located a collection from the Crest estate because she attempted to see Dan at the museum a few days ago. She admits to Mark that she discovered the infamous 1940’s Skull & Bones snuff film that inspired The Circle. It had suffered extensive smoke damage before they transferred what they could to, you guessed it, 8mm, but a couple of frames remain. They watch a woman who pours blood over that peculiar demon statue everyone prays to.
Her name is Iris Vos.
Dan cleans off the mold and plays the tape. Samual admits to Melody that the mold on the wall is people’s love, devotion, and a matter of the shared universe.
Uh, okay. This guy is f*****g nuts.
He knows she wants answers, so he leads him down the stairs, down a spiral staircase. It is revealed that the Visser is indeed built on top of the mansion that burned to the ground. However, it was only damaged, and the building was built not only on top of it but around it. Melody is now standing in the mansion. A group is humming and huffing, but it is not a song. It is prayer, Samual then tells her. But what is eye-catching is they are standing in the same room that the snuff filmed showed.
That damn statue of the Demon God is on the table known as The Kaelego. And Melody is the Baldung. Samual explains he is merely a link in the chain and a flame keeper. Whatever that means, but it sounds pretty cool right before he starts that snuff film, undamaged and in full. We see Iris pour the blood over Kaelego and then cut a woman’s throat. Melody is initially worried she would be the sacrifice, but he assures her she is not. Does he want her to be the one who slices someone’s throat? Samual tells her that they have their volunteer and will Melody be strong enough to allow them to hold a new world inside her?
When she goes to her apartment to gather her things, she realizes what Samual had said to her. She locates the tape and hits play. At the same time, Dan grabs a video he knows Melody went to go put in her camera. It’s of Jess when Melody interviewed her in the second episode.
“Do you think I can be more? Than I am? Like, do I seem strong enough? To hold a new world inside of me?” Jess asks.
When Melody rescues Jess, she finds Tamara there, who tells her Jess and her mother went to Florida. Melody runs to the stairwell and records the infamous “They took her. They took Jess” from the series’ pening scene.
She runs down the stairwell, and those men with the government jackets show up and grab her. We can now see the coats say, “Rockwell.”
Dan’s father has them drag Melody away. Oh, and that damn snarling ghost/skeleton (possibly, a living Kaelego?) attempts to get out of any monitor in Dan’s workspace.
Dan decides to take matters into his own hands and breaks every screen and tape he can find. This leads him to a secret chamber in that secure room with the videos. He climbs down the ladder and walks into a space around the corner, and Dan (also the viewer) gets the shock of his life.
It’s the mansion floor where that snuff film was shot and where Melody was on the tapes. The Kaelego is there, and the walls are surrounded by giant televisions playing all of the restored videos Dan worked on. Just as Dan is about to pull a John Henry on them, he turns around and is punched in the face.
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