(Credit: Netflix)

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Netflix’s ‘Archive 81’ creator explains the complex ending

Created by Rebecca Sonnenshine, Netflix’s latest slow-burn horror series Archive 81 premiered on the streamer on January 14th, 2022, and went on to become one of the most-watched Netflix horror series due to its eerie premise. With demonic cults, sinister gods, time travel and other supernatural and occult disturbances within the narrative, the series, which is loosely based on a 2018 podcast of the same name, has garnered the attention of horror aficionados. 

The series revolves around an archivist named Dan Turner who must restore damaged tapes back from 1994. In this endeavour, he finds himself putting together the work of a filmmaker named Melody Pendras as she investigates a sinister cult at the Visser apartment. 

This ignites in the archivist to find more about the filmmaker’s fatalistic ending and he slowly begins to grow obsessed with the idea that he can save her from the terrifying fate she met with, more than two decades back. Starring Mamoudou Athie and Dina Shihabi in lead roles, the series, however, had a pretty confounding ending that has now been explained by the creator herself. 

The finale sees Dan waking up in an unfamiliar environment on a hospital bed after seeing Melody being yanked into his timeline. Then Dan is informed that he has survived the notorious Visser fire and then Kurt Loder is seen announcing Kurt Cobain’s death. 

Dan wants to save Melody and succeeds in his daunting mission. However, he loses himself in the process. While Melody is reunited with her mother and meets Dan’s friend, Mark, neither Samuel nor Dan show up.  

The series drives in the idea of co-existing parallel timelines that night confuse viewers, raising a variety of questions regarding the same. While talking to Variety, Sonnenshine decided to clarify the doubts. 

Confirming that Turner was indeed in the 90s timeline, she says, “He’s in the real ’90s, and the clue for that is that it does not have the particulates floating around there. He’s in 1994.”

She also addressed the question regarding people assimilating into various timelines after sauntering into The Otherworld. She spoke about “little holes” that serve as “little entry and exit points” into various timelines that “people have gotten kind of mixed up”, perhaps exiting through the wrong door into a different timeline altogether. 

While Netflix has not yet confirmed the renewal of the show for a second season, its immense popularity must compel the streamer to order a couple more seasons. 

Sonnenshine has also addressed concerns regarding the disappearance of Samuel, the antagonist of Archive 81. Talking about how he is one of the pivotal components of the narrative, Sonnenshine said that his whereabouts would definitely be an “exciting branch of our story” to explore in the second season.  

The creator also opened up about various facets of the story that remain untold in the eight hour-long episodes of the series. She also said that the second season would explore the exploits of Liam Davenport and his mysterious mechanisms while promising “cool stuff” in store for his character. 

Watch Archive 81 on Netflix now.