- Archive 81 -How Does Season 1 Of The 'Archive 81' Podcast End? The Netflix Show Makes Some Major Changes
Before becoming a mind-bending Netflix series, Archive 81 was a creepy podcast designed to ensure listeners slept with their lights on. The show and the podcast are similar in many ways: they both focus on an archivist named Dan and a woman named Melody who are pulled into the mystery of the Visser apartment buildings, and they both feature plenty of supernatural flourishes. But when it comes to how Season 1 ends, Archive 81 the podcast and Archive 81 the show part ways. (Warning: Spoilers for Season 1 of the show and podcast to follow.)
Archive 81 podcast creators Dan Powell and Marc Sollinger first debuted the narrative horror podcast in 2016. It ultimately ran for three seasons, each of which delved deeper and deeper into the heady realm of cosmic horror. In the beginning, the series focused on Dan, who is hired to restore a series of cassette tape recordings damaged in a building collapse.
The tapes were originally recorded by Melody, who works for the Urban Preservation and Development Department of New York State. She's tasked with doing a survey of Visser Towers, but the more she talks to the residents, the more apparent it becomes that something sinister is going on there. While the exact nature of the strange music and anomalies that plague the building are slow to unravel, all roads lead back to a man named Samuel.
Due to the nature of the podcast — it's presented in a found footage format, where the only information the listener receives is what Melody and Dan record on their tapes — the story isn't as dense as the one on the show. There are no Baldung Witches, Kaelego, or even a Vos Society. Instead, the story is more straightforward and brutal with an ending that's even more baffling than the season finale of Archive 81 the show.
Samuel Is The True Big Bad & He Has Magical Powers
The true villain of the piece is Samuel, who appears to gain strength whenever someone listens to Melody's tapes. In the final episode of the podcast, he shows up at the compound where Dan works and magically repairs the last tape. He then forces Dan to listen to it in order to unleash a god that will allow him to "become one with a concept beyond our understanding."
After giving Dan an overview of his evil plan, the building begins to rumble signaling the arrival of the god Samuel has been trying to bring over into the real world for decades.
Ratty Dies A Horrible Death
There aren't many happy endings in Archive 81, but at least on the show, Dan's pal Ratty makes it out alive. The rat with an injured tail ends up being his only companion while he's working on restoring the tapes out in the woods, and on the show, he's last seen nibbling on some power cords. Ratty's podcast counterpart meets a far darker fate when Samuel bites his head off in front of Dan. Seriously, podcast Samuel is a monster.
Dan Teleports... Somewhere
On the show, Dan ends up in 1994 by the time the credits roll, but his whereabouts at the end of Season 1 of the podcast are less clear. He leaves one final recording for Mark, the person who will receive the tapes after him, and lets him know that he thinks he has teleported somewhere. He also urges Mark to let as many people listen to the tapes as possible, as he reveals his intent to somehow save Melody. Just to add an extra ominous note to the ending, Dan hears what sounds like a war going on in the distance.
Given how different the show and the podcast are, any potential Season 2 of Netflix's Archive 81 will likely forge its own path. But everyone should send good vibes Ratty's way, just in case.
Images: Clifton Prescod/Netflix; Quantrell D. Colbert/Netflix; Netflix