Netflix's Archive 81 Season 2? Creator Talks Unanswered Finale Mysteries And Easter Eggs

Spoilers below for Archive 81 up to and through the finale, so anyone who hasn’t yet watched should be warned!

Anyone who finished up Archive 81’s eight-episode first season feeling like they know all the answers is no doubt as full of shit as Martin Donovan’s Virgil Davenport. From its earliest scenes, the Netflix horror series sets up a world that is both highly intimate and shockingly expansive with its locations and timelines, with Mamoudou Athie’s archivist Dan and Dina Shihabi’s investigative filmmaker anchoring the dual narratives. Along the way, a plethora of details and references are introduced concerning LMG, the Vos family, the Visser Building and more, though not everything gets fully explored by the time the finale’s credits roll. And that was definitely an intentional move on the part of showrunner Rebecca Sonnenshine, who was intrigued by planting seeds for a potential Season 2 and more.

Ahead of Archive 81’s debut on Netflix, CinemaBlend spoke with Rebecca Sonnenshine about adapting the podcast source material as a found-footage cult horror. While she did offer some relatively concrete answers about the final episode’s last few scenes — such as confirming Dan’s mysterious fate — there were other questions that weren’t meant to be answered. Such as what happened to Evan Jonigkeit’s creepy cult leader Samuel (he of various false surnames) or Ariana Neal’s adorable Visser teen Jess. Here’s how Sonnenshine explained it when I asked about that pair of characters: 

One of the great things about making mythology television, which is something I've been doing for a while now, is that you create these really complicated stories, and there's all these elements, and you don't always get to tell all of them in the season that you plan to. But yeah, I mean, all those things are... Season 2: Where did Samuel go? Right? Where is Jess? Those are all things that you lay in, these little easter eggs or little plot [points]. Like, 'Oh, it seems like a dangling thread.' It's not really a dangling thread. It's just a plant for later.

While there are probably a few details that crop up throughout Archive 81 that don't actually have involved backstories meant to play out in future seasons, there are definitely a lot of unexplored ideas that could easily fuel backstories and sub-narratives in a second season and beyond. And that's obviously on top of the abundantly clear cliffhangers and marquee mysteries that Season 1 had to offer. 

Samuel and Jess in Archive 81

(Image credit: Netflix)

Archive 81 did use Dan and Anabelle's first meeting to establish that Jess is still alive and went the religious route by entering a convent, with her gifted tapes as proof (more or less), I don't feel like post-mold Anabelle is the most trustworthy person in this universe. 

And on the flip side, Samuel's mysterious disappearance coinciding with Melody arriving in the current-day timeline is a whopper of a mystery, since time-traveling villains are about as trustworthy as people who draw the same faces over and over and over and over again. (Looking at you, Anabelle.) Samuel has the potential to mess with Dan's world in ways that are completely different from Dan's ability to alter the past for himself, his family, and all of New York. Assuming Season 2 gets ordered, that is.

Considering Archive 81 has held the top spot in Netflix's Top 10 for several days running, it bodes well for what the streaming service's execs may decide. Fans would probably be wise to rewatch the season from the very beginning, as Rebecca Sonnenshine pointed out there being several easter eggs in the series opener that aren't meant to pay off until further down the line. In her words:

I think we do that through the whole show. So, like, there's things planted in Episode 1 that pay off later. But then there's some things planted that will pay off as seasons progress. There's even, like, there's several little easter eggs that are planted right in the first episode that I'm like, 'Okay, those are for Season 2 or 3.'

I have to think she's partially referring to the emotionally troublesome way Dan's previous romantic relationship ended, since characters are constantly grinding Dan's nerves by bringing up his mental state. As well, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a lot left to learn about LMG and Virgil Davenport's various professional undertakings during the years leading up to finding Melody's not-quite-destroyed videos. Not to mention Dan's childhood and his father's connections to Melody and the cult. So many plot threads, and hopefully so many future episodes to weave them into. 

Currently the only season we’re aware of, though that could change at any moment, Archive 81 Season 1 is available to stream on Netflix, which still has quite a few more promising genre projects on the way. Be sure to keep up with our 2022 TV premiere schedule to see all the other new and returning TV shows that probably won’t cause nearly as much nightmarish curiosity as this demonic gem, and definitely check out the Archive 81 podcast to see how that side of the story continues.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.