Archive 81: Wellspring
February 2, 2022 1:19 AM - Season 1, Episode 2 - Subscribe

Archivist Dan talks to his friend Mark, the radio conspiracy show host, and asks him to look into the Visser Building's history, and try to find out more about Melody and her relationship with Dan's father. Cellphone reception is terrible near the remote site so he has to run into the woods to find a signal. He spots a small figure in red scarpering about, but is stopped by a fence. In the past, Jess is trying to meet residents of the building, with not much success, though there is a "meet cute." Something is clearly not right, in the past or the present, and the "horror" vibe is starting to amp up.
posted by chavenet (6 comments total)
 
Thoughts on Episode 2:

1. In the very first shot, there is a shoelace tied to a tree. Why is it there? It doesn't make a ton of sense in-story. It is kind of menacing, in a "rural horror" kind of way, but that just makes me think of other rural horror films/shows.

2. Still not loving the "Dan's past is involved in the story" theme. It a) feels kind of hokey, b) doesn't really add anything, and c) I don't think Dan and Melody need a "backstory connection," when the story throws them together.

3. I like how the relationship between Dan and Mark is developing. Mark feels kind of put off at first, but it quickly becomes clear that Mark will go to considerable lengths for Dan. The scene where they meet in the nearby town is kind of hilarious (it's shot like a spy film!) and pretty ominous as well (they have reason to believe they might be watched).

3. Father Russo: hangdog and helpful or menacing? Discuss.

4. The show's use of Jess to introduce the characters at the Visser is really well done. It feels very organic, and, while the podcast does something similar, it flows better here -- maybe because it has more space to develop.

5.Not keen on the tarot reading ending with Death. It's been done about a million times, and Beatriz should have had a much weirder divination method. Maybe something with pictures of soap stars or time stamps on video tapes. Once more, the show is a lot more conventional than the podcast, which is kind of a pity.

6.The compound feels much creepier in the show. It's creepy enough in the podcast, but it does a layered thing in the show , and the identification between the Visser and the Bunker develops over time, with both feeling increasingly labyrinthine.

7. Is the person in red at the compound supposed to be Dan's father or a hallucination of him?

8. Has anyone else noticed how often characters either a) pound on doors (generally Melody) or b) have accusatory phone calls (generally Dan) that kind of don't go anywhere?

9. Samuel has some real PUA vibes. I didn't like how he kind of shits on Tamara's dance performance (which, from the little bit we see, was certainly no worse than one might expect and maybe better). Then he has sex (or something) with her later while Melody watches (after making out with him). If Samuel is supposed to be an ambiguous character, he most definitely is not.

10. Ariana Neal does a really good job with Jess. She does a great job of a sort of vulnerable hopefulness layered over with crusty "professionalism." I like almost all of the actors in the show, but she really digs into her part.

11. Also love Julia Chan as Anabelle Cho, although I'm upset by the way the straight-washing of Melody reduces her to a "wacky roommate." I feel like the time spent to connect Melody and Dan would have been better spent building the relationship between Melody and Annabelle.

12. While I think the podcast does more interesting things with sound, I do like the "cult music" angle and how it keeps repeating. -- we see the historical society doing it, then Jess picking it out on a piano, then Melody humming it. The "cult worshiping a statue" is pedestrian, but the humming/moaning/music is really weird and disturbing.

13. The external shots in the compound and Dan riding his bike were just nicely done. Atmospheric, a little ominous, and just well shot.
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:21 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


in re the shoelace, I took that as something Dan had done, to mark the spot where he found cell reception.

The "straight washing" thing is problematic but maybe not, er, straightforward. I'm on episode 4 now and things are getting ... complex.
posted by chavenet at 8:20 AM on February 2


Your shoelace explanation is perfect! Thanks, I had no considered that! It still looks very ominous, though. That little bit of blue in all the browns, greens, and greys.
posted by GenjiandProust at 11:00 AM on February 2 [1 favorite]


GenjiandProust: "Your shoelace explanation is perfect! Thanks, I had no considered that! It still looks very ominous, though. That little bit of blue in all the browns, greens, and greys."

I agree, the whole milieu of this series (so far) is "ominous" up to 11. I think the priest when we see him in episode 2 seems skeevy as all get out, as does Sam.

I like how the mystery keeps Dan from doing the obvious and just bailing on the whole thing. The mystery and, of course, the money.
posted by chavenet at 1:24 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


Deeply enjoyed Dan spending most of this episode in a Syndicated t-shirt, which is just an excellent job of costume work. (It’s a second-run cinema bar in Bushwick that I miss deeply.)
posted by thecaddy at 6:54 PM on February 2 [3 favorites]


1. In the very first shot, there is a shoelace tied to a tree. Why is it there? It doesn't make a ton of sense in-story. It is kind of menacing, in a "rural horror" kind of way, but that just makes me think of other rural horror films/shows.

In the first episode, when Dan finds a spot where he has a cell phone signal and manages to get a call out he takes the string out of his hoodie and ties it to that branch. It's the first time the person in red is spotted in the background behind a tree.
posted by kaiseki at 1:38 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


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