Following Episode 1, The Changeling just gets better. Following the birth of Brian, we get to watch Apollo and Emma learn to juggle being parents and adults. Work comes too quickly and our pair don’t get much downtime following their subway birth. Emma struggles to find herself following the birth of her son, and things take a turn for the worse when she starts receiving images of Apollo and Brian that disappear shortly after they are viewed.
I love the creepy atmosphere that is building, but we avoid most of it in this episode. The focus is really on Emma as she starts to absolutely fall apart. Clark Backo puts on a stellar performance, almost playing three characters in this episode. Emma’s emotions and actions change so drastically as her mental health deteriorates, and I enjoyed the way Backo was able to move through those phases seamlessly. The photos that keep disappearing are what really pushes Emma over the edge, and I thought Backo displays that feeling of helplessness perfectly. Apollo doesn’t believe her for a second, and it drives her insane.
While Emma was falling apart, Apollo took Brain to work. Apollo is a bookseller, combing through local bookstores and estate sales looking for books worth selling. Patrice works with Apollo, the pair looking for expensive books that could change their lives. While at an estate sale, Apollo finds a pretty significant book, one that could change things drastically for him and Emma. He doesn’t tell Patrice about this book, hiding it in his bag and hurrying home when the opportunity presents itself.
Patrice is far and away the funniest character in this episode, bringing some joy to an otherwise sombre tone. He’s Apollo’s best friend and he seems to be a lot more centred and down to earth than Apollo. He’s a simple dude with a great sense of humour, and he brings some normalcy to a very weird show.
With that being said, Apollo is still a great character. The way he sees himself, the way his experiences have shaped him, and the mystery surrounding his father and his dreams make him a very intriguing character. He’s our protagonist, and I’m excited to see where his development goes.
The plot is going to focus a lot on Apollo moving forward, but it splits between Emma and Apollo in Episode 2. The plot moves slowly to start, still building the atmosphere, but the back end of the episode was amazing. I was glued to my chair and actually binged the next two episodes right after. While some of the parts drag on, I really like the length of these episodes. Having each episode around 50-60 minutes makes for a much more complete viewing experience, nothing feels rushed along.
The ending releases the weird energy that has been building for two episodes. Victor Lavelle is great as our narrator. He has the perfect voice for the role, strong yet mysterious, adding to the creepy atmosphere. His words matter, but his tone is even more crucial for setting the tone. This tone is what really adds to the ending, which is followed by a stunning cliffhanger that had me hooked. It’s a great strategy for keeping your audience engaged, but it going to makes the week in between episodes hard to stand.
All in all, episode 2 takes everything episode 1 did well and made it better. I’m enjoying the creepy atmosphere, and the creepy undertones built into the story. The ending was incredible, and I was glued to my chair. Undoubtedly, Apple TV has another hit on their hands if they can keep this momentum going.