LaKeith Stanfield puts on his best performance yet, and the cliffhanger ending has me excited for more.
The following summary and review will contain spoilers from Episode 3 of The Changeling.
The Changeling Episode 3 Summary
Episode 3 opens in the darkest manner yet, with Apollo chained to a pole in his apartment. He has been beaten to a pulp, and the apartment is a disaster. He’s adamant that Emma shouldn’t hurt his son. Emma seems to have lost her mind, picking a boiled kettle up with her bare hands. She hits Apollo in the head with a hammer, and returns to Brian’s room to do unspeakable harm to the child, who she insists isn’t a child.
Apollo is next seen on his way home from prison. He has a massive scar on his face. He visits the park where he had often walked Brian, but the other fathers want nothing to do with Apollo after his prison stint. We discover that Apollo’s landlord, Fabian, was the one to discover him after Emma’s attack and saved his life. Fabian also confirms that Brian is dead.
Time flashes back to Apollo’s mother, raising Apollo on a single income while her boss tries to make romantic advances. After rejecting his date, Lillian is forced to work Saturdays. Her nanny is only able to care for Apollo Monday through Friday, leaving Apollo alone as a young boy each Saturday.
We jump back to the present, where Apollo is attending a group therapy session for people who have lost family members. As he begins to share his story, the missing time between Emma’s attack and Apollo’s prison spree begins to fill in. We see Apollo in his hospital bed, bandages everywhere.
Apollo is seen walking into the library with a shotgun, looking for Emma. He threatens the librarians, desperate to find his wife. After a couple of tense moments, Apollo realizes what he is doing and breaks down.
Following the group meeting, Apollo returns to his apartment, which is in much better shape than the last time we saw it. As Apollo starts to drift off, someone bangs on his door. When Apollo answers, we get the recurring flashback of Apollo’s father at the door with the blue mask and smoke.
Jumping forward, Apollo has supper with Patrice and Patrice’s mother. Apollo finally reveals the ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ novel to Patrice during this diner. With nothing left to save for, Apollo sees no reason to hide his prized possession.
Apollo returns home sometime later to his kettle boiling. His first assumption is that Emma has returned, but he finds his mother making a cup of tea instead. They talk about the dinner with Patrice, and Lillian attempts to convince Apollo to see Brian’s grave. Apollo falls asleep, contemplating his identity.
Apollo goes into Brian’s room for the first time following the attack and is hit with a wave of emotions. While he is thinking out loud, he mentions that his nightmares have returned. Lillian explains that the recurring nightmare is not a nightmare, but a set of memories from when Apollo was alone on Saturdays. Lillian and Apollo argue about the fact that Brian, Apollo’s dad, didn’t abandon the family.
The following day, Apollo attends another group session at the church where Emma had planned to baptize Brian. The group session begins as normal, but there is a woman who recounts a story eerily similar to the tale Emma was telling Apollo. She was receiving photos that would disappear instantly, and she feels that her baby is not her baby.
Apollo sees through her story almost immediately and starts yelling that she is going to kill her baby. The woman begins screaming hysterically that it isn’t a baby. Apollo runs out of the meeting, but he’s followed by a man, William Wheeler.
William was sent by Patrice, as he is looking to buy the book from Apollo. After the initial shock and minor meltdown by Apollo, the men agree to go for coffee. They discuss the book, and then Apollo finds out that William was filming the entire scene during the group session.
It’s a weird habit, but after hearing the rant a second time, Apollo clues into some of the phrases the woman used, including the ‘Wise Ones’. After some research, Apollo and William determine that the ‘Wise Ones’ refer to witches. This sends Apollo into a spiralling epiphany, where he gets a really bad feeling about the bracelet he cut early in Episode 1.
The Changeling Episode 3 Review
Wow, this show. Episode 3 flies through a bunch of emotions, from a violent beginning to a creepy ending. With a runtime of 55 minutes, there is so much going on in this episode. As mentioned above, the start is pretty heavy, but I thought it worked well. It threw off the balance of the show, and the creepy energy that built through episodes 1 and 2 was expelled.
Following the intense opening, the episode slows down significantly. The characters and the plot are redeveloped following such a stark change, and it changes the pacing. The atmosphere is less creepy, and the sad aspects of the situation stand out more. I thought the middle was decent, but it didn’t have me on the edge of my seat.
Patrice is still great, but I think Apollo takes the cake in this episode. We learn a lot about our protagonist in this episode, both his childhood and his experiences in the three-ish months following Emma’s attack. The event has changed him, and the character we started to get to know doesn’t exist. The way Apollo handles this emotional, sudden change is well-written and it feels real.
LaKeith Stanfield put on a hell of a performance this week and just blew me away with his range. Apollo moves through so many emotions in this episode, and Stanfield is right there every time. His performance brings the character to life, making the lows feel impactful. With such a great performance, it’s easy to feel for the character. I won’t call Apollo relatable, but he’s an empathetic lead.
Once the middle is full of development passes, we get an ending with a twist. William Wheeler, played by Samuel T. Herring, joins the cast, and while his intentions seem innocent, he’s got a weird vibe. His videography skills are weird, and his demeanour is also weird. I don’t think he is out to “get” Apollo, but there’s definitely more to him than we know so far.
Episode 3 doesn’t have the same quick pacing as episode 2, but it’s still jam-packed with intrigue. The 55 minutes feel longer than that, and a lot happens throughout the episode. The middle does get slow, nearing boredom, but the beginning and the end make up for it. LaKeith Stanfield puts on his best performance yet, and the cliffhanger ending has me excited for more.