Spoilers for Episode 7 ahead
The Changeling Episode 7 Plot Summary
Episode 7 opens with Lillian wandering through New York when she enters The Elk Hotel. The hotel is run down, beaten up, and serves questionable clientele. Lillian sees a man lying in his bed, dying of some contagious disease. She sees her younger self walking down the halfway. Lillian enters room 205.
We flip back and forth between the present and the past, and the similarities are clear. The narrator speaks of a terrible secret that had occurred many years ago in the same room. Lillian continues to flash between the past and the future, battling with her inner demons. She talks of coming to America, and the fun she had as a child.
She worries about not giving Apollo the same cultural experiences she had, to make him fit in with his peers. A big storm is rolling in, and Lillian’s room starts to leak. She continues talking about the past, and suddenly the red suitcase mentioned in past episodes arrives at her door. She seems to be speaking to Apollo, but also to the world.
Lillian opens the suitcase, and it is filled with clothing. She talks about her relationship with Brian, how she didn’t love him, but how she knew she’d love their son. She puts on one of the dresses in the suitcase, appearing ready to perform. The power goes out in the hotel.
Using a candle to see, Lillian wanders down the hallway to the dying man. The man talks about how he ended up in this hotel, and he worries he is going to die that night. He tells a story about how he and another man were going to see a show before he contracted this illness.
Lillian begins to sing to the man, recreating the magical moment he was wishing for. She finishes her song, and the man drifts away. Lillian heads to her room, and while she is in her bathroom, the floor above her turns to glass. She watches the girl upstairs barely survive being attacked by the man with her, saved by the man who owns The Elk Hotel.
She relives moments between her and Brain, where she ignores the subtle threats he made. She relays the good and bad of their relationship. The pair split up and the abuse only gets worse. One day, she found Brain trying to drown Apollo in her bathtub. She rushed in and killed Brian in their bathtub. This sent Lillian into a spiral, which is how she ended up at The Elk Hotel the first time.
Lillian of the future talks to Lillian of the past off the ledge and brings her back to reality. Lillian promises to be a good mother to Apollo if she can get away with Brian’s death. She realizes that the suitcase that she had could be used to hide the body of the man that no one loved. She took that suitcase to the river and dropped it in.
The episode ends with the narrator warning that deals cannot be unmade, and the Gods will take their pay.
The Changeling Episode 7 Review
Alright, what did I just watch? If you are new to his series, go back and watch some of the other episodes, this isn’t the one to associate with The Changeling. I don’t know where to start with this one so let’s jump into the positives first.
Adina Porter is great. Puts on a quality performance throughout the entire episode. Her character has been off to the side for most of the season, so it was nice to see her get some screen time and also flesh out Lillian’s character. Some of the details in the episode fill in some plot holes from earlier, explaining some missing details from previous flashbacks. I thought that was good, and it allowed the show to enter into the final episode on solid ground.
I was also really surprised by the reveal that Lillian killed Brian. Once it got close, the reveal was plain to see, but I didn’t think that was the explanation behind why Brian stopped coming around. It was a sudden left turn, but it’s those weird, surprising moments that have made this show so good. Some of the visual aspects in the episode were good, but the negatives break this episode.
Why in the world did we get another episode focused directly on one character, especially this late in the season? There’s no build-up, no jumping-off point for the final episode, and I think that was the biggest disappointment. For a show that has had some epic cliffhangers, Episode 7 doesn’t even try.
The episode is confusing, with a lot of jumpy flashbacks and unexplained things on screen. The line between the past and the future was blurred, and maybe that was the intended purpose, but it didn’t work for me. I just felt confused and bored.
Everything in the episode leads into the finale when Lillian drops Brain’s body into the river, but it feels discombobulated. The connective tissue to the rest of the show is almost non-existent, outside of that suitcase, and it just feels odd.
The pacing is off, and the length of this episode is bizarre. The entire episode should have been part of a different episode, instead of drawing it out for 55 minutes. We moved through different events really slowly, and it felt like I was watching a different show than the first 6 episodes.
Episode 7 drops the ball in more ways than one. Instead of an exciting, dramatic lead-up to the finale, we get a boring, disconnected deep dive into Lillian’s character that should have been left on the cutting room floor. The only saving grace is that Adina Porter is spectacular, holding the oddly written episode together by a thread. I was loving The Changeling, but this is nowhere close to the quality that earns a second season.