The Changeling Season 1 Episode 1 Recap – what were Emma’s first two wishes? 

By Adam Lock
Published: September 8, 2023 (Last updated: January 4, 2024)
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Apple TV+ series The Changeling Season 1 Episode 1 Recap


The Changeling opens with an odd but intriguing first installment, weaving two mirroring storylines into a dreamlike narrative. The artsy approach won’t be for everyone; however, this unsettling tone promises plenty more drama to follow.

We recap the Apple TV+ series The Changeling Season 1 Episode 1, which contains significant spoilers.

After the polarizing conclusion of Servant back in early 2023, Apple TV+ returns to the horror genre once again with The Changeling. This series from creator Kelly Marcel (Cruella), based on the best-selling novel of the same name, debuts with an unusual yet promising first installment.

The season premiere explores multiple timelines and two main storylines while including ambiguous and inter-cutting dream sequences. All of this is connected by an overarching narration from the book’s author, Victor LaValle.

The Changeling Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

The first main storyline focuses on Apollo Kagwa (LaKeith Stanfield) in 2010. The used book dealer notices librarian Emma Valentine (Clark Backo) sitting at her desk, and he then persistently asks her out on their first date. Emma continues to say no until one day, she finally gives in.

This mirrors a similar experience that happened to Apollo’s parents. In 1968, Apollo’s father, Brian West, did the exact same thing to Apollo’s mother, secretary Lillian Kagwa. Brian had to wait a little longer to get that yes, though, with them not dating until 1977.

Apollo and Emma’s first date then shares more shocking similarities with Brian and Lillian’s. They both talk about their childhoods and parents, even sharing the same dialogue at one point.

Emma talks about how her parents died when she was just 5 years old.

Who raised Emma?

Emma was adopted by her sister Kim, who is 13 years older. She shared parenting duties with the local librarian; this is where Emma’s love of books and her future profession spawned. Apollo refuses to talk about his own parents, though.

Outside, Apollo mentions how he wants to be a good father and husband. Emma is a little taken aback by Apollo’s forthrightness and admits that she is actually leaving soon for a trip to Brazil.

This is why she turned down Apollo all those times before.

In the seventies, Brian’s first date goes a little more successfully, leading to the birth of Apollo, who is named after the Rocky character Apollo Creed. Unfortunately, it’s not a happy ending though, as Brian ditches Apollo when he is only four years old.

Back in the present, Apollo struggles with work and finds that he misses Emma greatly. She eventually messages him out of the blue; she is returning to New York after all. Apollo waits for her in the airport, and the couple are finally reunited.

What happened on Emma’s trip?

Emma talks about her trip, and she tells Apollo about a strange occurrence. She visited a scenic lake, where she met a strange woman. This woman gave her a red string bracelet and granted her three wishes. Emma was told to never cut the bracelet but wait for it to fall off naturally, then her three wishes would come true. Apollo makes the bold move to cut the string immediately.

Even though he broke the string, Emma’s first two wishes come true anyway. Apollo and Emma get married, and then Emma falls pregnant. They celebrate at a swanky restaurant with Emma’s friend Michelle.

In private, Michelle tells Apollo more about Emma’s eventful trip.

READ: What does Emma do in The Changeling?

Emma met a Norwegian photographer there. They took a trip to a disused factory together. Emma took a photo of herself naked using his camera. That same photo was bought by a gallery owner and has been displayed in a gallery ever since.

Michelle was horrified by the photograph, stating that Emma looked almost possessed in it.

The Changeling Season 1 Episode 1 Ending Explained

What were Emma’s first two wishes?

Michelle then tells Apollo the three wishes that Emma made. She asked for a good husband and a healthy child. Before Michelle can tell him the third wish, they are interrupted. Emma returns from the toilets; she is going into labor.

They head home on the subway, and Emma gives birth there and then in a train carriage. They decide to name the baby Brian after Apollo’s father. It’s a joyous moment, but the series teases fresh horrors still to come.

What did you think of Apple TV+’s The Changeling Season 1 Episode 1? Comment below.

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