The Changeling Season 1 Episode 2 Recap – how did Emma’s parents die?

By Adam Lock
Published: September 8, 2023 (Last updated: October 2, 2023)
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Apple TV+ series The Changeling Season 1 Episode 2 Recap


The Changeling really steps things up in Episode 2. The filmmakers masterfully build a sense of dread throughout the installment, while the parenting angle is undeniably relatable. It’s a tough watch, but the series already feels like it is addressing important issues in a unique way.

We recap the Apple TV+ series The Changeling Season 1 Episode 2, which contains significant spoilers.

All the new parents out there who are currently going through hell with sleep deprivation, you are guaranteed to connect with this second installment from The Changeling on some level.

In the follow-up episode, Apollo (LaKeith Stanfield) and Emma (Clark Backo) struggle with those tough early months of raising a newborn baby. They quickly become paranoid and protective, while Emma mentally falls apart, receiving strange photographs sent from Apollo’s phone.

The Changeling Season 1 Episode 2 Recap

The strains of parenting are evident in the opening scene; Emma is clearly suffering from postpartum depression, and Apollo is having those pesky nightmares once again. Kim tries to help, but her sister is losing the plot. She meets with a creepy stranger, who hands her a bag filled with chains.

Why are Apollo and Emma struggling?

Reverting back to six months earlier, we see exactly how Emma reaches this breaking point. Emma and Apollo are struggling; their two-month-old won’t sleep, and this painful sleep deprivation is taking its toll on the couple.

Apollo’s mother, Lillian, tries to help with babysitting duties. This gives Apollo and Emma a chance to get out of the flat.

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The couple reconnect, but it is clear that Emma has been forever changed by this life-altering event. She mentions how she would kill herself if anything bad happened to baby Brian.

After eight weeks of maternity leave, Emma has to go back to work. Due to Apollo’s flexible work schedule, he is able to take up parenting duties in her absence.

The parents worry about screen time, the baby’s diet, and the changing temperature. It’s extremely relatable; all new parents will know exactly what they are going through.

On his way to work, Apollo drives under the speed limit, and he even positions a cushion between the baby seat and the car door for extra protection. He meets with fellow young dads at the park and then his friend Patrice, a fellow book enthusiast.

What expensive book does Apollo find?

Patrice has found a killer book collection in a dead woman’s basement. During this hunt, Apollo discovers the find of the century, a first edition copy of To Kill a Mockingbird, which contains a signed message inside from author Harper Lee to Truman Capote. Back home, Apollo tells Emma the good news: this book could be worth $10k.

Emma is excited; the couple can finally buy their own home together. But her growing paranoia is only worsening. She feels watched and keeps receiving odd photographs from Apollo’s phone that are instantly deleted.

In these pictures, the couple are photographed from a distance, as if they are being stalked.

Feeling lost and alone, Emma connects with a network of struggling moms via the online group The Wise Moms. She takes their suggestions to heart and starts to cover the apartment windows with foil. Emma finally addresses her phantom photographs with Apollo, but he denies sending her them.

Emma then second-guesses herself, worrying that she is imagining things. In the middle of the night, she receives another photograph, but the message is deleted before she can show Apollo.

After six months without sleep, Emma decides to visit the hospital.

How does Emma treat the baby?

She tells the doctor about her lack of sleep and her concerns with the baby. Emma continually refers to Brian as it, unable to call him by his real name. She’s angry with the baby and shouts at the poor thing in public on the way home, even calling him the devil. That night, the doctor phones Apollo; they’re all worried about Emma’s deteriorating health.

Apollo tries to be supportive, suggesting that Emma sees a doctor about her mental health problems. Emma agrees and starts taking medication. Of course, the problem doesn’t go away.

The Changeling Season 1 Episode 2 Ending Explained

How did Emma’s parents die?

Back in the present, we reconnect with the opening scene. Kim stops Emma as she strides through the city. She finally tells Emma the truth about how their parents died. Their mother was mentally unwell and started a house fire, planning on killing the whole family in the blaze. Their father saved them and went back in to save the mother, but the parents both died in the house fire.

Emma asks why Kim is finally telling her the truth. Kim is concerned, Emma has the same look in her eyes that their mother did on that traumatic day. Kim wants to be supportive and get Emma the help that she needs before she hurts herself.

READ: Will there be a Season 2 of The Changeling?

The same can’t be said for Apollo, who has finally snapped. He argues with Emma back at the apartment. Emma wants to baptize Brian and continues to talk about the mysterious photographs.

Apollo refuses to let her take the baby, though. Emma storms off; she clearly has a sinister plan in mind.

What did you think of Apple TV+’s The Changeling Season 1 Episode 2? Comment below.

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