What does Emma do in The Changeling? Explained

By Adam Lock
Published: September 11, 2023 (Last updated: December 19, 2023)
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What does Emma do in The Changeling

What does Emma do in The Changeling? We discuss one of the main mysteries in the 2023 Apple TV+ series The Changeling. This article contains spoilers. 

Apple TV+’s horror fantasy series The Changeling has sparked plenty of interest since its initial release, with its horrifying subject matter. This unsettling new show from Kelly Marcel (Venom) follows the breakdown of first-time mother Emma Valentine, who commits some atrocious sins after the birth of her first child.

The first three installments have gripped audiences, but what has caused such controversy? And what does Emma actually do to stir up such a response in viewers?

What happened to Emma in The Changeling?

Emma (Clark Backo) was plagued with a nasty case of postpartum depression and sleep deprivation after the birth of her first child, Brian. She started to dissociate herself from the child, believing that Brian wasn’t her real baby.

During this daunting time period, Emma started to receive mysterious photographs from her husband, Apollo’s phone. The images would depict Apollo (LaKeith Stanfield) and baby Brian from a distance as if they were been stalked. These images would then be deleted as soon as Emma had seen them.

READ: The Changeling Season 1 Episode 1 Recap

This deadly cocktail of problems led to Emma’s mental breakdown. Her doctor prescribed Emma medication, but the paranoia and those mysterious messages persisted. This, in turn, caused a breakdown of her marriage. In the end, Apollo refuses to let Emma even care for her own child.

What does Emma do in The Changeling?

In the third installment, we find out the terrifying consequences of all this madness. Emma looks possessed as she chains up Apollo. He is beaten and then hit over the head with a hammer. After this torture, Emma kills their baby and then disappears into the night.

It would seem that the paranoia and the voices in her head have caused Emma to do the unthinkable. She felt compelled to kill her own baby. She tied up Apollo so that he couldn’t fight back and then committed the heinous act.

What was Emma’s third wish in The Changeling?

This haunting breakdown seems to be linked to Emma’s trip to Brazil, where she was granted three wishes by a mysterious witch. Emma wished for a good husband and a healthy baby, but it is unclear what her third wish was at this point. This mystery is still to be revealed.

Emma’s breakdown could be due to this third wish or because Apollo broke the sacred string bracelet Emma was ordered to wear after first making the wishes. Did Apollo put a curse on his family with this silly gesture, leading to all this tragedy?

READ: The Changeling Season 1 Episode 2 Recap

If so, then it would seem the wishes are now working in reverse and are having the opposite effect. Apollo became a bad husband; he didn’t help his wife, he didn’t trust her, and then he was later arrested and imprisoned. Whilst Brian may not be the healthy baby Emma had hoped for, driving Emma to this madness.

Following this logic, the third wish could be related to Emma herself since her life has fallen apart. She may have wished for her own happiness or health.

Of course, Emma could have wished for absolutely anything, really. She may have wished for money, success, or excitement in her life. Whatever happened, Apollo is now desperate to find out the truth.

What do you think Emma’s third wish was? Please comment below.

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