The Changeling Season 1, Episode 4 Recap – Where Does William Think Emma Is?

By Adam Lock
Published: September 15, 2023 (Last updated: last month)
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The Changeling Season 1, Episode 4 Recap
The Changeling Season 1, Episode 4 (Credit - Apple TV)




The Changeling fully commits to its more fantastical elements, which unfortunately reveals the hidden flaws within the show. This episode is marred by a cliched villain, cryptic and far-fetched plot developments, and many tired TV tropes. The series is, however, saved somewhat by a magnificent performance from LaKeith Stanfield.

By Episode 3, Apollo (LaKeith Stanfield) has already been to hell and back cruelly; he lost his wife and his baby in one fell swoop. In Season 1, Episode 4 of The Changeling, a suicidal Apollo finds a new purpose as he hunts for his missing wife with the help of an unexpected friend.

The episode begins with Apollo and Patrice meeting for what looks like a shady deal. They are at the dock to make the transaction with William. He’s offered them $70k for the first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird.

While they wait, the old friends discuss a tribute page for baby Brian, one which is filled with trolls and crazies in the comments section.

Why does William buy the book?

The duo meets with William on a boat. He explains that he’s a coder and app developer who invented the app Rock-A-Bye, what he calls the quintessential Airbnb for boats. Apollo passes William the gift-wrapped book. William is overcome with emotion. He says that the book is a gift for his wife, a last-ditch attempt to win her back after their separation. He pays them and weeps.

Having received this big payout, Apollo meets with Kim. He thanks her for all of her help with Brian’s funeral, which she helped pay for. Apollo then pays her back, giving Emma’s sister $10k in person. She urges him to visit Brian’s grave. Apollo asks what Emma’s third wish was, but she won’t say.

Later, Apollo is messaged by an unknown sender; they state that Emma is still alive. Apollo manically races across the city to meet with this mysterious stranger in person.

Of course, the anonymous messager is William. Apollo is instantly aggressive towards William, desperate for answers.

Where does William think Emma is?

William admits that he just found out the news himself, his online friends have been doing some digging and they have tracked her down. She’s on an island in the East River. William believes that Emma is with the Wise Ones, he’s finally found the secretive group. He shows Apollo CCTV footage as proof.

The Changeling Season 1, Episode 4 (Credit – Apple TV+)

Next, William and Apollo take a boat out onto the open waters, searching for Emma in the dead of night. During this trip, William proves that Patrice isn’t to be trusted, Apollo’s friend is posting about their secret mission on the tribute page. And Apollo ceremoniously hurls his wedding ring into the river. He replaces it with the red string from Brazil.

The island

Apollo finds the island and they disembark from the boat. At this point, Apollo asks William why he is involved in the mission. William lies, stating that his wife rejected him once again, he just needs a distraction. They pass abandoned hospital beds. William explains that they are on North Brother Island, where the infectious were taken in the past.

They see a light coming from a building. Apollo loses it and sprints off, shouting into the darkness, demanding to see his wife. The husband is then beaten and nearly drowned by a group of masked women. Apollo fights back and asks to see his wife, Emma. He is then taken to their leader, Cal.

Cal, short for Calisto, speaks with Apollo inside their fortress. She explains that they are cautious of intruders after a previous attack. Cal implies that Apollo’s baby Brian wasn’t real but actually an illusion. Is this hinting at the show’s title? Is Brian a changeling?

While they chat, William is captured as well. The women take William’s phone and discover that he is Gretta’s husband. Cal brutally beats William and destroys his phone. Apollo and William are then thrown into prison cells beside one another.

Apollo is confused by the developing events and asks William for answers. William admits that he has been looking for the island and the Wise Ones for a while now. He lied to Apollo to get here. William confesses that he has been stalking Apollo and his family for quite some time.

William pleads with Apollo, desperate to get Gretta and his daughter back. He admits that they lost a baby (Agnes) in similar circumstances to what happened with Emma and Brian. They have one daughter left now, called Grace. He wants to be reunited with Gretta and Grace. It looks like William and Apollo have more in common than first thought.

Knowing he has little time left, William asks Apollo to find his wife Gretta, hoping that he can convince her to forgive him. The episode ends with William making a chilling statement, if Apollo doesn’t help him, then everyone on the island will die.

What did you think of The Changeling Season 1, Episode 4? Comment below.


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