Apple TV+’s The Changeling explained: a full plot recap

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Released on Apple TV+ in September 2023, The Changeling seems immediately one of the most exciting horror series of recent times. Based on Victor LaValle’s book of the same name, the TV show presents a disturbing story involving a man, Apollo, who marries Emma. The two will have a baby named Brian, but something terrible and inexplicable will happen, and the series is about understanding why it went this way. The plot is full of mysteries that need to be explained: let’s explore everything in this full plot recap.

You can watch the official trailer for The Changeling here on Youtube.

Apple TV+’s The Changeling series explained: a full plot recap

The protagonist of the TV series The Changeling on Apple TV+ is Apollo, an adult man with a troubled childhood. As we see in the flashbacks, his father left when he was 4, triggering serious insecurities in him. Now an adult, Apollo has a crush on Emma, a girl he met at the library. They will date for a while, then Emma will go to Brazil, and something crucial will happen there.

What happens to Emma in Brazil is the event that will define the evolution of the plot in The Changeling, and that’s what needs to be explained in this full recap. Emma will meet a strange woman in a forest. The woman will tell her to express three wishes, and she ties a red string around her wrists, informing her that when the string is cut, the three wishes will come true. The woman orders Emma: Do NOT cut it!

Emma returns to America and asks Apollo to pick her up at the airport. Their relationship continues from where it stopped: they get married and have a baby, Brian. During a dinner, Emma’s sister warns Apollo about the three wishes Emma expressed: a good husband, a healthy kid, and… a third wish that is not yet revealed in the plot of The Changeling but that definitely worries Emma’s sister.

Some months after Brian’s birth, Emma develops a series of strange behaviors. She has a bad relationship with her baby (something that can be considered typical of post-partum depression), but it’s more than that. She thinks the baby is not a baby. She also receives mysterious photos on the phone, portraying her baby with his father or with her in the streets. The images get deleted before she can show anyone.

The big event in the plot of The Changeling happens at the end of Episode 2 and definitely needs to be explained in this full recap. Emma chains Apollo at home, then kills her baby and disappears. That leaves Apollo broken and out of her mind: he will also break into the library where Emma worked with a gun, threatening to kill her.

Why did Emma kill her baby? We start to understand this in Episodes 4 and 5, but this hasn’t been fully explained yet by the plot of The Changeling. Emma entered into contact with a group of moms called “wise ones.” Admitted by Cal, their leader, they are a group of witches. But we slowly start understanding that they are not really villains: they help moms fight other dark creatures that harm their babies. William, the man who “helped” Apollo find the wise ones, reveals himself as evil: he killed his daughter, Agnes, and seems to belong to the army of “dark creatures” who target moms like Emma and their babies. From this point of view, Emma can be considered a victim, and her baby wasn’t what he looked. This surely has something to do with the title of the series: according to the dictionary, the changeling is an ugly creature left by fairies to replace a newborn.

We will follow the plot of The Changeling, keeping this recap updated and all questions explained. We will have to understand who those “wise ones” really are and what their purpose is. Stay tuned!

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