Well, that was considerably more intriguing than the first three episodes.
The action and mystery kicked into high gear on The Changeling Season 1 Episode 4, which focused on Apollo’s quest for answers after Emma’s actions forever changed their lives.
Apollo’s quest was never going to be easy, and a part of me believed Patrice before being revealed to be associated with the Wise Ones.
There was something sketchy about William on The Changeling Season 1 Episode 3, so he struck me as the type of person to have more than his fair share of secrets.
One of my theories (I have many!) was that William would be revealed as Brian, aka Apollo’s father.
I know it’s a stretch, but after the frantic nature of the first three episodes, it wouldn’t have surprised me.
“The Wise Ones” allowed the characters and conflicts to marinade, making for the most cohesive installment of the series yet.
The water renews but does not shed its layers. No. It drags buried memories to the present. Once, below these waters, giant predators swam. Mythical. Those predators grew legs and made it to land. If they could do that, would it be so surprising if once, upon one of these times, witches had been here too? Each tale told upon this water informs the next story… and the next.
William’s inclusion in the narrative couldn’t have been a coincidence, and his tenacity to get a hold of the book and the way he acted around Apollo made it obvious there was far more going on with him than met the eye.
The best part is that, despite Patrice’s claims there was something amiss with him; they couldn’t put any of it together in a way that made him out to be a villain.
His connection to the Wise Ones aside, he wasn’t the best husband and father, and saw how the media reacted to him delivering his and Emma’s baby on the subway.
It represented the type of father William aspired to be but couldn’t because Greta and his daughter were missing.
Apollo is desperate for answers, which explains why he was so eager to take anything William said at face value.
Apollo may like to imply he’s a God, but thus far, he’s shown us that he’s not very good at picking up on red flags.
Going on the boat with William alone was foolish, but he understood that no one else in their right mind would want to be a part of this.
Apollo: Is that our guy? Patrice: Wow. Beige on beige. Tan man. Very fashionable. Who the fսck still drinks Tab? Okay, this is a man who has not been with a woman in a very long time. In years. Decades. One of these incel fat fսcks always posting heinous shit online about how no one appreciates how special he is and how women only want jerks.
Apollo: All right, all right. Calm down. This is the guy that’s gonna give us a five-figure check, all right? But keep it up.
Patrice: I was wrong. This guy’s never been with a woman.
Apollo: You wanna know what else he’s probably never done? He’s probably never joined a Baby Brian fan page.
The moment someone tells you about witches and curses, you tend to think they need some help, and maybe that’s why Apollo figured that going on this quest with William was the best foot forward.
The cinematography as the pair found the North Brother Island was fantastic. It was eerie and atmospheric, and how it appeared beyond the clouds added a mystical element.
We heard that witches were a part of The Wise Ones on The Changeling Season 1 Episode 3, but the horror both Apollo and William endured on that island was difficult to watch.
There’s been a sense of ambiguity about this group and their machinations because we didn’t even know whether they existed or were a figment of several characters’ imaginations.
You never know with a show like this, but an exciting aspect of the island was that, as soon as Apollo was attacked, he didn’t give up.
He got an assist thanks to a long-held memory of the bracelet he was never supposed to break and met the operation’s leader.
Jane Kaczmarek was an inspired choice as Cal. It was a complete 180 from her other roles, so I had to check whether it was the actress I had in mind playing the part.
Cal is cutthroat and isn’t worried about having blood running through the island if it means keeping the people she cares about safe, but there was something about her delivery of words that stuck with me.
Are we to assume she’s a cult leader who believes everything she says, or are we to assume she has powers more extraordinary than anyone could have imagined to make this island a haven for women and children?
Cal: Oh, they didn’t cut out your tongue, did they?
Apollo: You’re Cal.
Cal: Yeah, it’s short for Calisto. Come closer. They’re… They’re protective of me. You’re not gonna do anything dumb, are you? I’m putting on a show tomorrow for the kids. Come, help me make a frightening puppet.
Apollo: Hey, hey! Where is my wife?
Cal: Once upon a time, an old man and a woman had long wished for a child. And once pregnant, the wife gazed longingly at a field of Rapunzel greens next door. So her husband decided to steal some for her. But a terrifying enchantress appeared and said, “How dare you, you thief! I will curse you.” But she agreed that she would spare his life if they gave her their baby. Apollo: Enough. Stop. Listen, I need to know where my wife is. Hey, where is my wife? I need to find her, all right? Your whatever tried to kill me.
Cal: You know, years ago, a husband found us. He brought with him two guns and, oh, a ton of rage. I made the mistake of trying to talk to him. But he killed, uh, three women and seven children. That’s when we left the world and we came here. And we armed ourselves as best as we could. And when men show up, we’re just a little more, uh… proactive.
Apollo: How many men did you kill?
Cal: Ugh, who knows? We’re like the police. We don’t keep track of those numbers. So, how do we protect our children? That’s what Rapunzel is all about. That’s the question that it’s asking.
Apollo: Well, clearly, I’m the wrong person to ask.
Cal was rude to Apollo off the bat and strongly implied that he was to blame for what happened to Emma and Brian for cutting the bracelet, but without more context, that’s about all we got.
Apollo has been following any lead necessary to find Emma and get closure, but how can he do that if he’s locked up in this cell?
The series desperately wants us to believe that Emma is on the island, but something tells me she’s escaped and has become more of a liability for the Wise Ones.
If Cal was keeping Apollo locked up, without bashing his brains in like poor William, then it leads me to believe she thinks she can draw Emma back to the island.
Another shocking moment was Lilian looking out to the water from the shore at the end of the episode. Could she sense that her son was in danger, or was it more that she knew about the island and the Wise Ones?
There’s so much context from the past that we, as viewers, need in order to piece this puzzle together.
Then there’s Patrice. If he’s as vocal on this message board about what happened to Brian, then there’s a good chance my suspicions about him will lead to something.
Then again, how do we know that Michael didn’t try to change Apollo’s view of Patrice to become Apollo’s sole confidante?
So many questions. So few answers.
The good news is that The Changeling is finally becoming the show I expected before I watched the first three episodes.
If the mystery and action continue to gather steam, we might be in for one of the better shows this year.
What are your thoughts on the Wise Ones on North Brother Island?
Do you think Patrice is a bad guy, or do you think William made Apollo think that?
What are your theories about Lilian looking out to the water?
Hit the comments.
I want to hear your theories!
Catch new episodes of The Changeling on Fridays on Apple TV+.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.