The Changeling Review: A Frustrating Fairy Tale

The first three episodes of Apple TV+’s The Changeling will likely blow you away. Unfortunately, it’s all downhill from there.

The Changeling
Photo: Apple

Apple TV+ is back with a highly anticipated new series this September. The Changeling is a horror fantasy that might fill that Servant-shaped hole in your viewing schedule, but having watched all eight episodes of this thing, I reckon you’ll want to go into it with a little warning: it’s really, really good, until it isn’t.

The Changeling features acclaimed Judas and the Black Messiah star Lakeith Stanfield as Apollo Kagwa, who is a god. At least, that’s what he keeps telling us. It gets pretty annoying well before you start losing count of the times he’s said it, and it’s downright infuriating during one particular scene. The used book dealer had a pretty messed up childhood, though, which grants him a decent flow of empathy from us, even when he’s making our blood boil. 

As the only child of a single working mom and a father who was mysteriously cut out of the picture, he’s living in a bit of a naive fantasy bubble as an adult, where the future is wide open and he can still become the hero protagonist of somebody’s story. When he meets librarian Emma (Clark Backo) and falls madly in love with her, he can’t wait to be the father he never really had by immediately starting a family. 

Emma is equally smitten with Apollo, but tells him she’s off on a trip and won’t be back for a while. When he finally sees her again, Emma has a red string around her wrist, and tells Apollo she made a deal with an old witch at a waterfall. Three wishes will come true as long as no overconfident man who regularly refers to himself as a god decides to suddenly cut the string off her wrist and announce that he’ll be the one to make all her dreams a reality, thankyouverymuch. Wait, Apollo, no! Goddammit, Apollo.


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