The Changeling Episode 4 Recap: The Terrible Mothers

The fourth episode of Apple TV+’s horror seriesThe Changeling,’ titled ‘The Wise Ones,’ revolves around Apollo Kagwa’s search for his wife Emma “Emmy” Valentine to exact his revenge on the latter for killing their son Brian. Apollo’s life takes a turn when he meets William Wheeler, an app developer who befriends the former to buy a first-edition author-signed copy of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ After forming an acquaintance with Apollo, William reveals his true intentions behind their meeting, which leads the former to the Wise Ones. The engrossing episode ends with multiple ambiguous developments concerning the mothers who apparently killed their children! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Search for Emma

‘The Wise Ones’ begins with a young Lillian Kagwa dragging a red suitcase to the end of a pier with visible injuries on her face. In the present time, Apollo and Patrice wait for William, who offers a high figure for the first edition copy of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ From Patrice, Apollo learns about a “Tribute to Brian Kagwa” page, which offends him highly. William arrives and takes the two men to a boat to explain why he is spending all his savings to buy the book. William wants to gift the same to his wife Gretta, hoping that she will return it to him after receiving the same.

Apollo meets Emma’s sister and expresses his gratitude for helping Lillian arrange Brian’s funeral. He adds that he hasn’t visited his son’s grave yet. Meanwhile, he receives a series of text messages from an unknown number, which state that Emma is alive. Apollo sets out to meet the person behind the messages by following a map the latter sent the former. He soon realizes that it was William who sent him the text messages. After a heated confrontation, William reveals that he has evidence that makes it clear that Emma is alive. The app developer adds that Emma is on an island in the East River and they decide to search for her on the same.

Patrice, after doing a background check on William, informs Apollo that the app developer is what he claims to be. Apollo then joins William to leave for the island to find Emma. After entering the island, Apollo looks for Emma, only to encounter a group of armed individuals, who take him to their leader named Cal.

The Changeling Episode 4 Ending: Who is Cal? Will She Kill Apollo and William?

Cal is the leader of the Wise Ones, a secret group that has been existing in New York City for years. The Wise Ones, led by Cal, is a community of mothers who have been suffering from several difficulties, which range from lack of sleep to post-partum depression. The foundation of Cal and the Wise Ones’ actions is the myth of changeling. When Apollo gets presented before her, Cal tries to explain how his son was really just an illusion through a story. By connecting the story to the title of the series, it is safe to say that Cal is trying to say that Emma killed an imposter rather than her real son Brian.

Cal has been convincing mothers that their children are monsters or changelings, who are substituted for their real babies. Upon believing Cal’s words, the mothers set out to kill the “imposters” while hoping that these murders will lead them to their real babies. Cal’s actions, however, resulted in severe repercussions. The husbands of these “murderers” tracked down Cal and her secret organization, which led to the deaths of several Wise Ones. Cal moved the base of the Wise Ones to the island to avoid such attacks. She also informs Apollo that their group killed several of these husbands to ensure their safety.

Although Cal and her people killed husbands/fathers before, she may not be in a haste to kill Apollo and William. Cal killed the others when they breached her territory with firearms. Since Apollo and Wiliam don’t intend to harm Cal or others, she may give them a second chance at life. Apollo and William may learn about the operations and foundations of the Wise Ones as long as they do not try to attack Cal and her allies.

Why Does William Help Apollo?

Ever since William gets involved in his personal life, Apollo has been wondering why the former is helping him. When the used book dealer ends up on the island with the help of the app developer, the former asks the latter about his assistance, only for William to say that he is accompanying Apollo just to not feel lonely. However, William has several secret intentions behind leading Apollo to the island of the Wise Ones. He has been trying to locate the island for a considerable while, only for Apollo to spot it on his first journey.

William wants Apollo’s help to get back together with his wife Gretta, who is a Wise One like Emma. Like Emma killed her son, Gretta also killed one of her two daughters, which severely affected her relationship with William. Regardless of what Gretta did in the past, William wants her back in his life. He wants to cherish the time he spends with his remaining daughter, who lives with her mother. William wants Apollo to talk to Gretta when Cal brings her to the island. If Apollo succeeds in doing the same, he promises to track down Emma for the former. He sends Emma’s photographs to Apollo to convince the latter that he has the resources to help the used book dealer.

What is the Significance of the Red Suitcase?

The red suitcase Lillian drags into the pier is shown at the depths of the river at the end of the episode, stressing its ambiguous significance. The suitcase might have belonged to Apollo’s father Brian West. Lillian must have dumped the same in the river after separating from her husband, likely following a fight, which explains the wounds on her face. The suitcase must have contained Brian’s belongings and Lillian must have gotten rid of them to completely eliminate his presence from her and her son’s life.

The contents of the suitcase can be the same things Apollo received as a kid in a cardboard box that had “Improbabilia” written on the same. That can be the reason why Lillian was shocked to see Brian’s things back in her apartment. Brian’s materials played a key part in the growth of Apollo as he has always tried to not become another version of his father. The same materials reminded him of Brian’s failure to be there for him. Apollo now must be blaming himself for not protecting his son Brian while possibly believing that he became what he always wanted to avoid becoming.

Read More: Is Apple TV+’s The Changeling a True Story? Is it Based on a Real Murder Case?