The eighth and final episode of Apple TV+’s horror series ‘The Changeling’ depicts Apollo Kagwa’s confrontation with the monstrous creature that has been hiding in the woods. While rescuing the surviving “Wise Ones,” Cal introduces Apollo to the creature, which sets out to kill the departing members of the former’s group, making it clear to him that the same snatched away his son Brian. Apollo then sets out to save his son, following in the footsteps of his wife Emma “Emmy” Valentine. However, his journey takes him to the creature, which threatens his life. So, will Apollo die? Let us share our take on the cliffhanger! SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Scary Eye
After ensuring the safety of the surviving Wise Ones, Cal tells Apollo that Emma left the island for Little Norway to find their son Brian. She distracts the creature by fighting William Wheeler after asking Apollo to follow his wife. Apollo leaves North Brother Island and arrives in Little Norway, looking for Emma and Brian. His walk takes him to what he believes is a door, only for him to eventually realize that the same is the eyelid of the creature hiding in the woods. Since Apollo’s presence provokes the monstrous entity, it is not an exaggeration to say that his life is on the line.
Since the series ends with Apollo and the creature’s confrontation, the viewers must be wondering whether the latter will kill the former. As far as Victor LaValle’s eponymous source novel is concerned, Apollo doesn’t die after the encounter with the creature. In the novel, the creature is a sunlight-fearing troll hiding in the woods. Apollo confronts the monstrous entity not alone but with Emma. They discover Brian together but their reunion gets threatened by the troll’s vengeful presence. The entity then swallows Brian and tries to kill the baby’s parents.
The “God” Apollo’s Fight
In the source text, Apollo courageously fights the troll. “’I’m right here, you goddamn troll!’ Apollo shouted. ‘But you’re too stupid to catch me!’” the novel reads. Apollo then runs to distract the troll from Emma. Using a metal sheep’s head and with the dawn approaching for the troll to turn into stone, Brian’s responsible father tries to defeat the life-threatening entity in front of him, only to succeed. “The beast fell on its back pinned beneath a large hickory tree. It heaved there, on its back, panting and undone. The sky had gone from black to purple. The troll kicked its legs to try and escape, but it had nearly no fight left,” reads the novel.
Emma then stomps on the heavy gut of the troll after informing Apollo that the same swallowed their Brian. “He [Apollo] brought [a knife] out now and plunged it into the troll’s flesh, up near the top of the belly. He sank it in until even the handle disappeared. The creature thrashed now, and the tree on its chest buckled. Apollo pulled the blade downward, splitting the creature’s skin apart,” LaValle’s book reads. In the novel, the troll breaks into boulders after Apollo takes Brian, who is alive, out of the entity’s gut. “It made one last sound, a whimper that almost sounded like relief, and darkened as it turned to stone. A moment later the large shape broke apart. Now it looked like a mound of boulders, nothing more.”
The source novel ends with Apollo, Emma, and Brian looking forward to living happily ever after. Kelly Marcel must have concluded her television adaptation of LaValle’s book with the confrontation to add ambiguity to the future and survival of Apollo and his family. Since he is the potent “God Apollo,” he has the strength and determination to fight the monstrous entity he confronts for the sake of his family. He may go to any length to ensure Emma and Brian’s safety, even if it means putting his life on the line to beat the immensely potent entity in front of him.
Apollo needs to survive to reunite with Brian, which is essential for him to convince himself that he is not another version of his father Brian West, who left him or had to leave him. He may not want to die as a father who gave up on his child’s life, which may give him enough will to conquer the monster before him.