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The Changeling – Season 1 Episode 6 “Aftermath” Recap & Review


Episode 5 of The Changeling charts the aftermath of Emma killing the Changeling, as the title indicates. She escapes through the back window, leaves her phone in the dumpster, and takes the ferry at night. In a big twist of events, Kim, her elder sister, is revealed to have been complicit in Emma’s plan. Or at least that she knew what Emma was going to do. She embraces Emma, who wants to stay. She does not want to go to the island. But Kim tells her she must, or else they will never know if Emma is crazy like their mother or if she did the right thing.

Kim throws Emma overboard and a boat takes her to Cal. Emma, as one of the witches mentioned when Apollo came to the island, is a “pain in the ass.” She is difficult to deal with and tries to attack Cal at every opportunity. Since she hasn’t slept for a while, Cal instructs the woman to sedate Emma. She is asleep for days and has nightmares of the time “before the aftermath.” When she wakes up, she realizes she still has her keys and carves a message on the walls of the cell that Apollo occupied when he was brought in.

Emma is also confused about finding a twig from a tree in baby Brian’s crib. Cal greets her but Emma is still agitated. She wants to look for her real baby which the fairies took away from her. Cal says that the chances of Emma finding Brian safe and sound are slim, as she and the other women tried to do it before but couldn’t. She takes her to the library as Emma wants to find out what tree the twig is from. It is an unflattering look as Emma is disappointed to see empty bookshelves. She promises to bring them books from the library soon. 

Emma wanders around the island in hopes of finding the tree. But her luck doesn’t strike out. While having breakfast, Emma asks Gayl’s mother about the location of the boat. Although she doesn’t tell her at first, Emma learns where they keep it. Emma tirelessly retrieves the boat and sets off toward the main city. She almost drowns before conjuring the strength to keep on going. Emma breaks into her workplace and brings back a host of books to the island, including the one Cal gives to Apollo. Before leaving, she also spots a news clip that confirms that Apollo is alive, leaving her with a bemused look.

The next morning, Cal is surprised to find Emma back. And with books! Emma is much calmer now and posits that there is no harm in staying until she really knows where to go. Emma looks through a book about trees but does not find solid clues. That night, she asks Gayl’s mother, who lost her middle child to the fairies, if she found anything in the crib. Her response piques Emma’s interest as she explains that she would find soil or dirt at times. And finally, in the “aftermath,” she found a leaf. She draws a picture of the leaf that Emma desperately searches for the next day. 

She collapses to the ground, exhausted and bereft of all hope…until a leaf of the exact description falls to her side from the tree. She has found it! She climbs atop the Norway Maple tree and her resolve is strengthened. That night, one of the women helps Emma take a secretive way into the city, one that would ensure she isn’t caught. She meets Wheels, one of the “mole people.” She climbs aboard his tiny vehicle and goes through the tracks. It is a whole world underground. Wheels calls it the Grand Central Community. Emma is enchanted and feels a step closer to finding her son. 

Emma is finally dropped at a metro station where she mixes in with the regular people. She breaks into the library again and uses the computer to print an NYC Tree Map. The Norway Maple is spread across the city in small bunches. It would take a lot of time to find something useful. Emma hears footsteps and it is Yurina, who has come into the office. She hides in a bathroom stall and hears Apollo waltz in with a gun. Emma sees him for a brief second before rushing out the back door and is chased by two police officers. Wheels is on hand to guide her through this mess and bring her back to safety. 

Emma discusses the tree with Wheels and he instantly makes a connection. He refers to a place in Forest Hills, Queens, which was formerly known as Little Norway. Immigrants first arrived here in 1825. Emma has finally found her calling and prepares to leave the island. Before she goes, Emma gives Apollo’s book to Cal, who looks in glee as a blue mist surrounds Emma paddling away.

The Episode Review 

Perhaps the only thing missing in this episode was a few minutes for The Norwegian Gallery and Wheeler’s background.

Despite this, The Changeling’s balancing act ekes out a great performance from Clark Backo in episode 5. Turning the perspective of the storytelling to explain the other side has considerably alleviated the perceived inherent darkness in Emma’s character we latched on to for the first half of Season 1. If baby Brian is indeed alive, this now turns into a story of redemption and we have an unlikely hero at our hands.

Despite the heavy undertones, Episode 6 had a humorous, lighthearted vein that wasn’t ironically subtle. And something tells me that The Changeling is headed in a direction where we can expect a semblance of a happy ending as an outcome. Will Emma and Apollo be reunited and live as “mole people” underground? To be honest, that seems the best-case scenario at this point.

One thing that I have concluded after this episode is that The Changeling’s adaptation is a sum of the novel’s parts. I can’t say the writers have missed a trick by not adapting the book in a wholesome narrative because this format is also equally affecting. I would have liked parts of these episodes to have not been exclusive to one particular episode but I will gladly take what’s on offer.

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You can read our full season 1 review for The Changeling here! 
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