The Changeling

The Changeling
The Changeling
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The Changeling is a “sit-back-for-a-scare” experience, one that will only live up to half of your expectations. This new Apple TV+ series is highly awaited and carries its own expectations, most of which are for the viewers. Prepare to put together all the creative puzzle pieces here and work your mind in the process. Thus, you’ll be tempted to abandon it midway through its frantic eight-episode run, missing out on the payoff that leaves more questions than answers.

That seems to be the point of this and the challenge being presented by The Changeling. Victor LaValle’s bestseller has been brought to life by its executive producer/star LaKeith Stanfield (Atlanta, Judas and the Black Messiah, The Harder They Fall) and writer Kelly Marcel (Cruella, Venom: Let There Be Carnage). It reminds us of a ‘grown-up’ fairy tale like M. Night Shyamalan’s Servant – another exasperating project people could barely turn their eyes from. In some ways it feels more like an eerie fairytale or a dream than a horror story; at other times it feels disturbingly nightmarish. Ultimately though, it is a thrilling journey through New York City’s occultist underbelly tracking different timelines and witchy explorations.

As well as LaKeith Stanfield, Clark Backo (Letterkenny, The Handmaid’s Tale, Station Eleven), Adina Porter (True Blood, American Horror Story), Samuel T. Herring have Alexis Louder Jared Abrahamson Malcolm Barrett special guest-starred in this new series (Timelesss Preacher). In 2020 Queens New York takes us into this bookish fable where Apollo (LaKeith) has trouble hiding his feelings for Emma (Backo). Apollo finds himself attracted to Emma who also works at a library but keeps declining his advances until he finally stops. They eventually find common ground, and even fall in love with one another. For Emma however, delving deeper into those emotional waters is tricky. And as for Apollo, but we’ll get to that later on.

Emma almost ends up her relationships with Apollo when she moves to Brazil. He intends to keep her deep inside his heart. Emma goes through her jungle encounter months later; the locals think she is a witch: this has far-reaching implications. Therefore, it becomes interestingly bewildering and confusing at the same time as well as after that incident. What happened to Emma really? So why this abrupt occult-like mystery, what’s next?

Once back in New York, Emma and Apollo marry and have a child named Brian after Apollo’s father (played by Jared Abrahamson) who had abandoned him while he was still a kid. The first five installments of this show do an excellent job at setting up Apollo’s background by alternating between different timelines.

What no one could foresee were the tragedies that arose from when Lillian (Porter) was keeping Apollo’s father away in the 1970s or also when home life set in for them again. This provides Apollo with several daddy issues as he tries hard at being a good dad himself too many times to no avail though since he can’t escape his dark fate now.

For the very first four episodes, it may take until this series becomes rather interactive and keeps entertaining its audiences till the end though still not without mixed emotions of hoping for another season while being pissed off about the unresolved cliffhanger. It’s a hoot! It makes me sick! It’s just for fun. Let it be.

Apollo must go through a tragic series of events that affects his whole family in order to get to where he is now. Emma says “Brian is not a baby.” Does she have post-partum depression? No way. After finding some solace in a support group by Apollo, there comes to pave the way for the second half of episodes starting with mysteries from Apollo’s past and then followed by an episode where we are taken on New York City trip like no other.

Playing trauma-stricken roles is one thing LaKeith O’Shea Stanfield has mastered as an actor, so far, this is perhaps one of his most disturbing or challenging characters he has ever played. For this reason, Stanfield makes an amazing performance and even when the intensity goes on for too long you can never walk away from this show without feeling hypnotized his acting skills. However, I’m left trying to think how well would he do if given a chance at playing several roles that were more cheerful because some characters he plays seem to share those depressed moods as well. Meanwhile Backo takes charge as Emma; however, her identity may actually extend beyond merely being a mother figure towards something else that isn’t yet clear.

Furthermore Adina Porter breathes new life into Lillian who is always getting carried away by Ryan Murphy in a role she can truly sink her teeth into. Once Lillian reveals all her secrets to Apollo, these revelations become catalysts of another downward spiral in which our protagonist finds himself back again. Appearances deceive.

The structure and tone of The Changeling are both very frenzied. Are we in a horror movie or something M. Night Shyamalan adjacent? It takes a moment for your brain to process the peculiar creative rhythm that is established by the show, and some of its sudden shifts into new scenes and cuts are like waking up after being slapped on the face. However, it has us guessing, at least a little bit. Surely, Apple TV+ will plan for another season so as to provide answers to all unresolved queries posed here. So, kick off your shoes because you’re going to have to spend some time in The Changeling’s universe.

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