The Changeling season 1 episode 5 recap & review: This Woman’s Work

In the fifth episode of The Changeling, Apollo gets to know Cal, her people, and the island, while Emma’s past suffering is further explored. The episode is now streaming on Apple TV+.


In Brazil, Emma stops by the lagoon called Lagoa do Abaetè, where she sees an old woman. Emma takes one look at the woman and goes back. A local warns Emma not to go back to the lagoon. She is told that it’s haunted and that the old woman sitting there is a witch.

Emma doesn’t listen to the warnings and visits the lagoon anyway, and as she had told Apollo, the old woman ties a red thread to Emma’s hand.

Michelle’s stories are confirmed too, as Emma does meet a Norwegian photographer and clicks a picture of herself naked when the photographer is absent. That naked picture is indeed on display in a gallery in Norway.

In the present, on the island, Cal comes to meet Apollo. William confronts Cal with the information he has on her. She argues with William by claiming that she was going to kill him last night, but she has now fetched a boat for Gretta because Gretta must want to do that.

Cal says William killed his own daughter. William defends himself by saying that Cal is lying; they are witches, and they do that. Cal ignores William and is ready to give Apollo a chance because Emma had told her that Apollo would come.

Cal didn’t believe Apollo could find this island, but now he has proved her wrong. The way William reacts to all of this makes Apollo think that he is not the same person he met.

As Cal and Apollo explore the island, Cal lets Apollo know that Emma is in a place where no boats can be sent. She is out there, and before sending Apollo there too, there are things Apollo needs to know.

A flashback scene shows Emma struggling to love her own son, Brian, and wishing she could have been a better mother. Another flashback scene from Emma and Apollo’s wedding reveals how the bouquet that Emma threw for single ladies fell on the streets of New York.

Emma contacts the Wise Moms for guidance and receives a reply from Cal, who surprises Emma by asking if she is receiving disappearing texts. Cal says she can help Emma, but only if Emma is brave enough to accept this help.

At the same time, the anonymous individual sending her the pictures of her baby tells her not to trust the witches. Back home, Emma continues to see her baby as something else. She eventually seeks out Cal and even thinks of baptizing the baby.

In the present, Cal hands Apollo the book To The Waters & The Wild, which Apollo’s father used to read to him. Cal says Apollo has crossed into a place where the rules aren’t the same as the ones in the real world.

Apollo discovers the community of women that Cal has built. All of these women went through what Emma did. They brought their second child along if they had one.

Cal likes to think there is a reason Apollo’s father read Apollo To The Waters & The Wild. Emma willed Apollo here so that he could see the truth. They are both in one fairy tale. Apollo slowly realizes that he should have listened to Emma.

Apollo soon asks for Gretta, and Cal lets him know that she will be here after the puppet show. Until then, Apollo gets along with the kids on the island.

Apollo meets Gretta and learns that William mailed her the book but ruined it by writing the name of his daughter, Agnes, on every page. To top that, he also stole all the money from Gretta’s account.

A furious Apollo confronts William, who is no longer the same person. William’s face has changed. He says he didn’t know his real name or where he came from until he found a place where he belonged and people he could talk to.

Once he did that, he took off William Wheeler’s face and found his true face beneath. He claims he got his true name when his people saw his true face, and Apollo knows his name too.

In Norway, the person who seems to be the real William Wheeler is with his daughter. He sees Emma’s portrait from outside the gallery.


  • The fifth episode of The Changeling is low on developments. It serves as a filler to introduce viewers to Cal’s island and how Apollo’s past might help him look for Emma.
  • Most of the flashback scenes featuring Emma don’t amount to anything concrete. The show could have kept things mysterious by not visiting these events and just keeping this information as something mentioned by the characters.
  • One positive about the flashback scenes is that the reactions of the baby are shown in a way that a viewer will also find the baby scary. They can see what Emma is seeing and understand.
  • The final William Wheeler twist is confusing on the first watch. The question is how the show is going to move forward with this person not being William Wheeler. It can work if the show plays it smart, but at the same time, it can also be too much if it doesn’t.
The Changeling season 1 episode 5
The Changeling season 1 episode 5 recap & review: This Woman’s Work 1

Director: Jonathan van Tulleken

Date Created: 2023-09-22 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Changeling season 1 episode 4 recap & review: The Wise Ones

More from The Envoy Web