The Changeling (2023) s01e07 Episode Script

Stormy Weather

In America, we rewrite history
by erasing it.
[PERSON 1] What are you doing?
Stop! Crazy fucking bitch!
Okay, you need locking up!
[PERSON 2] What are you doing?
[PERSON 1] You need to
be fucking locked up!
Let go of me! Please.
There you go, honey.
[APOLLO] "This is
Apollo. Leave a message."
- I've been calling you for three days.
I don't know where you are,
Apollo. I don't know where you are.
[LAVALLE] People wash up
in New York. Literally.
The Elk Hotel has been in
business for over 100 years.
Built to serve immigrants
passing through Ellis Island.
I'm here to unmake a deal.
[LAVALLE] One hundred years is
quite the American success story
considering this is the
shittiest hotel in the world.
symphony has been discovered.
The Bavarian State Library,
where it was found,
said the complete symphony
was put in manuscript
form by Mozart's father
to save the cost of a note copier.
The newly discovered symphony will
be performed in public May 17th
- at a concert in Bavaria.
- [MOANS] He got you good.
[REPORTER] External investigators
are still trying to verify
the authenticity of the document.
However, a spokesperson
for the library
I remember this.
[CLERK] How long?
All of this.
- How long?
- I want Room 205.
- No, no. Look at the rates.
The whole night.
- All night?
- [LAVALLE] Lester was weary.
- For 20 years he'd worked this desk.
His job was to differentiate
between gang member and murderer,
- versus whore, drug dealer, john, or pimp.
- Mm-hmm.
[LAVALLE] He'd watched gangs
wage war outside this very door.
Teenagers Nay, babies,
senselessly killed on the sidewalk.
- [LESTER] How long?
[LAVALLE] At first, he'd gone out
there and scrubbed at the cement.
Now it was rust-red.
[LAVALLE] Gang members and
murderers were denied a room.
[LESTER] You get your
receipt when you check out.
[LAVALLE] Everyone else was welcome.
Of course, his deciphering
skills weren't always up to par.
Like the time a trans
woman was strangled,
stuffed under the bed in
a gold sequined dress,
and left undiscovered for two weeks.
- [LESTER] How many of you?
- Just me.
Oh, you alone, huh?
[LAVALLE] No one to claim
her, buried unnamed.
[LESTER] Mm-hmm. There are
centuries of names in that book.
[LESTER] Storm coming.
Yes, there is.
- Come on. Nah. [INDISTINCT]
- Get outta here! [INDISTINCT]
Excuse me. You move for a lady.
[LAVALLE] We cast our dreams as a play.
Who fills each role so we may bring
the unconscious to consciousness?
Who plays each role?
[LAVALLE] And why?
Hey! Don't touch.
[STAMMERS] It's contagious.
[LAVALLE] Lillian didn't
need Apollo's forgiveness.
She needed her own.
And it laid behind this very door.
[LAVALLE] 1981 was a
bloody year in New York.
Even Lillian could not
escape the violence.
[LAVALLE] She had seen
something that day.
[LAVALLE] Something
she could never unsee.
[ECHOING] Daddy! No!
[LAVALLE] And it had
changed her once more.
[BRIAN] I know what you
did, Lillian. I know.
So, you're really just gonna
make me wait, huh? [PANTING]
[CHUCKLES] Yeah. You really
make me crazy, you know that?
Yeah, sweetie. Yeah.
[WILLIAM] See you later.
[LAVALLE] She had been here before.
That night. That long
ago, terrible night.
This room that held a secret
she swore she'd never tell.
But secrets want out,
and prices will be paid.
That was your father's box.
Someone left it at the door.
tell me something else.
What should I tell you?
you can't know anything
until you know everything.
So, everything it is.
[LAVALLE] It was unimaginable
what had become of her.
What now, Lillian?
[LAVALLE] What now, Lillian? What then?
Tell me your story, and I
will tell you who you are.
[LAVALLE] It wouldn't be the
last time she'd hold a dying man.
If you're a stickler for numbers,
then this would be the first of three.
It is a tremor leading to the quake.
One person moves away, breaks free,
creates a seismic shift in
a family and in the land.
- But what is the cost of freedom?
Had she been responsible for all
that happened after she fled Uganda?
[LAVALLE] Could she
have changed the course
of her family's history had she stayed?
[LAVALLE] But she had left.
And after, The Butcher had
seized power from Obote
- and delivered a massacre to her people.
- [IDI AMIN INDISTINCT] they have to die.
- [LAVALLE] All were gone now.
All gone.
What god would make people suffer so?
What god would bring her all
this way to smite her now?
No god of mine.
- [LILLIAN] Arthur.
[LAVALLE] Lillian had
known for a long time
that there were realer things
than the King of Kings right here.
[LAVALLE] She remembered the hope.
The unbridled hope that everything
could be different in America.
New York had opened a crack in her,
and the light had crept back in.
- She found room to dream.
[LAVALLE] Her grandmother had
always said she had a lovely voice.
Maybe she could be a lounge
singer in a sparkling dress,
belting out torch songs
in some dusty saloon.
Maybe she would meet someone, fall
in love, have a bunch of kids.
America the Great. The promised land.
Apollo, I loved the
place. I believed in it.
I could see what America wanted to
be, and I would kill to be American.
But sometimes, most times,
it made me feel a little bit
like I had to get smaller.
Watch my words and my smiles.
Can't get too big, can't be angry.
[WHIMPERING] Don't you see?
Can't be visible.
- That's not our baby!
Apollo, have you heard me
say "I love you" enough times?
I've made some mistakes in this
world. You are not one of them.
[LILLIAN] But I layered onto
you, even at your young age,
my own dis-ease.
Don't get big. Don't speak loud.
Don't tell a joke. Don't
be too serious either.
Don't draw attention to yourself.
Don't throw a tantrum in the store.
Just don't do that.
Apollo, at four years
old you already knew
what it felt like to live life afraid.
When I was four, my favorite
thing in the whole wide world
was finding my jajja outside,
hunched over a big iron
pot, turning mandazis.
You never tasted those, hmm?
Soft, fluffy doughnut clouds.
Hot and spiced with a
little bit of cardamom,
a little bit of cinnamon
and a lot of coconut milk.
[JAJJA] Can't make a mandazi
without getting an oil burn.
[JAJJA] To make it taste
perfect in the mouth,
you must add the too, too,
too important ingredient.
- Love.
- [JAJJA] Love.
She was an oracle. Had a life
lesson for every minute of the day.
[JAJJA] Lillian, the
important thing in life
is what we do for the ones we love.
Lillian, don't let a man make
you crazy, 'cause he will try.
[JAJJA] Lillian, if you decide
to eat a dog, eat a fat one.
[LAVALLE] If we're lucky, each of
us has the memory of a kitchen.
The warmth and aroma of
something being cooked with love.
Regardless of who we
are, where we're from,
kitchen stove or iron pot, we
are all gifted this heirloom.
If we're lucky.
pot is all that's left.
There you go, honey.
[JAJJA] Lillian, ask
help from the spirits
when you have used all your strength.
Apollo, I never made you mandazis. Why?
Because I wanted you to like
regular American kid food.
I wanted you to fit in with
your mac and cheese diet
and your hot dogs and
your white bread PBJs.
But I made them with love.
[BRIAN] I know what you did
- Storm is coming.
- [LESTER] Leak! Bucket!
[PERSON] It's pissing
through the ceiling, Lester.
I got a fucking guest, man.
[LESTER] Oh, is that what
we're calling them now?
You'll have to wait your turn, Angelica.
I'll get there when I get there.
[ANGELICA] Just like you, Lester.
You'll get there when you get there.
Take your snail-ass fucking time.
[LESTER IN FRENCH] Si tu savais, cher.
what those words mean, asshole.
- I want children.
- [YOUNG LILLIAN] Excuse me?
I want the chance to be a good
husband and a great father.
I think I could do that. You know?
[PERSON] There you go, honey.
[LILLIAN] Used to be advice
passed from woman to woman,
drawn from the well of her knowledge,
how we do this hard, hard thing.
- I reach back to my mother
and she holds my hand,
and she reaches back to
her mother before that.
A human chain of information
back and back and back.
[BRIAN] Lillian.
There was some cracked magic
in the air when I met your dad.
We'd come from far-flung places,
me from Uganda and he from Syracuse,
so we could fall in
love in New York City.
[LAVALLE] Correction.
I loved your dad.
[LAVALLE] Correction.
I can't tell you what
being in romantic love is.
I never felt true
happiness or contentment.
All those tummy things people
talk about? I never felt those.
Just blank spaces.
Only from my son were
those holes filled.
Oh, I know that was
no good either, Apollo.
Putting all that pressure on a child.
Burdening you with the
weight of all of my happiness.
Loving you more than
I can ever love myself.
And sometimes sometimes
hating the burden of loving you too.
But us mothers mustn't
speak of such matters.
The divine inconvenience.
the sorrow, the regret.
The anxiety of caring for a child.
[LILLIAN] Am I enough?
You are a burrowed tick in my mind.
And it occurs to me, a mother is
something I can never not be again.
[CLICKS TONGUE] Can I be mother enough?
Well, now there is no choice.
'Cause, kid, I'm all you've got.
Of course, I had hopes and dreams.
Don't we all grow up wishing on a star?
I gave all my dreams to you.
Okay. Before I tell you what
I don't want to tell you,
let me first give him color.
He was wounded deeply by
a mother who hated him.
[SMACKS LIPS] I think of it,
and I wrap him in my mind's arms.
- The dad was worse.
But the betrayal of the mother was
something he could never get past.
Should have served as a red flag.
I was color-blind.
Your dad loved you with fire,
but he also got satisfaction
from achievements and other
worlds that didn't orbit you.
- I was I am jealous of that.
- [OFFICER] Officer West, congratulations
and thank you for an
outstanding performance.
[LILLIAN] Your father
kept a lot of stuff.
Stuff, stuff, stuff, boxes of it.
[LILLIAN] As if things were
proof he led a meaningful life.
Things filled the void left by
parents who couldn't love him.
They say we are destined
to repeat our patterns.
[LILLIAN] And ta-da, he chose a
woman who couldn't love him either.
But I needed him.
Needed him to cover my mistake.
There would be times I would look
at him and think, "I hate you."
And other times, he was the guy I chose.
Because, boy, I knew he would love you.
Pushing away all those gut warnings
that told me something
wasn't quite right with him.
I didn't see the fissures
that led to the quake.
I didn't see the reasons he chose me.
Perfect fit.
- Wouldn't you know?
He tells me
You make me so angry
I wanna punch the walls
till my fingers are powder!
He also tells me
You shine a light on me so
strong that I am blinded by it.
We live day-to-day somewhere
between those two extremes.
[LESTER] Fucking cheap-shit broken
city. The hell we paying taxes for?
[ANGELICA LAUGHS] You never paid
a cent to the taxman in your life.
[LESTER] Lady!
[LAVALLE] That's someone's son.
I know.
[LAVALLE] Who fills each role?
And why?
you. I'm scared of the dark.
The morning always comes.
I was beginning to think
I didn't exist. [PANTING]
Is this heaven?
The exact opposite.
- [THUD]
- [ANGELICA] I want my money back.
I ain't paying for no goddamn
room with holes in the ceiling.
Light and heat from candles?
[LESTER] No one else would have
you in their place, Angelica.
[ANGELICA] Fuck you, Lester. Fuck you
and your shitty-ass excuse of a hotel.
Where's your mama?
She's in Massachusetts.
[ANGELICA] I'm done with this place.
I'm telling you, I'm taking
my business to The Duchess.
- [LESTER] I won't miss you.
- [ANGELICA] The Elk Hotel is a haven
for roaches and rat shit.
[STAMMERS] If you get sick at The Elk,
it's from dope smoke
and-and mold inhalation.
The service is nil.
You come here to die.
- She never leaves.
- [ANGELICA] This here? This is a no-tel.
That's my review. Zero stars!
Zero stars, you asshole!
Where I come from, when you get
sick, your family takes care of you.
Where I come from, they
used to burn witches.
How you end up here?
S-Series of wrong turns.
You shouldn't be alone.
I haven't slept in so long.
When I can't sleep, I
pretend my bed is a boat.
And the bed is drifting off to sea.
I have to lie right in the center,
no limbs hanging over the sides,
because otherwise a shark might
jump up and snatch a foot or an arm.
That doesn't sound very relaxing.
Maybe not.
Why are you staying here?
[BRIAN] I know what you did.
Can I get you some water?
I miss my mom.
I'm gonna die tonight.
Me too.
Came here with Bill.
I told my mom that it was
a bunch of us sightseeing.
And Bill told his wife it was business.
We'd heard about it. This thing
that had been affecting our people.
Bill was scared. [STAMMERING]
I didn't tell him that
I'd started to feel bad.
Badder, because, well, we
had tickets to see Lena.
Third row. Right up front.
And the idea of not experiencing
her "Stormy Weather," I don't know.
The end of the dream was coming anyway,
and not seeing her would somehow
mean that it had all meant nothing.
All the anger and the
hiding and the confusion.
We came in on a bus.
People must've thought that
he was my dad or something.
Then it happened.
It was really sudden, like a
like a change in the weather.
Just, the cough got bad,
and the people started
staring at me, disgusted.
[STAMMERS] I was running
a fever, sweat dripping.
I could see the look in his eyes.
That was two months ago.
We stayed at a nice place and
then then his wife called.
An emergency. He had to go
back, but he would return.
He was gonna come back in time for Lena.
And when he didn't
I just I tore that room
apart like a loaded rock star,
looking for those tickets.
Couldn't find them anywhere.
I didn't have much money. I
kept having these blackouts.
I know I should have
used what I had left.
I know I should've.
I should've got a bus back home.
But I couldn't do it.
I couldn't.
I couldn't do that to my mom.
Just imagine what that would do to her.
You know, seeing the perfect body
that she delivered into the world
all rotted and ruined.
So I found this place, and I
gave Lester the rest of my cash.
I get that he has a
wife and all that stuff.
I get it.
But I wish
I just wish I could
I don't even mind it all
ending up here in this room.
But I wish I could have seen
her sing "Stormy Weather."
I wish I had that image in my mind
so that I could just picture
it at the exact last moment.
You know?
Like I could just imagine Lena
just holding that last note
as the curtains finally close.
Sleep tight.
[LAVALLE] No. She would not pray.
No god of mine.
[LESTER] Angelica!
[LESTER] Angelica!
[ANGELICA] Help me. Help me.
- [WILLIAM] Hey, man! Get outta here!
- [LESTER] Hey! Let go now.
- [LESTER] Let her go right now.
- This has nothing to do with you.
No one's ever gonna see you again.
- You're gonna find yourself
- I paid.
stuffed in a suitcase at
the bottom of a river. Get up!
- Get up!
- Whoa! Hey.
Hey, man. Come on.
Hey. Dude! Put it down!
[LESTER] I'm gonna give you
a shot to get outta here.
If you don't take it, you see
that stain on the wall over there?
That's gonna be what's left of you too.
Now, go! Go!
- Angelica. It's okay.
- It's okay. I got you.
[LESTER] It's okay.
It's okay. He's gone.
I got you.
Who's gonna come find me?
I don't exist.
You do. I'm looking at you.
You're right where you need to be.
- I got you. I got you.
[LAVALLE] What would happen to her?
What would she tell Apollo?
How would she tell him?
- [YOUNG LILLIAN] I'm coming for you!
Who's gonna help you shoot a basket?
Who's gonna teach you the
rules of American sport games?
Sandcastles I can do.
Changing light-bulbs.
Removing spiders from tubs.
But handmade Father's
Day projects at school?
What if something happens to me?
What if I die in the night?
No one will come for you.
Because no one knows
you're alone. [SNIFFLING]
How do you tell a child
his daddy isn't coming back?
Apollo, you felt he didn't want you,
but it was precisely the opposite.
He wanted you too much.
You shine a light on me so
strong, I am blinded by it.
[LILLIAN] I need to explain.
I need an explanation.
It was a really hot day.
Humid too.
We took the tramway to Roosevelt
Island to have a picnic by the water.
[YOUNG LILLIAN] Tuna salad.
Huh. Kinda boring, huh?
- [YOUNG LILLIAN] What did you say?
[BRIAN] I ain't say nothing.
And it was the first time he
didn't say anything that wasn't,
"Oh, Lillian, you're so beautiful."
"Lillian, you are a rose in a landfill."
Hey, Lillian, you know this whole
island used to be an insane asylum?
- No.
- Yeah.
Luxury apartments now.
Probably haunted, huh?
- Hey, you see that right there,
- the that lighthouse?
- Mm-hmm.
That lighthouse right there,
that used to light the way for
the ships bringing in the wackos.
- Mmm.
- You know, you're pretty crazy.
- You are certifiable.
- I'd get you put in there. I could.
You know, back in the day,
husbands, they would have
their wives put in that place
for, like, masturbation
[CHUCKLES] or menstrual
problems, or even smoking. [LAUGHS]
- Except it's not funny, is it?
- Mmm.
If you're one of those women?
[LAVALLE] Novel reading,
ill-treatment by a husband, laziness,
political excitement,
asthma, bad company.
You know, if something like
that ever happened to you,
no one would know.
Like, your family and that, you
know, because they're all gone.
So sad.
[LILLIAN] And it felt like a threat
and I felt a door shut inside of me.
It's my fault
that I didn't listen to
words said over tuna salad
on the banks of Roosevelt Island.
His and theirs.
[CHANTERS] A storm is
coming. A storm is coming.
A storm is coming.
A storm is coming.
A storm is coming.
If I could teach you anything,
it's to look for the signs.
He said
You don't exist.
- Excuse me?
- Hmm?
[LILLIAN] And I started
living in a kind of fear.
He really didn't do
anything wrong though.
Apollo, know that.
Not until Until he said
finally sleeping.
[BRIAN] Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Uh, banana.
- [LILLIAN] Sometimes when I was sad
- Banana who?
- [BRIAN] Knock, knock.
- he would tell jokes, make me smile.
- [YOUNG LILLIAN] Who's there?
- [BRIAN] Banana.
[YOUNG LILLIAN] Banana who?
[LILLIAN] He was funny
and sweet like that.
Who's there?
Orange who?
Orange you glad I didn't say banana?
Hey, Lillian.
I will know you until we are dust.
Why does that sound like a threat?
[LAVALLE] He'd found the
receipt and confronted her.
She'd sworn up and down
she didn't know where that bill
for a stay at The Elk
Hotel on 9th and 42nd
had come from.
- We'd just got together, Lillian.
- I don't know what this is.
[LAVALLE] An affair
in this shitty hotel?
Laughable. He thought it was her boss.
Charles Blackwood.
- [LAVALLE] As if.
[LAVALLE] As if she would deign
to spend time in a place like this
with a man like that.
He's married.
With two children.
Oh, yeah? You sure know
a lot about him, huh?
He keeps their pictures on his desk.
You started saying he
was knocking at the door.
[BRIAN] Knock, knock.
I go back to work when
you are two months old.
I have to.
I'm shattered from getting up
through the night to feed you,
and then working, and then home.
I got angry.
I scolded him.
I withdrew.
I planned. I plotted my escape.
Apollo, if you ever have a child,
the cruelest act is to rip him
from his mother, months old,
and have her go back to work.
Don't ever do that, Apollo.
Unless you wanna see crazy.
[BRIAN] Knock, knock!
We split up.
That part's obvious.
And now I see him in every color.
[BRIAN] You are screwed now, girl.
- You're going to wake my baby.
- "My baby"?
[LILLIAN] I'm petrified he
will take my child from me.
And I will never see you again.
Everything seems lost.
He's the American I would kill to be.
He has all the power.
You're just like my mother.
That's a stinging cut.
I take the little scar, and I add it
to my collection of little scars
[PANTS] and I'm panicking.
He speaks to me in this wary tone,
because he's convinced
himself I'm crazy.
He has to believe it, so he
can amputate me and take you.
I would like to say
Fuck you! Who do you think you are?
But I can't.
I would like to smash
him in the fucking face,
but he's the American.
No one's coming to get you,
Lillian. You understand that?
It is simple. Nobody's coming to get you
because no one who loves you is left.
And then the earthquake erupts.
He's come to visit you. It's a
Saturday, and he finds this hotel bill.
And I can't imagine where he found it
unless he planted it on me himself.
He's raging, even though
we're not together anymore.
He's out of his mind.
The vein bulging in his
neck. His eyes on fire.
He's saying if he can't
have me, no one can.
No other man is raising my son!
My son. I will take you to court.
I will finish you, Lillian.
You say goodbye. It is all over.
I would never! Could never! Have never!
When would I even have the time?
What do you imagine sleeping with
my boss would actually do for me?
Liar! Liar! Liar!
You're all glamour, Lillian.
You only appear as you wish to be seen!
And then I come home one day.
I've bought a Happy Meal for you.
You always ate the fries first.
I come home
and I see something I can never unsee.
And so I turn off the light.
[BRIAN] Our bed was a
boat when we cannot sleep.
But you, Lillian, you were the shark.
[LAVALLE] A cop?
A white American cop, of all people?
They would burn her for what
she'd done. They would vanish her.
You are a fucking liar!
But he's the American.
[LAVALLE] Like the women before
her and the witches before them.
I'm coming for you!
The answer is no.
I can never be enough.
The mom I want to be
is not the mom I am.
What I've taken from you, Son.
What I've erased.
The mom I am is just like he said
The mom I am
- [YOUNG LILLIAN] The mom I am
- [LILLIAN] Hey!
- No.
No. No, no.
This is not how Lillian's story ends.
[LILLIAN] She came inside
and closed the window.
Imagine the cheek of asking someone
to scrape you off the sidewalk.
[CRIES] I can't. I can't.
She came inside. Oh, my God.
Who are you?
Bad things in this world.
But nothing so bad is worth that fall.
Brian West doesn't win!
Just a dark night of the soul.
Lillian had lost her
connection to anything higher.
[LILLIAN] A dark night calls
for a spiritual response.
A lady God?
I knew it.
Are you here to punish me?
[JAJJA] Lillian, ask
help from the spirits
when you have used all your strength.
Do you think you should
be punished, Lillian?
Haven't you always felt that?
Because you left.
Because you survived.
Because of the lie you told
to your husband and child?
[LILLIAN] For all you've done?
Should you be punished?
[YOUNG LILLIAN] I'll believe.
I promise I'll believe.
Hail Mary, full of grace.
The Lord, uh
Blessed is
I don't know this one.
Attempting to leave your
son alone in this world?
Should you be punished?
I'll make a deal with you.
Please, I'll do anything.
Are you here to tell me what to do?
Lillian wondered, was there
another woman somewhere
on her knees,
making a deal for the son
that was lying in room 200?
I won't leave.
I am his mother.
That's all I ever need to be.
I'll be a good one.
I promise.
I'll be the best one I can be.
I'll do anything.
If you let me get away with this thing.
If you If you make
it go away, somehow.
These deals we make,
they're real.
What Lillian didn't know was
that 35 years from this very day,
Apollo Kagwa would pay the price
for the bargain his
mother made in this room.
What did you say?
The gods will take what they are owed.
[LESTER] You're gonna find
yourself stuffed in a suitcase
at the bottom of a river.
And then it came to Lillian.
The answer to her problem had
been in this room all along.
- She didn't need to confess.
[LILLIAN] She didn't
need to call the police.
She didn't need to tell Apollo.
She can make it go away all herself.
[BRIAN] Oh, I know what
you did, Lillian. I know!
Do be quiet!
You don't get to win, asshole.
Lillian realized
that no one in the whole
wide world needed to know.
She would go carefully, thoroughly.
She had decided to eat the dog,
and it was indeed a fat one.
But for all his talk,
Brian hadn't anyone who cared
whether he was alive or dead either.
[SIGHS] There is
nothing we will not do
[BOTH] For the ones we love.
Lillian remembered a long-ago promise.
One she'd forgotten she made.
I will never let anything happen to you.
I will protect you
with my breath and soul.
With every molecule.
And she kept that promise.
She was the mother she had vowed to be.
And look, the sun is peeking through.
Time to turn the light back on.
[LILLIAN] Lillian could finally believe
that things were going to be better
than they'd been since the day she
stepped foot on this country's soil.
She felt American.
[LAVALLE] It would be accurate to
say that Lillian's first child
and only child
was conceived in the
beautiful blur of 1977.
In America, we rewrite
history by erasing it.
But history will not stay buried,
deals cannot be unmade,
and gods will take their pay.
Previous EpisodeNext Episode