I’m not going to lie, I’m getting a little impatient with this show already. The sandman seems to be going at an adjustment rate of one song per episode, and we don’t have time for this. Netflix cancels shows too soon – please go to hell.
Dream is back in his kingdom, but the shit is all screwed up. The Dreaming is a fishing kingdom: when Dream is sad, it rains. When he’s happy, little cartoon animals frolic around. And when he goes missing, the world begins to fade. Dream must recover his tools, the tools Ethel Cripps stole when she escaped from Roderick Burgess. And to do that, he must become stronger by absorbing something that he has created. Just like he tried to do to the Corinthians in episode one, Dream has to do it Infinite War Snap something to take it back in on itself. And sadly, all that’s left is a cute little gargoyle named Gregory.
Hats off to the VFX department to Gregory. Not Since The Twilight Saga I’ve seen such an emotional CGI animal act. And yes, I also record the “live action” lion king at that assessment. I cried for Gregory. if The sandman were on Does the dog die?, the answer would be “yes”. Technically, gargoyles aren’t dogs, sure, but why does this one come when he’s called and playing fetch? In addition, Gregory seems to understand what is going to happen to him, which is extremely disturbing. Thank you, little gargoyle, for your sacrifice and the commitment you have added to this otherwise very place-making episode.
Gregory is owned by Cain and Abel. You know, from the Bible. I’m so happy to see these two freaks. Both Cain and Abel are legacy DC characters, having hosted horror comics from the 1950s to the 1980s. Neil Gaiman added them to his story as a little nod to the past, in the same way that Jordan Peele Keith David in No. In The sandman, Cain and Abel together represent the first story. They have to reenact that first murder over and over again. Look at all the crosses at the House of Secrets; each is the tomb of Abel. Asim Chaudhry plays Abel with all the pathos and softboy energy it needs, but I could use more wickedness from Sanjeev Bhaskars Cain. That guy should be in full Joker mode 24/7.
After sending Gregory, Morpheus is strong enough to swim through the dreams of the world to find the things he needs to bribe the Fates (and to find a replacement gargoyle for Cain and Abel). This is an example where the TV show definitely outperforms the comics: seeing a big, old Morpheus arm grab at a crossroads of someone’s dream lines. In general, the CGI gets in the way of how dirty The sandman texture could be. But it pays to make such great set pieces.
Properly bribed with archetypal imagery, the Fates Dream set up what the video game industry calls a fetch. You know the kind: an NPC needs three items, you run across the map to get them, and you might get a cool sword or something at the end. Dream learns that his sand has been bought by someone named Constantine, his helm has been taken by a demon, and his ruby has been passed from mother to son. So that’s sorted then for the next few episodes. In games, fetch quests are often a filler, a way to fill up gameplay hours in reviews and allow the player character to explore more of the environment. I fear this is what we as viewers are being set for in this episode. In Simpsons language use, The sandman have to go to the fireworks factory already.
Speaking of that mother and son, we’re getting more of a sense of what Ethel Cripps has been up to with her absurdly long lifespan. In the roughly 90 years since she left England, Ethel has become an art thief, or maybe just a fence, taking the time to learn all kinds of languages and acquire an amulet that can detonate her enemies. Good for her. Hating to see a girl boss win, the Corinthian pays a visit to Ethel’s hideout. He hands out some vague threats, they both do good object work with some cocktails, and he tries to intimidate her into revealing where Dream’s stuff has gone. It does not work. (Thanks, Amulet!) Joely Richardson plays Ethel with nerves of steel, and you believe she can take on an immortal serial killer.
After sending the Corinthian, Ethel visits her son, John, in his mental hospital prison. John, played by David Thewlis (aka Remus Lupin), is a floppy, middle-aged teenager. Of course he should be 70 now. Perhaps the ruby hinders the development of his brain, just as it slows his aging. The small amount of time devoted to Ethel and John, two complex characters with many things going on, only makes it clearer what a blah protagonist Morpheus is. This is no shade for Tom Sturridge, who can emote like an asshole when he has to, like in Irma Vepo. This is inherent in the character. Dream is imperturbable and the essence of the story is flapping. His whole thing is undershot, which works great as a drawing, but can feel lifeless at times IRL. Therefore a live action Daria never got past the fan trailer stage. John Dee is the fireworks factory and we need to see it explode.
• Underused British character actor spotlight this EP goes to Chaudhry. Watch his season of task master to see how against the type this role is for him. Also watch every season of task master. Those show rules.
• Okay, one problem with the Corinthian: his eye teeth never shine enough. I need those chompers that sparkle like he’s got little Joe Bidens in his skull.
• One moment Dream shows real conflict and emotion is when he tells Lucienne that his family was almost certain he was trapped and did nothing to help him. He is salt about the.
• Excited to see Johanna Constantine’s next episode, although I’m curious why they chose her over John for this adaptation. Is it because Warner Bros. has bigger plans for the blonde bisexual Brit? Or is it because Alan Moore created the character and he can be quite cheeky when his toys are played with? I saw Gaiman use the distaff counterpart he’d made, rather than Moore’s, as a kindness to an old button.
• It’s LOL that Cain and Abel, two characters that predate Jesus (both in Christian script and because in sandman lore, they’ve been around since the first time a single-celled organism killed another), use crosses in their giant burial ground. And why does Cain dig a new grave every time? Just keep one and reuse it, like that one open grave in LA recycled in every TV show and movie. Work smarter, not harder, Cain.
• Vivienne Acheampong does her best with Lucienne, but at the moment she is little more than an exhibition facility.