The sand is the focus of this epic episode of The Sandman entitled “Dream a Little Dream of Me.” Finally, we are introduced to the mysterious Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman). She is the last known owner of the Sandman’s sand stolen by Ethel Cripps (Joely Richardson). In our introduction, we find Johanna is a troubled soul plagued by nightmares from her past. Though she is portrayed as a shrewd businesswoman dealing in exorcising demons who can take care of herself. It is clear she is bothered by her nightmares and seeks relief. This requires help from the Sandman.
Demons and The Sandman: Old and New
The involvement of Johanna and her demons is of particular interest to Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), but not for the sand alone. Not only does he seek his magical sand, he seeks the location of his helm. This loss of the chance to locate his helm sends the story barreling in another more personal direction that involves Johanna and her past.
It is apparently that Johanna understands the existence of the Endless, but has never encountered them in purpose. She admits to having purchased the bag of sand, but has misplaced it by abandoning her past. We find through the insistence of the Sandman that she retrieve the sand that she has many demons of her own to face. The main demon takes the shape of an old abandoned lover. We are also introduced to a new friend, a raven named Matthew (voices by Patton Oswalt). Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong) has sent Matthew to look after Morpheus and relay news.
Intermixed between this plot line is the continuation of the story of Ethel Cripps and her son John Dee (David Thewlis). The location of the mysterious ruby is still in limbo, but there is a revelation that John knows more than he initially lets on. From this, we begin to understand that John Dee is much more calculating and intelligent than we first thought.
A Time for Healing and Plotting
Through sacrifices, those by Ethel Cripps and Johanna Constantine, the journey moves forward. The way each story connects and interlocks while expanding is done beautifully. The reluctance of Morpheus to accept Matthew as a companion due to the grief of loss from his previous raven is a heartfelt predicament. It also provides a much needed comic relief to an episode with heavy emotions and sometimes disturbing imagery and themes.
The feeling I got from this episode was a theme of accepting grief and learning to adapt to change. While there is an overlaying sadness and a resounding theme of trauma and regret, there is also a sense of moving forward for the better. There is also a building threat in the form of John Dee, who is shown to be calculating, intelligent, but clearly not well.
We also see in this episode the continued question about the worth of Morpheus’ mission. Is the Sandman too obsessed with power? Does he care about the feelings of others? Will he change to be more understanding of humans and their suffering? It remains to be seen the true purpose of his journey and obsession with regaining what was stolen from him.
Praise for Johanna Constantine
Personally, I enjoyed this episode of The Sandman mainly because of my love for Jenna Coleman. Jenna is known for her role as Clara Oswald in Doctor Who, and also as Victoria in ITV’s Victoria. The role of Johanna Constantine is far cry from either of Jenna’s previous well-known roles, and it is amusing, if not jarring, to hear so many colorful swear words pouring from her mouth.
However different Johanna is from Jenna’s past roles, she always manages to make each one likable with an added sense of spunk. She always has you rooting for characters, no matter how you feel about them. Her portrayal of Johanna Constantine is heartfelt, and you can feel the strain of what her life has become while dealing with her own regret and past life choices.
I hope to see more of Johanna Constantine in the future, as well as discover more about her past and family connections. Jenna Coleman is a brilliant actress with much to offer The Sandman.
The Sandman: What Is Ahead
What did you think of this episode? Did you like Johanna Constantine?
Do you think the decision and sacrifice Ethel made for son John was a wise one?
Did you enjoy the introduction to Matthew the Raven? Is the humor he brings too light or just what is needed for this dark story?
How did you feel about the the way dreams and the waking world were handled in this episode? Did it surprise you?
How do you feel about Morpheus at this point? Is his quest just or a grab for personal power?
Don’t forget to check this place when we will be back with some more The Sandman content. In the meantime, you can read our review for the second episode here.
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Tess is an Alaskan artist and writer who sometimes talks to birds. She also enjoys tv shows (the vampire ones mostly), movies, cross-stitch, and traveling. When she is not rooting for the villain or dressing up to weird her neighbors out when checking the mail, she can be found attempting to be a decent mom to a small horde of goblins.