The Sandman has returned, and the kingdom of Dreams is broken. The century-long absence of Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) has led to chaos and dilapidation. When we return to Morpheus and Lucienne (Vivienne Acheampong) in “Imperfect Hosts”, we discover that the land has been largely abandoned. And we learn that despite Lucienne’s best efforts, the library has vanished. With this vanishing, most of the knowledge and use of the dreamland was lost.
This is now Morpheus’ goal, to repair the damage done. To do this, he will need his tools stolen from him. Morpheus determines that he must summon the Three-Who-Are-One, The Fates, for their assistance. However, their assistance is not free nor easy to obtain. Despite Lucienne’s warnings and suggestions of seeking assistance elsewhere, Morpheus embarks on the expensive and somewhat risky journey of advising The Fates.
The Journey Begins
To go on the journey ahead, we find Morpheus must seek a bit of power to do so. This power is rooted in his kingdom and found in an unexpected and mildly upsetting way. At the start of this journey, we are introduced to the brothers Cain (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and Abel (Asim Chaudhry). They are true to their biblical lore, but also vivid and rich characters that are clearly loyal to Morpheus.
The reintroduction to the navigation of dreams once Morpheus attains his bit of power is both ominous and joyful. The series does a wonderful job in portraying the deep mystery of a dreamworld that has become dark and treacherous. It also shows that the dreams of humans are still vivid and contain value.
The Fates themselves are perfectly portrayed as the Maiden (Dinita Gohil), Mother (Nina Wadia), and Crone (Souad Faress). This is also evident in their personalities and conversation. Their cryptic nature is showcased in their mysteriousness and tendency to be brief. Everything for them requires a cost.
The Sandman and Mythology in Use
Personally, I enjoyed the way mythological lore is weaved into the story, along with the introduction of the lore of the Sandman. Neil Gaiman has a beautiful way to use old stories to compliment the new. I appreciate and value this for the purpose of rich and exciting story telling. As fan fiction uses a vast library canon and known facts, so does the cannon of different mythologies created by various civilizations from history to compliment the world of the Sandman.
The appreciation and detail introduced into this story, along with the brief foreshadowing mention of the Endless siblings, Destiny and Desire, leaves us with the feeling that there are many stories yet to be told. There is intrigue regarding who Dream’s siblings are and what they can do to help. This further invests us in the mythology of the world of Dreams. It seems the Sandman is not keen on receiving help from his family, due to his bitterness that they did not assist him in his captivity. It remains to be seen if he can see past that and forgive them in his own way.
Themes and Reintroductions
From this episode, we learn that the Sandman’s tools are dispersed in different places. With each location, there are various connections, and one resting beyond the world, foreshadowing a journey that spans worlds. We are also re-introduced to Ethel Cripps (Joely Richardson), who is now older and a professional thief. We find her living in a highly guarded fortress, but able to protect herself even against the Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook), whom she faces with flare. There is also an introduction to Ethel’s son John Dee (David Thewlis), who we learn is locked away. This is due to his involvement, we assume, with the stolen mystic ruby.
There is a theme introduced in this episode that everyone has their own story. This story is something they feel they cannot change, and that the acceptance of this provides them peace. Though there are hints that this may or may not be true for some. The visual storytelling of the world of Dreams is both fascinating and awe-inspiring to behold. The Corinthian makes clear the set up of conflict by the end of this episode. This dovetails nicely with the story that everyone has their purpose to follow to find peace, and the Corinthian’s defiance of that belief.
Questions to Be Asked
- How will The Sandman retrieve his stolen tools with only the brief answers given to him by the Fates?
- What did Ethel Cripps mean that the Ruby was taken by her son John but that it also took him in return?
- Do we all have a narrative or story that embodies each of us? If so, is it important to keep to that story and why?
- Given the sacrifice made in this episode, is the Corinthian correct in assuming that Morpheus does not care for his residents? And that he does not care for the human world? Is he only concerned personal power and gain?
- How do you think the journey will play out? Will Morpheus be able to retrieve his tools without sacrificing the well-being of himself or others?
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 first 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.