Have you ever seen an adaptation that’s so good, you just want to sit with it for a while? The Sandman is quickly becoming that kind of adaptation for me. I just want to sit and mull each episode for a while after they’ve finished. Maybe rewatch a time or two, to make sure there’s nothing I’ve missed. Sadly, that’s usually when people remind me that I have, you know, actual reviews to write. So let’s get to it.
Ode to a Gargoyle
I never thought I’d mourn the death (or reabsorption) of a gargoyle before. (And, yes, I was a fan of Gargoyles back in the day. But if a gargoyle died in that cartoon, I’ve blocked out the memory and am perfectly fine with living in continued ignorance.)
Of course, in a show like The Sandman, if you meet a character and love them instantly, well…probably best not to get too attached. Just to be safe. And I knew when the scene started how it would end. But gosh darn it, if the gargoyle playing joyfully with his little ball didn’t steal my heart.
Which made it hurt all the worse when he agreed to sacrifice himself so Dream could recover enough power to call the Three-Who-Are-One. The Fates are the only ones who can tell Dream where he can find his three sigils of power: his sand, helm, and ruby. All three were taken from him by Roderick Burgess and later stolen by Ethel, who then fled into the night to save her unborn child. Without the three sigils, Dream will not be able to restore the Dreaming.
So, yes, it’s important that he recover them. But that didn’t stop me from yelling at the screen the whole time, that (the ever-excellent) Lucienne needed to help him find another way.
Actor Tom Sturridge once again proved how excellent he could be with subtle, understated moments, playing to utter perfection Dream’s regret at what he had to do. And while the Corinthian swears that Dream doesn’t care about anyone but himself, he cares enough to gift Cain and Abel (yes, that Cain and Abel) with a new pet: a baby gargoyle named Goldie. Which was almost enough to take the sting of Gregory’s death away.
Look, I loved the gargoyle, okay???
Ethel and Johnny
Surprise! Ethel is still alive after all these years. And looking pretty good for her age, too. Since she was the one who stole the three sigils from the Magus, she’s the obvious lead to track them down again. And, for certain, the Corinthian tries.
But while there are many things one might call Ethel, a “helpless victim” isn’t one of them. It turns out she got rid of the three sigils over the years. The Fates kind of tell Dream where he can find his sigils. But not really. It’s more like they give him a hint – enough to get started, but not enough to really know. (His repeated disregard of their “one question, one answer” restriction was both hilarious and relatable.
The sand was sold in London. Enter Johanna Constantine, soon enough. The helm was traded to a demon for the Amulet of Protection. Luckily for Ethel, as it saves her from the Corinthian’s threats, easily enough. And the ruby, well…that will be a mystery for another day. What we know for now is that it doesn’t just make dreams come true. It does the same for nightmares.
Which is how Johnny ended up in a hospital. Or, as he deems it, a prison. What exactly led him there and where the ruby is now is something we will discover in the future.
The Sandman is streaming now on Netflix.