With the first arc of the season concluded, the series takes an episode to do a little ground building, set up the major plots for the back half. Which isn’t to imply that the episode is anything less than excellent. The Sandman isn’t capable of being anything less than excellent. But it’s an episode that sets up various threads, which will surely be tied together later.
After regaining his sigils and being reminded of his purpose, Dream is focused and ready to begin his work restoring the Dreaming. Which has a few errant citizens in need of tracking down. Of course, things can’t be that easy for him. For one thing, his siblings Desire and Despair plotting against him. The Corinthian is also determined to bring him down in order to save his own life. And there’s an added complication: the discovery of the dream vortex.
Friend or Foe?
The arrival of the dream vortex on the scene causes a variety of emotions in both the Endless and Endless adjacent. The fact that the vortex is a person only seems to make things more complicated. After all, there are apparently rules about the Endless interfering with humans, so Dream’s hands are tied. (Though I suspect some Endless consider them more “guidelines” than edicts.)
But what is the dream vortex, exactly? It – or, rather, Rose Walker (Vanesu Samunyai) – has the ability to walk into or even combine others’ dreams. And that’s not all. She can apparently also track down the King of Dreams in the Dreaming.
Unfortunately, the power of the vortex poses a threat to the Dreaming itself, making her very much the Sandman’s concern. Not that she’s aware of her true nature. She’s got too much else on her mind. Namely, a quest to find her long-lost brother, Jed (Eddie Karanja). And the discovery of her long-lost great-grandmother, Unity (Sandra James-Young) – a former victim of the sleeping sickness that resulted from Dream’s long imprisonment. While in a seemingly endless sleep, Unity birthed a child by…well, that would be spoiling things, wouldn’t it? But the reappearance of Unity brings back a thread from the first episode of the series, and it’s always nice when plot threads get a payoff.
She also had to evade an attack by some ruffians, which she did with the help of her new housemate, Gilbert (Stephen Fry). The point is that Rose has a lot going on. So at first, she’s blissfully unaware of the threat she poses – or the forces that are after her. Because Dream isn’t the only one who wants to keep tabs on her. The Corinthian is on a quest to track her down for his own purposes. After all, he needs a date to the Serial Killer Ball.
There are people who are into true crime and people who are too into true crime. And I’m going to go on a limb and say everyone attending a serial killer (excuse me, “collector’s”) convention would be in the latter category. But while the attendees may be the most horrifying that humanity – or not – has to offer, the actual planning process is as prosaic as any convention. Venue…check. Attendance list…check. Keynote speaker…?
Not to worry. The Ted Bundy Club has the perfect killer in mind: The Corinthian. They may not know his true nature, but they certainly know his work. More, they admire it. Enough to emulate it in a bid to get his attention so they can extend a personal invitation.
Even for a group of serial killers, intentionally getting on The Corinthian’s radar is a bold choice. Not a very smart one, undoubtedly. Particularly since their method of doing so has a fairly good chance of risking his wrath. But a bold one.
But get his attention they do, and he’s at least intrigued by the idea. As long as he’s allowed to bring a date. So they’ll live to kill another day. For now, at least. Meanwhile, while he’s plotting, Rose takes a trip into the Dreaming to confront Dream and demand answers about her brother’s whereabouts.
As for where her brother is at the moment. Well…it’s not good. And more concerningly, not only is Rose unable to find him in the real world. Neither can Lucienne or Dream in the Dreaming. Insert foreboding music here.
The Sandman is streaming now on Netflix.