As expected, the plot lines that were introduced in the previous episode start getting a payoff in this one. Rose’s search for her brother takes one step forward and two steps back. Jed moves out of the proverbial frying pan and into the fire. And Dream shows that he embraced the lesson that we should live up to our purpose perhaps a little too well. Oh, yeah, and there’s that whole dream baby…
The Nature of Evil
How absolutely evil does a person have to be to make the audience root for the serial killer by comparison? Yes, I know that Jed isn’t exactly in a safe place at the end of this episode. The Corinthian has him, after all. But there’s no reason to believe that The Corinthian has any intention of harming him…yet. Whereas Uncle Barnaby (Sam Hazeldine) poses a distinct and immediate threat. (And while Aunt Clarice (Lisa O’Hare) was no doubt Barnaby’s victim, she did nothing to protect the child in her care.) There’s no doubt Barnaby absolutely would have gone through with his threat of breaking every single bone in Jed’s body, given time. Not even that much time. Like, another five minutes, maybe.
Luckily – and, yes, I’m well aware of how strange that is to say – The Corinthian got there first. He stopped long enough to have a little eyeball snack, and then he got Jed out of that situation post-haste. Of course, he’s doing so for his own reasons. He’s after Rose, after all. But right now, Jed is actually safer with him.
Think about that. He’s safer with a literal serial killing Nightmare. Once again, The Sandman proves that even the worst thing we can dream up doesn’t hold a candle to the evils we can do.
After all, at least Nightmares can dream of being something better. As demonstrated by Gault (Ann Ogbomo), a Nightmare who had escaped the Dreaming in Morpheus’s absence. She’d found Jed and had created a world for him in which he could strong and brave and safe. He could be the hero. He could be the Sandman.
Dream isn’t too thrilled about her attempt at switching careers and makes her pay a heavy price for doing so. Which suggests that he might have embraced Death’s lesson a little too well – and in so doing, missed a point. One that he would have done well to have taken from his friendship with Hob. The Sandman – like the Dreams and Nightmares he creates – does have a purpose to fill. But that doesn’t mean he can’t change. In fact, not only have we already seen him do so, but we saw how immortality has changed Hob over the years. And wasn’t Gregory the Gargoyle once been a Nightmare?
It seems even Nightmares can dream of being something else. Something better. Something good. And while I understand Dream’s point – that trapping Jed in a dream world would do him no good in the end – I’m with Lucienne on this one. Dream’s punishment was too harsh, and I hope he sees the error of his ways, in the end. Gault is one Nightmare that perhaps deserves a chance to be good. Since she was willing to suffer thousands of years of torment rather than scare another person, perhaps she already is.
Rose might have been a few minutes too late to save Jed, but she is getting stronger. In ways that she doesn’t understand…or even know. In her quest to find her brother, she unwittingly draws the dreams of those around her closer to her, taking a little stroll through the things that are in their heads at night. And some of those dreams are disturbing.
But she has a more concrete impact on her friend, Lyta Hall (Razane Jammal). Lyta had volunteered to accompany Rose on her quest, but she also has plenty she’s dealing with in her own right. Mainly her grief over her dead husband, Hector (Lloyd Everitt).
Grief is a hard enough burden to bear, even without a dream vortex in close proximity. Lyta would undoubtedly dream about Hector, even without Rose’s presence. But Rose’s influence gives those dreams a little extra…oomf. The dreams become more “real.” Real enough that a pregnancy that begins in her dreams manifests in reality, as well.
Rose is certainly powerful, indeed. One can only hope she gets a handle on her powers fast – for everyone’s sake.
The Sandman is streaming now on Netflix.