Last episode, on the world's number 1 show, the changes began to appear, as Dream began to rebuild his power, and his realm. But he was not unopposed! The Corinthian is working behind the scenes, attempting to throw a roadblock or two in his way. But Dream had some help, too. From the perfectly cast Cain and Abel, to the mystically terrifying Fates, his path finally seemed clear. This week, he takes the first step toward regaining his lost treasures.
Episode three kicks off with a young girl being dragged into hell. That should give you some hint as to the tone they're going with.
The Sandman is many things, evidenced by the fact that we've had three episodes so far, and each one has been a different genre. The first episode was a regency drama, with mystical undertones. The second was mythical fantasy, featuring some classic creatures and entities from world myths. Then, episode three drops and the horror overtones are clear, right from the start!
Episode three is probably the strongest for me, so far. The first two episodes, while undoubtedly great television, very much felt like they were setting the groundwork, introducing characters, and setting the plot in place. Episode three is where things begin to really HAPPEN. Dream's hunt for his tools begins and almost immediately goes off the rails, as he enlists the help of London's best/worst exorcist, Johanna Constantine (pronounced the way John Constantine creator Alan Moore originally established in the comics). From that point on, things go from bad to worse. . . culminating in the second worst meeting with an ex-lover we see this series.
Now, though, it's confession time. I'm a HUGE Whovian; I've watched and loved NuWho since its debut and continue to watch to this day. I was. . . really not a fan of Jenna Coleman's 'Clara'. So, while I was blissfully happy with 99% of the casting for The Sandman season 1, seeing Jenna as Johanna had me a little worried.
That worry evaporated, like a dream upon waking, within the first scene of this episode. Jenna's Johanna is every bit the cranky, wise-cracking, broken toy that you'd want from a Constantine. She embodies the role in a way that leaves her instantly familiar to any fan of the character, while bringing her own style and flavour, to make it all seem fresh.
The changes aren't ALL great, though. I'm not entirely sure why they decided to add and then kill Jessamy the raven in episode one, and then have Dream mope about it, and hold it against Matthew for it from then on. . . but I kinda wish they hadn't. Dream doesn't really need anything MORE to be emo about, and it leaves all his interactions with Matthew (voiced by Patton Oswalt) feeling a little stilted and combative. Which is a shame, because his grounded advice and self-deprecating humour are a constant source of pleasure for me in the comics, and one of the things I was most looking forward to seeing on screen.
Ah well, can't win 'em all.
The Sandman Season 1 is available now on Netflix. And if you can't wait for the rest of the epic tale of Morpheus, you can read ahead at your Local Comic Shop.
For Season 1, check out:
The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Noctures (1989, By Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcom Jones III )
The Sandman Volume 2: The Doll's House (1989, By Neil Gaiman, Kelley Shawn, Jones McManus, Mike Dringenberg, and Colleen Doran)
And, while not STRICTLY related, if you want to read the best Constantine run in years, check out:
John Constantine: Hellblazer (2019, by Simon Spurrier, Aaron Campbell and Jordie Bellaire.) Part of The Sandman Universe/DC Black Label.
Taheg Gloder is a Freelance Copywriter from England. Obsessed with comics and Manga since his teens, he now splits his time between writing comic reviews and retrospectives for POP, and doing reactions on his YouTube Channel, The Dragon & The Hound. He lives alone, because he’s a hermit.