Last episode, on the world's Number 1 show, things got REALLY freakin' tense. As Dream ventured into the depths of hell to reclaim his helm of office, John Dee got a lift from a well meaning passerby. Somehow, they both ended up in Mayhew at the same time, which didn't end very well for the King Of Dreams. Now, Dee is feeling a little peckish and has decided to spend some time at a nice diner...
In one of the tightest episodes in the season, and possibly in television history, '24/7' takes the grand scope and majestic dream-like vistas that we've all come to expect... and throws them right out of the window.
Set almost entirely in a single location, The Sandman Episode 5 takes a seemingly normal diner, filled with seemingly normal people, and shows you exactly what happens, when you let them be 'true' to themselves.
They say honesty is the best policy. It takes Dee 24 hours, and a magical ruby, to show us all that there's a huge difference between honesty... and honesty.
If you ask any Sandman reader which part of the first volume they were the most anxious about seeing in live action, I'm pretty sure more than 90% would say '24 Hours'.
For many, myself included, this was the issue that made us all sit up and realise that this was NOT your average comic. Sure, Dream is a mostly heroic figure, and while there is the occasional "what the hell?!" moment in the first volume, it's not until the absolute unfettered nightmare fuel of '24 Hours', that we realised just how different The Sandman was going to be.
So, naturally, this is the episode that many of us anticipated, almost as much as we dreaded it. There's NO way they could play it out in live action, the way they did on the page. There isn't a bribe in the world big enough, to make the censors allow it.
And we'd have been right. '24/7' is very much an adaptation of that fabled issue. While there have been some tweaks here and there in the story so far, this is the first episode that is so drastically changed.
But that's not a bad thing, really. The original comic is genuinely disgusting, in just about every way it's possible to fit on the page. The TV show takes that chilling soul, that idea of letting humanity's true inhumanity shine, and very much gives it new life. There is considerably less murder, and thankfully 100% less necrophilia... but what we do get is a no holds barred look into the poisonous power of brutal, unchecked honesty.
In a series about the power of dreams, which are in effect, simply the lies we tell ourselves to make life a little more bearable, this episode flips the tables, and shows us just what a group of seemingly kind people are capable of, when those dreams are stripped away. Still utterly terrifying, and horrific in its own way, '24/7' tells a story that is very true to the original idea of the comics, while still very much doing its own thing.
And, I know I said this last time, but I have to bring it up again: David Thewlis is genuinely perfect as John Dee.
There's something so unsettling, about seeing a man sit in his PJs, eating an industrial sized tub of ice cream, while everyone around him bounces back and forth between hooking up, mutilating themselves, and murdering each other.
Of course, it helps that if "What? But he seemed so nice... who'd have thought he was eating people..." had a face, that face would be David Thewlis.
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 Nocturnes (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)
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.