The Sandman S1E8 REVIEW: She really Rose to the occasion.

Updated: Oct 8

The hardest part of these reviews is thinking up something new to write here, to distract from my reuse of this image.

Last week, on the world's Number 1 show, We met Rose Walker, great granddaughter of Unity Kincaid, who is on a mission to track down her missing brother, Jed. Traveling all over with her good friend Lyta Walker, Rose is having a really rough time finding any useful information.

This is not at all helped by the fact that she's The Vortex: a human being who briefly becomes the heart of the dreaming. I know this SOUNDS really cool, but it actually just means that she draws nightmares to her, like a plate of chips draws seagulls... And this week, she has to fight off a whole swarm of them!

Three of the Major Arcana are missing from the Dreaming. This is a very bad thing. And so, Dream has made it his mission to track them down, and hopefully return them, with minimal harm done.

This may prove tricky, though. Because one of them; a Nightmare by the name of Gault, seems to have set up residence in the mind of one Jed Walker.

Meanwhile, Rose's dream-related troubles are only just beginning, as her good friend Lyta draws ever more into her dream world, where she can finally be reunited with her lost husband.

Oh, and did I mention that The Corinthian now knows where she is, and is drawing nearer, by the moment?

It's almost like there's something about Rose, that draws all these Nightmares to her...

And now, for no reason: Martin Tenbones. The best character in Sandman.

I don't want to say this, but I kinda have to. So let's just get it out of the way and move on. I don't like this episode. It's probably my least favourite, in the season.

It's funny, and a bit sad. I've recommended The Sandman Library to more people that I can probably count. Definitely to more people than have ever actually asked me for comic recommendations. I just love the series so much, I can't help myself.

But, one word of advice I give to almost all of those readers: Just push through "Preludes and Nocturnes". It's a good arc, but it's not great. If you want to really FEEL what Sandman is about, you have to push on and get to "The Doll's House". That's where the series really starts to establish itself, and builds the tone that will carry on through to the end.

So, naturally, when I heard that The Sandman was coming to the big screen, I expected to be a little disappointed with the first few episodes, while we got through "Preludes", and then really get hooked once "The Doll's House" kicked off.

Maybe it's just that my expectations were so high, but I've found the total opposite to be true. The first six episodes of this show are amazing. The way they've brought "Preludes" to life is nothing short of perfection; "24/7" and "Sound of Her Wings" are two of my top three episodes for the whole series. But I just can't really connect with these last four episodes.

I think my main problem is that there were a few changes in the opening arc, but they all felt like they made sense. Johanna is an established character in the series anyway, so making her more prominent just makes sense, if they couldn't get the rights for John. Increasing The Corinthian's screen time helps to builds up an important character in the Lore, and Boyd Holbrook is amazing, so why not lean into that?

But I can't help feel that the changes they made to "The Doll's House" are... less well thought out. Splitting up Lyta's story from Jed's, fusing Brute and Glob into one nightmare, and then making them a nice character, Lyta's instant pregnancy... I'm sure these seemed like great ideas on paper, but I just can't quite get my head around them. I can't help but think, from the first two episodes of this season, that the show REALLY would have benefitted from a 12 episode length (with "Dream of 1000 Cats/Calliope" being episode 13). I think giving "The Doll's House" a little more room to grow, and maybe having it play out a little closer to how it did in the comics would have made for a much more satisfying arc, to me.

Now, there is EVERY chance that this is just my natural (or should I say irrational?) protectiveness over an arc I really love being changed, but from speaking to other viewers, especially those familiar with the comics, I do feel like the love for the series falls off a little, after the amazing peak of episodes five and six. I can't help but wonder if that's because the changes to the show start to feel a little jarring in the back half...

Again, though, I really want to reiterate: The show is still great. The performances are spectacular, everyone plays their characters perfectly, Rose especially absolutely carries the episode (as she does for this arc, in the comics), The Corinthian just oozes charm and danger every second he's on the screen, and while I'm not a fan of the changes to her arc, Lyta's subtle but relatable performance makes it impossible not to feel for her. I just wish the plot backed up the strength of the performance, special effects, and music.

But hey, at least we got to meet Martin Tenbones, and see a little of The Land. Can't wait to see that arc come to life, once Netflix finally announces that they've pulled their thumbs out of their asses and renewed this show.


For Season 1, check out:

The Sandman Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes (1989, By Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, Mike Dringenberg, and Malcolm 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.

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