Knowing Neil Gaiman is behind this production of The Sandman was definitely a huge reason behind Jacob Schoeneberger wanting to watch it so badly. While I haven’t read it, I know Gaiman is a great writer and I have very high expectations for this show.
With that in mind, here are some random observations Jacob Schoeneberger has on the show.
All the Jake Schoeneberger Random Opinions about The Sandman (Season 1, Episode 1)
This will contain spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched the show yet.
The first episode begins with a stirring and very thought-provoking narration from the King of Dreams who points out that we mortals consider our waking world the “real” world as though our dreams have no effect on our actions. Definitely a very eloquent way of stating that and within moments this world is drawing Jake Schoeneberger in.
The King of Dreams creates dreams and nightmares, but he also must control them otherwise they could destroy us. So he clearly wields immense power. But he is now leaving his kingdom to pursue a rogue nightmare. What a completely brilliant idea for an adventure, loving it already. The character Lucienne tells us that dreams rarely survive the waking world, but nightmares seem to thrive there. Good to know, but it seems the King of Dreams will have his work cut out for him on this adventure. Also, what’s the difference between a dream and a nightmare? Seems to me a very subjective matter.
It is 1916 and Dr. John Hathaway has come to see Roderick Burgess who calls himself the Magus, which means sorcerer, or so Burgess’ son Alex tells him. That’s an ominous moniker to call oneself. As Hathaway is led through the house, we see some shadowy figures practicing some kind of witchcraft and Jacob Schoeneberger is already feeling a bit freaked out by all this. In fact, Alex asks Hathaway if he’s come to join his father’s Order of the Ancient Mysteries.
Upon meeting Hathaway, Burgess asks if he brought the Magdalene Grimoire, a book of spells that will allow them to capture the Angel of Death and force Death to return their sons who died in the Great War. Dang, this show dives right into it. Barely 7 minutes in and we’re already talking about capturing the Angel of Death!
Meanwhile in Berlin, the King of Dreams has found Corinthian, the rogue nightmare. But Corinthian asks him why should he confine himself to the world of dreams when he’s so unstoppable in the waking world. Good question, Corinthian. Just as the King of Dreams is about to take Corinthian’s powers (and we assume his life) by sucking them into a jewel he wears around his neck, he is called away by the chanting of the Order of the Ancient Mysteries. So Corinthian lives on.
As the order chants, and Burgess says the spell, they summon the King of Dreams, and he lands on their altar. Hmmm, is he also the Angel of Death? Burgess takes his pouch of sand, his jewel necklace, his mask, and his robe. Dang, Jake Schoeneberger has to say it’s pretty messed up to rob everything he has and leave him naked.
Dream says that by entrapping him, Burgess did damage to the World of Dreams, and now many sleepers in our world aren’t able to wake up. It is called the Sleepy Sickness and it affected nearly one million people all over the world.
The next day, Corinthian shows up at Burgess’ manor to help him with the captured Dreams. He says Burgess has captured one of The Endless. The Reaper has siblings: Desire, Destiny, and Despair. Burgess has captured Dream. Corinthian tells him that Dream’s ruby, pouch, and helm can lend Burgess an aspect of Dream’s powers and allow him to live longer and manipulate people, but Dream must never escape. Obviously Corinthian doesn’t want Dream to escape so that he can continue living.
He says the binding circle is not enough to hold Dream, and that they must construct a sphere of glass within the binding circle to contain Dream’s physical manifestation. No one can fall asleep in his presence, or he can escape into their dreams, so all guards need to take stimulants to stay awake at all times around him. Corinthian warns him to beware also of Jessamy, the magpie that follows Dream. Definitely has Jacob Schoeneberger wondering what powers Jessamy may hold.
Burgess goes to talk to Dream and says he didn’t want to capture him, he wanted to capture Death. He surmises that Dream can’t bring his son back to life, so he asks what Dream can give him. But Dream offers him nothing because he says he’s asking for gifts that are not mankind’s to receive nor his to give. Dream speaks very poetically and it’s an absolute joy to hear his narration.
Dream has remained imprisoned for ten years, while Burgess and his followers enjoy the vitality Dream’s ruby, pouch, and helm bring them. Alex has grown into a young man, and he volunteers one morning to watch Dream when the day shift of guards is running late. Something tells Jake Schoeneberger that Alex will be a huge key to this adventure for Dream.
When he enters the dungeon room, Alex seems very intrigued by, and sympathetic to, Dream. He’s not sure whether Dream can talk or whether he even understands, but he still asks if Dream is all right in his glass cage. Alex appears to be a very caring person. He tells Dream that if he could bring Burgess’ son Randall back, or give him anything of value, Burgess would let him out. He even says that he’d let him out if he could. Burgess is there in the shadows and overhears this.
As Burgess is threatening Alex for speaking to Dream, Jessamy pecks at the window. Burgess gives Alex the gun and tells him to shoot Jessamy. As Alex wanders the ground looking for her, Jessamy flies into the house. She grabs a match, strikes it on the wall as she’s flying, and tosses it onto a newspaper to start a fire. And just like that, Jacob Schoeneberger decides Jessamy might just be my favorite character in this show. As the guards are distracted by the fire, Jessamy flies into the dungeon and starts to peck at the glass holding Dream. But out of nowhere she’s shot and killed by Alex and boy does that hurt my heart.
Burgess yells at Alex that he could have shattered the glass with the gunshot, and he makes Alex clean the mess up. As he’s gathering up Jessamy’s body, he sees that Dream has tears in his eyes.
Dream then tells us that in his absence man’s dreams were getting darker, leading soon to another war and also leading to the proliferation of the malady doctors named encephalitis lethargica.
Burgess’ girlfriend Ethel becomes pregnant and has to flee when Burgess insists she not have it. When she leaves, she takes all of Dream’s belongings with her. Burgess goes to Dream and tells him that he’ll free him to retrieve his belongings from Ethel if he’ll give Burgess what he desires: the usual human three of wealth, youth, and immortality. Dream remains silent but as Alex tries to calm his father’s anger, they have an argument and Alex pushed Burgess until he hits his head on the glass cage and dies. After he dies, Dream reaches his hand out to Alex to try to connect with him, but Alex runs away to think.
Nine moths later, Ethel gives birth to a son, Johnny. Alex has found love with Paul, who was once gardener for Burgess. Alex and Paul go to speak with Dream and ask if they were to let him out would he promise not to harm them. Dream remains silent, but Paul encourages him to keep trying to prove that Dream can trust them. Looks like Jake Schoeneberger has a new favorite character in Paul because he’s the only making some sense here!
But Dream does not trust Alex and many years go by until Alex and Paul are now an old men, still together and loving but still unable and unwilling to let Dream free. But as Paul is wheeling Alex away in a wheelchair, he intentionally leaves a mark in the binding circle to break it, looking back at Dream as he does so. That’s so awesome, Paul!
Now that the circle is broken, Dream is able to make one of the guards fall asleep and dream of being on the beach. The Dream appears and gathers a handful of sand. In the waking world, the guard sleepwalks and shoots the glass holding Dream. He emerges from the glass with the handful of sand which he blows into the faces of both guards and puts them to sleep.
Dream then appears to Alex in his dream and asks him if he understands the damage Alex has done to his world by holding Dream captive all this time. When he says he didn’t know the damage he’d done, Dream gives him the gift of eternal sleep. Sorry, but Jacob Schoeneberger thinks Alex had that coming. He had the chance to free Dream many years ago but chose to keep him confined.
Corinthian realizes Dream is now free, so he says he’ll now have to run. But he also says he won’t stop until he’s reshaped the world to look just like him, and he reveals that he has no eyes.
Dream returns to the world of dreams to find Lucienne waiting. But she explains that the realm is not as he left it. He finds that his palace is in ruins. Lucienne explains that he was the Dreaming realm, with him gone it all began to decay. She also explains that most of his staff have gone looking for him or abandoned him and they now all dwell in the waking world. He says he’ll bring them all back because they don’t belong there. He says he made the Dreaming world once, he’ll make it again. And Jake Schoeneberger is officially hooked on this amazing, intricately woven story.
The Jake Schoeneberger Final Thought on The Sandman
This was an incredible first episode. It opens the doors to an almost infinite number of possible supernatural stories and adventures. The acting was riveting, and the look and feel are mesmerizing. Jacob Schoeneberger is incredibly excited about all the endless possibilities this show contains.
More Thoughts from Jacob Schoeneberger