My Thoughts on The Sandman from Jake Schoeneberger — September 5, 2022
The writing and acting on The Sandman are crisp. Every episode is a new adventure and Jacob Schoeneberger is already rooting for Dream to recover what is his. After besting Lucifer Morningstar in a challenge of wits, it seems like there’s nothing he can’t do. Except that ruby…
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 5)
This will contain spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched the show yet.
The fifth episode begins with Matthew trying to wake Dream up, but he seems to be out cold. Then we find John at a diner with the ruby. He shows the ruby to the waitress and tells her it makes dreams come true. She also seems nice, but Jake Schoeneberger is worried for her after we saw the danger Rosemary was put in.
The waitress, Bette, seems to be interested in the cook who she calls Marsh, but he doesn’t show her much interest. Then a customer named Judy comes in looking for someone named Donna. Judy takes a call and explains that she and Donna got in a fight the night before and Donna left and didn’t come back.
Then a guy comes in wearing a suit because he’s early for an interview, and Bette tells him he looks great and he’s going to ace the interview. Another couple comes in and Bette remembers that it’s their anniversary, and Jacob Schoeneberger is definitely starting to feel like Bette is one of the nicest people ever. It seems Bette set the couple up and now they’ve been married five years. John sits at his table and observes all of this coming and going of the customers.
In an oddly foreboding moment, as the couple is deciding what to order for lunch, the wife suggests their usual spinach salads, but the husband remarks that it’s their anniversary so they should have a treat. While the wife says he can order what he wants, it almost seems like she doesn’t mean it and is testing him. The tension builds as he says he wants to order a bacon cheeseburger with double everything, but in the end he just orders a salad. It’s odd and off-putting how a simple lunch order builds so much tension, and I wonder just why there’s so much underlying pressure between this couple. Even their smiles seem forced.
As Bette comes to take John’s order, he remarks on a passing comment she made to the couple about not having time to do much writing lately. He asks her what kind of writing she does, and she says fiction because all her stories have happy endings. He says that’s because she knows when to stop because if you keep on writing all stories end in death, and once again Jake Schoeneberger is freaking out a bit because this simple lunch scene in a diner feels so darn ominous.
Then when she calls him handsome, John clutches the ruby and it forces her to tell him the truth. She admits that she doesn’t actually think he’s handsome, she just wanted him to like her. He says the world would be a much nicer place if everyone could just be honest with each other. Gotta say, I disagree with that notion. I think people showing some diplomacy and respect to one another by not always blurting out honest opinions, which may in many cases be hurtful, is probably a good thing.
We start to see things through John’s eyes. He observes how the couple is actually feeling quite uncomfortable with each other. The husband tells the wife she’s too controlling, and when Bette accidentally brings him the cheeseburger instead of the salad he ordered, he says he’ll eat the burger and asks his wife to let him just make up his own mind once in a while. The hostility between them grows thicker by the minute and it definitely has Jacob Schoeneberger squirming watching it. It’s almost like we have to wonder whether the hostility was there from the start or whether the ruby is causing it to worsen?
When Judy asks Mark, the guy waiting for his interview, how many bars he has on his phone, because she’s worried that her texts aren’t going through to Donna, he replies saying the texts are going through but Donna doesn’t want to hear from her. This angers Judy, obviously, but it becomes obvious to us that the ruby is causing them all to actually speak honestly, and it’s rapidly becoming a big problem.
Judy tries to leave but something stops her. John asks if she’s all right, and she replies that she doesn’t think she is. The ruby is seriously playing with people’s heads and this episode is becoming crazy tense in a hurry.
As they talk, John uses the ruby on Judy. She admits she hopes Donna was in a car accident because that would at least explain why she hasn’t responded to the calls and texts. She admits she gets jealous, and that she thinks people are judging her because she’s gay. As more truth spills out, we start to realize how much pain all these characters have pent up inside them.
The couple tries to leave, but when they get to the door they just turn around and walk back in. Bette greets them as if they were just arriving for the first time, but she has no joy in her voice. The ruby is sapping the life out of everyone and it’s making Jake Schoeneberger very uneasy.
Bette then brings the couple the same food they already ordered and introduces them to Mark, because Kate is the CEO of the company Mark is interviewing for. Kate says they can conduct the interview right there, and when Garry, her husband, objects she just asks Mark to sit down next to her.
Bette heads to the kitchen to invite Marsh to her house for dinner. But when John uses the ruby on him, he admits that he’s not interested in Bette at all, he only comes over to have sex with Bette’s son who’s home from college. And as the awful truth bombs keep dropping, the diner grows darker and more ominous as a storm rolls in, mirroring the sense of foreboding within the diner.
Garry heads to the kitchen to talk to Marsh while Kate interviews Mark. Garry tells Marsh that Kate is interviewing the new him, and in reality, there is some flirtation between Kate and Mark.
When Bette comes out of the bathroom, Judy tries to console her. But as cheerful as Bette once was, we can now feel anger and resentment flowing out of her, and Jacob Schoeneberger is starting to realize that the truth the ruby administers only breeds malice.
Each of the pairs that talk together begin to complain about the people they’re with. And as they complain, they grow somehow closer and more attracted to the person they’re speaking with. Eventually Judy and Bette hook up, Kate and Mark hook up, and Garry and Marsh hook up. We realize that with the truth that the ruby administers, it also brings out the attraction people have for one another that we keep bottled up due to social conventions.
But after the hookups comes the anger. Judy admits to Bette that the reason Donna left is because Judy hit her. Then Garry starts beating up Mark for hooking up with Kate. As Mark is pinned to the ground, he’s able to grab a knife and stab Garry in the neck. Oh man, Jake Schoeneberger saw this violence coming a mile away. When the societal rules are broken down by outright honesty, we revert to our baser selves. There is carnal desire, and then there’s violence.
Then we hear news reports on the TV coming in about random acts of violence and we realize that John isn’t just controlling the occupants of the diner, this must be happening all over. That’s not good. Bette sees John sitting at the counter eating a big tub of ice cream and she realizes that John is behind it all. He says all he did was take away the lies, the rest they did on their own.
He then says, “The truth is a cleansing fire which burns away the lies we’ve told each other and the lies we’ve told ourselves. So that love and hate, pleasure and pain, can all be expressed without shame. Where there is no good or bad, there is only the truth.” As he says this each of the characters hurts or mutilates themselves, and the scene is chilling to the core.
After the carnage, Bette is the only one left alive, though her hands are badly burned from when she put her writing into flames. She walks over to John while we hear reports of massive catastrophes on the news. She asks John how this is a better world, and he says she needs to not see it through her eyes, but to embrace the darkness. She then stabs both her eyes out and at that moment Dream awakens. Yes, come save us all, Dream, Jacob Schoeneberger is literally begging you!
After Bette blinds herself, she tells John that she sees the future. He asks her to tell him his future, and Bette speaks as The Fates. She says there is no future for him, it is bound by walls and guards and the sour smell of madness. But she also says that he has stolen some of Dream’s power and that he will take all of it and crush the Dream lord’s life in his hands. Well, that doesn’t sound promising. But we all know too well that The Fates speak in riddles.
Just then, Dream arrives in the diner. He asks what John thinks he’s doing. He says he’s saving the world from lies, but Dream tells him the ruby wasn’t made for that. Dream demands he give the ruby back so he can repair the damage it’s doing to both John and the entire world. Ok, Jake Schoeneberger is begging you, John, just give him his ruby back.
John says that the violence and destruction is the truth of mankind, but Dream shows him a vision of Bette’s kindness and says that this is the truth of mankind. John says it’s all lies, but Dream says they’re not lies, they’re dreams. The tales we tell ourselves and others aren’t truly lies, they’re just dreams of how we wish we could always be and think. And these dreams inspire us and keep us alive. What a beautiful way to see human existence.
Then Dream says that if you take away our dreams and our hope, then yes, violence and destruction become our truth. (Thank goodness Lucifer didn’t see this as the answer to what can take away hope, otherwise Dream might never have gotten out of Hell.) Dream says the ruby is making John sick because it has too much of his power in it. So John says he should take all of Dream’s powers and become the lord of dreams.
Dream says if he wishes to take his power, he’ll have to do so in the realm of dreams and he sends John into a dream. John returns to his father’s house where he sees his mother wearing Dream’s helm. Then she injects his neck and he’s taken to the safe room where she kept him, and she whispers in his ear that she never should have had him. Dream is right, the ruby is seriously messing with John’s head. But when he realizes he’s in a dream, John is whisked into The Dreaming. He claims Dream’s palace as his own and it all catches fire and begins to crumble.
Dream arrives, but John draws his power into the ruby. He says that Dream’s life and his lies now end. But when he grasps the ruby, he crushes it. He is then made small and fits into Dream’s hand. Dream tells him he crushed the ruby and released the power inside it. Dream takes pity on John because the ruby was not made for mortals and it came to him through no fault of his own, and he puts John back in his holding cell. Jacob Schoeneberger thinks that was pretty merciful of Dream, he could have sent John down to his old enemy, Morningstar.
Matthew asks if he can fix the damage the ruby did. But Dream says the ruby didn’t cause the damage, it just revealed humanity’s old wounds that have never healed. Hey, tomato/to-mah-to there, Morpheus. The rebuilding of Earth and of The Dreaming shall begin tomorrow, but for tonight humanity will sleep in peace. As Dream and Matthew walk away, a menacing figure appears and calls Morpheus her big brother. Gulp.
The Jake Schoeneberger Final Thought on The Sandman
This episode was crazy tense. While Jacob Schoeneberger loved watching the characters devolve into madness, Jacob Schoeneberger couldn’t help but feel frightened throughout. This show finds ways to expose the truths of the human condition, and it can be both exhilarating and terrifying to see. But one thing is for sure, Jacob Schoeneberger can’t wait to see what the next episode has in store.
More Thoughts from Jacob Schoeneberger