My Thoughts on The Sandman from Jake Schoeneberger — September 9, 2022
Every episode of The Sandman has a little something new. Each makes its own statement on the human condition and weaves amazing elements of the supernatural and mythical in. It definitely has Jacob Schoeneberger captivated.
With that in mind, here are some random observations Jacob Schoenberger has on the show.
All the Jake Schoeneberger Random Opinions about The Sandman (Season 1, Episode 6)
This will contain spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched the show yet.
The sixth episode begins with Dream on a park bench feeding pigeons. He’s approached by a woman who tries to lighten his mood because she can tell he’s moping. She speaks to him as if she knows him, and he describes that the reason he’s sad is because for the first time in a long time he had a quest to get his tools back, and now that he has them he feels let down.
Then she lights into him about feeling sorry for himself and not having the guts to go out and find a new mission or purpose. Then she reveals that he’s her brother, and Jake Schoeneberger has to pick his jaw up off the floor! The way Dream has talked about his siblings, I was sure there was going to be some animosity. But she says she has work to do and invites him to join her, and he agrees.
As they walk, they speak of their sister, Desire, and of the prodigal, who still remains missing (Despair, the other sibling, maybe?). They come to a building where a violin is being played, and they enter to find an old man playing it. She approaches him and then we realize, quite sadly, that Dream’s sister is Death. She tells the man it’s his time and allows him to say a prayer. He thanks her for allowing him the chance to say his prayer because his father told him saying it would mean he could go to Heaven, if there is a Heaven. She then tells him it’s now his time to find out and reaches her hand out. He takes it and we hear him fly away and Jacob Schoeneberger is not ashamed to admit the poignant scene brought a tear to my eye.
Dream then tells her that when he was captured they weren’t trying to capture him, but her. She says she knew that, but I hope she’s taking some precautions here. A world without Death would not be a good thing.
She then goes to collect another soul in a nearby park who died by drowning. She’s very nice to him, as she was for the old man, and it’s touching to see the delicacy with which she handles people’s final moments. Afterward, Dream asks her how she does it, and she says she has a job to do so she does it.
But then she says she’s not there for all of them. She mentions Mad Hettie, who we have to assume was the Hettie who greeted Dream just before he spoke to Constantine. And she also mentions Dream’s “ongoing project” named Hob Gadling, but Dream hasn’t spoken to him so we don’t know who that is just yet.
She says that humans fear the Sunless Lands, so she’s learned that they need a friendly face and a smile when it’s their time. He asks why they fear the Sunless Lands when dying is just as natural as being born. She says that they might not always be ready for her gift, but they get it anyway. We then see Death collecting a number of souls who die in various circumstances, and she’s kind and welcoming to each and it sure looks like Jake Schoeneberger will be crying throughout this whole episode.
She then tells him, “The only reason we even exist, you and I, and Desire and Despair, the whole family. We’re here to serve them. It isn’t about our quests or finding purpose outside our function. Our purpose is our function.” She’s trying to inspire Dream to realize that his existence is to serve the needs of the mortals and give him meaning again.
He says she’s taught him something he’d forgotten and thanks her. They say their good-byes and each head their own way.
Dream heads to a rundown, ramshackle building that takes him into a flashback to 1389 when he sees himself and Death at the very same building, looking new. She takes him into a pub and tells him he needs to be around people more and listen to them.
They then hear a man boasting of how he knows Death because he’s seen the plague and fought in wars. Then he says Death is stupid and he’s decided he’s not going to die. We find out that this is Hob Gadling. Dream asks Death why would anyone want an eternity of this mortal existence. She says he could find out if she granted Hob his wish and let him live. He says if she did that, Hob would be begging for death within a century. And now Jacob Schoeneberger has a pretty good idea why Hob is Dream’s ongoing project.
Dream greets Hob and says that if he truly has no intention of dying, then Dream will meet him again at the exact same location in 100 years’ time. Hob says he’s on and that he’ll see him right there on the same date in 1489.
We then jump forward 100 years and Hob is asking Dream who he is and how he knew Hob would still be alive in 100 years. He even asks if he’d made a bargain with the Devil. Dream assures him he didn’t, then tells him he’s just interested to know what it’s like to live so long. So he proposes that they meet every 100 years so Hob can describe his life to Dream.
Then Hob tells him how life is brilliant. He takes such joy in all the small advancements humankind is making. His joy and enthusiasm really remind Jake Schoeneberger that every person should take such wonder and enjoyment out of life. Dream is fascinated by the fact that Hob still wants to live and tells him he’ll see him in another 100 years.
In 1589, Hob is now Sir Robert and life has continued to be good for him. He’s now pretended to be his own son several times, he has a wife and child, and he’s still loving life. While they speak, they overhear William Shakespeare speaking with Kit Marlowe about how he dreams of becoming a great playwright who inspires men with his words, as Marlowe does. Dream overhears him and talks to Will about achieving this dream.
In 1689, Hob is down on his luck. He’s lost all his land and gold. His wife died in childbirth, his son died in a tavern brawl, and they tried to try him as a witch because he got overconfident. He’s hated every second of the past 80 years, but when Dream asks him if he still wants to live he says he absolutely still wants to live.
In 1789, Hob is back in good fortunes but for shameful reasons. He’s in the shipping business, but unfortunately he’s shipping slaves to America. Dream chastises him for taking part in such awful business.
They are then approached by a woman who says that she’s heard stories of these two men meeting every 100 years in the same tavern. She says she knows that Dream shares the gift of immortality, and she now wants it for herself. And when we see her in her fancy dress, she looks just like Johanna Constantine. And indeed, she introduces herself by exactly that name.
Dream blows his sand onto her face and she goes into a dream. He then tells Hob it’s not safe for them to be seen together because Constantine might have told others about their meeting, and he doesn’t want Hob to be captured or hurt. He says they need to play it safe from now on.
In 1889, Hob says he doesn’t think Dream really continues to meet him every century to learn whether he still wants to live, he’s doing it for friendship. Well, Jacob Schoeneberger thinks Hob must be getting very wise in his old age. The suggestion rankles Dream, that one such as himself might actually need companionship with a mortal. He storms out of the pub, but Hob follows him and says that if Dream is there in the next 100 years it will be because they’re friends. But unfortunately we know Dream won’t be able to make their next meeting in 1989 due to his unfortunate incarceration.
In 1989, Hob waits for Dream. The conversations in the pub are identical to the ones the patrons had back in 1389, only the names have changed. Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. He waits all evening, but Dream doesn’t show. He strikes up a conversation with the barkeep and tells him his troubles. The barkeep says the pub has been sold to make room for new flats, and you can see how deeply this affects Hob. A place that remained nearly unchanged for 500 years is now being changed; that has to hit a soft spot in his heart.
We then return to present day with Dream looking at the broken-down building. There are spraypainted arrows pointing the way to The New Inn and Dream follows them. At the inn, he finds Hob. Hob tells him he’s late, and Dream answers that he owes him an apology because it’s impolite to keep one’s friends waiting, and Jake Schoeneberger has yet another tear in his eye.
In the final scene, we see Dream’s sibling, Desire, saying their plan to hold Dream imprisoned has failed. So now we know they were part of the plan to capture Dream and this plot is about to thicken with sibling rivalry.
The Jake Schoeneberger Final Thought on The Sandman
This episode really played on the heartstrings. To see the care that Death brought to each soul she collected, to see Hob’s love of an enduring life, and to see Dream’s growth into an empathetic being, all create such a deep and profound effect on the viewer. Jacob Schoeneberger shed many a tear and I’m in awe of the writing in this fantastic show.
More Thoughts from Jacob Schoeneberger