‘The Sandman’ is a Netflix fantasy drama series based on the comic book series of the same name written by Neil Gaiman. It follows the adventures of ‘Dream’ or the Sandman, as he travels the different planes of existence.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Lord Morpheus, also known as the Sandman or Dream, heads out into the waking world to recapture one of the nightmares that has gone rogue, The Corinthian. His librarian, Lucienne, asks him to be careful as the waking world is treacherous.
Roderick Burgess is a human who aims to capture the Angel of Death and convince her to bring back his older son who was lost in war. But he ends up capturing Dream instead. With help from The Corinthian, Dream is trapped in the waking world for over a century.
Due to his entrapment, the Dreaming realm is flung into chaos along with the waking world. Humans go into an endless sleep while dreams and nightmares leave the Dreaming searching for something more.
Once he’s free, Dream sets forth to rebuild his kingdom that is in ruins. However, to do that he must first regain his tools that were taken from him during his imprisonment. He does this with the help of his talking raven, Mathew.
His bag of Sand was traded to a sorcerer named Constantine, a family that Dream had previously encountered in his travels. He succeeds in retrieving the sand from Johanna Constantine, but not after she suffers a heartbreaking loss brought about by the Sandman.
He travels to Hell next so that he may retrieve his Helm which is in a demon’s possession. He seeks an audience with Lucifer Morningstar, the ruler of Hell. She has no qualms with his request, but when the demon is brought forward he challenges Dream to a contest for ownership of the Helm.
After Lucifer is chosen as the demon’s champion, she and Dream take part in a contest of intelligence and transformation and Dream ultimately triumphs much to the embarrassment of Lucifer.
The final tool he must look for is the ruby. It was stolen along with the other tools by Roderick’s mistress, Ethel Cripps who traded the Helm and the sand for her life in the US and an artefact to secure her safety.
Her son, John Dee/Burgess, stole the ruby from her and it corrupted him forcing Ethel to send her son to a psychiatric institution. She visits John to convince him to return the ruby but he says that he’s altered it and it only works for him.
He plans on using it to create a world without the Sandman so that they may live forever. Ethel doesn’t want to do that so she gives him her amulet of protection, the only thing keeping her alive. With this amulet, John escapes the institution and gets his ruby back.
He uses it to create a world without lies because he’s tired of people lying to him, though all he accomplishes is to send the world into the throes of chaos.
Dream faces up to John and reveals the true nature of what he has done, and when John tries to use the ruby’s power to destroy Dream, he inadvertently makes him stronger. Dream puts John into eternal sleep and finally gets his revenge on everyone involved in his imprisonment.
Dream struggles to find a purpose beyond his function after getting his revenge and his sister, Death, reaches out to him. He spends a day with her and she shows him that his entire purpose is his function. He exists because humans have the capacity to dream and not the other way around.
He catches up with Hob Gadling, a human who wishes to live forever. Dream grants him that wish with the agreement that they would meet at the same spot every 100 years so that he may hear of Hob’s experiences. Over the years, Hob becomes one of the few friends that Dream has.
Rose Walker is a girl who was separated from her brother at a young age and is in search of him. She has been invited to London for an interview about her family history. It is also revealed that she is a dream vortex, a naturally occurring phenomenon that has the power to create a dream universe or even destroy it.
Dream has to deal with the vortex or else she will bring down the Dreaming and the entire waking world along with her. He also has to bring back the remaining nightmares and dreams who have not returned yet, Gault, The Corinthian and Fiddler’s Green.
He decides to watch over Rose and wait while she draws the others towards her even though Lucienne and the others in the Dreaming are worried about the vortex.
When Rose gets to London, she meets Unity Kincaid who is the last survivor of the endless sleep and wakes up the day that Dream was freed from captivity. Unity tells Rose that she had a child during her sleep and that she is Rose’s great-grandmother.
She offers all of her resources to help Rose find her little brother, Jed so that they can all be together again. The Corinthian is also in search of Rose so that he can use her to destroy Dream and gain his freedom.
Gault is hiding in Jed’s dreams, trying to give him respite from his horrible life with his foster parents. Rose and Dream find Gault together and this helps Rose learn where to find Jed.
The Corinthian gets to Jed first and takes him along to a serial killer conference where every attendee was inspired by The Corinthian. Rose gets there too with her friend Gilbert, who eventually turns out to be the Fiddler’s Green.
He sees The Corinthian at the conference and returns to the Dreaming to warn Dream and Lucienne. The Corinthian meets Rose and tries to convince her to help him finish Dream once and for all.
The Sandman ending explained in detail:
What is the fate of the Corinthian?
The Corinthian addresses the entire contingent of serial killers at the conference and inspires them with the same dream. Dream enters Rose’s dream and he and The Corinthian try the convince her that the other doesn’t have her best interests at heart.
Rose realises her power in all this and shuts them both down. This weakens The Corinthian’s power and allows Dream to destroy him. Before he does, he talks to him about how he was made for a different purpose, a purpose that he strayed from.
The Corinthian says that the reason he fed on the humans was to get an idea of how they lived and the pleasure derived from living, something that Dream could never comprehend.
Dream turns the Corinthian into dust and asks Lucienne to keep his skull somewhere safe until he is ready to be created again without the same flaws.
What does Dream do with Gault?
Gault was living in Jed Walker’s subconscious, allowing him to live a happy dream where he parades as the masked superhero called the Sandman. When Dream finds her, he sends her back to the Dreaming from whence she came.
She tells him that she only wished to give up her duties as a nightmare and become a dream but he tells her that she cannot waver from her path just like him but she’s unwilling to listen. He punishes her by sending her to darkness.
After peace has been attained and Dream has time to work, he recreates Gault as a dream. He tells her that she and Lucienne made him realize that everyone can change and he was a fool not to see that.
Who is the real dream vortex?
Dream visits Rose within her dream so that he can end her before she destroys the walls between the Dreaming and the Waking world. At first, Gilbert arrives to offer his life in exchange for hers but Dream tells him it doesn’t work that way.
He then takes up his mantle once again as the Fiddler’s Green, an area of lush greenery and an environment with immense beauty.
At that very moment, Unity falls asleep and finds herself in Lucienne’s library. She wants to look for a book about her unlived life but Lucienne tells her that such a book doesn’t exist. She eventually finds the book with her name on it and Lucienne realises who she is.
The two of them stop Dream before he can kill Rose and bring with them a huge revelation. Unity was originally supposed to be the vortex but because she went into an endless sleep, that curse was passed down to her descendant.
Unity offers to take Rose’s place as the vortex and save her great-granddaughter’s life and Dream obliges. He takes her life and lets Rose go to live a life without any more suffering.
How did Unity bear a child?
When Unity describes what she experienced during her endless sleep, she mentions that the father of her child is a man with golden eyes, something she’s never seen before. Dream, however, knew exactly who it was.
It turns out to be his sibling, Desire, who took advantage of Dream’s imprisonment to cause some trouble and manipulate Dream into killing a child of the Endless. Desire had planned this with his twin, Despair.
Dream warns his sibling not to cross him again or target his own or else face the wrath of Dream, Death or even Destiny, the Sandman’s other siblings.
What does Lucifer decide to do?
Lucifer is still facing the ignominy of defeat to Dream but some of her demons have a suggestion to combat that feeling. The demon Azazel visits Lucifer on behalf of the other lords of Hell.
He tells her that the army of Hell is at her beck and call if she so chooses to attack Dream and his realm. They insist that she act rather than just consider action, so that they may spread the borders of Hell until there is nothing else left.