Season 1 Episode 3
Dream a Little Dream of Me
Morpheus tracks down the last known person in possession of his sand – and receives an unexpected lesson in humanity. Ethel pays a visit to her son.
The episode begins with a flashback of a dark moment from Johanna Constantine’s past. A moment that will shape her life and how she deals with people. Jenna Coleman does an awesome job of playing a detached, weary Constantine who has no interest in the problems of others beyond the money she can make as an exorcist. As the story goes back to the present, Ethel continues her visit with her son John who demands to know the truth after stunning her with information she never thought he would discover.
After an unexpected exorcism, Morpheus enlists the help of Constantine to retrieve his sand as he begins his quest to retrieve his objects of power. The episode also features the introduction of Matthew the Raven played by Patton Oswalt. Matthew has been sent by Lucienne to look after Morpheus and help in any way he can. Their interactions are entertaining and the contrast between Sturgess’ deep, British accent and Oswalt’s American one is entertaining in their scenes together.
At the same time that Morpheus is beginning his quest, Ethel and John deal with their relationship as he confronts his mother about a life filled with lies and deceit. David Thewlis is fantastic as John Dee. There is a menace to him beneath the surface, but you almost feel sorry for him at times as the trauma of his past is revealed. Things take a dangerous turn when his mother makes a decision he never thought that she would. One that will give him a second chance.
Constantine tracks down the last location the sand was held and what follows is some great emotional drama that forces Morpheus out of his comfort zone. I love the fact that his difficulty in connecting to humanity is challenged and there is a moment in the episode where he is confronted by what his purpose really is. The episode brings everything to a satisfying close with Morpheus taking his first steps to change and John escaping in violent and graphic fashion.
Episode 3 of The Sandman has a great sense of tension throughout, but what it also has is a subtle and effective way of showing the need for change in the character of Morpheus. His perspective is about the quest he is about to embark on, but he discovers through his interactions that not only can he not do it alone, but that there is more to existence than his purpose within it. In a way there are two quests he is beginning and both are equally as compelling.