Season 1 Episode 6
The Sound of her Wings
Feeling a bit rudderless, Morpheus shadows his hard-working big sister, who offers him advice and encourages him to reconnect with an old acquaintance.
As a fan of the original Sandman comics, I was both excited and wary about how the series would tackle one of my favorite stories. Both the introduction of Death and her lesson to Morpheus are seminal parts of the character’s journey and there needed to be a moment for the audience to both decompress from the heightened tension of the events that led Morpheus to this moment and to experience the truth about the Endless and their responsibilities. Both of those things are perfectly encapsulated in this story and the episode does a brilliant job of bringing that to life.
After recovering all of his power, Morpheus finds himself sitting on a park bench feeling bad because his adventure is over. When his sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) arrives, she tries to lighten his mood while also chiding him for not reaching out to her or anyone else in their family when he was captured. Howell-Baptiste stuns in the role of Death. She has the perfect combination of whimsy, grace and empathy. She immediately puts the viewer at ease. A trait that will become an integral part of the episode as it progresses.
While Morpheus is feeling directionless, Death has him join her as she fulfills her purpose in a series of interludes that, on the surface, are dark and tragic, but Howell-Baptiste’s Death navigates them with a quiet, soulful grace that puts the viewer at ease. At the same time, she shows Morpheus the reality of humanity and her understanding of it. Sturridge and Howell-Baptiste have a wonderful chemistry that makes their scenes together feel intimate and emotional.
The episode does something I would not have expected and thoroughly enjoyed. It combined “The Sound of her Wings” with another entertaining comic story from the series, “The Doll’s House”. After the sorrowful, but uplifting story with Death, Morpheus recounts another time his sister convinced him to walk among humans. The pair find themselves in an inn at the tail end of the 14th century. There, they overhear a man named Hob Gadling (Ferdinand Kingsley) tell his friends that he has no plans of ever dying. As a way to amuse himself, Morpheus convinces his sister not to come for Hob and Dream will see if the man feels the same in a hundred years when they meet at the same inn.
Kingsley gives the perfect sense of charm and affability to Hob and the rest of the episode takes the viewer through Hob and Dream’s once a century meetings where Morpheus becomes more entertained by Hob’s journey as the man goes through the ups and downs of his changing world. There’s also the return of a familiar face and a great commentary on the human condition that beautifully ties into the first half of the episode. The episode also gives us our first look at another pair of Endless siblings and how they played a hand in Morpheus’ journey.
Episode 6 of The Sandman is a visual love letter to fans of the comic as well as a perfect introduction to new fans and readers. It is one of the most faithful adaptations of the source material so far and manages to add wonderful depth and emotion through the amazing performances by Sturridge and Howell-Baptiste. I literally watched it twice to fully absorb all of the emotions I was processing while immersed in the episode.