Netflix’s The Sandman Season 1 ending explained

We got a lot from Season 1 of The Sandman: Dreams about losing and then regaining his powers; a diner episode that will stay with you long after Netflix autoplay; a whole thing about a vortex, her brother and the missing sentient bits of dreaming swirling around them. Suffice it to say that there are many details to keep an eye on, even if you do did Read the comics.

It’s hard to blame Netflix or Neil Gaiman, who were just so excited to have finally realized this world after some three decades of development hell (and unfortunately not in the way that Gwendoline Christie overlooks). But with Season 1 ending so deliciously, it feels like it’s a good time to revisit: did I get everything? The Sandman wanted to explain that to me?

Why does Desire want to make Dream spill “family blood”? What is so bad about it?

Tom Sturridge as Dream and Mason Alexander Park as Desire in Netflix's The Sandman

Image: Netflix

As Dream learns in the final moments of season one, Rose Walker’s entire existence relies on Desire impregnating Unity while she slept during Dream’s absence. He is, of course, far from pleased to hear this and accuses Desire of interfering to get Dream to spill family blood (either by attacking Desire or by killing Rose Walker, who technically is also family blood would share with Dream).

“It almost worked this time,” purrs Desire. “Oh, poor dream. I really got under your skin this time, didn’t I? Next time… I’ll draw blood.”

For episode 10 (or even the whole season) we don’t get a sense of what’s so taboo about it. But when Dream Desire warns not to join him, we get a feeling there’s more than one family rule, as he alludes to “everything that would come with it.”

[Ed. note: Book explanation below; don’t read it if you don’t want to know.]

In the comics, the Endless have passed down a handful of rules that are as old as themselves. One of them is don’t spill “family blood” or you’ll be hit with bad news – namely, summon the no-joke Furies and will be crazy.

What is Lucifer’s plan?

Lucifer leaned across a table and growled a bit

Photo: Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

Though things have finally started to come together in Dreams Realm – allowing him not only to return to his form, but to better himself and life for those around him – Lucifer is far from happy. After embarrassing ourselves at a formal challenge earlier in the season, we find Lucifer still in a bad mood, unenthusiastic about the joys Hell can offer. Just when it seems the sinister Lord of Hell is all but moping, they are visited by a demon with an incredible offer. Lord Azazel emerges to communicate something on behalf of the “assembled Lords of Hell”.

“We have [assembled] against your enemy our Enemy, dream of the endless. The armies of hell are at your disposal should you wish to strike,” says Azazel of possible plans to invade Dream’s realm and then the waking world. “Since none of us are allowed to leave Hell, we might as well expand its borders until Hell is all there is.”

As the generals call for action, Lucifer promises to act – saying only that the plan “was something I’ve never done before. Something that God… Absolutely furious.”

If you are curious as to what exactly Lucifer is up to, you can read the comics. But to cut a long story short: Big, hellish plans.

What is the plan for the series? How many short stories will The Sandman contain?

Matthew the Raven speaking to Dream (whom you can see from the knees down)

Image: Netflix

With 75 issues in the series’ original run, there’s certainly plenty to do The Sandman get through should Netflix allow it. Since season 1 only covers about 16 of the issues (the first two books, Preludes & Nocturnescollect 1-8, and The dollhouse9-16) it is enough for that The Sandman run for at least four seasons. And Gaiman tells Polygon he could see it running longer.

“If we had our brothers and the world was perfect, we could go to the end Sandman: Overture [a prequel to the series published in 2013], which oddly would be the beginning of episode 1 again,” says Gaiman. “And we can do a lot of side stories and interesting byways and diversions along the way.”

That could mean that — if the Netflix renewal gods allow it — sandman runs for a while, tracing the arc of the comic and also making time for the odd episodic or self-contained adventure. While Season 1 took time for occasional excursions away from the central story, it was mostly limited to focusing on Dream’s return to Dreaming and accommodating any changes. But as the comics progressed, there was less emphasis on the overall arc of the story and more on the small, almost vignette-like chapters of Dream’s Journeys. If it’s Netflix sandman resembles, then surely there are many places for it sandman walk.

Will Rose Walker star in Sandman season 2?

Fiddler's Green leaned over Rose and smiled at her

Image: Netflix

The dollhouse arc in the comics isn’t the last we see of Rose Walker, nor is it the last we see of Lyta Hall and her dream baby. Though the show rearranged the storylines a bit to fit the season’s arc, it seems likely they could return in Season 2 (or beyond).

Who is the “lost one” that Dream, Desire and Despair keep talking about?

Although the Endless are all related, it seems there is one that stands out from the crowd and is referred to only as “Prodigal” by Dream and his siblings.

The answer is played slowly sandman Season 1; Apart from a few mentions, we get little details. But the comic (of course) has the answers.

[Ed. note: Book spoilers below.]

The Prodigal refers to Destruction coming after Dream. (Dream isn’t the eldest of his siblings, of course, although he has all the seriousness of an older child.) He earned the nickname for being the only Endless child to give up his duties. As Neil Gaiman wrote in the comic book companion, the Endless don’t have names so much as titles that describe their actions. Since Destruction has left his post, he is now the “Lost” as he is non-functional.

Of course, the root of the word certainly suggests some judgment on the part of the remaining Endless siblings, as opposed to a mere abandonment of duty. Finally, the parable of the “prodigal son” specifically refers to someone leaving home and spending resources at “reckless” levels. There might be a little resentment there as they rule their respective realms. The Endless: They are just like us.

How many infinites are there? Will we meet them all?

Dream talks to Lucienne while Matthew is on the floor between them

Image: Netflix

There are seven endless children! Although we have only met a few so far. To make them easy to tell apart, they all have names that start with D. In order of age they are: Destiny, Death, Dream, Destruction, Desire, Despair, and Delirium (formerly known as Delight).

Of these we have met death, dream, desire and despair. But in his confrontation with Desire, Dream alluded to a division of power between them, implying that he, Destiny, and Death were strong (and united) enough to keep the others in check.

What was the deal Dream made with Shakespeare?

We won’t see it on the show — not yet. But in the comics, the realm of Dream isn’t just “dreams” as we know them in our sleep; it’s more creation itself, every possible dream world that could be dreamed up. That’s how Dream met the Justice League, and how Will “Shakesbeard” Dream of the Endless might have something to offer.

Also, in the comic, we know what’s happening. [Ed. note: Another small book spoiler coming up here.] Dream gave the bard the gift of writing immortal stories and in turn commissioned two plays from him: A Midsummer Night’s Dream (in honor of the actual Unseelie Court) and The storm. Netflix’s The Sandman Season 1 ending explained

Charles Jones

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