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The Sandman: Lost Hearts

"He told me you were going to kill me."
"Did he tell you why?"

The Sandman closes out The Dollhouse, while destinies and lost dreams converge.

The House of Mysteries

Well, well, well, m’lords, ladies, and others, we come to the end of another chapter of our story. Or possibly the end of another story in our anthology, if you prefer.

While I’m never going to be his biggest fan, I am struck by how utterly, cattle-baffling reasonable The Corinthian remained throughout the entire tale. He almost always tells both Jed and Rose the straightforward truth, if not always all of it. He points out quite reasonably that Rose and Jed will be in danger if they leave the room, and then leaves her both keys and a promise to not force his way back in.

It’s all casually manipulative as Hell, of course, but it’s also, for lack of a better word, decent. He’s playing fair with her by the rules as she understands them.

It’s difficult to say what exactly the dental-brained buffoon thought would have happened if Miss Rose had succeeded in manifesting fully as the vortex. Surely he couldn’t have been so hopelessly stupid as to actually believe what he told the girl about her becoming the center of the Dreaming?

I mean... He was clear that she was just going to destroy everything... right?

Well, maybe he was, maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he was just so desperate to not return to his subservient role in the Dreaming that he was willing to roll the dice. Either Rose pulls it off and he’s free, or everything is destroyed. It does feel in character for him to go for the Hail Mary. I like that they left it nebulous. But then I’ve always enjoyed a mystery.

With The Corinthian – the ostensible Big Bad for the entire season, let’s remember – dealt with, we pivot to Lord Morpheus’ deeply unfair yet just as deeply necessary execution of his duty. Which is to say the execution of the Vortex, as personified by Rose Walker. And what’s striking here is how much agency the story gives Rose. With both the Corinthian and Morpheus urging her to believe them in the first act of the episode, she instead tells them both quite firmly where to stuff it and declares that she’ll make her own choices. No offense, my Lord.

At every turn the episode makes it clear that Rose isn’t willing to be anyone’s pawn, and makes her own choices about her own destiny once all the facts are laid out before her. In the end, she’s the hero of her own story.

Being the hero of my own, I liked that.

The House of Secrets

There are two rubies in this season. Both are shuh-shuh-shattered.

Is it any wonder Dream didn’t want to hurt Rose? I mean, I don’t know if that’s a secret, but hey, again and again he told her what he needed to do, and he seemed to be what, waiting for permission? Then, too, there’s the parallel between their stories. What’s Rose doing, basically – powerless, hunting for treasures stolen away, gaining power as she finds those treasures? Her journey is a near-mirror, in some ways, of Dream’s. He found his treasures, and then he destroyed his ruby to survive death. And Rose had to find both Jed and herself, and then gave away her own ruby – which was subsequently destroyed – to survive death. I think he admired her. Or whatever you feel before you feel like love. Recognition, perhaps. One hero to another.

I saw the parallel building in this episode beginning with the scenes with the Corinthian. I don’t know what the Corinthian wanted – maybe he thought he could kill Rose after the vortex to make Dream weak enough to somehow permanently escape the Dreaming. The confrontation with the Corinthian reminded me of the confrontation between Dream and John Dee – both John and the Corinthian were intent on harming others; both the Corinthian and John lectured Dream by defending their self-justifications using every logical leap and self-inflating line they could find. Both were able to hurt Dream, by manipulating Dream’s own powers against him. The parallels were quite ex-ex-ex-act.

Rose, however, is far more connected to others. Where her brother has a sister who he barely contacts, Rose has her very own happy-unhappy Scooby gang: Hal, Barbie and Ken, Chantal and Zelda, and of course Jed and the all-too-briefly appearing Martin Tenbones. As Rose increasingly assumes the role of the dream vortex, she begins to break down the walls between the dreams of her friends. The dream sequences were really nice fanservice for your basic Sandman reader – they did an excellent job of adapting personalities, lines and more from the comics into this cinematic version – but from the perspective of someone just watching the series, I wonder how well they came across. As a longtime fan, this just hit the spot.

One more mention. I couldn’t get enough of Stephen Fry in this episode, possibly because there wasn’t very much; what we got was wonderful. His portrayal of Fiddler’s Green was spot on, and his revelation of that secret to Rose – and the subsequent transformation – was a sweet payoff, and he stayed true to his protective nature to the end. Plus, I like secrets.

By the end of the episode, both Rose and Dream have become creators. I particularly love Dream revealing the secret of Gault’s transformation at the end, almost as a gift, to Lucienne. He clearly wanted to reward Lucienne by sharing the larger impact of Lucienne’s efforts on Dream and the Dreaming. Were it not for Lucienne, it is implied, both would have been lost.

A humble moment of triumph from Gault

Oh Hell Yeah! Who’s pretty now, bitches??

Dream Skerries

–If there’s one reasonably legitimate complaint to be had about the finale to The Doll’s House, it’s that The Corinthian gets dealt with so early in the episode. Still, with so much more to get to before the final curtain it’s hard to see how they could have avoided that. Let’s chalk it up to a credit to Boyd Holbrook and his portrayal of the errant nightmare.

- Quite a bit of what we might call hay is made out of the looming, yet unstated, consequences that would have come if Dream killed a member of his own family. That might be important later.

-Mason Alexander Park is absolutely gorgeous here. You couldn’t ask for a better personification of Desire. And I liked the cat tail.

-I love how completely over Gwendoline Christie’s Lucifer is of Azazel. Such wonderful shade.

-Lily Travers, who plays Barbie in this series, also played Polly, the companion of Doctor Who in the episode 'Twice Upon a Time;' I thought she was very well cast.

-The Dreamscape at the end looked like an advertisement for a Burning Man festival.

On Waking

A good wrap up for several storylines, with a postscript that sets us up for an exciting second season, should the network lords provide. And I'll let you in on a secret – They have. No Cain, that wasn't a secret... that was announced ages ag.....

Cain is the first murderer from the First Story. Keeper of the House of Mysteries, his no-bake blueberry cheesecake lives up to its reputation. Abel, his brother, is caretaker of the House of Secrets. That's all that he feels that it's safe to reveal at this juncture.

Joseph Santini and Mikey Heinrich are fictional characters and remain the intellectual property of their creators, all rights reserved.

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