Sandman: The Sound of Her Wings

Brother… who catered this family reunion?

The Sandman was a groundbreaking, truly amazing comic series that changed what comics could be and how they were seen. The series rightly won all kinds of awards, and Neil Gaiman was proud enough of his work to turn down many offers to adapt it. Finally, he got a deal from Netflix and they came up with a truly amazing series. “The Sound of Her Wings” takes two stand-alone issues from the series and weaves them into a fantastic episode.

After his disturbing encounter with John Dee, Dream is taking a break in a park, feeding a bunch of pigeons. I know it’s not at all the point of the story, but I really kind of wonder where he got the bread from. Dream is clearly not happy, and things get really interesting when his sister comes by to check on him. If you’ve read the comics, you know about the Endless, and if not, you find out in short order that Dream’s elder sister is Death. There was some controversy about casting Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, largely because people are racist idiots. I though she did an amazing job in this episode, and hope she’ll be back. The two siblings have a talk that both recounts Dream’s current status and their relationship. It’s a well-written and acted scene that I very much enjoyed, and it has a small exchange that bodes ill for a minor side character.

The pair walk through London, talking about family business and Death’s way with mortals. There’s mention of the Prodigal, another bit I remember well from the comics, and something they’re not revealing much about so far. Hearing some violin music, they pay a visit to an elderly musician, and there’s a very touching scene with the man. Dream and Death talk a bit about his captivity, and the Magus’ intended target, as Death brings another soul to his afterlife. She does a fantastic job of being both compassionate and merciless. They talk some more, over and around a few more deaths, and Dream compliments his sister on how well she performs her duties. Her philosophy, for lack of a better word, on how her job works is an interesting take, and very well thought out.

After they part ways, Dream goes to an old building, and seems surprised to see it fenced off and slated for demolition. This, in turn, leads to a second story from another great issue, and we meet a man who refuses to accept the natural order of things. A bit bemused, Death grants him a special request, and Dream and the new man have a series of meetings over time. The changes over the years, both to the place and the man involved, are vast and sweeping. There’s also a scene that involves yet another Johanna Constantine, or maybe the same one? I doubt it, but you never know in this world. Dream and his new companion have a lot of philosophical talks over the years, and then suffer a falling out. This is also a bit before Dream is captured, so their next meeting doesn’t take place, leaving the man worried. Finally, they manage to reunite, and Dream has learned a bit of humility from his time in captivity.

The final scene doesn’t look good for our hero. While Death seems to genuinely care about her brother, that sentiment apparently doesn’t run through the entire family. In another place entirely, someone is plotting against our titular hero, and clearly has some long-term schemes afoot.

What I Liked: This episode covered two of my favorite issues of the comic, and did so really well. Kirby Howell-Baptiste did a fantastic job as Death, and I’m really looking forward to seeing more of her. Dream’s repeated meetings through the second half of the episode were also done very well. Jenna Coleman’s Johanna Constantine was a nice surprise and got another good scene. The writing and acting continues to impress me, and while this episode didn’t have quite the stunning visuals of some of the others, they made up for it with the passage of time in one of the locations.

What I Didn’t: Very little. I don’t like the big plot against our hero, even though I get such things are necessary for dramatic tension. Just like in the original comics, we get introduced to some fascinating ideas and characters and then never see them again.

I really love this show and, so far, everything associated with it. I’m giving this episode a 4.5 out of 5. Even though I still have several episodes to go, I’m really hoping there will be a season two.