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Let’s Break Down ‘The Sandman’ Season 1 Ending, Shall We?

Cosmopolitan logo Cosmopolitan 8/6/2022 Tamara Fuentes

*SPOILERS FOR SEASON 1 OF THE SANDMAN BELOW!*

The wait is finally over! The long-anticipated adaptation of Neil Gaiman's epic comic book, The Sandman, has arrived on Netflix. If you're reading this, there's a very good chance you have already devoured the show's first season and are looking forward to a possible second. But with such a packed finale, you may have lingering questions, especially with *that* giant plot twist. So what exactly happened to Dream and the world of the living?

Here’s the ultimate breakdown of The Sandman season 1 finale.

What happened to Rose and Jed?!

After being saved from Fun Land by The Corinthian, Rose Walker discovers she is actually the vortex. He says she has the power to get rid of Dream and become the center of the Dreaming. However, Rose doesn't 100 percent trust him, and he leaves them in a hotel room while making a big speech at the "cereal convention."

While the Corinthian talks to the crowd of serial killers, he asks everyone to close their eyes and imagine themselves doing what they love (aka killing other people) which causes them to dream. Dream suddenly appears and tells him that he's disappointed in what he's done, but the Corinthian points out he's only done what he's been made to do. While Dream admits he has fulfilled his duty, the Corinthian also has been walking on Earth for over a century, has tried to kill Dream, has brought nothing purposeful into the world, and just created another threat.

The Corinthian tries to attack Dream with a knife, and the two start fighting. Meanwhile, Rose and Jed are sleeping, and thanks to Rose's powers of being able to bring down the walls between dreams, they're stuck between all the dreams of the serial killers. Both the Corinthian and Dream also enter the dream world to convince Rose to join their side. Dream points out that as a vortex, her powers can cause the dreaming world to collapse in on itself and take the waking world down as well. Still not convinced by either side, Rose decides to bring the walls between dreams back up again and wakes up, cutting off her connection to them.

the sandman l to r tom sturridge as dream, boyd holbrook as the corinthian in episode 110 of the sandman cr courtesy of netflix © 2022 © Netflix the sandman l to r tom sturridge as dream, boyd holbrook as the corinthian in episode 110 of the sandman cr courtesy of netflix © 2022

Do the Corinthian and Dream keep fighting?

Back in the ballroom, the Corinthian says the reason why he became a killer and influenced others is so he "can taste what it's like to be human." Dream—knowing that the reason the Corinthian even exists is because of him—turns him into dust and gets rid of the Corinthian for good.

The serial killers wake up and see Dream, who tells them that despite believing in their actions at the time, they will feel the guilt of everything they've done. Some turn themselves in while others, consumed by all their newfound feelings, die by suicide. Rose and Jed escape the "cereal convention" and head back home.

Dream points out that as long as Rose is awake, nothing will happen, but he will confront her when she's asleep again. On their way back, Rose reveals to Jed that he has a great-grandmother, and Lyta calls her to inform her that she's in labor. At the hospital, Rose calls Unity, and her great-grandmother tells them to come live with her so they can finally be a family. Rose also reveals to Lyta that she has to make a decision before she falls asleep and the only way to protect both worlds is if she sacrifices herself, also killing the vortex in the process. Lyta points out that Rose is the powerful one in this situation, and she has to find a way to end it.

the sandman l to r vanesu samunyai as rose walker, razane jammal as lyta hall in episode 107 of the sandman cr liam danielnetflix © 2022 © Liam Daniel - Netflix the sandman l to r vanesu samunyai as rose walker, razane jammal as lyta hall in episode 107 of the sandman cr liam danielnetflix © 2022

What happens when Rose inevitably falls asleep?


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In her dreams, Rose once again brings all the walls down. But doing so activates the vortex, which then sucks everyone away. Dream tells her the vortex has grown too strong and there's only a little time left until she causes enough damage that it becomes irreparable. He reminds her that the only way to save everyone is if the vortex dies.

Back at Lucienne's library, Unity is seen walking through the stacks and asks to see the book of her life. After finding it on her own, Lucienne is surprised to figure out who Unity is and reveals that Rose is the vortex. The scene cuts back to Rose and Dream, who are still talking to each other, and he offers her the ability to stay in the land of the Dreaming after her death if she wishes. Gilbert then walks in and reveals himself to be Fiddler's Green. He admits he left his life in the Dreaming to become human and he wishes to sacrifice his life to keep Rose alive.

the sandman l to r tom sturridge as dream, stephen fry as gilbert in episode 110 of the sandman cr courtesy of netflix © 2022 © Netflix the sandman l to r tom sturridge as dream, stephen fry as gilbert in episode 110 of the sandman cr courtesy of netflix © 2022

Dream says it's not possible as the vortex has to die in order for both worlds to live. Fiddler's Green reveals that he believes the reason why vortexes exist is to remind the dreaming that they are alive because humans dream. Dream tells him that he can't punish him for leaving the Dreaming, but he hopes he takes his position in the world again. He does so, becoming a green land once again and turning the cold, snowy place Rose and Dream are standing in into a lush oasis.

Wait, what does Rose decide?!

Rose says is ready to sacrifice herself for the good of her family and friends, but she is stopped by Unity, who suddenly appears with Lucienne. Unity reveals her discovery: She was actually meant to be the vortex, not Rose, but she was stuck sleeping for years when Dream was imprisoned. Unity tells Rose to pass on her the power of the vortex, which she is able to do.

Now holding the power of the vortex, Unity sacrifices herself, and she dies in the waking world. Still alive in the land of Dreaming, Rose tries to apologize to her great-grandmother, but Unity tells Rose that she was meant to die a long time ago and the reason why she and Jed exist is because everything happened the way that it did. She also points out that the father of Rose's mother has these unforgettable golden eyes, which surprises Dream.

the sandman l to r sandra james young as unity kincaid, vivienne acheampong as lucienne, vanesu samunyai as rose walker in episode 110 of the sandman cr courtesy of netflix © 2022 © Netflix the sandman l to r sandra james young as unity kincaid, vivienne acheampong as lucienne, vanesu samunyai as rose walker in episode 110 of the sandman cr courtesy of netflix © 2022

Rose wakes up and discovers that Lyta has given birth to a baby boy. Meeting up with the rest of the house members, Rose tells them that they're all planning to move back to New Jersey the next day. Hal says he had a dream of moving back to New York and might join them on the journey back, but he would need to sell the house. Upon hearing the news, Zelda and Chantal say they are willing to buy the house, and all the members are happy to follow their newfound dreams.

What about the person with golden eyes?

Dream decides to pay a visit to his sibling, Desire, and confront them for having a child with Unity. Desire seemingly admits they did it for fun, to cause family drama. Dream warns them about doing it again, reminding them they'd also have other siblings on his side like Death and Destiny. Desire tells him that next time, they won't just get under Dream's skin...they'll also draw blood.

the sandman l to r tom sturridge as dream, mason alexander park as desire in episode 110 of the sandman cr courtesy of netflix © 2022 © Netflix the sandman l to r tom sturridge as dream, mason alexander park as desire in episode 110 of the sandman cr courtesy of netflix © 2022

Meanwhile, Dream creates new dreams and nightmares to replace the ones that were lost. Lucienne appears and tells him Rose wrote a book that tells her journey and features Dream, much to his surprise. Dream gives Lucienne the Corinthian's sigil telling her the world doesn't need him back just yet. However, he does recreate Gault, this time as a dream much to her surprise. Dream admits that he has to listen more, especially after being away for so long, and Dream hopes to bring dreams and nightmares into a new age. He also gives Lucienne more responsibilities, finally trusting her after everything she's done.

What's the big surprise at the end?

The episode then shifts to Hell, where Mazikeen tells Lucifer that Lord Azazel would like to speak to her. Azazel reveals the Lords of Hell have banded together to try to take down Dream and the dreaming world in order to help expand the borders of Hell since they cannot leave. Mazikeen asks Lucifer what her plan is, and she says she hopes to do something that will make God livid and bring Dream to his knees. Lucifer goes out to attend to her subjects before the screen fades to black.

What does this mean for The Sandman season 2?

Well, with Lucifer and her demons looking for a fight, there's a good chance that a full-out war might start. And with Desire and some of the other siblings taking a stand against Dream, things will definitely get harder for Morpheus as he tries to save the lands.

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