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The Ending Of 'The Sandman' Explained So We Can *Process* Everything

Spoilers ahead!
The Sandman Ending Explained
PHOTO: Netflix

Netflix's The Sandman has proven to be a *massive* hit, and if you're anything like us, you've binge-watched the entire thing and now don't know what to do with yourself. Whether that's because you've got nothing to watch for the rest of the week, or you're completely lost for words about what actually happened. FYI, the countless characters and storylines that span centuries are enough to send your head in a spin.

If it's the latter, (which it definitely was for us) we've broken down the ending so you can sleep easy (no pun intended) and gear up for season 2, whenever that may be. Here's the ending of The Sandman explained...


Let's break it down...

OK, so we know that the series is based on the comics by Neil Gaiman, and follows Dream/Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) who is captured and imprisoned by a group of cultists for over a century. After spending 100+ years trapped inside a cage, Dream escapes, but finds that in his absence, his realm, the Dreaming, is in ruins. He must then restore the Dreaming to strengthen its connection with the waking world, so he embarks on a journey to recover his stolen power.

That's in simple terms, but there's a whole lot more that goes on. So, to fully understand the story in its entirety, let's unpack it all in sections, and look at all the major players who contributed to Dream's adventure.

The Corinthian and the Collectors

The main villain doing everything in his power to stop the Sandman is Corinthian (Boyd Holbrook). He's a Nightmare who lives in the waking world as a serial killer. During Dream's absence, he spends years roaming the US, both inspiring people to join him, and also taking the lives of hundreds of people. The ones Corinthian persuades to become serial killers are known as "collectors", and once a year they hold a conference to celebrate their crimes. Eek.

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The finale of season 1 hosts one of these conferences, and Corinthian takes Rose Walker (a young woman/new dream vortex who has the power to break the barriers between the Dreaming and waking world, as well as attract lost Dreams and Nightmares) to convince her to destroy Dream. Rose agrees to go to the conference because she wants to find her brother Jed, (Eddie Karanja) who was lured there by the Corinthian.


However, the Nightmare doesn't succeed, and Dream goes after him and destroys his creations. He also uses his powers to stop the collectors from being able to dream, which leads to them realizing who they are and what they've done. The collectors then either hand themselves into the police or commit suicide as they are unable to live with the monstrous crimes they've committed.

Rose, however, is reunited with her brother. Hoping for a new life together, her plans are compromised, as she realizes that in order for the waking world to survive, the dream vortex must be sacrificed.

The Dream Vortex

Rose decides to ignore the damage she can create by being a dream vortex. Instead, she tries to use her powers for good, as she realizes she can help her friend Lyta Hall (Razane Jammal) become impregnated in a dream by the ghost of her dead husband.

During the finale of the season, Rose, unfortunately, loses control of herself, which reflects on her powers as they begin to destroy everything around her. Luckily, Dream arrives to help but tells her that the only way she can save the world is by sacrificing her own life. Accepting her fate, Rose gets ready to die, but her great-grandmother Unity Kincaid (Sandra James-Young) discovers her plans and stops her.


It's then revealed that millions of humans were affected by a disease that made them constantly sleep during Dream's absence. Unity tells Rose that she was one of them and that she was trapped in the Dreaming until Dream escaped. It turns out that if Dream had not been kidnapped, she would have become the vortex. But because the course of history was changed, her destiny of becoming the vortex was passed down to her family. Unity decides to take back the powers of the vortex in order to save Rose.


This means that Rose was able to fulfill her wish of having a life with Jed, alongside helping her friend Lyta take care of her baby. But, while this all seems like a happy ever after, there are still many questions unanswered, because if Unity was trapped in a century-long sleep, how would she have been able to have a family?

Still keeping up? OK.

Dream's feud with Desire

We're also introduced to Desire (Mason Alexander Park), Dream's sibling, who is planning on killing Dream. It's revealed that Desire visited Unity while she was asleep and impregnated her as a young woman. Which means that Rose is actually related to Dream and the Endless family.

But back to Desire-Dream thing. After Dream finds out about Desire's plan, he visits his sibling and threatens them - telling them that if they ever tried to attack his Kingdom again, he could summon Death and Destiny. However, even after admitting that the Endless family would be powerless if Dream ever took revenge, Desire still pledges to continue with their plan in the future.


This storyline cliffhanger is sure to be developed and re-explored in season 2.

Dream visits Lucifer

It doesn't end there though - Dream also revisits Hell where we learn about Lucifer Morningstar's (Gwendoline Christie) predicament. Lucifer is being pressured to attack the Dreaming world by the other lords of Hell after Dream publicly humiliated them. With the whole of Hell claiming revenge, Lucifer gives in and agrees to destroy Dream and anger God. While this storyline hasn't fully played out yet, it's up to season 2 to reveal whether Lucifer goes ahead with Hell's plan.


Disclaimer: If The Sandman's creators decide to adapt the Seasons of Mists comic word-for-word, what Lucifer does next is not what you think. Ominous.

OK, we're now impatiently waiting for season 2, because we've still got a *whole* load of cliffhangers that need addressing.

The Sandman is streaming on Netflix now.


This article originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.