Story recap – what happened in The Sandman season 1?

By Jonathon Wilson
Published: August 5, 2022 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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This is a story recap of the Netflix series The Sandman season 1 and contains spoilers as it details what happened.

Access the archive of recaps, reviews, and news for The Sandman.

Netflix’s The Sandman has made its much-awaited entrance onto the small screen. Originally based on the DC Comic Book Series, there were several setbacks in the making of a film. And instead, it was decided that a 10-episode series would get made instead. Below is a recap of what happened.

Story recap – what happened in The Sandman season 1?

Episode 1-2

After Roderick and Dr Hathaway mourn the death of their two sons, they plan to kidnap “Death” and force him into reviving their sons. However, the plan goes wrong, and they kidnap The King of Dreams, Lord Morpheus, instead. As a result, a sleeping sickness occurs across the world. But to keep himself and his father safe, Roderick builds a case strong enough to contain Lord Morpheus and his powers. When Roderick’s son, Alex, wants to free Morpheus, it causes a huge argument. In the following scuffle, Alex pushes Roderick; and Roderick hits his head and dies. Years later, Morpheus escapes, traps Alex into an endless dream and returns home, where Lucienne waits for him. But it is not all sunshine and roses; he quickly learns that the realm decayed and crumbled in his absence.

The Corinthian tracks down Ethel, Roderick’s mistress with whom he had an unwanted son, Jonathan. He warns her that Morpheus has escaped and will likely come after her as she stole the ruby when she fled from Roderick. As Morpheus must sacrifice Gregory and visit The Fates to help reclaim the ream, The Corinthian questions whether Ethel should kill The Corinthian. But it proves to just be a trick as The Corinthian tries to take Ethel’s eye, only to fail when she reveals her own powers. As a result, The Corinthian is sent back to the dream world. But never one to be stopped, he soon returns to the waking world.

Episode 3-4

Johanna performs an exorcism that leaves a famous footballer dead. After completing her duties, Lord Morpheus tells Johanna he needs her name to locate the sand. But she refuses to help them. Meanwhile, Jonathan, still locked up, reveals to Ethel that he knows the truth about her and his father; and if Ethel wants the ruby from him, he first demands the truth from her. After Morpheus learns that Johanna suffers from terrible dreams, he offers to make them go away if she helps him, which it seems that she accepts. 

It soon becomes clear that Ethel is not as evil as we once thought; instead, it seems that she kept her son locked up as the last time Jonathon had the ruby, he caused many deaths. But when Ethel says that everything she has done has been to protect him, she takes off the amulet of protection. 

Johanna goes to her ex-girlfriends and tries to locate the sand that Morpheus so desperately wants. But the sand isn’t meant for humans, and they find a dying and shrivelled Rachel in bed. By taking the sand away, Rachel faces certain death; but even so, Morpheus allows her to die. At the hospital/prison, after Ethel takes off the amulet of protection, she ages up and soon collapses in her son’s arms and dies. When a guard witnesses Ethel’s death, Jonathon violently kills several guards (by making their bodies explode) and leaves the hospital he has been imprisoned in for so long. 

Morpheus goes down to hell, where he reunites with his former love, Nada, whom he placed into hell for betraying him. And whilst in hell, Morpheus faces no choice but to battle with Lucifer. But after Lord Morpheus wins the fight, he reclaims the helm. When Jonathon gains his much-desired ruby, he leaves the amulet of protection with Rosemary, a woman he befriended/terrified.

Episode 5-6

With Jonathon possessing the ruby, he uses it to cause havoc in a local diner. By making everyone tell the truth, many secrets of the diner guests become clear. A married couple, Gary and Kate, who, despite claiming to be happily married, distrust each other to the point of resentment. Mark Brewer, who has an interview with the married couple’s company, f**ks up the interview due to Jonathon’s powers. 

Bette tries to convince her boss, Marsh, to come to her room later that night. But it turns out that Marsh isn’t interested in her as he has sex with her son. But then it soon becomes clear that Bette is also gay, and she makes out with one of the other guests at the diner. Before long, all the guests are coupled up, and they have sex. Jonathon laps it all up as he wanders around the diner. 

Things soon turn violent when Garry catches Mark with his wife. It results in Garry’s death. And through that action, Bette realises that Jonathon is behind everything that has happened in the diner. As they all die as part of Jonathon’s “better world”, Bette is the last one standing. That is until she stabs herself in her own eyes. In the bloody aftermath, Morpheus shows Jonathon that the ruby is hurting himself and those in the waking world. Morpheus tries to reason with Jonathon. But when he can’t, he places Jonathon into an endless sleep so humanity can sleep in peace. 

Afterwards, Morpheus reunites with his sister, Death; and she has the hard job of taking people when their time is up. Whilst his other sister, Desire, makes plans to return Morpheus to his cage. 

Episode 7-8

Desire learns that there is a dream vortex, Rose Walker, who will bring harm to everyone. As for Rose, she is trying to locate her brother, who has been missing for several years. Morpheus later confirms that the vortex exists, and Lucienne says “it” must be taken care of. But as Morpheus has the dreaming world to take care of, Matthew and Lucienne decide to track her down.

Meanwhile, Rose meets Unity, who just so happens to be her grandmother. Unity fell “asleep” when she was 12 and dreamt of the most glorious life and only woke up very recently. The Corinthian reenters the scene; when he tries to find Rose, he comes across his roommate, Carl. They have sex, but Corinthian leaves abruptly after telling Carl to get Rose to call him. The three sisters visit Polly and warn her of impending danger. 

After The Corinthian meets his copycat killers, he invites them to try and find the Vortex. Whilst Rose, now in the dreaming realm, confronts Morpheus. She asks if he knows anything about her brother, Jed. When Morpheus alerts Rose to the fact that she is a dream vortex, they decide to work together and track down Jed. As for Jed, whilst he dreams of being a superhero, the reality is that he is with a foster family that locks him up in the basement. And whilst Rose tries to track down Jed, The Corinthian tries to track her down.

Before long, The Corinthian tracks down Jed and kills his abusive foster parents. After they go on a lil drive, The Corinthian has Jed call Rose and tell her where they are. 

Episodes 9-10

With Rose aware of Jed’s location, she decides to track him down. Her saviour, Gilbert, wants to make sure she remains safe on the journey, so he comes with her. Morpheus enters Lyta’s dream world, kills Hector (who was a ghost hiding in a dream) and says he will return to take Lyta’s baby. To protect her friend, Rose uses her powers against Morpheus. Afterwards, Rose and Gilbert sneak into the “cereal” convention. And shortly afterwards, it becomes clear that Gilbert is actually Fiddles Green. As Rose and Jed reunite and try to flee from “Fun Land”, The Corinthian saves them both by killing “Fun Land”.

After saving their lives, The Corinthian tries to convince Rose to turn against Morpheus, who he claims will kill them both. When The Corinthian gives a motivational speech to the killers, Morpheus enters and says that The Corinthian has brought nothing. There’s a brief stand-off, which results in Morpheus uncreating The Corinthian; and, as a result, all of the serial killers feel immense guilt, so they either kill themselves or confess to their crimes. 

But it’s not over yet; Morpheus must take care of the Vortex first. When Morpheus attempts to kill Rose, her grandmother, Unity, appears, and as she was the first descendant, she sacrifices her own life to save Rose, but not before Unity reveals the father of her child had golden eyes, aka Desire. After seemingly threatening Desire enough to make her stay away, Morpheus appears to be happy (for once). However, Lucifer is livid; and she wants the silver city and to bring Lucifer to his knees. And so, that likely leads us into the second season. 

That’s the full story recap of what happened in The Sandman season 1. What are your thoughts on the story? Please comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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