The Sandman season 1, episode 11 recap  – “Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope”

By Romey Norton
Published: August 19, 2022
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This surprising two-part bonus episode is dark, deep, and has the grittiness some other episodes were missing.

This recap of Netflix’s The Sandman season 1, episode 11, “Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope,” contains spoilers.  

At the end of the tenth episode, the vortex is destroyed, and the dreaming is finally rebuilt. Lucifer has plans to make Dream suffer.

The Sandman season 1, episode 11 recap  – “Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope”

This surprising two-part bonus episode is dark, deep, and has the grittiness some other episodes were missing. Both storylines running together works beautifully and grip you from the start.

The episode starts as an animation of a tiny kitten, being put to bed by its human owners. When it’s night, another cat comes to ask the kitten to join him on an adventure. Together as they walk they are joined by other curious cats all going to see her.

In a grave, hundreds of cats are gathered, and one beautiful purebred cat stands and shares her thoughts and dreams. Sharing her story of once living in the human world, and the human male taking and killing her kittens, causing her to pray to the king of cats and dreams. This took her to The Dreaming, where she followed a dangerous path, through the darkness, through the void to a cave, to see the Cat of Dreams. The cat is warned that dreams have a price. Looking into the eyes of the Cat of Dreams, she saw their history, their truth.

A world where cats were giants and humans were as small as mice. This cat now travels from place to place preaching their truth, and the challenge to dream of a world where no cat suffers, in the hope they will one day be in paradise. The little kitten goes home, full of passion and in the morning the owners watch the little one dreaming.

Then we switch to August 2018, in the real non-animation world. A man is giving a lecture about writing. We then follow him to a house, where an older gentleman answers and asks him about his recent writing.

He’s given a gift of a mass of hair and speaks of its powers. The elderly gentleman Erasmus takes Richard to a secret room where a woman called Calliope is kept as a prisoner. Erasmus gives her to Richard as a gift after he promised to free her before he died. Calliope is a goddess, a daughter of Zeus, and is a muse for the arts.

Richard and Calliope leave the house, and Calliope begs for him to release her. Richard kindly asks for her to inspire him, just for one book and then he will free her. Richard locks her in a room and races downstairs where he immediately starts trying to write. He can’t. Instead, he seeks to woo Calliope with presents, he begs for inspiration and she begs for freedom, but he does not free her.

Pressure is on when Richard’s agent threatens to drop him as a client unless he is able to produce some chapters. Richard goes to the room where Calliope is, then the next shot is of him frantically writing, with a cut on his face.

Calliope calls her family for help, who answer and say they cannot meddle in these affairs. They do hint that the Dream King might be able to help her in this situation, as she did bear his child Orpheus, and they were once close. This is where we learn that at this point Morpheus was also enslaved by humans and is currently in his cage, in the basement.

Back to a party for his latest book, Richard is acting quite confident. After a movie deal he wants to take himself and Calliope to L.A. Growing more anxious, Calliope leaves her room and tries to contact Morpheus, by writing a letter, but is interrupted by Richard, who burns the letter. As the ash flows out of the chimney, we can guess this is what Calliope wanted.

Morpheus comes to visit Calliope, who says he shall punish Richard. He sits in Richard’s writing chair, asking him calmly and seriously asking for him to release her. Morpheus states that if it is ideas he wants, ideas he shall have, in abundance.

The ending

At a reading, Richard is answering questions and sees Morpheus at the back of the lecture hall, and suddenly starts spouting different storylines, as he runs out. He’s found a stairwell after writing lots of words on the wall with his hands bleeding as he’s used his fingers. He urges one girl to go to his house and free the woman upstairs.

Calliope stands in her goddess garments and realizes it is all over. Asking Morpheus if he still hates her for what happened and for her leaving him, he says no, and he free’s Richard’s madness, but now he cannot think or remember, not even her name.

The episode ends gently with Calliope saying goodbye to Morpheus and she walks down the street, a free goddess.

What did you think of Netflix’s The Sandman season 1, episode 11? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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