“Sweet Dreams” opens up the worldbuilding a little as well as providing some important characterization and shaping the back half of the season.
This recap of the Netflix series Lockwood and Co Season 1 Episode 4, “Sweet Dreams”, contains spoilers.
Society, like a living thing, adapts. It changes to suit its circumstances. What was previously inconceivable becomes first doable and then, eventually, normal. In Lockwood & Co., the specific problem is… well, “The Problem”, but the way in which the British government and its citizens have adapted to it and attempted to solve it is reminiscent of all manner of different real-world scenarios — yes, including the recent pandemic and the various mandates employed to fight it. I’m not saying this show is intentionally a metaphor for anything, but if you describe it the right way, it could be a metaphor for just about anything.
Lockwood and Co Season 1 Episode 4 Recap
I raise this because the case in “Sweet Dreams” is essentially admin, a bit of busywork that shows how something like The Problem would be manipulated by various interested parties, from government agencies to civilian contractors. Everyone has a finger in some kind of pie; everyone stands to profit in one way or another. Anthony, Lucy, and George are hired to cleanse potentially volatile graves in a cemetery that seems less a resting place and more a cash-printing operation. The ickiness of the work is barely considered, and its potential dangers aren’t fully addressed until it’s too late.
How can Lucy communicate with the skull?
But wait a moment. Didn’t Episode 3 end on a cliffhanger? Yes, it did indeed, but little is made of it initially. The boys found Lucy passed out, assumed she was asleep, and took her to bed. When she wakes up she doesn’t mention the talking skull. Perhaps she herself is skeptical of what she heard. After all, ghosts don’t talk — do they?
As it turns out, some do, and Lucy can hear them. The skull George stole from the Fittes Agency is among them. This makes Lucy only the second person after Marissa Fittes to be able to commune with Type 3 visitors. It’s hardly a hugely surprising twist — Lucy’s exceptional talent relative to everyone around her hasn’t exactly been a secret — but it’s a detail with a lot of future potential, especially if Netflix decides to do more with the show, which they should.
It also does a lot for the characterization. Later in the episode, when Lucy opens up to the boys, they initially don’t believe her. But Anthony comes around pretty quickly, and more importantly, has a sudden realization about his role in everything. Despite his loving the spotlight so much, maybe, he wonders, his purpose is to shine that spotlight on someone else. It’s a surprisingly open admission for someone so headstrong and self-involved and helps to make him more likable.
What’s in the grave?
Anyway, back to the case itself. The team discovers that the volatile grave contains an iron casket of obviously immense power that actually pre-dates the Problem. Simply being in its presence badly affects Lucy and George, for instance. Through a bit of sleuthing, George manages to deduce that the man inside is Edmund Bickerstaff, a Victorian doctor of some renown with links to the occult. It’s a significant development since it implies that not only were ghosts among us before the Problem, but that people were aware of them and already taking measures to counteract them.
This case also tees up the MacGuffin hunt that’ll shape the back half of the season, since Bickerstaff’s missing mirror becomes an object of extreme importance and focus — so much so that Inspector Barnes puts not only Lockwood & Co. but also Quill Kipps’s team on it. Kipps is Anthony’s bitter rival. He’s not especially important here, but he’s present enough to warrant a mention, especially since their wager on who can find the mirror first — the loser has to quit the industry forever — is another important character beat showing how Anthony’s short-sighted pride and arrogance are going to continue being a problem.
You can stream Lockwood and Co Season 1 Episode 4, “Sweet Dreams” exclusively on Netflix