The Sandman’s Ending Brings Morpheus Very Close to Death

The Sandman’s Ending Brings Morpheus Very Close to Death

Through the course of The Sandman, Dream faced quite a few antagonists: John Dee, the Corinthian, and even Hell’s ruler, Lucifer. But little did he know that his biggest threat would be the 21-year-old Rose Walker, who also happens to be a vortex.

A vortex is an unstable being who has the ability to enter people’s dreams and manipulate them. This sounds a lot like the powers Dream himself has. The difference is that vortexes usually cannot control these powers like Dream can, which ends up doing a lot more harm than good.

In the Sandman finale, Dream has to kill Rose who is the vortex, lest she ends up destroying the entire universe. Rose’s grandmother, Unity, comes to her rescue by transferring the vortex to herself and dying in place of her granddaughter.

Okay, so this is a rather concise version of an intricate murder scheme planned by Desire.

Desire has always been known to be naughty to the point of it being fatal, and given how displeased they were with Dream’s general attitude toward them, it’s no wonder that brother dearest was next on the kill list.

Let’s understand just exactly how Desire influenced The Sandman’s finale and what they stood to gain from it.

Desire’s Game Plan

It has been implied that Desire was behind Dream’s imprisonment, using Roderick Burgess as a puppet. What did Desire gain from this? Did they want Roderick to exploit Dream? Kill him? Keep him captured forever?

The Sandman’s Ending Brings Morpheus Very Close to Death
The Sandman | Source: IMDb

It’s much simpler than that—Desire needed Dream to stay imprisoned long enough for the world to get infected by the Sleepy Illness. This is the illness we see first in Ep 1, where Dream’s absence causes people to sleepwalk, or worse, sleep endlessly.

We later find out that Unity Kincaid is the only patient who survived the illness. She wakes up the same day as Dream breaks free.

Adult Unity is first introduced with a surprise connection to Rose Walker, who is her great-granddaughter. When Rose is revealed to be the vortex disturbing the balance of the Waking world and the Dreaming, the radar goes off that Unity has some part to play in it.

In Ep 10, Unity enters the Dreaming looking for the book of her unlived life. As you may remember, she was asleep from childhood to old age, which would span 7-8 decades. In her dreams, she did live a fulfilling life complete with a husband and child.

The only catch was that her child turned out to be real, which is how we get Rose Walker.

The Sandman’s Ending Brings Morpheus Very Close to Death
The Sandman | Source: IMDb

Initially curious about what her life would’ve been if she was awake, Unity and Lucienne learn that she was meant to be the vortex of the current era, not Rose. But because she was asleep, the vortex passed down her line, ultimately finding a volatile home in Rose.

This is exactly what Desire wanted, and they sent off threats like John Dee and the Corinthian to keep Dream from figuring out what was really up.

Why Dream Killing Rose Would Have Backfired 

The episodes leading up to the finale show Rose spiraling out of control, especially being fed opposing information from Corinthian and Dream. All she wants to do is find her brother.

As the vortex, Rose is quite powerful. Entering the Dreaming is just at the baseline of what she can do. While her presence can destroy all of existence, she may also have the power to kill Dream and take over his position.

The Sandman’s Ending Brings Morpheus Very Close to Death
The Sandman | Source: IMDb

Once Dream defeats Corinthian and “kills” him (or at least, undoes his essence), he is able to convince Rose that her death is the only solution—one that he does not take pleasure in. Rose, too, has accepted this after realizing she’s caused immense pain to her friends because she couldn’t control her powers.

But just as she’s about to sacrifice herself, Lucienne and Unity rush in. Lucienne explains that since Unity was meant to be the original vortex, she may be able to transfer it from Rose back to herself. The grandmother happily does so, knowing that it will save Rose’s life.

It is bittersweet when Dream has to kill Unity. But this was always supposed to be her fate—had Dream not been imprisoned, Unity would’ve continued to be the vortex that he would’ve had to kill inevitably. In a way, her tale comes a full circle.

Before she dies, however, she does tell Dream that in her dreams, she had her kid with a “golden-eyed man.” This is of utmost importance!

The golden-eyed man is none other than Desire, which means Rose and Jed are descended from an Endless.

Now, get this. The Endless are quite hard to kill because they’re made invulnerable by the ancient laws of nature. However, if Dream (or any other Endless) kills someone belonging to their family, their protection is immediately revoked. In short, it would be easy to kill him.

So if Dream had killed Rose, who has Endless blood in her, he himself would have been vulnerable and easy to kill.

Making Dream defenseless was Desire’s plan all along—right from ensuring Dream’s imprisonment, to having a baby with Unity and ultimately orchestrating a scenario where Dream had no option but to kill Rose, an Endless child.

Desire wanted to get rid of Dream once and for all. But thanks to family, love, and some good ol’ luck, Dream escaped his wayward sibling. Well, for now.

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About The Sandman

The Sandman is an American fantasy drama TV series based on the 1989–1996 comic book written by Neil Gaiman and published by DC Comics. The series was developed for Netflix and is being produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television.

The first season adapted the first two comics in the series, Preludes & Nocturnes and The Doll’s House. In 1916, Dream, the king of Dreams and Nightmares and one of the seven Endless, is captured and imprisoned after an occult ritual. After being held captive for 106 years, he escapes and sets out to restore order to his kingdom of The Dreaming.

The Sandman stars Tom Sturridge as Dream, with Gwendoline Christie, Vivienne Acheampong, Boyd Holbrook, Charles Dance, Asim Chaudhry, and Sanjeev Bhaskar in supporting roles.