The Doll’s House
Episode 7 of The Sandman starts with us diving through time to 2015. We’re in Cape Kennedy, Florida, and in the middle of a big family dispute no less. In the wake of a couple breaking up, two siblings, Jed and Rose Walker, are separated from one another. It’s the most heartbreaking thing in the world, as Rose struggles to hold back tears.
Meanwhile, Desire and Despair continue to scheme, believing there’s a new vortex. As it turns out, this is actually Rose Walker. News of this spreads across to Dream’s castle.
Lucienne feeds back to Dream that were are over 11,000 entities in the vicinity but three of the Major Arcana are gone. Gault; a shape-changing nightmare, the Corinthian and Fiddler’s Green. Dream blames himself, but shrugs off the vortex rumours, given Rose is no threat at the moment. So instead, Lucienne sends Matthew on to check on her.
When we return to Rose, we’re in 2021 and she’s still looking for her brother. Unemployed and out of money (thanks to her mother spending everything on the apartment), Rose is reminded that she does have a job. Or at lest an opportunity.
Rose has an interview off in London about her family history, in exchange for £250 per day for 7 days. It’s not a bad deal, especially for someone out of options.
Rose arrives in Sussex with Lyta Hall, where they rock up at an elderly care home and meet Unity. She has a dolls house in her room, which was a gift for her 12th birthday. However she never got a chance to play with it given she was asleep all that time. If you’ll remember, she was one of the affected dreamers while Morpheus was caged.
Anyway, now that Unity is awake she has big news. She was actually pregnant and gave birth to a baby girl called Miranda Walker while she was asleep. Long story short, Unity is actually Rose’s great grandmother!
Meanwhile, a convention for serial killers looks set to go ahead. However, there have been rumblings about the Corinthian showing up. He’s one of the more prolific killers out there but as of yet, no one has managed to get him to attend. So in order to convince him, one of the women suggests they enact copycat killings to get his attention. And that comes from taking the eyes of one’s victims.
The thing is, The Corinthian is far more interested in Rose Waler, and he stops by her apartment trying to find her. With her life threatened, the Three arrive before Rose in a dream and warn her, urging the girl to be careful.
Rose though is offered a job from Unity and that comes from trying to find Jed. She also meets her downstairs neighbours, Ken and Barbie, as well as Chantal and Zelda, her upstairs neighbours. It’s all pretty accurate to the comics, right down to Matthew watching from outside as Rose tries to find Jed.
Rose soon meets Gilbert from Hal’s attic, who helps save her from a couple of thugs in the alleyway. Matthew happens to be watching and he feeds this back to Lucienne, who realizes that Jed is oddly missing from both the Waking and Dreaming world.
Interestingly, Gault was the last nightmare Jed had and Lucienne theorizes that he may have been snatched then. However, they’re interrupted by Rose showing up, inexplicably appearing in the Dreaming.
The Corinthian also shows up but not to see Dream and Rose. He’s seen the copycat killings and heads in to meet the serial killers. They implore him to join them at the convention and to give the keynote speech. Corinthian wants to bring a guess who can “take their shared dreams to a whole new level” and that is, of course, the vortex herself, Rose.
As the episode closes out, we see that Jed is alive but not necessarily well. His guardians don’t take kindly to him and after he tries to run away, they catch up and bundle him in the trunk of the car.
The Episode Review
Moving from the first volume onto the second (which is aptly titled “The Dolls House”, The Sandman moves into the intriguing story of Rose Walker along with The Corinthian and his serial killer convention. It’s all quite accurate to the comics, although the inclusions I’ve mentioned previously – Matthew the talking raven most notably – hold this back from being a better adaptation.
However, these are minor grumbles in what’s otherwise been an absorbing watch. There’s a lot to like with this one, including excellent visuals and a strong storyline.
With three episodes left, it’ll be interesting to see exactly what direction this story takes next, with everything left wide open after that cliffhanger!