Our score: 7/10

Synopsis: Do not read if you don’t want to read any spoilers.

Trigger warning: This episode contains graphic violence and discusses a number of sensitive topics. It also demonstrates what John (who is mentally ill) can do with the power of the ruby. This is not an episode for the faint of heart.

Dream is still unconscious when the story begins.

The majority of this episode takes place in a diner where John orders coffee and breakfast. What’s intriguing is that John tells the waitress (Bette) the truth about the ruby and its powers. The waitress believes he is simply striking up a conversation, and by being polite, she strikes up a friendly conversation with him as well. The waitress clearly has a crush on her coworker, Marsh. It also depicts various customers in various life situations, such as a girl who had a fight with her girlfriend and did not receive a response from her (breakup), a happy couple celebrating their anniversary, a young man waiting to go for a job interview, and so on.

The Sandman. 2022. Netflix

She waitress claims to have a sixth sense about people because she likes to set people up in the diner, and one couple she introduced is now celebrating their wedding anniversary at the diner every year. John observes all of the interactions and is also very perceptive – he informs the waitress that she is not a waitress but rather a writer and that she is lying about her true feelings. (This is where the possible triggers start). He advises her to stop lying because it will lead to her death. He uses the ruby to persuade the waitress to tell the truth: she calls John handsome, but he is not; she simply wants John to like her. He tells her once more that he despises lies. He expects everyone to always tell the truth. He uses the ruby on a couple celebrating their anniversary to reveal the truth about their true feelings. The girl waiting for her girlfriend to respond, as well as the gentleman looking for work, begin to be very honest (due to John using the ruby). The job seeker informs the girl that her girlfriend is not interested in hearing from her. John approaches the lady who is waiting for her girlfriend and manipulates her with the ruby. I got the impression that John is behaving like a disturbed and insane psychologist.

The Sandman. 2022. Netflix

John is now completely insane, manipulating people’s minds to the extreme.

We notice a pattern: the anniversary couple orders the same food, but the husband begins acting out of character. John begins to make changes until he believes they are perfect.

Bette, the waitress, is madly in love with Marsh. Marsh continues to ignore her. John makes them tell the truth. Marsh admits to sexually grooming / using Bette’s son every time he came over for dinner and waited for her to sleep. He also informs her that her son is now 21 and can make his own decisions. At the end, Bette and the lady waiting for her girlfriend, the cook and the husband (anniversary couple), and the CEO (wife) and the interviewee all take part in a sort of orgy. Following the orgy, the interviewee murders the CEO’s husband.

Bette becomes aware that John is manipulating everyone. John claimed he only removed the lies. He claims they all decided to do everything else on their own. “You don’t have to pretend anymore,” he says. He manipulates them all into cutting themselves, burning themselves, cutting their hands, and eventually committing suicide.

Following the suicide of all patrons, John enquires about his future, and the fates appear and tell him what his future will hold. Dream has finally arrived.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Dream inquires. “Freeing the world from its lies.” Dream informs John that he must return the ruby in order to repair the damage he has caused. He informs John that the ruby is causing him harm. Dream informs John that the lies were not lies, but rather dreams – things that inspired people – hope. People lived because of their dreams, and when John took away their dreams and hope, they died. He also informs John that the ruby is causing him pain and that you can only deprive a dream lord of his power in your dreams. He then takes John to a nightmare.

In his nightmare, John believes he has killed Dream, but he is mistaken. John actually destroyed the ruby, releasing the power contained within it. Dream claims he created the ruby (similar to the gargoyle), and when John destroyed it, he regained his power. He claims that he will not kill John, but rather put him to sleep.

Dream must now begin repairing the realm. He says: “Tonight at least humanity will sleep in peace”.

The episode ends with Desire saying: “I’m watching you big brother”.