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The Real Importance Of The Sandman Episode 5

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  • Posted on 06th Aug, 2022 16:14 PM

The horrific "24/7" episode of Netflix's The Sandman, much like the comic that inspired it, marks a major turning point for the series' aesthetic.

style="text-align: center;">Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for The Sandman season 1.

Beyond marking the midway point of the Netflix show's first season, The Sandman episode 5 is of great importance. This seems odd at first, given that the episode barely features the title character of Morpheus, a.k.a. Dream of the Endless or The Sandman, and seems to divert away from the series' main storyline involving the theft of the Sandman's tools, the ruby, sand and helm that contain his power. Instead, the mid-season episode focuses on the people in a small diner as they fall prey to the manipulations of John Dee before he battles Morpheus for control of the Dreaming.


The Sandman episode 5, "24/7," is a faithful adaptation of The Sandman #6, "24 Hours." Some characters are changed from the comic for the Netflix adaptation, with Marsh now being a short-order cook rather than a truck driver. The most notable change, however, is John Dee's motivations for turning the diner patrons and staff into his playthings.

Related: The True Story Of The Sandman's Sleeping Sickness Of 1916

In both the comics and the show, the diner episode of The Sandman's opening story arc is an important chapter that sets the tone for the rest of the series. While the early chapters of The Sandman contain horrific elements, they're also more fantastic in tone, establishing the rules regarding magical beings like Dream and his siblings in the Endless family. With a story more grounded in reality and classic horror, The Sandman episode 5 establishes that anything is possible in the world of The Sandman and that the audience should expect a variety of stories across multiple genres.

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Why John Dee Forced Everyone To Tell The Truth

The biggest change in Netflix's adaptation of The Sandman #6 into The Sandman episode 5 is the motivations of the story's antagonist, John Dee. Played by David Thewlis, John Dee is a far more sympathetic figure in the show than in the comics, where he's a simple sadist who revels in the power Morpheus's ruby gives him over others. The show's version of John Dee has more noble intentions, seeking to use the ruby to build a better world by eliminating the dishonesty he sees as the root of all evil.

The episodes leading up to The Sandman episode 5 establish Dee's belief that the Waking World apart from the Dreaming would be a better place if everyone were honest with themselves and each other. He makes his peace with his mother, Ethel Cripps, who was a thief and fence all of her life, and who continually lied to him. He also discusses the importance of honesty with Rosemary, the woman who gives him a ride to the storage facility where he hid the ruby, rewarding her for her honesty with the amulet of protection his mother gave him.

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Why Everyone Killed Themselves In The Sandman Episode 5

The games John Dee plays with the diner denizens in The Sandman episode 5 start off simple, such as trophy husband Gary being honest about wanting a burger and fries instead of the salad his executive wife orders for him. However, by the end of the fifth episode of The Sandman season 1, John Dee has forced everyone to reveal their darkest secrets and act upon their repressed carnal desires, such as the homophobic Bette acting on her own repressed attraction to the openly gay Judy. When they realize that John Dee is manipulating them, he defends himself by saying that all he did was offer them "a world where you could be yourselves without having to suffer for it." The revelation that they truly did want to do all the things they did over the course of the episode drives each of them to commit suicide, unable to go on living with the guilt of what they have done.

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Related: Every Name & Title Dream Has Had In The Sandman

The Real Meaning Of The Sandman's Diner Episode

The story of Netflix's The Sandman is full of disturbing imagery and twisted ideas and, much like The Sandman #6 in the original comics, it establishes the series' bona fides as a work of horror. It also establishes the theme that the real monsters in its world often wear human faces and that the impulses that drive some to evil deeds are found deep in the heart of humanity, not in some external influence like a magic ruby. While nightmarish creatures like the Corinthian may possess terrible powers and play sadistic games with mortals, they are mere reflections of the mundane evils perpetuated by ordinary people, such as the cereal convention attendees in The Sandman episode 9. The idea that nightmares walk among us and may live within our own hearts is one of the most frightening conceits The Sandman offers up and it is well presented in episode 5, "24/7."

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More: Who Is The Prodigal In The Sandman?

The Sandman season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

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