‘The Sandman: Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope’ Explained: What Are These Two New Stories About?

The Sandman

Well, well, Netflix just surprised everyone this Friday morning with the release of a new episode of The Sandman. The first season of the show was released with very good reviews and solid viewing numbers. However, as if we were dealing with the Dream Lord himself, Netflix just dropped on us a new episode and a very special one as it contains two stories in one. This means that we are also ready for a new Ending, Explained for this last special episode of The Sandman.

The new episode is titled “Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope”. This means the episode is divided into two very different sections. Each section tells its own story. The first one, “Dream of a Thousand Cats” is being done in animation. In the same style as the show Undone on Amazon. Meanwhile, the second part of the episode is done in standard live-action, but it tells a very important story that opens up parts of Morpheus’s past and sets up future storylines.

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The following paragraphs contain spoilers for the special episode “Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope”. Read at your own risk.

What Is The Dream The Cats Dream About?

The first section of the episode is “Dream of a Thousand Cats”. This is a very short section, which, of course, comes from the fact that it is also a very small part of the original comic. This section feels almost like a short film, and it tells the story from the point of view of a young cat. The young cat gathers with the rest of the cats in the area in the cemetery late at night when all humans are asleep. The reason for the meeting is to hear the message of a Siamese cat. This Siamese cat has a dream.

Dreams shape the world. It is one of the main themes in the show. Dreams have the potential to become reality if enough people share the same dream. Dreaming leads to action, and action leads to change, but the idea, the dream, needs to be implanted in people’s minds in order to serve as a catalyst for change. The Dream, this story talks about is a dream where humans are small, and cats are huge. Where cats are the rules, and humans are the slaves.

The Sandman

In a very powerful recounting of her experiences, the Siamese cat tells the story of how she fell in love, gave birth, and how humans took her children from her and killed them by throwing them in a lake. It is all very gruesome and awful stuff, but it is the reality of this cat. She doesn’t understand why someone would do something like that. She prays to meet Dream, who takes the form of a cat in this tale, and he explains how humans dream of their world and shape it from it. He tells the Siamese cat that cats can do the same.

In her dream, cats rule, and humans serve. Cats play with their human food and then eat it. Her mission now is to travel as far as she can and deliver the world. She hopes that if enough cats dream of the same dream, maybe a thousand would be enough, then the world can change, and she can have her kids back, and then all cats can share the paradise of the dream. Many of the cats are not convinced, but the young cats believe in the dream.

The story ends with the young cat sleeping late and being watched by his human masters. He looks cute while dreaming, but what the humans don’t know is that he is dreaming of eating them once the dream comes true.

Who Is Calliope, And Who Is She To Morpheus?

The second story of the episode takes us back in time. The beginning of this story runs in parallel with the middle of the first episode of the show and tells a similar story. A writer, named Richard, is suffering from a severe case of writer’s block. His manager and the publisher are breathing on his neck. He needs to deliver a book, or he could be in danger of being sued for breaching of contract. In desperation, Richard calls for the help of a famous but long-forgotten author.

Richard gives a gift to the old author, and in exchange, he receives Calliope, a muse, a goddess of ancient times. Calliope is the muse that brings us inspiration when we pray for it. However, here, Calliope is a slave, captured by men who cannot deal with the fact that they cannot do art by themselves. In order to propel themselves even higher, they desecrate and humiliate Calliope. Richard needs to extract the inspiration from Calliope by using violence, and while his career goes to the next level, his soul becomes rotten.

The Sandman

Calliope asks for help from her sister, but they cannot help her, as she is bound to Richard by the laws. A not-so-subtle metaphor about feminism and how it aims to break the laws and conventions that were imposed on women for so many years. Calliope is warned that his ex-husband Morpheus is trapped just like her, but she realizes that Morpheus has escaped. She calls for his help and he answers back. Here, we discover that Calliope left Morpheus at some point in the past and that they had a kid, Orpheus.

Morpheus plans to hurt Richard, but Calliope intercedes, she only wants her freedom. Richard begs Morpheus not to hurt him. He says that he needs Calliope, that he doesn’t have any ideas without her. Morpheus then uses ironic justice and plagues Richard’s mind with so many ideas that he cannot function as a human being. Later, when Calliope is finally released. Morpheus takes away all the ideas and leaves nothing behind. Now Richard is not able to even think.

The end of the episode sets up Calliope and Morpheus’ reunion in the future. They need to talk about Orpheus, their son, who is apparently dead. That story must have to wait for a future season, but the setup is all there.

  • Nelson loves all things related to storytelling. He has spent most of his life studying narrative, applied across all mediums; film, TV, books, and video games. Mulholland Drive is his favorite film.