hypnoticthe long-awaited Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s comics, begins “in the waking world, which humanity insists upon.” Call the world “real,” as if your dreams have no bearing on the choices you make,” that’s what the main character, Morpheus, tells us at the top of the series premiere.
As we watch a crow follow a horse-drawn chariot and then travel to another underworld, Morpheus—aka Dream, aka Lord of The Dreaming, aka King of Dreams, aka a zillion of other names—adds, “There The last life that awaits you when you close your eyes and enter Mine kingdom.”
Indeed, the first episodes of Season 1 that began airing on Friday take viewers deep into the Dream Realm, a once fertile and rich playground (think giant golden doors of a kingdom where dragons once frolic) that begins to unravel when its master departs” To pursue a rogue nightmare,” he tells us — and was held captive for more than a century.
Soon, we’ll want to hear what you thought hypnoticthe first show. But first, a quick recap:
Morpheus (played by sweet bitterTom Sturridge sets out to catch the aforementioned nightmare, a serial killer with mouths whose eyes must be close to the name Corinthian (fugitiveBoyd Holbrook). Comics fans will recognize Vertigo as the rudder, sapphire, and sandbag Morpheus holds before he says goodbye to The Dreaming’s librarian Lucienne (witches‘Vivienne Acheampong). He soon traces the Corinthian back to Berlin, where he’s about to put an end to a literal nightmare when we hear some hymns and Morpheus moves elsewhere entirely.
He ends up naked and trapped in a mystical world, conjured up by a wealthy man named Roderick Burgess (Game of thronesCharles Dance), who tries to capture Dream’s brother, dying, instead. (Oops!) Corinthian makes his way to Burgess’ house to give the old man some pointers. First, his calculations (rudder, gem, and bag) can give aspects of dream power to those who own them. Second, no one can sleep in his presence, or escape the master of dreams.
The next morning, as a result of Morpheus’ imprisonment, a group of people did not wake up from their night’s slumber. One of them is a young girl from London named Unity Kincaid. It will become a story mission later in the season.
Burgess unsuccessfully tries to bargain with Morpheus, but the other being will not speak to him. As we cross the next 10 years, Burgess has wealth, youth, and prosperity thanks to Morpheus accessories. He eventually inseminated a young woman named Ethel, then demanded that she have an abortion. She ran away… and took with her a Morpheus sapphire. We later saw that she has a son named Johnny, who will also appear in the story in a later episode.
In the end, the episode jumps far into the future, when Burgess’ son, Alex, is an old man… Morpheus is still trapped in the field. When Alex’s wheelchair accidentally wipes out some magical sign that is holding Dream captive, the prisoner is able to make the guard sleep, which leads to a chain of events that ends with a vortex hole and a dream immersion in it.
Soon, Alex has a dream in which Morpheus gives him the gift of “eternal sleep,” says the master of dreams, blowing sand in his face and condemning his captor to a sleep full of nightmares from which he will never wake up. Elsewhere, the Corinthian – who was fresh from a murder in which the victim’s eyes were gouged out – knows exactly what happened. However, speaking for himself, he won’t stop what he’s doing until he reshapes the world to “look just like me.”
This underestimates him. The place is deserted! Lucienne explains that because he was long gone, the kingdom began to fall apart, and many of its inhabitants were gone. But Dream vows to put it all right, so that dreams and nightmares do not prey on the waking world. “I once made this world, Lucien,” he says as the giant, worn-out doors of The Dreaming slam shut behind her. “I’ll make that again.”
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