‘The Sandman’ Episode 11: Recap And Ending, Explained – Who Was Calliope? How Did Erasmus Fry Capture Her?


As a surprise to the fan base, as mentioned by David S. Goyer, Netflix has released a new episode of “The Sandman.” The episode is titled “Dream of a Thousand Cats/Calliope.” The reason behind such a name is that these episodes are the exact adaptation of the first two chapters from the 3rd volume of the original “The Sandman” comics by Neil Gaiman. The comic book inspired the titles, and the story remains intact. Why would the makers decide to release another episode after releasing a 10-episode series? The hints have been there since the makers pitched an eleven-episode Sandman three years ago. They decided to hold the 11th episode to adapt to the following issues and as a “love letter to the fans,” according to Goyer. Now, let us have an overview of this episode and find out how it is different from the original comic.

Spoilers Ahead

‘The Sandman’ Episode 11: Part 1 – Recap And Ending – What Did Siamese Want?

The story is shown combining two separate issues from the third volume of “The Sandman” comics. The first part of the episode is based on the second issue, “Dream of a Thousand Cats.” We see an animated version where a kitten is being taken care of by humans. They put her in her bed and left the room. Soon, a gray cat came to the window and asked her whether she would like to go to some meeting. Many other cats accompanied her, and everyone was going to see Siamese, a cat who would give a speech of some sort. Siamese greeted them all and started telling the story of her suffering. She was also one of those who considered humans as friends. But, when she had four little kittens of her own, the human threw them into a lake. She was distraught, and she dreamt of darkness. Soon, she found herself walking in the dream realm when a dead crow asked her what she sought. The crow told her to visit the cat of dreams, pointing at a mountain cave and telling her that her journey would be challenging. Siamese traveled through many difficulties and finally met with the Dream in the form of a cat. She told Dream about the killings of her children. The Dream told her to look into his eyes. There she saw that once the cats were as dominant as humans today. The cats were a lot bigger in size, and they used to hunt humans and eat them. Later, one human stood up and told the rest of his clan to dream of a better place where the cats wouldn’t hunt them down. When one day, more than a thousand humans dreamt the same dream, everything changed, and humans started to pet cats. The cats became much smaller in size and realized that they were at the mercy of the humans. While concluding the story, Siamese said that she had been sharing this with all the cats around the world. She wanted them to dream of a better world where they would be ruling the humans again. The following day, the kitten from the first scene was in a deep sleep. Its owners thought that it might be dreaming about hunting prey. They found it cute and adorable. What they didn’t realize was that it was dreaming of hunting humans only. 

Why Did The Kitten Dream Of Hunting The Humans?

The kitten was very well cared for by the humans. Still, she admired Siamese so much and believed in every word she said that night. Siamese, the cat, was also loved by the people who had kept her. But, the humans decided on her behalf and murdered her children. The little kitten saw the suffering from the viewpoint of Siamese, and she believed this could happen to any cat. She even asked the other cats whether they thought that such things might happen or not. Before leaving, the kitten even told Siamese that she believed in whatever she said, and in reply, Siamese told her that if she really did, then there was still some hope that one day they would regain their lost glory. 

‘The Sandman’ Episode 11: Part 2 Recap And Ending – Who Was Calliope?

This story is derived from the first chapter of the third volume of “The Sandman.” Here we see an author lecture about “Controlling the Narrative.” His name was Richard Madoc, and he was expecting someone. Soon, a woman named Nora came to meet him. Nora was a medical student who had stolen something for Richard from a laboratory. Richard Madoc took that “thing” to Erasmus Fry, a forgotten author who was once very famous. We found out that the “thing” that Nora had stolen was actually a genuine trichina-bezoar. They were removed from young women’s stomachs who had the habit of ingesting their own hair. This disease even had a name; he called it Rapunzel Syndrome. He also said that the bezoar was often believed to have mystic powers, such as making the sick well. Then he took Richard to see one of the nine Muses he had kept locked in a room. Her name was Calliope, and she was Homer’s Muse. He captured her by law, and she could not escape until Fry released her willingly. Fry promised to release her once he was dead but he broke his promise and gifted her to Richard.

As suggested by Fry, Richard kept her locked inside the room and tortured her. Soon, Richard Madoc was able to write his second novel. Calliope summoned the three sisters (they first arrived in the second episode “Imperfect Hosts” in the series when the Dream King summoned them to know about his missing things) in between, who told her that no one but “The Endless” could help her. They also told her that humans had captured Dream, and she could seek help from him. Calliope was once married to Dream, and she bore his child, Orpheus, a renowned poet and musician in Greek legends. One may also recall his name from a famous Greek story that revolved around the sacred romance of Orpheus and Eurydice. The tale of their romance was also used symbolically in Lisa Joy’s film, Reminiscence (2021).

Nevertheless, the son of Calliope and Morpheus, Orpheus, died as he committed an act of sacrilege, and the death of a son ended their relationship as well. Calliope knew that the Dream King would never help her because of the past, but the three sisters told her that it was the only way she could be free, as no god would meddle in human affairs except for the endless. After some time, when Calliope realized that Richard had broken his promise to release her after one book, she wrote the name “Morpheus” on a piece of paper, and right before she could summon him, Richard interfered.

Richard burnt the paper on which Calliope had written Morpheus’ name. The paper turned into smoke and magically reached the person to whom it was addressed. As soon as Morpheus got Calliope’s message, he arrived at Richard’s house. A point to be noted is that the year is 2022, which means Morpheus has already spent his time in human captivity. He was a changed man. He was now a different person who was more empathetic towards others, which was the reason why when Morpheus met Calliope after centuries, he decided not to hold any grudges against her, but instead try to understand her pain. Morpheus offered to help Calliope, and thus quickly confronted Richard and “requested” him to release Calliope. But Richard refused to do so, as letting her go would mean that Richard would never have any ideas for the novels, and he would be compelled to go back to his old pathetic life.

Enraged by Richard’s refusal, Morpheus granted him a nightmare, because of which his brain was jammed with abundant ideas. It doesn’t sound so bad, but the man went crazy. It was as if his brain was going to explode at any moment. Richard could find ideas everywhere he went. He even tried writing the ideas with his blood on the walls as he couldn’t find a piece of paper and a pen. He finally realized that he must set Calliope free; otherwise, these nightmares wouldn’t end. He finally asked Nora to go to his house and set Calliope free. When she went there, she could not find Calliope except for a book named “Here Comes A Candle” by Erasmus Fry. Finally, Calliope was free, and she thanked Morpheus for his help. Morpheus freed Richard from his nightmares. However, after Calliope left, Richard struggled to have any thoughts or ideas. He had no idea about anything at all (almost literally).

Why Did Calliope Leave “Here Comes A Candle” Book In Richard’s Room?

After handing over Calliope to Richard, Erasmus Fry said that if Richard felt the need to repay the gratitude, he should ask his publishers to reprint one of Fry’s old works. He referred to the novel he had written long ago, “Here Comes A Candle.” The novel contained a subtext that said, “She was his muse… and the slave of his lust!” This particular line explains the pain and suffering that Calliope went through while she was held captive by Erasmus Fry. There was a constant mention in the episode of “taking inspiration by force.” While the creators have tried to keep the reference suggestive, it could be surmised that by force here means that both men, Richard and Erasmus, sexually assaulted Calliope to get inspired. That also explains the scratch on Richard’s face when he went back into Calliope’s room to take inspiration by force.

Erasmus Fry was extremely proud of his work “Here Comes A Candle,” and though we haven’t read the book, yet we can surmise that the book may have revolved around the oppression and exploitation of a woman, Calliope, caused by a man, Erasmus Fry. It can also be surmised that after Erasmus handed over Calliope to Richard, he suffered from similar mental instability as seen in Richard’s case, and therefore he poisoned himself, because what is an artist without any inspiration?

In the end, we saw that Calliope had left “Here Comes A Candle” in Richard’s room as she wanted Richard and all the other oppressive men to remember the pain she had to go through because of their greed. The book will always remind Richard of his guilt, and, probably, the weight of those thoughts will lead him to take his own life. Hence, sooner or later, Richard Madoc is bound to meet the same fate as Erasmus Fry, and it is just a matter of time when he will finally give up.

How Did Erasmus Fry Capture Calliope?

Erasmus Fry was 27 years old when he visited Mount Helicon to write a novel. He was a learned man who used to read a lot for the research regarding his writings, which is how he learned about the Muses and how to control them. He gathered his wisdom and controlled Calliope when he found her there by using moly, sorcerer’s garlic, and some lost rituals. However, the episode never mentioned the actual events of how Erasmus Fry caught Calliope using his mischief. In the comic book, we find a section where Calliope is thinking about the mistake she had committed that made her visible to Fry. She was taking a bath in the waterfall of Mount Helicon, thinking about the time when the nine Muses were still wooed and needed. She left her scroll by the banks, and Erasmus got hold of it without her knowledge.

Erasmus Fry had the Moly flowers to control the Muses, and taking possession of the scroll meant he had her will in his hands. Fry burnt down the scroll and thus captured Calliope. One of the reasons he was proud of his “Here Comes A Candle” was because it described how Calliope made him a successful writer. Unlike Richard Madok, whose humility was shaken by the success he gained with the help of Calliope, and became ungrateful to everyone who helped him reach the top.

What Did Calliope Wish To Do Soon After Her Release? Who Was Oneiros?

When Richard Madok set Calliope free, Dream asked her what she would do. Calliope took an oath to do whatever she could to help others, so that this kind of imprisonment would never happen to anyone else. In the comic, Calliope wanted to return as a Muse again, but here in the episode, we see Calliope shining like a free and rebellious spirit. She would do anything to take down the law that could harm Muse’s freedom. Calliope finally thanks Dream by calling him Oneiros. Oneiros is one of the names of the Dream King, just like Kai’ckul. While they were in a relationship long ago, Dream used to go by that name.

Calliope said that Dream had changed a lot; if the situation had occurred earlier, he would have left her rotting in this imprisonment. Dream told her that he, too, had learned a lot during his imprisonment. He had seen his raven murdered while trying to save him. He had seen humankind’s obsession and how ruthless they could be to each other. All of this made him more empathetic than ever. He’d learned that love and empathy, not force or fear, could help him rebuild his realm. He showed that towards Lucienne and made the nightmare Gault into a beautiful dream. Just like Calliope decided to find a way to help every Muse and ease their pain, Dream, too, had told her that he was looking for ways to improve. Calliope understood that Dream was a changed man, and he could handle compassion more than ever before.

Final Words

In the screen adaptation of the 11th episode of “The Sandman” series, major changes weren’t made, and it sought to keep the essence as well as the facts of the comic books intact. Though a few minor alterations, like F.R.C.S. Felix Garrison being replaced by a medical student named Nora, and Felix giving the ball to Richard, were made. The intent of the 11th episode of “The Sandman” was not to further the narrative and take the story ahead, but it was to understand the inspirations of the characters and the context behind what Morpheus felt at times. It also establishes a stark difference between humans and these gods and goddesses. Where humans, on the one hand, are soaked in greed and are entangled in the materialistic aspects of life, the king of Dreams does not understand how they could possibly mistake it as their purpose. It is a very spiritual concept and makes you ponder over the significance or the triviality of our actions, our wants, our sadistic pleasures, our desperation, and all the other vices that we very unabashedly indulge in. The fans couldn’t have asked for more, as it is a treat to witness the events from adjoining timelines. Since Morpheus has undergone an internal transformation, it would be intriguing to see what changes he brings about in the waking world as well as in his realm, the dreaming. The Lord of Dreams was once infamously known as one of the cruelest among his siblings, and the upcoming season will probably tell us if he, of course, corrects his actions or treads on the same path he always has.

See More: ‘The Sandman’ Season 2: Expectations: Who Is Azazel? Will Lucifer Morningstar Take Revenge From Morpheus?

- Advertisement -
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shovan Roy
Shovan Roy
Shovan is an aspiring filmmaker who loves to live in the world of cinema. When he is not writing his own scripts, he likes to study the work of auteurs and learn from them. The greatest films ever made are his constant escape from reality and also keep him motivated.

Must Read

DMT Guide

More Like This