Our score: 9/10
Synopsis: Do not read if you don’t want to read any spoilers.
We could not identify any triggers in this episode.
Dream is feeding pigeons in a park with his sister Death sitting next to him when the episode begins. Death appears to be giving him the “big sister pep talk.” Dream tells Death that he feels empty and that vengeance isn’t as satisfying as he expected – just like any other normal person going through something. Dream tells Death that with the search for his tools, he had a true quest, a purpose, and then it was over. He tells her that he is now disappointed, let down, empty, and unfeeling.
Deaths gives him a good talking to by asking if he thinks she won’t be concerned about him. She invites him to accompany her to her workplace. Death connects with people and has compassion for them. She removes her shoes and instructs Dream to do the same because touching the earth with bare feet is a grounding experience.
The episode depicts the sadness of people dying and their desire for one last moment. Death tells Dream that she has been there since the beginning and that things have been difficult for her, so all people who die require is a kind word and a friendly face. They depict the deaths of an elderly man, several young people, and a baby, as well as Death’s compassion for all of them. She claims that when she is working, she is not alone, and neither is Dream. The entire family is there to help humanity. Death informs Dream that their purpose is to be present for people, and thus I need them as much as they need me.
The plot shifts to tell the story of Robert Gadling.
1389 – In a tavern, Robert Gadling (Hob) declares to his friends that he will defy death, and Death grants him his wish. Dream suggests that they meet again in this tavern in 100 years to hear about his life.
100 years later, in 1489, the pair reunites. Hob has been wondering who Dream is for a hundred years and finally asks him. “Is this a game?” he inquires. What is your name? “What brings you here?” Dream responds that he is intrigued by Hob’s experience. He suggests they meet every 100 years. Hob informs him that the first 100 years were both brilliant and changing. He informs Death that he has established a printing press. Dream asks him if he still wants to live, and Hob says yes.
Dream meets Sir Robert Gadling after 200 years (still Hob to Dream). He made a lot of money and had a wife and child. Hob tells Dream that this is what he has always imagined heaven to be like – plenty of food and wine. We also see William Shakespeare in the tavern, and Dream goes to speak to him, inspiring him to dream of writing plays and stories to help others dream.
Hob has lived for 300 years and has been homeless for the majority of the last 100. He asks Dream if he knows how hungry a man can become without dying. He informs Dream that he has lost everything. The residents of the town where he had lived for 40 years attempted to drown him as a witch. He tells Dream that he has despised the last 80 years. “Do you still want to live?” Dream inquires. “Death is a mug’s game,” he says. “I have so much to live for.”
In Hob’s 400th year, he tells Dream that he has been salting money away all over the world. He first started a shipping company, then a slave trade. Dream tells him to stop slave trading and tells him that the choice is his, but would he deprive others of that choice? Constantine appears. Constantine suggests to Dream that he share gifs and deals with her as well. Dream declines and displays old ghosts to her.
Hob has now lived for 500 years. It is now during the reign of Jack the Ripper. Dream tells Hob that everyone has a story and that people are almost always better than he believes (Hob). Hob is told by Dream that he has changed. Hob tells Dream that while he has learned from his mistakes, it does not prevent him from repeating them. Hob tells Dream that he, too, believes he has changed. Hob confronts Dream, explaining that he meets him for friendship because he is lonely. Dream takes it personally and leaves. Hob believes that if Dream reappears in 100 years, it will be because they are friends.
It has now been 600 years. Hob waits, and Dream does not appear. Hob informs the bartender that he and Dream had a fight, which was his fault. He said he wished he could say he was drunk at the time, but he was just an idiot, and maybe they’ll meet again in 100 years. He learns that the pub has been sold and will be converted into flats.
Another century has passed. Hob and Dream now first met 700 years ago. Dream stands in front of the construction site, with a sign directing to a new pub. Hob is waiting for him there. He apologizes to Dream for being late and that he considers it impolite to keep their friends waiting.
The episode ends with Desire that says: “It seems that our brother has found a way out of his prison. Don’t worry I will find another plan”.