Holy cats! Netflix's dark fantasy series 'The Sandman' drops surprise bonus episode for fans

·2 min read

Mr. Sandman brought us a bonus episode.

Netflix premiered the first season of its new dark fantasy hit "The Sandman" Aug. 5, and fans who've binged all 10 episodes didn't have long to wait for more: A two-part chapter based on more of the stories from executive producer Neil Gaiman's original 1989-96 "Sandman" comic book series dropped unannounced on the service Friday.

"A gift for you," Gaiman tweeted with a trailer for the Beyoncé-esque surprise.

The initial round of episodes adapted the first two volumes of Gaiman's comic, where Morpheus (Tom Sturridge), the ruler of the Dreaming, escaped after more than a century of captivity, went on a search for his "tools" (a pound of sand, a ruby and his helmet), reconnected with his sister Death (Kirby Howell-Baptiste) and even went to hell to face Lucifer (Gwendoline Christie).

Review: Netflix's 'The Sandman' is absolutely gorgeous, and a total failure

The Tabby Kitten (voiced by Rosie Day, left) and the Grey Cat (David Gyasi) listen intently to a wise Siamese prophet in an episode of Netflix's "The Sandman."
The Tabby Kitten (voiced by Rosie Day, left) and the Grey Cat (David Gyasi) listen intently to a wise Siamese prophet in an episode of Netflix's "The Sandman."

Episode 11 adapts a pair of one-off tales from the comic's "Dream Country" saga, in which Morpheus plays a supporting role.

The animated "A Dream of a Thousand Cats" centers on a tabby kitten (voiced by Rosie Day) and her older friend, a gray cat (David Gyasi), venturing from their homes at night to a moonlight meeting with other felines at a graveyard. There, a wise Siamese known as the Prophet (Sandra Oh) has come to tell them a story of how a tragic incident led her on a revelatory journey to the Dreaming, a meeting with the king of cats – Morpheus in formidable, furry form – and a view of how the power dynamic between cats and humans used to be.

In addition to Oh, the cat-filled narrative also features James McAvoy, David Tennant, Michael Sheen and Gaiman himself as a crow with a skull head.

'It takes you somewhere else': Neil Gaiman previews fantasy world of Netflix's 'The Sandman'

Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) reconnects with Calliope (Melissanthu Mahut), a Greek Muse with whom he shares some history, in "The Sandman."
Morpheus (Tom Sturridge) reconnects with Calliope (Melissanthu Mahut), a Greek Muse with whom he shares some history, in "The Sandman."

The second, live-action story stars Arthur Darvill ("Doctor Who") as Richard Madoc, a struggling novelist whose debut did gangbusters but left him with no ideas for his second book. In desperate need of inspiration, Richard trades a magical artifact to aging famous writer Erasmus Fry (Derek Jacobi) for "ownership" of Calliope (Melissanthi Mahut), one of the Greek Muses he's kept locked up in his house for decades.

"She was Homer's muse, so she should be good enough for you," Erasmus tells Richard. And like the older man, Richard promises Calliope that he'll free her after his next work. But after several years of taking advantage of her, Calliope reaches out to Morpheus, with whom she shares an important but strained relationship.

"The Sandman," which hasn't been renewed yet for a second season, has proven popular across the board – the series has an 86% critical rating and a 84% audience score on RottenTomatoes.com – although USA TODAY TV critic Kelly Lawler called it "a perplexing failure."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'The Sandman': Neil Gaiman's Netflix fantasy drops surprise episode