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Dead Boy Detectives, a worthy addition to the Sandman Mythos, and an interesting look at the world from the ground level.


Death takes the soul of a World War I ghost

Will contain spoilers for season one of Deadboy Detectives.


Dead boy detectives is another Netflix show that I totally slept on because goddamn Netflix, you've got to improve your Advertisement strategy, because you are buying some really good shows under the Radar there, and also, also, there's the problem of over saturation yeah.


Like so many shows on Netflix look like absolutely Brills, and yet one can't be bothered because there's so many of them.


I am ashamed to say that even though I'm aware of this, I have a absolutely fallen prey to this, as I have watched way more Disney plus than Netflix even though, every time I chose to watch it, Netflix has far outclassed Disney.


Problem is, much of the rest on Netflix is Another life... Yes the entire internet has collectively shat on that show, but I've not had a go yet, and I would like one, so here it is.


STOP NETFLIX.

Edwin Disagrees with Charles on going to solve the case of Becky Aspen.

I'm a part of the problem, I'm a part of the problem, I'm a cog in the machine...


Anyways, unnecessary digression aside, I tried to word the first paragraph like Charles would by saying the world Brills, but it seems like I failed.


Anyways(again) onwards to the show.


Dead boy detectives is an extension of the Sandman universe, and follows two Ghost boys and their human Companions, consisting of a Psychic Medium called Crystal, a Japanese abandoned girl, who's also an Anime enthusiast(and therefore I love her.) called Niko and their Landlady who is also a sexy Goth girl and a butcher, called Jenny.

Crystal, Niko, Charles and Edwin

The Show very early establishes that Ghosts can travel through mirrors to any place of their liking as a shortcut.


However it grounds them almost immediately after as Edwin Payne(yes, that's his name.) casts magic on a cat which is forbidden by their Monarch, the Cat King, and so as a punishment, Payne is restricted to the town of... I... I forgot the name, it's the town where they meet the Cat King.


Now one might ask, why? Well the simple answer is, because they are obviously planning to use this more in the next season and the sourc material has it, and the main characters are not the only people who posses this ability, it's possessed by all ghosts.


To add to the tension of their grounding, the over arching narrative introduces two villains, namely Esther the witch and Nightmare Nurse or Night Nurse(although she is really the Nightmare Nurse given her powers and what not.)

Esther and Nightmare Nurse

who works in the lost and found department of the Afterlife; and believes in absolute order of things, even going so far as to telling two young children off on the inaccuracy of their roleplay with a wooden sword(yikes!)

Night Nurse tells two little girls that their pantomime is horrible.

The whole season is somewhat structured in the way of a formula(at least on surface appearances.)


The Dead boys receive a whacky supernatural case often involving some ghost or other supernatural entity, the boys do their detectiving and some supernatural stuff takes place/new concept is introduced and the boys solve the case, the episode ends... Case Closed.

Even the naming convention plays into this idea, with each episode being called: the case of the: X.


But this is a misnomer.


The first two "cases" for example, are just a way for the show to introduce a new character.


The case of Crystal Palace is basically the kicking off point for the main overarching narrative of the season. They are told about Crystal Palace, a woman possessed by a demon and not an actual palace by a child ghost from the Victorian era. They trap and excise the Demon before realising that "shit this a is a living person."

Crystal when she is possessed by David the Demon

The assumption was that she is dead since it was established early on subtly and later on more directly, that living people cannot see ghosts. Well actually they can, under special circumstances, like being a Psychic Medium and/or being possessed by a supernatural entity such as a demon or a dandelion sprite.


And Crystals special powers are what make them go to the states to save a ten year old girl called Becky Aspen. In order to make a point Edwin Payne casts magic on a cat, which is forbidden by the cat King, who ends up having the hots for Payne and ends up trapping him in the town, which is not great cause they invoked the fury of the witch Esther, who had trapped Becky Aspen to steal her youth.


On top of that she had been possessed by Charlie and that set off the alarm bells in the afterlife lost and found as to where the deadboy detectives are.


The second case, the case of the Dandelion shrine, had been teased in the previous episode with the colours over Niko's head, who is introduced as a neighbor in the place they are renting.

Niko possessed by Dandelion Sprites.

And they introduce a new type of creature in this episode called the Dandelion sprites, who basically possess people and using magic make their vessel gain all the attention to get stronger and then they... exit the body... Without care for it... However, they are able to trick them and trap them in a Jar.


Now third episode onwards is when you can say they actually set into the formula, as locations such as the detectives base being the house they are renting, the main team and the main town and all are established. And also begin by going through cases to do this time around.


However, while the above is true(it is following a formula now) the episode itself is amazing, has an amazing concept of ghosts being trapped in a loop of trauma, being forced to repeat the most painful moments of their lives again and again.


And Charles has a deep emotional reaction to it and gets attached to the loop as well, this episode also introduces a misery wraith, a hell resident that feeds on misery and was called here from hell due to the misery of the loop.

Charles tries to attack Devlin and is pulled into the loop.

This episode is mainly focused on releasing the ghosts before the house is demolished and the ghosts are obliterated along with it... And they are able to, using an absolutely genius set up right in the beginning of the episode. There is a a case which the detectives dismiss by suggesting that curses and the like attach themselves to objects and in that case it was a painting, and painting over it will destroy the curse.


So in this case it is trapped in a vhs tape and they tape over it destroy the tape and Niko later joins them, establishing that she will come on more cases. Another thing that is established is the darker side of Death, I mean so far death has been shown as a really kind entity, but for the main abuser of the loop, there is just a gigantic red flash.


In a later episode we get a clearer look at what this red flash entails, as we see two high school abusers get pulled by giant octopus like creature.

Death's much scarier red form with tentacles

The next episode, the case of the light house leapers, introduces a new creature that eats humans and makes them jump by tempting them.


This episode is mostly a case, but we follow the nightmare nurse as she finds the boys, through Jenny and brings out their trauma and we learn some of Charles's back story and then he just goes entirely berserk and kills the Nightmare Nurse(supposedly)


And the others are absolutely horrified at this.


The cat King also makes a comeback and we get our first hints at Edwin's true feelings for Charles.


And the main point is while the case is a good excuse for the episode to happen, the main plot takes a substantial part of the episode and the formula is just a way to disguise the episode, and its not the main point.

The Cat King says "with age comes experience."

Episode five, the case of the two dead dragons is the only one which I would say is substantially dependent on the formula.


However even this episode has a sub plot besides the Main plot which focuses on a secret admirer that Jenny has who turns out to be the local librarian.


And for a while it seems that this episode is going to do the cardinal sin of saying only men can be abusers as so far the abusers have been, Charles's father, the father in episode three who like kept tabs on his family with cctv cameras(my god) and this episode focuses on the cycle of abuse, as Charles wants the clients to be good people, because he is afraid he will end up like them if they aren't.


And when it turns out they aren't, and were killed by a victim of revenge porn from them, who ends up turning herself in, and in the mean while, Jenny is having a great time with a woman who has basically been a little creepy in my opinion... One can come to the conclusion that this series has an agenda, but then, with one word, it flips the switch.

Jenny kills Maxine after she goes full psycho.

We learn that the Secret Admirer has been spying on Jenny to know what she wears when she sleeps and doesn't take the subsequent rejection well and turns into a straight up murderer, and to calm Charles down, because, he relates to these extreme people, he's afraid that he will become his father, who hit him and his mom,


Edwin gives us this awesome line.

Edwin tells Charles that Bad guys do not worry about being bad guys

Now from the next episode onwards the show again returns to the overarching plot as a witch familiar called Monty, who is actually a crow turned human, sent to seduce and trap Edwin and the dead boy detectives puts up a fake case for them to explore.


The point of the case being, to lure them and get them killed by using a forest elemental, which along side iron, is one of the few things that can potentially harm a Ghost.


Crystal however has lost her powers at this point, due to a wish gone wrong, where she intended for David the Demon(yes his name is David, moving on.) to leave her alone, but accidentally ended up wishing her powers away.


We had also learnt by this point that David is a Demon who had seduced Crystal due to being a "bad boy" or rather being disguised as one, and Crystal had willingly let him in.


So he's actually her Demon ex... Great.


This plan is of course orchestrated by Esther the main villain this season, but the plan goes south when Monty develops real feelings for Edwin and gives the whole thing away.


The episode ends by Crystal regaining her powers and you know what you should watch this scene cause I can't do it justice.

Teeth face the forest elemental returns to its realm and take Esther with him.

Esther and David are presumed dead/taken care of for now, by this point.


Esther however soon makes it out.


So now it seems the only thing keeping the Deadboy Detectives is the binding charm on Edwins wrist by the Cat King and the Nightmare Nurse who made her way out of the sea monster from episode four that Charles had thrown her into, because she is as she puts it...

Night Nurse says that for all intents and purposes she is an eternal trans-dimensional being

Yes.


But then Edwin Gets taken to hell.


Edwin does belong in hell but that's due to a technicality, some friends of his had tried to scare him via a fake sacrifice but ended up doing it correctly... And then got taken to hell themselves along with Edwin.

Edwin is taken to hell by the spider Demon made of baby heads.

And this episode is genuinely one of the fucking best, because it is in this episode that major character moments happen, since Edwin is in hell, we see Charles make a deal with the Night Nurse to make a way to hell.


Night Nurse at this point has begun to make her way out of the mindset of everything needs to be in order and done a particular way because she met a person in the belly of the beast who showed her the wonders of working and thinking outside the box.


It is in this episode that we learn that the kids who sacrificed Edwin, at least one of them is homosexual, and due to the climate at the time, he couldn't express himself and decided to pull the prank.


Amazing commentary not gonna lie.


Edwin enters Despair's realm, who is the second of the endless to cameo in this show.

Despair in Deadboy detectives.

Charles finds Edwin still being tortured by the spider made of baby heads and it seems his torture is him escaping again and again and being caught repeatedly, obviously a callback to his initial escape from hell, we also learn when him and Charles first met and decided to stay back.


It is notable that in the comics, Edwin escaped when Lucifer handed over the keys to hell to the Sandman, and seeing that, that's a season two story, it's interesting to see that Edwin escaped before that.


Going through this entire ordeal is what makes Edwin finally confess his feelings to Charles and even though it is an obvious rejection, their friendship strengthens because of it.


In any lesser show, this would drift them appart.

Charles and Edwin decide to return to London.

And also hell has a very unique representation in this show, even more so than Lucifer the Netflix show, which also had a very unique depiction of the place.


Meanwhile outside of Hell, Crystal tries to get a way into hell by contacting David again, leading to Jenny's possession and Crystal responds by buying him in her mind? Idk.


Regardless, Jenny can see the Deadboys now because she was possessed.


And after the return from hell, the boys were supposed to return to the lost and found department, while they figured out how Edwin was sent to hell even though he doesn't belong there.

Jenny sees the Dead boys for the first time.

But because Niko read the lost and found Manual she found a technicality that would mean the Deadboys are free for now, technically...


The final episode begins with a fake out leading to everyone believing that crystal is leaving the agency to go sort out her past as she has now gained her memories and we learn that her parents are dead beats and that she was literally the worst...


The cat king comes to say goodbye as Edwin's binding was removed when he went to hell.


But Esther is not dead, and has made a Machine that can transform a Ghost's pain into something that will give her immense power, and because Edwin had been to hell, he can endure the pain that comes with it, and we see Esther kidnap the Deadboys to run the machine.


It is at this point that we learn of the deal that Esther made with the Blood Goddess and the Goddess of wronged women Lilith, immortality, but you grow old infinitely, and hence Esther traps young girls to steal their youth.

The important thing is that Esther too began by fighting abuse and just got carried away, which is the main point of this show, how abused become abusers and how abusers are often abused.


How neglect leads to bad circumstances.


This is seen in characters such as Charles whose dad used to beat him, and is afraid he will repeat it. Edwin who grew up in a time where he was ostracized for his sexuality and so has an innate desire to constantly be prim and proper and is all about order. Niko and Crystal both suffer from neglect and we see how that's reflected in their poor decision making, both when Crystal willingly let a demon in and Niko set up a date for Jenny that almost killed her.


Jenny is the quintessential Goth who had a bad child hood, Angie the sea monster, who is obviously based after an Angler fish, gives out the "light" of what people desire ultimately leading them to their demise; the Devlin house case is obviously about a cycle of abuse(quite literally.) And of course there is the case of the two dragons where the boys threatened a girl with revenge porn and she accidentally killed them in an attempt to delete the photos.


The librarian that is the secret admirer of Jenny before becoming a murder shows how suppressing ones true self fosters a predatory attitude and so do the people who sacrifice Edwin. And as well this is seen in Angie, who is described as "shy" and abuses people(technically it is by appealing to their desires and eating them, but it's an animal so it's excused.) (man I never saw that parallel till now.)


Then we have tragic Mike who is the embodiment of the phrase "curiousity killed the cat" as it is due to his curiousity that he wanted to go to the land but because their goddess hated land dwellers seeing that her father was one and he left her to die, she let's him go, but leaves no way to return. And can I just say that I love Tragic Mike, he's really adorable and is a constant source of help to the characters through his wisdom or magical artifacts.

Tragic Mike is warned that if he leaves the sea, he will never return.

Nightmare Nurse straight up pulls people's traumas and conforms to extreme order to be able to work in her department, which is a lot of bureaucracy and inspite of her immense powers, she is but a cog in the machine. Her powers however, do not work on Kashina, a mysterious man who is swallowed by a gigantic fish and who represents the exact opposite end of the spectrum, contentment.

Kashina says he's not sure he has any Trauma.

And in many ways he is the catalyst for the change in the nightmare Nurse that actually kept the Deadboy Detectives from being separated and Edwin being sent to hell.


And so returning, it is fitting that Esther is given one final chance to redeem herself, but when she ends up killing Niko, who is arguably the heart of the team, the same blood goddess who supported her for being a wronged woman, takes her away because she used being a wronged woman, to wrong other women


And so the series ends, except the Night Nurse returns for the boys with her superior, expecting a swift victory but is instead stationed as their supervisor, as the superior sees that the boys have essentially been doing the lost and found department's job for them.

Night Nurse is left to Supervise the Dead boy Detectives.

The Sandman Season 2 will come out in its own sweet time, but that is a look from the perspective of a very strong entity, this side of the universe, is a look at the same, but from the perspective of an every day person, and that is certainly interesting and adds a lot to the universe.

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