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Dream Vs Lucifer: The Sandman’s Hell Challenge Explained



Dream of the Endless faces Lucifer Morningstar in The Sandman episode 4. We explain “The Oldest Game” and what was really at stake in Hell.

Warning: SPOILERS for The Sandman Episode 4 – “A Hope In Hell”

Dream of the Endless (Tom Sturridge) descends into Hell in The Sandman episode 4, and his confrontation with Lucifer Morningstar (Gwendoline Christie) will have a seismic effect on Morpheus’ future. The version of Lucifer in The Sandman was introduced by series creator and executive producer Neil Gaiman in the 4th issue of The Sandman DC Comics series. It’s actually Gaiman’s Lucifer that was adapted and then changed to suit the Lucifer TV series on FOX and Netflix that starred Tom Ellis. Gwendoline Christie’s Lucifer restores the Devil to Gaiman’s original vision, although Netflix’s The Sandman also makes a significant change to how Dream’s Hell challenge plays out in the comics.


The Sandman goes to Hell in episode 4 to regain his lost helmet. When Dream was captured and imprisoned for over a century by the British warlock Roderick Burgess (Charles Dance), his symbols of office – Dream’s ruby, his helmet, and his pouch of magical sand – were taken from him. All of Morpheus’ tools were then stolen by Burgess’ mistress, Ethel Cripps (Joely Richardson), and subsequently fell into other hands. When Dream escaped his prison and returned to find his realm, the Dreaming, broken, he underwent a quest to regain his magical totems to restore his lost power. First, Dream took back his lost bag of sand with the help of Johanna Constantine (Jenna Coleman). But that was just a prelude to Morpheus’ incredibly dangerous journey to regain his helmet, which Ethel pawned to a demon in exchange for a magical amulet of protection. With his loyal raven Matthew (Patton Oswalt) accompanying him, Dream descended into Hell for an inevitable face-to-face with its ruler, Lucifer Morningstar.

Interestingly, Netflix’s The Sandman made a major change to the comics. In Netflix’s version, Dream finds Lucifer as Hell’s sole ruler, although he is aided by his loyal demon, Mazikeen (Cassie Clare). However, in the comics, Dream is shocked to find that Hell is ruled by a triumvirate, with Lucifer sharing power with two other Dukes of Hell, Azazel and Beelzebub. This was a result of an event called the Great Darkness in the “American Gothic” storyline involving John Constantine in the Swamp Thing comics, which upended the balance of power in Hell. However, Netflix’s The Sandman comes in with a clean slate and it’s simpler to present Lucifer as Hell’s singular ruler and as Dream’s adversary.

The Sandman‘s Hell Challenge Rules Explained

In the comics and in Netflix’s The Sandman, a demon named Choronzon (Munya Chawawa) took possession of Dream’s helmet. To get it back, Morpheus agreed to play “The Oldest Game.” In the comics, Dream played against Choronzon but, in Netflix’s The Sandman, he faced Lucifer Morningstar himself. This is a key change building the animosity between Dream and the Devil.

The Oldest Game is a battle of wits fought with supernatural powers. A player begins by introducing a concept and the opponent counters with an opposing and more powerful concept until one player is ultimately outsmarted and bested. Dream agreed to Choronzon’s terms that if he loses, he would remain in Hell for eternity as a slave. However, Netflix’s The Sandman raises the stakes even further than the comics so that each player in The Oldest Game suffers the physical manifestations of his opponent’s metaphysical attacks.

How Dream Beats Lucifer In The Sandman‘s Hell Challenge

Dream outsmarts Lucifer by preying on the Devil’s greatest weakness; an eternity in Hell left him blinded to the idea of hope. When The Oldest Game begins, both Dream and Lucifer match wits as different animals (Lucifer turning himself into a dire wolf is a savvy in-joke about Gwendoline Christie starring in Game of Thrones). The Devil then changes tactics and becomes bacteria, which Dream counters by becoming a world, and Lucifer then upends by becoming anti-life.

When all seemed lost, the mortally wounded Dream played his trump card by declaring, “I am Hope.” Lucifer was left flabbergasted and without a suitable counter because the Devil could not conceive of anything that could best Hope. Taking back his helmet, the victorious Sandman rubbed salt in the wound by reminding Lucifer that Hell has no power if the damned cannot dream of Heaven. This cut Lucifer deep because the Devil’s greatest wish is for God to forgive him and allow him back into the Silver City. Although Lucifer allowed Dream to leave Hell unscathed, he declared the lord of the Dreaming his enemy and pledged to destroy Morpheus.

Do Dream And Lucifer Fight In The Sandman Books?

Although The Sandman is derived from a comic book, the characters don’t resolve their conflicts with fistfights and displays of their superpowers like superheroes do. Therefore, Dream and Lucifer do not have a traditional kind of fight in The Sandman. Instead, like playing The Oldest Game, Lucifer resorts to more insidious means to strike back at Dream. As it will hopefully be seen in upcoming seasons of The Sandman, Lucifer’s revenge on Morpheus is surprising: In The Season of Mists story arc, Lucifer abandons Hell and leaves the realm to Dream to do with as he wishes. What Dream does with the Key to Hell and the infernal underworld itself is the result of Lucifer’s surprising and sinister act of vengeance.

The Sandman Season 1 is available to stream on Netflix.

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The Rings Of Power Episode 6’s Explosive Ending Explained



Warning: spoilers ahead for The Rings of Power episode 6What in Eru’s name is happening in the final moments of The Rings of Power episode 6? After weeks of slow-build setup, Amazon’s The Rings of Power finally pulls the trigger on its battle for the Southlands. Adar’s Orc army has targeted this region populated by Men and taken it upon themselves to move in… after evicting the locals, of course.

The Southlanders are barely a match but, as luck would have it, the land’s true king recently befriended the only Elf in Middle-earth whose mission is wiping out every last one of Morgoth’s servants. Even more fortunate still, Halbrand and Galadriel found themselves an army of Númenóreans willing to join the fight, and thanks to these timely reinforcements, the Southlands is saved from Adar’s Orcs.


Alas, celebrations prove premature. As the soldiers enjoy mugs of ale and the stench of rotting Orcs, the Southlands rumble violently. A torrent of rushing water and humid smoke bellows forth followed by fire, darkness and fissures in the ground. Here’s what really happened in The Rings of Power episode 6’s ending.

When Waldreg Gets The Black Sword (& Why Him)

The Rings of Power episode 6’s tragic twist ending starts when a shocked Theo discovers the precious bundle recovered during battle wasn’t The Rings of Power‘s mysterious black sword hilt, but an ordinary axe, with the real artifact secretly in Waldreg’s possession. Though the handover isn’t shown onscreen, Adar must’ve switched items when he first heard the pounding hooves of Númenórean cavalry.

Exiting Tirharad’s tavern just before the Númenórean army strikes, Adar mentions a “task” for Waldreg, but the details are left unspoken and the renegade Southlander disappears for the remainder of the battle. Before Númenórean steel met Orc flesh, Adar must’ve quickly given Waldreg the sword and told him where to take it. Waldreg then slipped away quietly as the battle raged. Adar gets spotted riding away on horseback with the “sword,” but his escape is a calculated maneuver to trick Galadriel into chasing a half-blunt axe while Waldreg slithers away unseen with the real deal.

It’s no coincidence that Adar picked Waldreg – a relative newcomer to his sinister operation – for this task. Using the sword requires the user to summon its magical blade using their own blood as a sacrifice, but as Theo’s attempts demonstrate, there’s a certain knack to this trick. Since Waldreg is the only person other than Theo to actually use the weapon (he was the one hiding it in the first place), the Southlands’ tavern landlord is already adept at drawing out the blade’s inner sorcery, which he does effortlessly during The Rings of Power episode 6’s final moments.

The Rings Of Power Reveals The Black Sword’s True Purpose

Previously in The Rings of Power, Ismael Cruz Córdova’s Arondir explained that the black sword hilt was a “key” imbued with ancient and dark magic from the era of Morgoth, and also pointed out an identical weapon embedded into the walls of the Elves’ Ostirith tower. Arondir only needed to cast his eyes a little lower and the answer would’ve revealed itself. Underneath the stone sword at Ostirith is a suspiciously sword-shaped slot that Adar must’ve known existed in advance. Theo’s black sword serves as the key to this very slot, and turning it brings down the stone dam built into the Ephel Dúath mountains, unleashing a cascade of river water from top to bottom.

A major question The Rings of Power leaves unanswered is who created this cataclysmic keyhole, because it probably wasn’t the Silvan Elves keeping watch at Ostirith. The Rings of Power already revealed the Southlands was controlled by Morgoth during the First Age, so one can only assume the geographical trap was left by either Sauron or Morgoth himself as part of their contingency plan to regroup in the Southlands in the event of defeat. The Ostirith Elves either never noticed it, or assumed it was just a convenient holder for their arrows. Either way, the keyhole’s location adds another reason to why the Southlands specifically was chosen.

The Rings Of Power Explains Its Orc Tunnel Mystery

Since Adar arrived in the Southlands, his Orcs have been busily digging underground tunnels, with one confirming, “The tunnel is complete, my Lord” in The Rings of Power episode 5. Captured humans and Elves, meanwhile, were forced to dig trenches above ground. Initially, the Southlanders (and most viewers) would’ve assumed these tunnels were made for the purpose of launching sneak attacks, since an Orc attacked Theo in his home by popping up through the floorboards. The Rings of Power episode 6 reveals a deeper purpose behind Adar’s subterranean excavation project: a waterway.

After Waldreg uses Theo’s black sword to release the river running through Ephel Dúath, the torrent rushes into the tunnels prepared by the Orcs over The Rings of Power‘s past five episodes. This water then gushes through the trenches Arondir and his fellow prisoners were digging, and it rapidly becomes clear that the purpose behind all of these gullies was carving a path for water to flow from Ostirith to a nearby volcano.

The Southlands Is Transforming Into Mordor (Udûn Explained)

Whoever masterminded The Rings of Power‘s black sword plan – whether it be Morgoth, Sauron or Adar – the ultimate intention was for river water to flow beneath a huge volcano near Tirharad, triggering an eruption that razes the nearby plains and turns the Southlands into a wasteland where nothing grows and nothing good lives. The smoke spewing from the volcano creates a plume of blackness that gradually covers the Southlands and blocks out the sun. In The Lord of the Rings, Mordor is well known for its permanent darkness, regardless of whether the time is day or night. That darkness appears to begin with Waldreg’s turn of a sword hilt in The Rings of Power episode 6, meaning this explosive ending represents the founding of Mordor.

Confirmation comes when the captured Orcs begin chanting “Udûn” in unison (also the episode’s title). In Tolkien’s lore, Udûn is a massive valley in Mordor stretching from the north-west corner to the Isenmouthe. The Rings of Power‘s destruction of the Southlands shows precisely how that huge valley was carved but, more importantly, means the volcano Waldreg’s black sword activates is almost certainly Mount Doom, where the One Ring will be forged and destroyed.

J.R.R. Tolkien writes little on what Mordor looked like before Sauron’s Second Age rule, and even less on how the Dark Lord made it his home. The Lord of the Rings‘ appendices and The Silmarillion only specify that once Sauron resurfaced in Middle-earth in the aftermath of Morgoth’s defeat, he settled in Mordor and set about building the battlements and fortifications seen throughout The Lord of the Rings. Sauron’s presence and magics are said to have turned Mordor into a blackened, barren wilderness. The Rings of Power adds its own embellishments to Tolkien’s telling, revealing the sad chain of events that led to Mordor’s creation.

What Next For The Rings Of Power’s Southlands?

Many viewers would’ve naturally assumed Adar has been carrying out Sauron’s will, but The Rings of Power episode 6 drops a huge bombshell. Joseph Mawle’s evil Elf claims that he and Sauron had a disagreement over the treatment of Orcs, with Sauron willing to experiment on his soldiers, and Adar feeling parental and protective. Adar believes he killed Sauron during this confrontation, and while The Rings of Power viewers will know he’s wholeheartedly mistaken, the conversation proves Adar and Sauron aren’t necessarily on the same page in terms of their goals. Adar seeks to create a land suitable for the Orcs’ home (hence the cover of darkness), whereas Sauron will be seeking to reestablish dominance over Middle-earth.

Because Adar and Sauron’s intentions don’t align, the Southlands’ future in The Rings of Power isn’t clear. Adar doesn’t exactly have many Orcs left to resettle thanks to the Númenóreans. On the other hand, Sauron is nowhere to be found, giving the Orc-father a free run at seizing the newly transformed land he helped create.

Why Galadriel Doesn’t Run From The Rings Of Power’s Volcano Eruption

One of the most curious elements from The Rings of Power episode 6’s ending is Galadriel’s reaction compared to everyone else’s. As the Southlanders and Númenóreans run for their lives from flying chunks of molten rock, Galadriel simply stands and watches the black ash and fire wash over her. Though Galadriel’s strange reaction is difficult to decipher, one interpretation is that she’s dejected by the realization Sauron’s forces just beat her. Galadriel has dedicated her life to quelling darkness in Middle-earth, and the Southlands is the closest she’s come to achieving that goal. Just as Galadriel was beginning to enjoy the taste of a major victory, the ruptured landscape forces her to accept a complete and utter failure to protect the Southlands, as well as a demoralizing blow to her long-held aspirations of revenge. In this moment of misery, The Rings of Power‘s Galadriel genuinely doesn’t seem to care whether she lives or dies.

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power continues Thursday/Friday on Prime Video.

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Trevor Noah Announces He’s Leaving ‘The Daily Show’ After 7 Years



Trevor Noah is ending a storied run on the famed Comedy Central late-night series, The Daily Show. Noah has hosted the program for seven years after taking over for Jon Stewart in 2015. 

The host made the announcement of his forthcoming departure to the studio audience on Thursday evening, though no official date has been announced. 

In a special message to the viewers, Noah revealed that on his seventh anniversary with the series, “One of the one of the overriding feelings I found myself experiencing throughout the night, and even today, waking up was was a feeling of gratitude.”

He continued, “There’s so many people who make this thing come together. And I want to say thank you to the audience for an amazing seven years. It’s been wild. It’s been truly wild.”

“I’ve loved hosting the show. It’s been one of my greatest challenges. It’s been one of my greatest joys. I have loved trying to figure out how to make people laugh, even when the stories are particularly shitty on the worst days. You know, we’ve we’ve laughed together, we’ve cried together. But after seven years, I feel like it’s time,” Noah revealed. 

In a statement to ET, a Comedy Central spokesperson shared, “We are grateful to Trevor for our amazing partnership over the past seven years. With no timetable for his departure, we’re working together on next steps.”

“As we look ahead, we’re excited for the next chapter in the 25+ year history of The Daily Show as it continues to redefine culture through sharp and hilarious social commentary, helping audiences make sense of the world around them,” the statement continued. 

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NBC to Develop Drama Series ‘Knockoffs’ Inspired by Narratively Article



NBC is developing a drama series inspired by the Narratively article ““The First Family of Counterfeit Hunting” by Amy Ridout.

Per the official logline, “Two brothers reunite after a long estrangement and are pulled into a special investigation surrounding closed FBI cases. Known as “Knockoffs,” these cases have been manipulated or outright fabricated to pin the crime on someone innocent and protect the real criminal who’s still out there.”

Cameron Litvack is writing and executive producing. Justin Lin, Andrew Schneider, and Salvador Gatdula of Perfect Storm Entertainment will also executive produce along with Noah Rosenberg for Narratively. Universal Television will produce, with Perfect Storm currently under an overall deal at the studio.

Litvack’s past credits include “True Story” starring Kevin Hart and Wesley Snipes at Netflix, “Quantico” starring Priyanka Chopra at ABC, “Grimm” at NBC, and “Ugly Betty” at ABC. He is repped by UTA and Felker Toczek.

Perfect Storm currently produces the CBS revival of “SWAT,” which is going into its sixth season, as well as the reboot of “Magnum P.I.,” which had aired on CBS before moving to NBC. Lin and Perfect Storm are repped by CAA and Sloane Offer.

Narratively is repped by APA and Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz.

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