‘Dead Boy Detectives’ Ending Explained & Season 2 Expectations

The mythos of the Sandman universe is ever-expanding, and the diversifying, inclusive nature of the lore makes it easier to integrate various themes and elements from cultures across the world. This aspect is well respected in Netflix’s small-screen adaptation of the comic-book saga, which is also reflected in their recently released series Dead Boy Detectives, adapted from the comics of the same name and a major part of Neil Gaiman’s universe revolving around the Dreaming. 


The first season of Dead Boy Detectives primarily follows two major plotlines: the afterlife agents tracking the ghost detective duo and the conflict with Esther the witch. Both of these work alongside an episode-oriented narrative pattern. While creating a separate space for itself, the series acknowledges its place in the larger Sandman universe and leaves enough space for clues that can be explored in upcoming seasons or even in the second chapter of the Sandman series. We will briefly discuss the ending of the first season and try to speculate on how future installments might shape up. 

Spoilers Ahead


Is Niko alive at the end?

The character of Niko Sassaki, an easy-going, reflective, nerdy, manga-reading teenager, was one of the TV series exclusive additions in Dead Boy Detectives, and her peppy nature, along with a socially withdrawn demeanor, has made her a fan favorite in no time. After getting relieved of her Dandelion Sprite-caused afflictions thanks to Crystal Palace and the ghost duo of Edwin and Charles, Niko befriended the trio and, using her wits, tried to help them in their investigation any way she could. During a couple of occasions, Niko’s negotiation and persuasive skills and inquisitive nature have helped the detectives not only solve cases but also cheat the Night Nurse as well. 

In the finale of the first season, in a subverted version of the damsel in distress trope, Crystal and Niko go to rescue the ghost duo from Esther the witch, and despite having no supernatural abilities for protection, Niko shows courage simply by agreeing to face the powerful witch in a confrontation. During the conflict, Niko sacrifices her life to protect Crystal from an oncoming attack, and her death is mourned by her new friends later on. However, in the final few moments of the episode, it is implied that Niko has survived by using the unique talisman given to her by Tragic Mick before the final battle, and her two Dandelion Sprite companions have helped her to keep the news of her survival a secret from the rest of the world. It might also be possible that the mystical artifact turned her into a supernatural entity as well, which explains her apparent unwillingness to reveal the news of her survival just yet. In any case, we will surely get to see more of Niko’s mischiefs in the next season, but there might be a possibility that she will not be her usual human self. 


What Happened to Esther, the Witch?

As the Cat King reveals to Crystal and Niko before their final conflict with the witch, Esther was an unassuming settler of Port Townsend until she learned about the infidelity of her husband. Using her mother’s grimoires, Esther took revenge on her husband, but eventually her lust for power continued to increase, and ultimately she used her occult knowledge to invoke Lillith, the first woman and goddess of the wronged women. She was able to convince Lillith to provide her with the gift of immortality, with the only caveat being that she will age as a mortal would, which means living eternity as a frail husk of her former self. To beat this hidden term, Esther continued to prey on young girls as she fed them to her mystical snake, which allowed her to keep her youth and vitality intact. Her plans were later thwarted by the appearance of the Dead Boy Detectives, making them her sworn enemies. Eventually, she learns about how Edwin escaped from hell after seven decades, which gives her the idea of tormenting him eternally to use his pain and suffering to vitalize herself indefinitely, given the fact that Edwin’s past experience guarantees that he will be able to take on such a burden. 

Ultimately, Crystal’s psychic powers resulted in Esther’s undoing, as Lillith recognized that in providing a boon to the witch, she had wronged other women as well, who were her unfortunate victims in the first place. As Edwin kills the snake at the end, Esther’s only way to keep her youth intact is terminated as she ages for centuries in an instant, and Lillith descends to the mortal plane to drag Esther back with her. It is highly unlikely that Esther survives this ordeal, as her destiny for a final journey to hell seems inevitable. 


More in-universe connections in the upcoming seasons?

After the Esther crisis seems finally to be over, the detective duo and Crystal decide to head back to London to resume their investigation business from their home turf, and it is possible that their landlord in Port Towsend will join them as well. With London being the base of operations for a number of DC’s other occult or supernatural practitioners, mainly the Sandman universe-associated ones like John/Joanna Constantine, Jason Blood (Etrigan the Demon), Merlin, and Shade, there is a high chance that we will see some memorable crossovers in the second season of Dead Boy Detectives. In the first season itself, two major members of the nigh-omnipotent Endless family—Death and Despair—have made appearances in the series, and the makers missed an opportunity to bring Lucifer from the Sandman series during Edwin and Charles escape from hell. The upcoming seasons might double down on the interconnectivity by making the in-universe characters from other storylines play major roles in the narrative. 

Aside from these, minor plot points like Crystal’s ancestral plane and the possible threat David the demon poses to the yet-to-be explored myths of Sedna and Washer-Woman can be highlighted in a second season—if the first season fares well among viewers, that is. 


Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Siddhartha Das
Siddhartha Das
An avid fan and voracious reader of comic book literature, Siddhartha thinks the ideals accentuated in the superhero genre should be taken as lessons in real life also. A sucker for everything horror and different art styles, Siddhartha likes to spend his time reading subjects. He's always eager to learn more about world fauna, history, geography, crime fiction, sports, and cultures. He also wishes to abolish human egocentrism, which can make the world a better place.

Latest articles