Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story: Can you humanize a serial killer?

A still from Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Image via Netflix)
A still from Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story (Image via Netflix)

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer story premiered on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, following the life of the infamous murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. The third episode of the show was arguably the best story and performance from Evan Peters thus far after the first two episodes aptly set things up for the future.

Doin' a Dahmer, the third episode of the mini-series, was almost entirely set when Dahmer was 17 to 18 years old - the most critical period in both his life and journey as a serial killer. There are still several episodes left in the series, and it will be a long time before the story concludes, but this episode was the beginning that this story deserved, and it excelled in almost every way.

Read on for a detailed review of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story episode 3.

Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story episode 3 review: A lesson in origin stories

If any show or film could provide the ideal way to depict an origin story, this is a glistening example of what works and what does not. Though there have been plenty of films and shows that have mastered the art of depicting the moral corruption of a character, what this episode excels in is the subtle nuances in the depiction.

The episode's opening sequence takes place before Jeffrey Dahmer was born and pinpoints a specific cause that could lead to the young killer becoming mentally ill (to some extent, at least). The portrayal of the adolescent Jeffrey, on the other hand, captures the audience's attention with grace.

His first oddity occurs during a fishing trip with his father, when the latter rips open a fish. These minor details help to explain how Jeffrey's mind works and how he perceives the world around him.

Jeffrey is not a particularly unpopular or bullied guy, He is just different. His family, on the other hand, is far from normal. He is frequently seen engaging in acts of self-gratification and perversion, possibly to divert his attention away from the raging storm inside his house. His fascination with organs and creatures is also emphasised repeatedly.

The messy divorce that leaves the 17-year-old Jeffrey Dahmer to fend for himself is what sends him into the great loop. This turbulent period humanises the serial killer to the point where viewers wonder if he is a victim of the circumstances. Evan Peters' honest and truthful portrayal contributes to this. Jeffrey might have been different, even if problematic, under different circumstances, but those circumstances did not exist.

The episode's final moments combined every detail to create a brilliant finale in which Jeffrey gets his first taste of blood - his first kill. Though his first murder was unintentional, it provided him with a taste of power and perversion. It was partially motivated by his sexual desire, but the unfulfilled desire exposed him to a new pleasure unlike anything he had ever experienced before, resulting in the monster we know today.

Overall, this was an excellent episode that nailed nearly every aspect of filmmaking while also telling a compelling story.

All the episodes of the show are now streaming on Netflix.

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Edited by Vinay Agrawal
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