Can we humanize a serial killer?

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer story created on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, following the life of infamous murderer and cannibal Jeffrey Dahmer. The third episode of the series was arguably Evan Peters’ best story and performance so far after the first two episodes set things up nicely for the future.

Make a Dahmer, the third episode of the miniseries, took place almost entirely when Dahmer was 17 or 18 – the most critical time in 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 ends, but this episode was the start 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 movie could provide the perfect way to describe an origin story, it’s a shining example of what works and what doesn’t. While there have been plenty of movies and shows that have mastered the art of portraying a character’s moral corruption, this episode excels in the subtle nuances of portrayal.

The episode’s opening sequence takes place before Jeffrey Dahmer was born and identifies a specific cause that could lead to the young killer becoming mentally ill (to some degree, at least). The portrait of the teenager Jeffrey, meanwhile, gracefully captures the audience’s attention.

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

Jeffrey isn’t a particularly unpopular or bullied guy, he’s just different. His family, on the other hand, is far from normal. He is frequently seen engaging in acts of self-righteousness and perversion, perhaps to divert his attention from the storm raging inside his home. His fascination with organs and creatures is also repeatedly emphasized.

The messy divorce that leaves 17-year-old Jeffrey Dahmer to fend for himself is what sends him into the big loop. This turbulent period humanizes the serial killer to the point that viewers wonder if he is a victim of circumstance. Evan Peters’ honest and truthful portrayal helps with that. Jeffrey could have been different, even if he was 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. Although his first kill was unintentional, it gave him a taste of power and perversion. He was partly driven by his desire for sex, but the unfulfilled desire exposed him to a new pleasure unlike anything he had ever experienced before, resulting in the monster we know today.

All in all, it was a great episode that nailed almost every aspect of cinema while telling a gripping story.


All episodes of the series are now streaming on Netflix.


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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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