Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story – Season 1 Episode 3 Recap & Review

Doin’ A Dahmer

Episode 3 of Dahmer starts with a showcase of Jeff’s mother, pregnant with her child. Her husband gripes about her taking too much medication (up to 26 pills a day) while she is at a clinic seeing a doctor. Women are generally advised against taking pills while pregnant because they could negatively impact the fetus. A biological explanation for Jeff’s lunacy could be that his mother took too many pills while expecting him.

Jeff’s mother is upset over the fact that she’s feeling miserable during her pregnancy and she feels guilty since she assumes that many women enjoy pregnancy but she doesn’t.

The scene switches to 1977 when Jeff is still a teenage boy. Jeff’s father tries to talk to him about girls while the two of them are fishing. He inquires as to whether Jeff likes any specific girl or if he is dating, but Jeff responds by saying that he doesn’t like them. He also tries to learn what Jeff knows about intercourse in an effort to educate him, but Jeff becomes uncomfortable and refuses to talk.

After his father asks questions, Jeff attempts to masturbate to pictures of women in a magazine but he doesn’t feel anything. After, he goes downstairs to check on his parents when they start to argue. He is instructed by his father to return to his room. Jeff masturbates once more, this time  fantasizing about dissecting animals.

We learn from his parent’s argument that Jeff’s mother believes UFOs are real and has driven around chasing them. She seems to be delusional and may be experiencing hallucinations as a result of her unhealthy obsession. Even though the episode doesn’t pinpoint this diagnosis, it may indicate a serious medical condition, most likely schizophrenia. This might also be a contributing factor to Jeff’s demeanor.

Although it is not always inherited, schizophrenia is considered to be caused by genetic factors. A toxic home environment and Jeff’s mother’s mental instability may be the causes behind his mental instability. Both biological and environmental factors appear to be at play in this situation.

Next, Jeff heads off to biology class at school. As the lecturer instructs, the students are asked to dissect a pig and examine its organs. Jeff is rude to a classmate, and another student compliments and encourages him, which makes Jeff feel good about himself. The task of dissecting is another domain in which Jeff excels, and his lecturer is impressed by his curiosity. He finds it so enjoyable that he asks to take the dead animal home.

Jeff’s parents get divorced, with Jeff’s mother receiving custody of the kids. Additionally, we see that his mother doesn’t care who Jeff goes with and only cares about Jeff’s brother’s custody.

The news of the divorce is revealed to Jeff by his father. Jeff asks his dad if he will be staying with him, but he won’t give him a firm response, telling him that “we’ll work it out.” When Jeff’s father notices that Jeff has brought the dead pig home from school, he encourages Jeff to continue because he believes his son has a knack for science.

Jeff’s mother leaves the house with David. When Jeff tells her that he can’t just leave like that because he has his graduation and prom coming up, she tells him that she isn’t taking him anyway and that she needs to go clear her head.

Jeff’s mother and father both abandon and ignore him. Jeff’s mother leaves with David to follow UFOs, and David’s father was allegedly involved with another woman, according to Jeff’s mother. Jeff ends up alone so he begins exercising, drinking excessively, and smoking to fill the void.

Jeff’s mother meanwhile, pursues a career directing a group of women knitting. She sobs with joy when she is given more responsibility at work and confesses how she regrets getting married and having children at a young age. She has postpartum depression, which is established in this scene. Additionally, Jeff’s mother talks about how she just needed someone to listen to her and how her job gives her a sense of purpose because she can assist the other women in the same way that she wishes she had been assisted.

One can’t help but feel sorry for her when we see things from her perspective. Because of her circumstances, her mental instability, and the toll being pregnant took on her, you can see why she ends up being a terrible mother.

Jeff is sent to a counselor by his lecturer for being late and drinking beer in class. As Jeff’s counselor is aware of his parent’s divorce, she doesn’t treat him harshly and talks to Jeff about his career. He confesses to her that he has a knack for science but that he cannot pursue it because of his math limitations. She’s also informed that he is thinking of pursuing a career in fitness.

Here, the flaw in the education system is exposed and we learn that in order to specialize in a skill one has, people must be good at subjects they may not even need. Jeff continues to tell her that people like him cannot afford to have dreams. He clearly has an interest in organs, and if that interest had been channeled in the right way, he might have used it to succeed in a field like research. Sadly, his genetic predispositions combined with external factors turned him into a monster.

While driving, Jeff runs into the hitchhiker once more. This time, Jeff invites him to his house and promises to drop him off at the party he wants to attend. Jeff doesn’t want him to go. In the process, Jeff also tries to kiss the hitchhiker , who is startled by the attempt. When the angry hitchhiker tells Jeff to drop him off, Jeff accidentally kills the guy. Chillingly, he also tries to seduce him while he’s dead.

It is obvious that Jeff had no intention of killing the guy, and he initially appears disturbed. In fact, he begins panicking. After presumably cutting the body with a drill, he cunningly drives away to dispose of it. He is stopped by the police for driving while intoxicated, but he is able to convince them that his parents are getting divorced, so they don’t search his car or arrest him.

When Jeff is forced to take the dead body back to his house, he disposes of some of the body parts in the toilet and burns other parts of it piece by piece.

The Episode Review

As Jeff’s mother is pregnant early in the episode, we learn about one potential cause behind Jeff’s actions. We observe that while she is carrying him, his mother took a number of pills. It could have had an adverse effect on Jeff while he was a fetus. Although it doesn’t necessarily pinpoint it, the show illustrates the psychological factors that led to his current state. Additionally, it gives us the freedom to exercise critical thinking and make inferences, which is intellectually challenging.

The show does an excellent job switching between timelines, and it expertly drops hints in each one. The narrative is made more fascinating by this seamless transition, which also feels necessary to the storyline.

Jeff is a protagonist we can empathize with because he isn’t portrayed as fundamentally evil. You can see why he is the way that he is, and comprehend why he does the unspeakable things he does.

Although Jeff’s mother is initially portrayed as evil, as the episode goes on the show subtly suggests that she might have schizophrenia, not to mention dealing with postpartum depression.

The characters in the show are given depth and Dahmer does a great job showing them off as more than simple black-and-white figures. They are complex individuals with rich histories, and despite Jeff’s reputation as a serial killer, we can still see emotions in him.

The show does a fantastic job of piquing our interest. Even though we already know that he will kill numerous people brutally, Dahmer is turning into one heck of a crime drama.

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You can read our full season review for Dahmer Season 1 here!

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