God of Forgiveness, God of Vengeance
We learn about another serial killer’s methods of killing as Dahmer episode 10 begins. He seems to enjoy inflicting suffering on his victims, and his methods of killing are much more vicious than those of Jeff, who drugged his victims before killing them to spare them from feeling any pain.
America’s most notorious serial killer, John Wayne Gacy is being prepared for execution by Illinois prison officials, according to news reports on television. Glenda watches the news as the serial killer is given the death penalty. One of her co-workers declares that the serial killer is the worst of the worst, but Glenda corrects her and claims that her neighbor Jeff is.
Jeff plays pranks on the other inmates in prison for his own amusement, but the others become enraged and irritated. Jeff demands $50 for his autograph and claims that it will become a collectible item.
The other inmates become enraged and envious when they witness Jeff using his influence to obtain extra private time in the yard. Jeff makes another attempt to prank a prisoner, which frustrates one in particular who frequently experiences psychotic breakdowns. The prisoner lashes out at Dahmer, who says that it’s just something he does to kill time as the prisoner continues to give him an earful. The prisoner does his research on Dahmer and learns the details surrounding his imprisonment. He is outraged by what he learns.
When Jeff sees a priest, he questions the man as to why there are many serial killers like Jeff. The priest admits that he’s unsure and explains that it might be the interstate highway system because one could use it to kill someone and vanish quickly. The Vietnam War or World War 2 could also be to blame, he continues, because traumatized dads who return from those wars are abusive, absent, and more likely to raise disturbed sons. He suggests that the prevalence of pornography may also be to blame.
Jeff goes on to ask the priest about his perspective on the possibility of pure evil. The priest admits to him that he holds this belief. In a sincere and honest chat with the priest, Jeff admits to worshipping the devil and that he has always enjoyed the bad guys in movies. After trying to justify why he believes he and Gacy are different, Jeff asks the priest if he believes that God has pardoned Gacy for his sins. However, Jeff really means to ask the priest if God could pardon Dahmer for all of his sins, and the priest is aware of this. The priest explains to Dahmer that while no one deserves grace, God nonetheless extends it to us.
Glenda attends mass and speaks with the pastor thereafter. She discusses forgiveness and lets him know that while everyone is entitled to forgiveness at some point, she is unable to forgive Dahmer. She furthermore reveals her thoughts for vengeance and her desire to see him suffer. She continues by describing her nightmares in great detail and conveys her desire to move past her feelings. The pastor tells her that she is perfectly entitled to feel the way she does and that her emotions are justified. The pastor responds by telling her that she cannot stop the feelings and that it will take time for her to heal.
Jeff’s father visits him in prison, where they engage in typical father-son conversation. When Jeff expresses his desire to get baptized and convert to Catholicism, his father appears genuinely pleased with his newfound faith. Jeff explains that baptism is meant to wash one’s sins away. He acknowledges that God could pardon him, but wonders if his father will ever do so. His father reassures him that he can forgive him and that he already has.
Glenda attends Konerak’s brother’s wedding. Konerak’s father tells Glenda in a moving chat that every morning when he wakes up, he remembers that Jeff is alive but his son Konerak is dead because of Jeff. Glenda consoles him by retorting that they did the best they could and that they can just act resilient until they won’t have to. Glenda invites Konerak’s father to join her for a dance thereafter.
A comic book titled “Dahmer vs. Jesus” is discussed by Tony’s mother and other family members. They appear disappointed with the way Dahmer is being portrayed by the public. Tony’s mother intends to sue the comics for turning Jeff into a superhero.
Jeff is being baptized the same day Gacy is put to death for the crimes he committed. While Gacy acts arrogantly while being executed, Dahmer turns to religion for solace. This raises a significant philosophical question: Do Dahmer’s sins bear any less weight than that of Gacy’s since he did not inflict pain on his victims and because he has expressed remorse for his actions?
While reading the Bible, Jeff is asked by a guard to report for work duty. Jeff makes an effort to behave well, and he arrives at work with a different outlook. The prisoner who experiences psychotic breakdowns is asked to participate in work duty as well, and he joins Jeff and another prisoner while the other inmates leave.
The prisoner kills the other inmate who was working with them before moving to kill Jeff. When asked if he actually committed the offenses, Jeff acknowledges having done so. He continues by informing Jeff that his God is a God of Vengeance and a God who condemns evil. When God is unable to punish someone like Dahmer, He sends vessels to carry out His justice. He informs Dahmer that the Lord had spoken and commanded him to punish Dahmer for all the innocent lives he has taken and the families he has destroyed.
He proceeds by telling Dahmer that although he may persuade himself that God has pardoned him, he cannot escape God’s wrath. He goes on to tell Dahmer that he is God’s vessel before killing Dahmer and inflicting a horrific death on him.
When Lionel answers the phone, he is informed about Jeff’s condition. When Shari and Lionel visit Jeff in the hospital, they are told that Jeff has passed away. After seeing Jeff’s lifeless body, Lionel sobs and tells Jeff that he has always loved him, and will continue to until the day he dies.
Lionel and Joyce have opposing views regarding what needs to be done with Jeff’s brain. Jeff’s mother, Joyce, contends that the body should be scientifically examined in order to determine the reason behind why Jeff was the way he was. Jeff’s father argues that the body should be cremated per Jeff’s wishes stated in his will. The two argue and decide to take it to court. The judge rules in court that the brain should be destroyed. The judge adds that while one might be tempted to know why Jeff was the way he was, there are no simple answers to that question and a multitude of reasons may be at play in his situation.
While the authorities keep putting off Glenda’s request, Glenda persists in having a park memorial built in memory of the victims where Jeff’s building formerly stood. Eventually, however, no memorial is built.
The Episode Review
God of Forgiveness, God of Vengeance, the show’s concluding episode, raises a significant philosophical dilemma. In this episode, John Wayne Gacy, another serial killer, is shown alongside Jeff and we have the opportunity to compare the two.
Gacy mercilessly murders his victims by inflicting pain on them, and he has no remorse even after being sentenced to death. We know that Jeff drugged his victims in order to spare them pain, and while in jail, Jeff asks to be baptized, he repents for his actions and sincerely attempts to become a better person. When Jeff tells the priest that he is better than Gacy, an important ethical question arises: Is he better than Gacy? This question is similar to the trolley dilemma.
As in the trolley conundrum, an onlooker has the option of saving 5 people in danger of being hit by a trolley by redirecting it to kill only one. We can see that someone will be killed, whether it is one person or several, but we also know that killing one person is preferable to killing five. Similarly, consider Jeff’s predicament. You could argue that he gave his victims a painless death, but he nonetheless murdered them and so did Gacy.
We can extend our case by claiming that the victims Jeff killed had family members who experienced catastrophic losses, as did Gacy’s victims’ family members. When a coworker is overheard suggesting that Gacy is the worst of the worst, Glenda corrects her and adds that Jeff is the worst. That is not incorrect. Jeff is the worst to her since she had to deal with what Jeff put her through, the smell of the dead bodies, the trauma, everything, and her being subjective is more than justified.
Now, we can argue that Jeff is better since he did not cause suffering to his victims, he tried to stop his killings multiple times, he repented once he was imprisoned, and he did strive to become a better person after he asked to be baptized. Like the trolley problem, both sides of the argument hold weight, and it is up to us to decide which side is better, and in Jeff’s case, if Jeff is better in comparison to Gacy or not.
The episode is philosophically challenging and raises crucial ethical concerns for us to consider, such as whether Jeff’s brain should have been scientifically examined, as his mother desired, or if it was better off destroyed because Jeff requested it in his will.
His mother was being logical because she wanted to know what caused him to be the way he was, and knowing that could have helped others. Jeff’s father was being emotional, particularly because he was close to Jeff. He wanted Jeff’s brain destroyed because Jeff had requested it in his will, and his son’s last wish was more important to him than discovering the cause.
The episode is philosophically and ethically challenging. It offers us two sides to many debates and allows us to choose what we believe is the valid alternative, which is brilliant. It does not provide us with ready-made answers, but rather encourages us to think for ourselves.
The actors, particularly those portraying Jeffrey Dahmer, Lionel Dahmer, and the prisoner who murdered Jeff, do an outstanding job. And ultimately, Dahmer bows out with an outstanding ending to a thoroughly enjoyable series.