This recap of Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story season 1, episode 10, “God of Forgiveness, God of Vengeance,” contains spoilers, including an open discussion about the ending of Dahmer—Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer story.
READ: Our spoiler-free season review.
The final chapter of Jeffrey Dahmer’s life according to Ryan Murphy begins not with Dahmer himself, but another serial killer of similar notoriety – John Wayne Gacy, the “Killer Clown” who tortured, sodomized and killed at least 33 young men in his ranch-style home in suburban Chicago. That says a lot about Dahmer rather than telling us this information or expecting us to know it, we’re instead treated to an entire opening sequence of Gacy killing his latest victim just to make the point clear.
Gacy was a terrible monster, sure, but why is he relevant here? Well, he’s about to be executed for his crimes, which means he’s making headlines while Dahmer serves his prison sentence as an underage celebrity, pulling pranks and selling his autograph. While incarcerated, Gacy found God and believed he was forgiven. When Dahmer sees his interviews, he begins to wonder if he too could ask for holy forgiveness and secure a safe passage to heaven.
Thus, Dahmer meets a pastor and then his father. He plans to be baptized, to have his sins washed away, as if it could be as simple as that. These themes of potential forgiveness and grace are present throughout the episode and don’t just apply to a man facing his possible execution. Even Glenda debates the issue; she is so consumed by hatred of Dahmer that she wonders if she will ever be able to move on.
On the day of Dahmer’s baptism and Gacy’s execution, which coincide, a solar eclipse begins to obscure the light, as if the sun itself couldn’t bear to look.
Dahmer’s return to the lord does not save him – at least not physically. While in prison, he had come to the attention of a man named Christopher Scarver, a convicted murderer who himself had found God. After being annoyed by Dahmer’s overall presence and attitude, Scarver delves into the nature of his crimes and is moved to tears by their savagery. He gets put on the same job as Dahmer and another prisoner named Jesse Anderson, and using a metal bar taken from gym equipment, beats them both to death.
There is a theory that Scarver killed the two men for racial reasons – Anderson had stabbed his wife in the face and tried to charge two black men for it, while the vast majority of Dahmer’s victims were all young men from color. Scarver escapes this in a line of dialogue immediately after killing Jesse, but he describes Dahmer’s murder in purely religious terms – he believes himself to be a vessel of God’s will for vengeance, acting on his behalf to destroy evil. . (He was also probably schizophrenic).
In the aftermath of Dahmer’s death, few changes. The idea of closure becomes so subjective that it no longer makes sense. After his cremation, which Dahmer himself had requested without official services or a tombstone, his brain is preserved for scientific study. His mom, Joyce, is all for the idea, hoping to figure out why Jeffrey was the way he was, but his dad is totally against it. The case goes to court and the judge, in the interest of closing a particularly evil chapter in human history, orders the brain destroyed. We will never understand why Jeffrey Dahmer did what he did. And while that might be a tough pill to swallow, maybe it’s for the best that we don’t know.
The series ends with the names and photographs of Dahmer’s victims laid out on screen, as we are reminded that, despite Glenda’s best efforts, no memorials were ever built for them.
You can stream Dahmer – Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story season 1, episode 10, “God of Forgiveness, God of Vengeance” exclusively on Netflix. What did you think of the ending of Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story? Let us know in the comments.
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