Netflix's Dahmer Just Gave Us the Most Heartbreaking Episode of 2022

Netflix's Dahmer Just Gave Us the Most Heartbreaking Episode of 2022
Image credit: Legion-Media

There's no fixing it.

Each December, we watch the movie It's a Wonderful Life and, every time, we cry over the same exact scenes even though we already know what's coming. The story of Dahmer's victim Tony Hughes touches people in the same way. Even though some viewers already know the fate he met (literally) at the hands of a serial killer, it's no less shocking and painful to watch. TBH, it's actually more difficult.

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Tony Hughes was and always will be so much more than merely a victim. We've learned in the decades since his death, thanks in part to his loving mother, that Hughes never viewed himself as a victim and wouldn't want anyone else to either. Though life seemed to give him more than his fair share of difficulties, the deaf man remained upbeat throughout his short life. Whether enduring a seemingly fruitless job search or pursuing a potential romantic connection, he remained optimistic things would work out. Knowing Hughes' ultimate fate makes episode 6 of Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story the most heartbreaking thing we've seen thus far in 2022.

The effect given by the director's bold choice to maintain silence (the episode's entitled Silence) throughout was a bold and extremely effective move. Watching Hughes using sign language with friends while joking about navigating the choppy waters of life and love, with the beautiful smile and sense of humor he was known for, is so hard to watch. With Dahmer being unfamiliar with ASL (American Sign Language), Hughes and Dahmer utilized pen and paper to communicate. One forgets, however briefly, this poignant moment won't result in "happily ever after."

Hughes' friends drop the two men off at Dahmer's apartment. I'm sure those same friends carried an enormous degree of guilt for this, but they did nothing wrong. Hughes expressed no worries or concerns in accepting an invitation to Dahmer's apartment. Even after Dahmer made it clear he was inviting Hughes alone, no one had misgivings. That's one of the scariest things about monsters, the ease with which they lull others into a sense of false security. That's how the most prolific serial killers are able to operate for decades. Dahmer knew casual acquaintances would look at him with scorn, disgust, or pity, but never fear. With this in mind, like most of nature's predators, Dahmer hunted, killed, and consumed his prey.