The next potential victim’s birth marks the start of Dahmer episode 6. He develops permanent hearing loss shortly after he was born as a result of the antibiotics he was given to treat his pneumonia. The news that the boy has suffered a permanent hearing loss has left his family, especially his mother, pretty devastated.
We fast forward to Tony, Jeff’s potential victim as an adult, and we quickly discover that he is gay. Additionally, he strikes us as a driven and ambitious individual who never justifies anything by using his hearing loss as an excuse. We see how determined Tony is to succeed as a model.
We also witness how connected Tony is to his tight-knit family. His family is religious, but they aren’t necessarily extremists. They are rather rational and rooted. His bond with his mother and sisters is something we end up getting attached to.
The sudden death of Tony’s friend Rico serves as an eye-opener for him. He begins to realize how fleeting life might be, which drives him to become independent. He realizes that he still has dreams that he needs to fulfil before the end of his existence. He decides to relocate to Madison, which is intended to serve as a stepping stone for his eventual relocation to New York.
We see his mother having doubts about his decision to move, particularly given his hearing impairment. Tony succeeds in persuading her that he can excel by himself and that his hearing impairment cannot stand in the way of his goals. We perceive a fierce desire within him; a drive and a refusal to use his illness as an excuse. The audience is compelled to respect him for his spirit, personality, and morals.
When Tony first shows up in Madison, he looks for a job. Despite numerous rejections, he perseveres, and eventually succeeds. Tony also pursues modelling, and he appears to be making an effort. He invites his family to visit him in Madison when he goes over to his house, and they accept. Tony’s sister naming her soon-to-be-born child after him also goes to show how close he is to his family.
Tony tells his mother that he’s leaving to go out and that he’ll be late, asking her not to stay up. Sadly, we witness Tony and Jeff making eye contact when they are in a gay bar. We can’t help but hope for nothing to happen. Tony lets Jeff buy him a drink. They exchange introductions before starting to dance. As they dance, Jeff feels Tony’s heartbeat and has unsettling thoughts, but he ignores them and keeps dancing.
Tony initially declines his offer of a second drink, but after Jeff prods him, he agrees. Tony shows up just as Jeff was about to mix pills into his drink, so Jeff is unable to complete the job. After dancing, Jeff tells Tony that he likes him, to which Tony responds that Jeff is intoxicated. Tony refuses Jeff’s request to accompany him home and tells him to “Earn him”.
Jeff and Tony spend a lot of time together and engage in emotional conversations. Due to their shared, albeit distinct, struggles, Jeff genuinely seems to warm up to Tony and can identify with him. Jeff appears to genuinely enjoy Tony’s company too.
When Jeff’s father and stepmother visit him in his apartment, they are impressed with his lifestyle and how he has changed his life. Jeff paints a positive picture of himself which was partially true as he hadn’t killed anyone for a while. He continues by telling them that he has a new friend (Tony) and that he is truly happy, which gives his father some relief.
Jeff persuades Tony to visit his apartment. Once there, Jeff ponders over putting pills in Tony’s drink but decides against it. This further supports the notion that Jeff truly did have a soft spot for Tony and was making an effort to establish a bond with him. It is quite clear from the game Jeff plays with Tony that he was subtly trying to tell him that anyone who gets too close to him vanishes forever. Tony misunderstands and interprets it in a different way than Jeff intended. Insinuating that he wouldn’t just vanish and leave Jeff, he tells him that they can change the rules of the game.
Jeff and Tony spend quality time together and eventually spend the night. Tony rushes to leave early in the morning as he is running late. Jeff freaks out as he’s leaving him and asks when he’ll return, to which Tony responds that he’ll return next week and that he should trust him. Jeff considers killing Tony briefly but decides against it.
We witness Tony’s mother filing a missing complaint and reporting Tony missing at the police station. She goes on to tell the officer that Tony was supposed to stay with her the previous day, but he didn’t show up, and he didn’t show up to work either. She also informs the officer that Tony didn’t even get in touch with her or his sisters, which is unlike him since he is a man of his word. Where is Tony? Where did he disappear to if Jeff didn’t kill him? Or was he killed by Jeff?
Tony’s mother, her family, and some other people hand out flyers, urging people to look for Tony and pray for him. Jeff places money in their donation box.
After consuming a lot of alcohol, Jeff calls Errol Lyndsey’s family, who may have been another one of his victims. He tells his sister not to look for Tony because he has gone into the vortex and then hangs up. Just to back this up, flashbacks confirm that Jeff killed Tony with an axe.
Fast forward just past the phone call and Jeff takes a piece of meat from the refrigerator, which is most likely Tony’s organ. He fries it, seasons it with pepper, and serves it to himself. We see him take a bite, and as he does, a wave of relief washes over him, almost as if he feels that he’s become one with Tony after consuming his organ.
This episode deviates from the previous’ pattern. We get to see the victim’s point of view so clearly that we become attached to him. Tony is an individual of integrity and honor. We see how close his family is to him, including his mother and sisters. We weren’t getting into the details of the victim in the previous episodes, so we couldn’t empathize as much. But here, you can’t help but wish Tony would have survived.
We didn’t really see Jeff as an antagonist all this time because he wasn’t all that bad at his core and we couldn’t really relate to the victims because we didn’t understand their perspective. This episode skilfully shifts our interpretation in this regard, and it’s fascinating to observe how the show accomplishes this without rushing things, by delaying it until the sixth episode, after making us develop a bit of sympathy towards Jeff.
The episode also beautifully demonstrates Jeff’s need for attachment, his capacity for unconventional love, and his fundamental desire for companionship. However, Jeff takes this need to remain connected to his victims way too far, even consuming the organs of his victims to keep some part of them with him permanently.