When Season 1 of Thirteeen Reasons Why Season 1 premiered on Netflix March 31, 2017, it focused on the tragic suicide of fictional high school student Hannah Baker (Katharine Langford). The fourth and final season premiered June 5th, 2020. The limited American television series was created by Brian Yorkey and was based off of the 2007 novel with the same name by Jay Asher. Themes of the series include bullying, suicide, sexual assault, family, self harm friendships, depression, anxiety, high school cultures, drug and alcohol use, school shootings, homophobia, homelessness, and deportation. On July 2019, Netflx edited out Hannah’s suicide scene in the last episode of Season 1. Though the the series has been praised for the acting and subject matter, it has been criticized for its graphic depictions of rape and suicide, and abuse. This type of content earned the series a TV-MA rating and the inclusion of support websites for anyone experiencing depression or suicidal thoughts. The graphics also introduced concerns from mental health professionals. Schools also set students home with letters to give to their parents urging them to prevent their children from watching the series.
Season 1 centered around Hannah’s friend and classmate, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), as he received a box of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah, which detail why she killed herself. He was one of the reasons along with fellow classmates, Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn), Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe), Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro), Tyler Down ( Devin Druid), Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler), Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice) Alex Standall (Miles Heizer), Courtney Crimsen (Michele Selene Ang), Sheri Holland (Ajiona Alexus), school counselor Kevin Porter (Derek Luke), Ryan Shaver (Tommy Dorfman), Marcus Cole (Steven Silver). Started by her classmates, Hannah endured betrayals, heartbreaks, guilt, regret, abuse and a sexual assault.
The next season centered around Hannah’s parents (Kate Walsh) (Brian d’Arcy James) suing the highschool for the death of their daughter, and Clay’s anger at Bryce for raping Hannah and Jessica and getting away with it. Justin gets adopted into Clay’s family and lives with him as his brother. The final episode included Tyler getting assaulted by fellow student and best friend Bryce, Montgomery de la Cruz “Monty” (Timothy Granaderos). Prompting Tyler to almost open fire on everyone at a alcohol dance. Clay manages to talk him down and help him escape the police with the help of Tony.
Season 3 centers around Bryce, who is murdered and everyone trying to figure out who did it, and Tyler trying to recover after his assault. Clay is the main suspect as the police see him as having the greatest motive to kill Bryce. The season also introduces a new character who was close with Bryce before his death: Ani Achola. (Grace Saif) Fans learn that Bryce was nearly beaten to death by Zach, but shoved off a peer by Alex into cold waters and drowned, with Jessica as a witness. Ani, Clay, Jessica, Alex’s police officer father, Bill Standall (Mark Pellgrino) Zach, Tyler, and fellow student Charlie St. George (Tyler Barnhardt), and Justin fram Monty for the murder. Monty ends up getting killed in prison, as he was already arrested for sexually assaulting Tyler.
The fourth and final season centers around an unnamed individual demanding the truth about Monty’s involvement in Bryce’s death. Clay finally goes to therapy as his mental state was always questioned. Fans were heartbroken when Justin collapsed at senior Prom, as he has always been a fan favorite. They learn he gets diagnosed with HIV which quickly progresses to AIDS. He ends up dying in the hospital due to a combination of the disease, meningitis, and pneumonia.
My best friend and I warn each other about certain scenes in the show that we don’t want each other watching. My best friend called me while I was finishing up Season 2 to warn me about Tyler’s rape scene. I ended up having to read about what happened online because I refused to watch it happen, it confirmed my original thought that I shouldn’t watch it. Jessica’s rape scene in Season 1 was something I wanted to look away from, but couldn’t. Even watching Bryce drown and get beaten to a bloody pulp in Season 3 was hard to look at for too long. As sad as the ending of season 4 was, I see it as a satisfying one. The students of Liberty High School graduated, are saying goodbye to one another, holding onto memories with each other, getting into new relationships, letting go of past ones, and ready for college.