If you've watched the new Netflix series 13 Reasons Why, you're probably a little shooken up from the events that took place throughout the entire show, but mostly the wild, cliff-hanger ending. Sure, the show was very suspenseful, well-written, and kept me watching until the end, and it had a good plot-line. But suicide is a very heavy topic to have made a show about, and many aspects about Hannah Baker and the show itself just weren't right, and didn't send the right message to its audience overall.
1. Hannah using the tapes as revenge
Hannah's tapes served as her suicide note. Although every suicide is different, she made the tapes to get revenge on all of the people that she hurt, and so that they would live the rest of their lives with the fact that they were responsible for her death. Obviously, nobody was responsible but herself, but leaving those tapes as revenge was fighting fire with fire.
2. Clay's tape
Clay did not deserve to have a tape. Although she tells him that he's not like the rest of the people on the tapes, he still felt equally as responsible for "killing" Hannah. She put him through hell for 11 tapes making him wonder what in the world he did that was so wrong. Clay was the only person who was there for Hannah as a true friend, never judging her. He is the last person in that entire show who should have had a tape. Like, c'mon, even Montgomery didn't have a tape.... really??
3. Clay's reason
Hannah made a whole entire tape and put clay through hell listening to it, just because he walked out of the room, when he TOLD her to?? He was being so caring and affectionate towards Hannah, and although hooking up with clay caused an understandable trigger for Hannah, there is no reason she should be blaming him for leaving the room. She clearly did not want him in the room and screamed at him to get out, so wouldn't he have been the A-hole if he had stayed? He was being the kind young man he is and respecting her privacy by leaving the room.
4. Jessica's tape
Although the tapes start out light and get very, very harsh and deep, Jessica didn't do much, and she was way more of the victim than the abuser. Sure, she shouldn't have blamed Hannah for her break-up with Alex, but friends fight all the time and her accusal was not that great of a deal for her to be on the tapes. After what Hannah did to her, being a bystander of rape and then not telling Jessica or at least making Justin tell her, why should Jessica have a tape?? What Hannah did to her was far worse than what Jessica did to Hannah, period.
5. Alex's tape
Hannah explained on the tapes that it seemed like she was making a big deal out of Alex's list, and he was wrong for creating that list, but this, again, was one of the smallest things that someone did, and he really didn't deserve to have to live with thinking that he "killed" Hannah, all because of a stupid list that wasn't even targeted towards her. Yeah, Bryce acted on it by grabbing her butt in public, but HE is the one to blame for that, not Alex. Hannah's tape drove Alex crazy to the point where he shot himself at the end of the series, which, again, is not Hannah's fault, but still, this just shows how much Hannah didn't care about the massive domino effect her tapes would create.
6. Justin's 2nd tape
Sure, Justin's first tape might have been pretty bad. But he didn't do ANYTHING worse than Hannah did on the night of Jessica's party. Justin and Hannah could have both stopped what happened that night, but neither of them did. Plus, Justin was shoved behind a locked door and Hannah was IN the room. It was hard for Hannah, but she could at least have said something to Jessica after the fact instead of leaving tapes behind for her to learn all of this on.
7. Mental illness was not mentioned once
This is one of my biggest issues with this show. 13 Reasons Why portrayed suicide in the completely wrong ways, never once showing or mentioning Hannah's battle with depression, anxiety, or a plethora of other mental diseases. What people need to understand about suicide is that is a loss in the battle against a serious mental illness, not simply just a result of a series of tragic events happening, or a revenge plot. Suicide is an extremely heavy topic to write a show about, and the writers were totally careless to not bring up mental illness once. It's honestly a punch in the gut to anyone who's ever dealt with mental illness, or especially survived a suicide attempt, or lost a loved one to suicide.
8. Hannah left nothing for her parents
In spending so much time making those tapes for all of the people she hated, Hannah did not spend one second leaving a single reason why she took her own life for her parents. Her parents were hardworking people who cared deeply for their daughter, and would have done anything to save their little girl's life had they known what was going on. Suicide is an extremely selfish act, and although Hannah likely could not see it, she had people in her life who loved her so much, and she ruined the rest of their lives by taking her own. She could have at least left something for them if she was going to go through so much effort leaving revenge tapes for everyone else.
9. The "love can save you" plot
This is another reason why this show made me so angry. Mental illness is a real thing that people fight against for their whole lives, and though finding love does enrich your life, it in no way cures your mental illness. Hannah was clearly very mentally ill, and even if by some chance her and Clay had gotten together, this would not have saved her mental illness or her life. Mental illness and suicidal thoughts are something that need to be taken very seriously by professionals, and finding love would not have saved Hannah. Clay does not deserve to spend the rest of his life thinking that he could have saved Hannah with romance, because he couldn't have.
10. Tony telling Clay that he killed Hannah
In the scene before Clay listens to his own tape, he has an emotional breakdown and begs Tony to tell him whether or not he was responsible for "killing" Hannah. When Tony responds at first, he tells Clay that "we all killed Hannah", which is not true at all. Hannah killed herself, and even the worst person out there who raped her deserves to be locked up in jail for the rest of his life, nobody killed Hannah, and nobody should have to carry that around with them. When Tony finally tells Clay that he killed Hannah, he completely sets him off because Clay really believes him. It's totally unfair that Clay has to believe that he killed Hannah when he did nothing but care for her and be the best friend he could be.
In making a show about such heavy topics like suicide and rape, it was horrific and completely unforgivable for the directors to actually show graphic and violent scenes of rape and suicide. This is awful and undeserved for anyone who has dealt with rape or suicide, and these scenes were awful triggers for these types of viewers. The rape and suicide scenes should have been 100% left out completely. The show was about about preventing suicide, and the triggers itself are awful things that could set someone off who has a mental illness or has dealt with such scarring experiences.
12. Hannah's lack of reaching out for help
There was so much more Hannah could have done to help save herself. It is obviously tough for someone like her to seek out help given her situation, but the show really should have given the message that no matter the situation, nothing is ever worth taking your life. There are so many options and outlets for help for people like Hannah, such as therapists, psychiatrists, suicide hotlines, mental health centers, and so much more. Hannah did not seek out professional help for her suicidal thoughts once, and instead placed all of her problems in the hands of a school guidance counselor (who should have been more helpful, don't get me wrong) who does not have the professional experience to deal with these types of things. She also did not confide once in a teacher, friend, parent, or other trusted adult about her suicidal thoughts directly. It should have been a message that help is always out there, and that message was clearly not displayed in the show.
13. The overall message
It's clear that the show was meant to give the message that you never know how much your actions affect people. However, if the makers of the show really wanted to send a message about suicide, they would have had a better ending and actually taken steps to talk about mental illness and the options for help that are out there. Instead, they completely destroyed the entire message by having an ending that obviously pointed to more suicide and violence. Alex shot himself in the head, Justin was last seen walking away with a bottle of alcohol saying that he "wouldn't be seeing Bryce around", and Tyler was shown with guns and hanging up creepy pictures of his classmates. Whether this pointed toward him planning a school shooting or maybe even killing Alex, this was completely violent, unnecessary, and against the point. There was far too much violence and tragedy in this show to actually send a helpful or positive message for those who struggle with mental illness or the effects suicide in their life.