I made plans to binge watch the upcoming season of 13 Reasons Why. I propped the pillows on my couch, grabbed a blanket and my jug of water, determined to sit still for this release (even though, thanks to technology, I have the capability to pause for bathroom breaks and taking care of my family needs).
I had doubts and questions about the new season. When we left off with season 2, we saw Tyler jumping into Tony's awesome Mustang and speeding off as the police sirens threaten their approach to the school. Clay was standing in the parking lot with a rifle in his hand with the deer in headlights expression. We knew what his thought process was: Oh f***, what sh** have I gotten myself into?
I know that would be the first thought in my head before panic mode ensued.
Of course, I expected the new season to pick up where the last left off. That wasn't exactly the case, although those who had questions about what happened after Tyler left the school, we eventually get our answers as we go deeper into the season.
When I hit play, I am instantly introduced to a new face, belonging to Ani Achola, played by Grace Saif. We find Ani in an interrogation room, discussing possible suspects of Bryce Walker's murder to an unknown officer. Ani's voice is heard as narrator throughout the entire season, focusing on each individual character and how they could have been the murderer.
As Ani says, each person discussed had the capability of killing Bryce, with as many reasons as to why they would have wanted him dead. Bryce was the character we all loved to hate. He was responsible for the rape of at least 3 girls, and when we left off in season 2, he had no remorse for his actions. It even appeared that Bryce was turned on by having that type of control over someone.
The show was conflicting from start to end. And throughout the episodes, I found myself questioning if there was a true purpose for the continuation of another season. Different topics that teenagers today deal with were brought up in each episode, from teen pregnancy to abortion, sexual identity and homophobia, drug use and addiction, and so much more. Overall, I found the season pretty overwhelming mentally. I made myself a sponge and soaked in each episode as I progressed, but as I took it all in, I became more conflicted. With a fourth and final season coming, I can only imagine what the creators will come up with next.
Here is my take on the season, and I already know I will have people that disagree with me since my husband already opposed my opinion!
Aside from feeling mentally overwhelmed, I found the season deep and while I will say, not GREAT, I believe the actors and actresses played their parts extremely well. Specifically, Devin Druid, the actor playing Tyler Down.
Tyler Down's character is introduced in season 1 as the creepy, yearbook photographer who stalks Hannah Baker's window while taking photos of her without her knowledge. We are shown a sad and lonely boy, who is bullied throughout all the seasons, and is brutally sodomized by Monty in season 2, leading to his blinding rage that results in an almost school shooting at the spring fling. He narrowly avoids arrests because Clay and Tony helps him, knowing that something pushed him to that point, but that redemption for him was possible.
The first person to notice that Tyler underwent some kind of trauma was ex-counselor Kevin Porter. Porter brings Tyler's change to Clay's attention, leading Clay to ask Tyler if something happened to him.
The scene where Tyler struggles to tell Clay about the beating and rape brought instant tears to my eyes. I understood the difficulty that he must have felt in expressing what happened into words. It was the first time he had to tell his story and it was difficult. Saying the words made it true and the trauma never left him. Emotion pained Tyler's face while Clay is in disbelief.
"I feel like I want to hug you. Is that okay? Can I hug you?" Clay asks Tyler, knowing the lack of desire to be touched by anyone after experiencing what he had. It was a heart-wrenching scene, and one that deserves an award for best performance.
I only imagine the amount of prep-work Devin Druid had to undergo to perfect that scene.
I found myself sympathizing with characters that would normally receive ire and hate. I believe that was the intention of the creators of the show: To give the viewers different sides of the stories and make us come to the conclusion that we are all human beings, deserving of redemption.
Even the two most hated characters of the show: Montgomery De La Cruz and Bryce Walker.
In school, we saw Monty as the dick jock who callously sodomized Tyler and was just a horrible person to everyone. He expressed distaste for individuals that sexually identified with the same sex. From the way Monty displayed his hatred and anger to homosexuality, I felt there was something darker beneath the surface.
Bryce was malicious and entitled. He was the rich, white kid who basically got away with rape. He never gave any implication that he was attempting or willing to change. Until we saw him through the eyes of Ani and his mother. Until he asked Tony to listen to Hannah's tapes and realized the damage he did. As Tony said, they were all his tapes. He touched everyone with his actions.
Anyone would think that Bryce, a horrible human being, had it coming to him. But, did he really?
Before watching this, and seeing the character change he underwent prior to his murder, I would have believed he deserved to die.
Now, all I feel for this fictional character is a sadness and emptiness as well as confusion. My morals are called into question after this show, and I cannot wholeheartedly say, that Bryce Walker deserved to have his life taken away from him.
The show steered away from the original story of Hannah but delved into topics that I feel, need to be talked about because the simple fact is this, what we see on the show is a representation of what reality for what teenagers today undergo. This show brings discussion and attention to what otherwise would be swept under the rug. And for that, I can understand why it was continued, despite the constant rebuttal of its continuation.