Based on the best-selling book by Jay Asher, Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why follows teenager Clay Jensen (Dylan Minette) and his peers at Liberty High as they decipher the mystery around Hannah Baker’s (Katherine Langford) suicide. The show’s purpose is to rawly address the issues that high schoolers are seeing every day. While each season has had its own problems and controversies, they remained both relevant and entertaining. However, season three is pure disappointment.
Some TV shows should not continue past the first season; however, season one’s success led to a second, and the third turns into a mystery only tangibly related to the first season’s main concern: why Hannah Baker killed herself. The first episode of the new season focuses on the disappearance of another student, Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice). Bryce is your classic rich, white, male villain who was a serial rapist who raped Hannah. Accurately, Bryce never faces proper consequences for his heinous actions. In several ways, the third season is a redemption walk for Bryce, who prior to his death, was trying to learn from his mistakes and become a better person. This theme allowed the acclaimed 13 Reasons Why showrunner, Brian Yorkey, and his writers to address what the theme of the entire show was supposed to be all along: everyone is fighting a battle that can’t always be seen from the outside.
In season three, those battles affect multiple characters and involve almost every social issue that currently may affect the youth of America: bullying, sexual assault, suicide, abortion, steroid abuse, the opioid crisis, gun violence, marginalization based on sexual identity, and the crackdown on illegal immigration. Throwing all of these serious issues into one slow-developing series degrades the importance of each.
To be more straight forward, season 3 of 13 Reasons Why is confusing, drawn-out, and annoyingly ironic. Here are the reasons why I hated season 3 of 13 Reasons Why:
1. Ani’s instant relationship with every character.
In this season, they welcome new cast member, Grace Saif, who plays Ani Anchola. Ani’s role in the show is confusing and random. She’s living in Bryce’s home because her mother is their maid. In the flashbacks throughout the episodes, Ani’s relationship with Bryce makes no sense. Are they friends? Do they hate each other? Does she really want to help him? Is she scared of him? Their attitudes towards each other seem to change with no proper relationship development. This same phenomenon happens between Ani and pretty much every other character, whom she had no relation to prior to the first episode of this season.
2. Ani’s Narration.
The fact that Ani narrates the series (that’s right, the new, ultra-confusing character narrates a story that had nothing to do with her), instead of a more prominent character in the story, such as Tony (Christian Navarro) or Clay, is irritating and complicated. Her character in itself already holds a blurry position. Making her the narrator of a story she wasn’t involved in until the first episode of the newest season makes absolutely no sense.
3. The downplay of the #MeToo movement.
In the second season, Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) comes forward publicly about being raped by Bryce Walker. In the third season, Jessica runs for student council president based on a campaign promising the end of rape culture at Liberty High, and she earns the position. There’s only two scenes that talk about Jessica and her battle to educate girls in her school about the #MeToo movement. They were inaccurate, and although they initially mentioned the #MeToo movement, they didn’t talk about it again. If the producers are claiming that they want to use the show to educate young women, they have failed.
4. There are 13 Episodes with super long titles.
Maybe this is super petty, but the fact that there are 13 episodes is so irritating. In the first season, it made sense to have 13 episodes for each tape that Hannah recorded. Having 13 episodes in the third season is cliché and irrelevant. Not to mention, the titles are super long. I mean, episode 8 is titled “In High School, Even on a Good Day, It’s Hard to Tell Who’s on Your Side.” On Netflix, you can’t even read that entire title without expanding the information. Call me a lazy Gen Z kid all you want, but I like to effortlessly read the titles before I watch the episode.
5. Missed Opportunities.
13 Reasons Why is supposed to educate society about the issues our youth is facing, and encourage adolescents to seek help for these problems and to speak out against them. The show does a terrible job of addressing the mental health of the students. While it does show very real emotions, it never talks directly about the thoughts of the characters and the fact that most of them need serious mental help. It is so important for teens to be educated about their mental health, and know that reaching out for help is okay. Despite 13 Reasons Why’s good intentions, the message they are conveying is just not working.
Here are some mental health resources if you or someone else should need them:
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255
Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline (For substance abuse): 1-800-662-HELP (4357)