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Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why presents the question of whether a serial rapist and someone who nearly shot up a school, not only deserve to be redeemed but can be.
|Genre(s)||Drama, Mystery, Crime|
|Good If You Like||
|Principal Bolan||Steven Weber|
|Harrison||Raymond J. Barry|
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In season 3 of 13 Reasons Why, while we have moved on from Hannah, the people involved with her death don’t necessarily move on. Yes, her name is barely uttered, but with Bryce not being brought to justice, there remains bad blood. Which isolates him in ways that doesn’t necessarily make him lash out, at least against anyone in particular. If anything, as he tries to start over at a new school, and finds his reputation precedes him, he tries to make amends. Which is a huge struggle considering what he has done, formerly with a callous grin, in the past.
But he isn’t alone in trying to heal his reputation. After Clay stopped him from shooting up the school, Tyler is put on a schedule where nearly everyone, from Jessica to Alex, are supposed to monitor him. Which, in the long run, seems to give him a sense of belonging that allows him to find some sense of normalcy.
However, Bryce’s attempts to redeem himself, and Tyler returning to a stable mental state, that all goes to hell when Bryce is found dead and is noted to be murdered. Thus leading to all the characters we know, including a new one named Ani, having to figure out a way to protect each other and keep the truth from getting out of their tight-knit community.
It appears Clay did legitimately let Hannah go, but has moved onto Ani in the process. Someone nerdy, can be a bit much like him, but also has some of Hannah’s traits. Which brings out Clay’s jealous side as he feels rejected time and time again, showing that while he wants to be seen as the hero, it requires him often fighting off his own darkness. One that, from outside this group he created, makes him seem very dangerous and the prime suspect for Bryce’s murder.
After being forced to admit what happened to her in a public forum, Jessica is still trying to navigate healing and regaining a sense of control with her body. Which makes her joining a group of other survivors, as well as taking the jocks to task a good outlet for her. However, it is getting back with Justin, sexually, which renews her. If only because something with Alex just no longer clicks. Yet, with Justin, she can feel pleasure again, and while there lingers Justin’s part of her rape, there is something beyond that which keeps him attractive to her. Though, despite Alex feeling rejected, he and Jessica still hold each other’s secrets, shame, and the FML club sacred.
In season 3, Alex plays a bit of a backseat role. He does have his own drama, mostly caused by Jessica dumping him, and him trying to get stronger, but one would submit he is significantly downgraded.
From getting back on the football team, drug addiction, Bryce’s murder and living with the Jensens, not to forget Jessica, Justin has both literal highs and drastic lows. Most of which he handles like a skittish dog who, thankfully, is given quite a bit of patience and care.
While Bryce isn’t given jail time, the isolation he experiences is quite similar to that. His mother barely looks at him, most of his old friends, outside of Monty, won’t speak to him, and even when he transfers schools, life is hell. Which, originally, leads him just to drink and break things, but then Ani acts as a catalyst for him changing. For with her being new, curious, and having a penchant for trouble, she is drawn to him. This attention pushes Bryce to want to be seen as he believes he sees her and off the back of her admiration he tries to make amends.
This, during the time he is alive, is an uphill battle as he uses his privilege for a good while dealing with everyone suspicious of his intentions. Yet, previous to his death, it seems he was on the right track. However, one moment of becoming lost in that rage that helped him gain his old reputation ended up being his undoing.
One could say Ani became the new Hannah. She is the one who presents everyone’s narrative but twists it in such a fashion to make everyone seem almost new. Though, at times, she reminds us of both the best and worst qualities of many characters. Be it Clay’s obsession, Jessica’s courage, Justin’s desperation, and more. However, there comes a point she goes beyond an observer recounting what she has seen and heard. Eventually, she causes drama. The type which, one could say, contributed to Bryce’s end.
Like Alex, Zach takes a step back. He does strike up a friendship with Chloe, Bryce’s ex, and takes a leadership role amongst the football team, but an event in the season may have ended his career. Making it so his main role this season is controlling the culture of the football team, being a good friend to Chloe, and hemming and hawing about being part of Clay’s group. Both in terms of protecting Tyler and dealing with the investigation of Bryce’s death.
After the events of season two, from being assaulted to nearly shooting up a school, Clay locks down on Tyler like he was his little brother and best friend. He has everyone watching him and while Tyler does get perturbed by this, the sense of belonging it gives him, especially after losing Cyrus and his crew, makes him feel whole and loved. Also, Tony teaching him how to fight makes him feel safer than ever.
With his parents deported, all Tony has is Caleb, Clay, and the people Clay associates with. But, even with them in his life, Tony’s secrets make things hard on everyone. Whether he is trying to help them or they are trying to help him.
Monty becomes the season’s villain with him trying to continue the culture Bryce put into place and his reign of terror. However, between Zach and others, Monty finds himself unable to become the king Bryce was. Also, thanks to someone named Winston, so begins an attempt to even show Monty just needed social niceties to not be a d**k.
Trying To Shift The Viewer’s Perspective On Bryce & Tyler – 95
As with past seasons, there is a clash between what 13 Reasons Why explores and what American culture is going through. On the one hand, we have Tyler, who almost shot up a school, and then Bryce, who is a serial rapist who conflicts with the #MeToo movement as well as toxic masculinity which is troubling society. Yet, the show tries to humanize these two. Bryce especially by pushing the idea that people can change.
Which, admittedly, is hard to imagine after two seasons of him being this rich a**hole who notes he raped at least 8 girls, some of which were his girlfriends. Never mind seeing him do so to Hannah and knowing that was one of the final straws that led her to kill herself. So, naturally, the idea of Bryce being someone worth redemption, or who could redeem himself, seems laughable. Yet, the show does it.
Maybe by having Bryce die young, after us seeing him go to therapy, try to make amends, and put in a real effort to change? Heck, it could just be Ani showed us a Bryce we forgot about. The one who would take care of Justin, and the rest of his boys, to compensate for the fact his parents were good providers but weren’t necessarily the most loving. After his trial especially.
Then with Tyler, I have to admit he was almost as difficult to imagine being seen as anything but someone who may be triggered and pick up a gun again. Yet, with him being confronted, as Bryce was, and being reminded he wasn’t some incel but was bullied and sexually assaulted, you get it – to a point. Plus, like Bryce, he went to therapy, and through Clay’s eyes, you are ultimately reminded of his humanity. Also, you come to realize Tyler just chose the opposite decision Hannah did. For rather than hurt himself to escape his pain, he decided he was going to spread it around.
Jessica Getting Her Groove Back – 89
Life as a survivor, whether boy or girl, is a big topic on the show for Jessica, Tyler, and many others. Fighting to be heard and seen is one of the more bigger things shown to regain a sense of power and a voice. Yet, there is something about Jessica reclaiming her sexuality which seemed more important in a way. For we’ve seen protest and the fight, but often the return to normalcy doesn’t get its due. Be it trying to learn how to be intimate with a person again, or find that intimacy, if in the form of sex, pleasurable.
Much less, dealing with the complications of how you have been mentally altered. Making it so things you may not have done before. Be it taking more control during sex, who you have sex with, or what you find attractive. Jessica exploring that was an interesting journey to watch.
Chloe’s Abortion – 91
Chloe plays a rather small part of the season, but the time spent focusing on her decision to have an abortion is powerful. Especially just watching as the procedure, the suction one, is done and you counting the seconds. Never mind the show noting all the hurdles she went through between being tricked into scheduling a meeting with a place which tries to convince you to have your child and a protestor harassing her the day of. Though, that’s an understatement. The woman drops in Chloe’s hand a fake, tiny, fetus covered in blood to try to guilt her.
Taking all that in, it brings you to tears. Also, it shows how callous many are over a decision that they are so against yet, if the child was born, they’d have little to nothing to do with you. Showing peak hypocrisy.
Ani – 90
From what I’ve gathered, many aren’t necessarily fond of Ani. Be it because she is new, possibly due to her being Black and damn near more prominent than everyone but Clay, or who knows what else. However, to us, she was necessary. The show has moved on, completely, from not only the books but one of the biggest draws of the first two seasons: Hannah. Making for a strong need to question why do we have a season 3, never mind will have a season 4? Well, Ani helped to make this season more compelling than it seemed like it would be.
First and foremost, it was by giving us a new set of eyes. We have long been accustomed to these cast members and whether we’re talking Hannah’s perspective or Clay’s, it felt like we’ve gotten everything we could out of everyone. However, Ani proved that wasn’t the case.
Look at Bryce. From the beginning, Bryce was portrayed as an utter monster yet she made him seem like he could be redeemed and loveable beyond what even Nora, his own mother, expected! Alongside that, she stepped in for the missing Black characters of season 2 to empower Jessica and give her access. Not to forget, held Clay up to the light and saw him clearly. Unlike Hannah and many others, she saw both the flaws and how some could see the perfection in Clay. Making it so, rather than be a character who swoops in with a naïve, maybe even bias, opinion of everyone, she helped reintroduced them not just for the season but how they have evolved.
Reminder Clay Isn’t A Saint & Could Easily Be Like Tyler Or Bryce – 80
With that said, you have to appreciate how Ani also pushed the idea that Clay, as good of a guy he seemed, he always walked that tight rope from his anger maybe making him like Bryce or Tyler. Feeling rejected for being a skinny white boy made it so he felt like any girl he wanted never chose him. Which, as shown in season 2, and this season, made him lash out. Especially at Bryce who, even with his reputation, was able to attract girls like Ani. Meanwhile, Clay tries to be this nice guy and is passed over.
Pushing the idea that, in the grand scheme of things, as noted with the Hannah and Tyler comparison, it only takes a certain amount of events, and a few negative reactions to said events, to send people down a dark path.
On The Fence
Casey & Principal Bolan – Two Sides Of The Same Coin – 75
Whether we’re talking about Casey being an extreme feminist, who’d protest at a person’s funeral, to the almost callous nature of Principal Bolan, when it comes to the culture at the school, you get their purpose but still have to question the writing and performances. The writing because of how two dimensional Casey often seemed, and then with Principal Bolan, this weakly pushed idea he is a feminist, but just doesn’t agree with Casey and Jessica’s way of doing things. Which makes you wish these two got to say more, and their backgrounds were more developed. For without that, Casey is played too over the top and Principal Bolan so dead that you sometimes wonder if the actor playing him is just happy for a consistent check and has long since checked out.
The Murder Mystery – 74
Here is how and why I could understand why people think Ani was annoying – because the murder mystery was dull. For one, after getting away with raping multiple girls, Bryce dying didn’t seem all that bad. Two, as much as the way the show went from past to present was shot in a cool way; honestly, the build to the reveal was anti-climatic. Mostly because, this whole murder thing felt so desperate in a way. We’ve known these characters for so long, and if Bryce was going to be murdered, it would have happened before this season.
Also, with 13 Reasons Why known for its shocking content, a murder mystery seemed like a major step down from rape, suicide, and what would have been a school shooting. Leaving you to wonder why didn’t the show just focus on the thereafter and redemption than tried to compete with itself. If not shift towards what many other YA novel adaptations do.
Many of The B-Line Storylines – 73
For every storyline like Chloe dealing with her abortion, there is Justin’s drug addiction, Monty’s complex over his sexuality, and more. All of which, don’t get me wrong, have a certain amount of interest involved. It’s just, they aren’t given the time or writing commitment to have any serious oomph. Hell, even Tony’s family getting deported, a major topical situation, makes you hunch your shoulders. That is despite how dramatic this show can get.
The Missing Faces – 72
From Sheri to Nina, Cyrus and more, a lot of people either aren’t part of season 3 or are barely in it. Now, in the case of characters like Courtney, this is fine. However, the loss of Nina means Jessica exploring having friendships with Black people, and what that means, dies off. What happened to Sheri after the events of season 2 is just set aside. Heck, even Skye is missing in action, and it just pushes you to wonder what could have been done so we could at least check in with them.
Overall: Positive (Watch This)
One of the main reasons we formerly didn’t give number scores was because they just didn’t make sense. Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why is a prime example for while 83 isn’t that high a number, since 60 is, technically, the lowest, I don’t necessarily feel comfortable giving this the positive label. Don’t get me wrong, season 3 had its moments, and I applaud the work done on Tyler and Bryce’s arc. However, it largely felt like a season that was milking a hit for all it is worth. All the while having this overarching storyline that felt like it had minimal commitment or was supposed to be a bigger deal than it turned out to be.
Yet, as we continue to work out using numbers to back up the rating, I guess we’ll have to admit the good outweighs the disappointments and mediocre. Hence the positive label.
What & When To Expect Season 4 of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why
Has Another Season Been Confirmed?
Yes, the show will end, thankfully, with its 4th season.
What To Expect From The Next Season
With Alex and Jessica killing Bryce, there is the group dealing with Winston, Monty’s lover, possibly revealing Monty didn’t kill Bryce, as Ani, and the others, pushed. For with Monty having sex, all night, with Winston, Monty actually has an alibi. Add in a fisher finding Tyler’s guns, and Alex’s dad knowing about what nearly happened during the Spring Fling, let’s just say the final months of senior year may mean not everyone making it to the graduation stage.
What We’d Like To See From The Next Season
Closure. Thankfully Netflix is now announcing when shows are ending which gives writers the ability to write proper ends. So one can only hope maybe the ghost of Hannah may walk the stage, giving us one last glimpse of Katherine Langford as the character who brought this show the attention it once deserved. Outside of that? Well, considering Clay once made it seem Bryce would haunt him, and Hannah used to, it could be interesting to see them both talk to him as he navigates dating Ani. That is assuming her mother, Amara, doesn’t lose her job since Harrison, Bryce’s grandfather, who she takes care of, might have died at the end of the season.
As for the rest? Well, Chloe and Zach together would be nice, considering he, like Clay, hasn’t really dated much. Maybe Tony graduating, and his family returning from Mexico, could be a touching moment. Justin being sober, Jessica by his side, Tyler maybe reconciling and dating Mackenzie, among other happy things, could be a good send-off for the show.
But, there remains Winston and the guns being found. Which, you know, considering Monty beat the hell out of Winston, and they have seemingly only spent time together having sex, I hope he lets what he knows go. As for those guns? Well, considering karma got Bryce and Monty, Tyler may have to be the sacrificial lamb since you know this show has to have some sort of drama. Well, between that and Alex’s dad dealing with the fact he helped protect his son from prison.