DISCLAIMER: The Post is about the show 13 Reasons Why, on Netflix. The post in no means promote the act of self harm or suicide. Suicide is never the solution, regardless how bad your life is going. (Read: Hope). Also, there is strong language and mature content throughout the post.
First thing, I have NOT read the book. And, that there are going to be MAJOR SPOILERS in this post. I believe that if our brain is conflicting with itself over something, writing what you think is the best way to sort it out. So, here I am, writing this post, to say out what all thoughts and feelings I had about the show. To say how a particular tape was justified, when everyone I talk to says that it was stupid. To say that the show could not do what it was supposed to.
I remember when I started watching the first episode. I didn’t know what it was about. Why I watched it? Because every other person I knew was uploading show related things on Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Instagram and where not? (We have so many places and so similar ways to share and promote photos and content, don’t we?) But, by the end of the thirteenth minute of the show, I was sure that its gonna be a depressing journey. (And, no, its thirteenth minute not because the show is Thirteen Reasons Why, its because in the thirteenth minute, Hannah says “and more specifically, how my life ended.”)
First thing that I wanna say is, not all of us are same. Few let go of bad memories, while others are hit hard by small things. Hannah is like latter. She feels hard to move on, and past memories get stuck in her heart. And, many such bad memories, which might seem like nothing to the former kind of people, developed the suicidal thoughts. Also, let us not forget that she was already having a tough time in her old city, and she moved for a fresh good start.
So, in the first episode, Hannah, 17, was excited for her first kiss. As a new student, she was happy that she is already going on a date with a hot guy (My female friends say that he’s really hot. Maybe.) But, what she imagined to be a happy memory, turned out to be a nightmare for her. Justin had clicked an inappropriate photo, and which he was showing to his friends and acting like a stud. And, moreover, he was laughing when Bryce forwarded that photo to literally the whole batch. She was new, she moved for a fresh start, but the journey in new school began that bad. Before she even establish who she is, she was already being called a slut. She was already having a bad life and bad reputation, the reason Bakers moved to a new city. Hannah wanted a fresh start. A new life, which she didn’t want to go bad. But, it turned out to be worse that she could imagine. This made her feel bad about her life, that it can never be good. She tried again to have a good life, and failed.
I’ve heard people say, that if an inappropriate photo spread or you get objectified through a list, does not mean you’ll kill yourself. So, people, you’re wrong here. Suicide doesn’t have one sole reason. Its the result of layers of depressing events which develop suicidal thoughts. These thoughts get stronger and stronger if the situation doesn’t improve. If you don’t get out of depression for a long time. If you have no one to talk to, or you feel lonely. (Which kinda justifies Reason 7 and Reason 13. More on it later.) But the show got something wrong here. Hannah is never shown depressed. She’s never shown being mentally ill. The way she was shown, its certain that she wasn’t depressed. That she was mentally fine. She didn’t have frequent breakdowns. She didn’t have odd sleeping and eating issues, which every depressed person goes through. No, she was not depressed. And, it is the most important thing the makers have got wrong. YOU HAVE TO SHOW HER MENTAL HEALTH DEGRADING. A TV Show, based ON Suicide, doesn’t even mention depression! How sick is that?
In Tape 2 and Tape 3, we see Alex create a list to gain popularity in the high school, by making a list objectifying girls, and to make Jessica jealous. Misunderstanding takes place, and Jessica slaps Hannah thus breaking their bond of friendship. Now, its true af that you need to do such sort of mean things to be popular in high school, but this happens with everyone. Like, every student who’s been through high school goes through stuff like that. Sure, she felt bad that her friends got drifted away and stuff, but how can you hope your first friends in a new school to be permanent ones? They won’t be. As you come to know more people, your friends change. So, Jessica and Alex did not deserve the tape. And, it affected Alex SO MUCH, that he suicides! And, that is certainly not what should’ve happened. Basically, Hannah was weak. She was immature like a child that she can’t tolerate these normal high school things. And, then she leaves behind some tapes, blaming people for her death, for so normal reasons, and making them feel guilty to such an extent! That is really not justified.
So, you’re aware that you’re hot, that people say that you have the best ass, that you’ve had an inappropriate photo of yours circulating in school, and you did not expect anyone to stalk you? See, I know stalking is wrong, its creepy. Especially to the extent Tyler did it. But, what makes the spreading of an embarrassing photo in which you are not recognizable develop suicidal thoughts? She was just afraid that people will now think of her as a lesbian too, after being called a slut. And, by what means are you blaming Tyler for the thoughts you developed during this incident? He is a photographer, he clicks literally everybody, and spreads few of the pics. I know his acts are not okay, but it wasn’t something for which you’ll make him feel so guilty, that he’s collecting guns and going to do something dangerous and not-okay.
After your visits, I twisted my blinds shut every night. I locked out the stars and I never saw lightening again. Each night, I simply turned out the lights and went to bed.
Or well, maybe, Tyler deserved the tape because he created a fear in Hannah. The fear of keeping the blinds open before she goes to bed. She couldn’t let the fresh air enter her room during night because of Tyler.
Who isn’t selfish? Everyone is. So is Courtney. She wanted to defend herself from the embarrassment as easily as she could. She didn’t want to accept the fact that she’s a lesbian despite the fact that her dads are gay. But, whatever was going on in her head, she did it to defend herself, and everyone does that. She did use Hannah as a shield. Hannah wanted to be a friend, but she was betrayed. And, this made Hannah loose the ability to trust on people, the ability to consider someone as a friend. That feeling sucks. Not that she did something wrong intentionally to hurt Hannah, but her actions made a negative effect on her.
Personally, after Bryce, I hate Courtney the most. The way she’s acting all ignorant and stuff in present, still hiding her sexuality shows that she’s selfish on the next level.
Thought you were easy.
Really Marcus? He asked her out and them assaulted her in a public place. The result? Hannah started feeling that after the events with Justin and Marcus, she can’t make correct decisions, especially in the matter of hearts.
Few of my friends said that there’s nothing wrong that Zach did. But, I have some other thoughts about it. This tape is probably the only one which shows Hannah falling into depression, which triggers suicidal acts. So, what actually happened? Zach comforted Hannah after what Marcus did back there, and he was being polite. Hannah felt for a moment that there still are good guys in the world. But, after her experiences with Justin and Marcus, she was having a difficult time trusting guys. The next morning, when Zach told her that he wanted her to be on his Dollar Valentine’s List, Hannah humiliated him. She felt that like others, he too was now taking an advantage of the kind act he did yesterday. She felt that he too thinks that she is easy. But, Zach had a pure heart and never saw her that way. So, for taking the revenge of the humiliation he faced because of Hannah, he started stealing the anonymous notes she used to receive in communications class. Sounds like a small, stupid prank, right? But, its not. By now, she was already being Suicidal. She was blaming herself about the wrong decisions she made by trusting Justin, Courtney, Marcus, and now Zach (She still had the misconception). She needed to communicate with someone, desperately.
Humans are a social species. We rely on connections to survive. Even the most basic social interactions help keep us alive.
But, on knowing that she doesn’t even receive any anonymous texts, she started feeling lonely. She tried to communicate. She wanted Zach to notice that she wants him to speak up, but he didn’t despite getting the hint. Zach was stealing her anonymous notes, the only thing that now brought a smile to her face. Yeah, Zach used to indirectly steal her smile. So, that small prank, which most of us would not mind, affected her deeply, maybe even more than many of the other reasons. She lost her means of communication. For her, no one wants to communicate with her anymore, maybe because they think that she’s a slut, that she’s a lesbian or some other reason. She didn’t know that there is someone initiating a talk, which she is desperate of. Why did she not know? Because Zach stole them. So, yes, this tape was important. Yes, Zach did something wrong, unintentionally.
Then, after going through more embarrassment because of Ryan, another friend she made, she witnessed Jessica getting raped. In fact, she saw Justin letting her girlfriend get raped. Hiding in the room, this made her sick. And, that Justin never told Jessica that she was raped while she was drunk. She was watching her get raped, but could do nothing. This made her feel bad of herself, that she did nothing and let that happen. And, that Jessica’s boyfriend too did nothing made her feel worse.
After witnessing this, while traveling with Sheri, she met with an accident, because of which one Senior lost his life. She blamed Sheri for not contacting 911, and herself felt somewhere responsible for his death. Feeling that she is responsible for someone’s death made her more suicidal. Here, I wanna make a point. She now knows how it feels to be responsible for someone’s death, right? She knows how worse that made her feel. She knows that she had more suicidal thoughts after this. Still she recorded the tapes. She made 13 other people feel responsible for her death, despite knowing what guilt they will now go through their entire lives, or that some of them may even do what she did. Sure, people like Bryce, Justin, Marcus etc must feel guilty of their actions, but let’s not forget that Alex did attempt Suicide. He didn’t had to. He didn’t do something as bad to feel that guilty. So, basically, the idea of blaming people itself is flawed. Had she narrated her story on the tapes, without dedicating them to people, like a suicide note, would’ve been a better way to leave out the reasons for the cowardly act she did.
Clay has been there since the beginning. Clay has been talking to her regularly. Clay has never broken her trust. Clay has never used her. Clay genuinely loved her. The only problem, he was scared to tell her. Clay did nothing wrong, and even Hannah says that he doesn’t deserve to be on the list. So, why did she never counted Clay while thinking that she has no one to talk to or trust? She had Clay. That’s because she thought Clay’s love for her has been overshadowed by the rumors about her being a slut and a lesbian.
Pardon me, but you really hurt my feelings.
At that moment, we clearly see Clay angry, that he’ll choose to wait. Hannah says that he’s scared. And, that’s what went wrong. He waited too long. He was too scared. But, he did not trust the rumors. Oh, if he had told this to Hannah. Its true that when you have feelings for a girl, and she’s your good friend, it requires guts to say that. You feel that it might affect the friendship. There are several other fears that go on in our heads that stop us from admitting our feelings. That fears stopped Clay from telling his feelings to Hannah, and then it got too late.
Why didn’t you say this to me when I was alive?
Didn’t we all cry at that moment? Like, THE MOST EMOTIONAL MOMENT OF THE SEASON.
Could a person be that sick?
If sending her photos, raping a girl, checking out her ass at a public place wasn’t enough, he now raped Hannah. Hannah had given one more chance by visiting that Party, but she returned with loosing her self-confidence. Well, Hannah certainly didn’t chose the best party to give another chance, because she knows what type of guys these are. She knew its Bryce’s party and that he’s a bloody rapist. She knew that Justin didn’t even save her girlfriend from getting raped, why would he stop Bryce if he thinks of doing something to her. But, she entered the hot pool, and made it the biggest mistake of her life. Bryce is the biggest a**hole in the whole series. The way he beat the shit out of Clay, damn.
Now, I come to the final episode, the very last one. It has a lot to talk about. Firstly, the Counselor. He is a Councillor in a high school, can see a girl giving clear hints of suicide, and does NOTHING? How fucked up is that? Why the hell are you the Counselor then? Hannah had given her life one more chance, and that Counselor ruined it. He could’ve talked to her, and made her realize that she still have some hope left, but, alas, he didn’t do that, and that costed Liberty High a lot. All he had to do was to assure Hannah that everything will get better. And, that is the Counselor’s job!
Hannah never told anyone except the Counselor that she was raped. It never occurred to me, until, a friend asked that why didn’t she talk to her parents or police? Though she once said that she is not open to her parents, she could’ve talked to police. She could’ve also narrated the Jessica’s incident to police. Maybe she didn’t do that because Counselor said that he can’t make it sure that the ‘rapist’ will be jailed, so she might’ve felt that going to police would only result in more awkwardness as it will get public, and Bryce will receive no punishment. (Yes, I know Police keeps things confidential, but don’t you think Alex’s dad will indirectly question Alex about it and eventually he’ll know the truth?)
The last episode left us with numerous questions. Will Bryce go to jail? Will Alex survive? What is Tyler planning? Is Justin fine? How will Clay get over this? What will that Councillor do with the tapes? What will happen at the trial? I’m glad we have a Season 2 in the making to answer these and several other unanswered questions.
I wanna criticize how the makers have shown Hannah’s suicide. Why do show this? Why do the viewers need to watch How to Kill Yourself. THEY DO NOT. That scene should not have been there. Its highly disturbing.
Now, few points the people behind the show missed. As I mentioned earlier, Depression and Mental Health. They must talk about that, which they didn’t. Also, they do not show why Suicide is not the option, and what a person is supposed to do when he has suicidal thoughts. They should have informed the viewers about existence of Suicide Helplines, they should’ve added some part counselling the views about how to deal with bad events. I really hope that they work on these in Season 2. If someone going through that is reading my post, please visit this post. It should give you some hope.
There’s one last thing I wanna point out. Many of the things that happened to Hannah happen to many of us. We are called bad things, our inner secrets get leaked, or we are bullied, but we stay strong, deal with it and move on. But, there are some people who are weak. Who loose their confidence to lead a life because of such regular high school stuff. So, we need to stop this. Bullying must be stopped. Be there for your friends. Sometimes, all that they want is a person whom they can trust and who would listen to their shit.
Yes, Hannah was weak. She was sensitive. She already had moved cities once, and wanted to do it again, but couldn’t because of financial problems, She didn’t want to face such things anymore, so she chose to end her life. She wasn’t depressed, she wasn’t going through any mental illness, still she killed herself. This shows that she was weak. And, being so weak is not how you can lead a good life. We all need to be strong to live in today’s world.
BRYCE WALKER. He’s still a high school student, and he has raped two girls (That Hannah knows of) Who knows how many other girls too have been raped by him? And, how many more people like Bryce would be there in the city? And in the country? And in the world? There would be so many girls getting raped across the globe everyday, which never comes to the crime department’s notice. The rapist is never punished for his awful deed. There has to be some awareness about the unnoticed rapes across the globe. Some action must be taken, before more girls go through that embarrassment.
Can we talk about Justin for a moment? He does not have any parental figures. His girlfriend leaves him because he hid her the fact that she was raped by his friend when drunk. Sure, he should have told Jessica the truth earlier, and should never had sided Bryce ever again, regardless how many favors he has done to him. He went wrong there, but at the end of the show, Justin had realized his mistake and wanted to correct them, except that he can’t. And, you can’t help but feel sorry for him.
Talking about other aspects of the show, the cast and their acting were mind blowing. The actors behind Clay, Mrs. Baker, Hannah, Justin, Tyler, Alex, Bryce, Courtney and all others totally fit into their roles. The script was tight, and never lost its focus.
Overall, the show tried to do something which every person in this industry has feared to do, ie, talk about suicide openly. But, they failed to show what they should’ve despite making an awesome show to watch. They need to discuss few important matters at all costs in the second season. Let’s see where the second season takes the journey forward.
We all must be having conflicting views about the show, you might agree to me somewhere and disagree to me elsewhere. Leave out your views, criticize where I went wrong, tell what you expect from the second season, all in the comments. And, don’t forget to share the posts with the 13 Reasons Why fans you know.