The final season of Netflix’s hit series 13 Reasons Why ended in sombre and I’m glad another season won’t see the light of day.
This post for 13 Reasons Why Season 4 contains spoilers.
At last, we bid farewell to 13 Reasons Why (2017—2020, developed by Brian Yorkey), one of Netflix’s most popular teenage series that certainly didn’t deserve four seasons and hour-long episodes. From following this series closely three years ago and reading the novel by Jay Asher that kickstarted this teen drama, I feel glad that this franchise has finally ended, as this series wasn’t meant to survive that long.
Season 4 details the anxiety, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder surrounding its main character Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), who has clearly gone cray after the events that happened from Season 1 through 3 (TL;DW: his crush Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) committed suicide; a genuinely good friend, Jeff Atkins (Brandon Larracuente), died in a car accident; he was almost involved in a school shooting, which he helped cover-up; Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice) was murdered and he helped cover the truth of who murdered him).
With a plot twist that was unexpected in the way that would make one react in an “oh no! you didn’t” manner, I was absolutely shocked that the writers would make Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn) pass on because of AIDS in the final two episodes of Season 4. It’s as if karma had hit his character for all the wrongdoings that he did in Season 1. The “AIDS plot twist” felt lazy and served more as a device to inject shock value. It was certainly a memorable takeaway I got from the final season, albeit not a good one at all.
The character progression for many of the series’ supporting cast also took a drastic turn throughout the four seasons. Likeable characters such as Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler) became a douchey drunkard, who doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. The show also, surprisingly, finds time in its final season to explore Alex Standall’s (Miles Heizer) sexuality, as it was depicted in the series that he is probably bisexual as he had previously dated Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) in Season 1 and now Winston Williams (Deaken Bluman) and Charlie St. George (Tyler Barnhardt) in Season 4. For a character like Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro), who has been Clay’s main man since Season 1, he is mostly ignored in Season 4 apart from the few scenes where audiences got to see him sparring in the boxing ring.
I do not think I need to go into further details of why 13 Reasons Why concluded poorly. With unnecessarily long episodes and weak storytelling, this franchise should have done itself and the audience a favour by ending three seasons ago in 2017. The story that began with finding out why a teenager ended her life should have concluded with the reason why she chose to do it. Further exploration of a traumatising almost mass school shooting, murder mystery and investigation should have remained as ideas on the big board in the writers’ room and not on Netflix.