‘It’s important to make teens realise the influence they have over others’ – Jay Asher
Brownie guide honour this post contains no spoilers for any 3 seasons, or at least nothing that isn’t given away from trailers…
Last year I wrote about season 2 of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why and asked the question whether I thought it had gone too far. The whole thing that sparked the post was a particularly graphic sexual assault scene in the last episode what was unrelenting and came out of nowhere. Safe to say I found it the worst thing I’ve ever watched in my life and still reference it now when talking about difficult scenes to watch in TV or film.
Season 3 dropped on 23rd August 2019. I power watched in the week that followed and I watched it full of anxiety because I simply wouldn’t be able to cope with another brutal scene like in season 2.
Before I dive head first into my thoughts on Season 3 let’s wiki-wiki-rewind for anyone who needs to catch up. In season 1 we meet Hannah, who commits suicide but leaves behind cassette tapes to be distributed to her classmates explaining why she did it. Season 2 focuses on the trial (her parents are suing the school for lack of due care) and we learn more about various people’s relationships with her and that she may not have been as squeaky clean as first thought.
Season 3 moves away from the whole Hannah thing completely (although she is mentioned from time to time) but the style of the show remains, as we try and unravel the mystery as to who killed captain of the football team Bryce Walker. When I was 3 eps into s3 I tried to do some spoiler free googling to try and find out whether there were many more shocking scenes afoot. Didn’t work, and one of the first news article reviews that came up on google had a pretty massive spoiler right there in the headline. So that’s what the purpose of this review is. No spoilers, just my thoughts of the season on a whole, how it compares to the previous 2 and, is there any scenes that are going to leave you emotionally scarred for another 18 months?
I loved season 1 and thought it was one of the best TV shows I’d watched in a long time. Season 2 I felt jumped the shark a little bit and whilst I think the whole series is well cast and superbly acted, I’m not entirely sure it sent out the right message about suicide.
Season 3 I think pulled it back, took the brilliantly deep, complex characters and created an excellent murder mystery series. Characters like Alex (whom I have a very strong soft spot for) and Monty (less of a soft spot there) are developed even further and learn that when it comes to Bryce, everyone had reason to want him dead. We also catch up with Clay, Jess and Tyler and find out how they’re coping with the aftermath of everything that went down in season 2. Introduction of new girl Ani has split opinion on the internet. I was left ambivalent about her at best, and fail to see what purpose she really served other than just narrator (is is she?)
And are there any graphic disturbing scenes that are going to scar you for life? No. That didn’t mean I didn’t approach each episode with high anxiety though! What did help was that when Netflix does the whole ‘next episode is starting in 15 seconds’ thing, all the episodes in season 3 are rated 15 and the last episode of season 2 is an 18. So that relaxed me slightly that there wasn’t going to be any shocks. No worse than I’d already seen.
That’s not to say that there are some scenes that are still difficult to watch, there’s a few flashbacks from seasons 1 and 2 and some conversations between key characters talking and reliving what they’ve been through in previous seasons which is pretty bloody harrowing but again, a testament to the amazing actors.
Overall I loved this season and think it’s totally redeemed itself from being overplayed out and unnecessarily gratuitous in season 2.
If you’ve seen it, what did you think (no spoilers!) and if you haven’t yet what are your theories?