Disclaimer: this article will most probably feature spoilers from 13 Reasons Why. It is a show that I would encourage you to watch.
It isn’t often that a show comes along and impacts me greatly, but 13 reasons why did more than that. The show debuted on Netflix on the 31st March and I proceeded to watch all 13 episodes in the space of 23 hours.
In fact, it has touched me so hard that it will take me a while to be mentally prepared to watch such outstanding material for the second time.
The adaptation of the 2007 Jay Asher novel of the same name was originally meant to be a film, but I am beyond pleased that it was made instead into a roughly 13-hour show because such compelling emotions needed to be explored further and a 90-minute film would not have done the book justice.
From the show, I learnt so much and I do believe that it taught the viewers so much about life and the people we interact with daily.
Treat others well
- The show explored the reasons why Hannah Baker, a seventeen-year-old junior committed suicide.
She leaves tapes behind and on all 13 of them, she gives the reasons why she committed suicide. There are 13 in reasons in total hence the name ’13 Reasons Why’.
Each one of the reasons represents different people; there are 12 in total (Justin represents 2 reasons) 11 of whom led to Hannah’s death. (It should be noted that Clay Jensen – the main character and currently listening to the tapes- is the only person who is a reason that Hannah states did not cause her to commit suicide. Hannah even says that Clay was one of the nicest people she had ever met and she wishes that she got to know him better.)
However, the remaining 11 indirectly caused Hannah’s death. From causing her reputation as a ‘slut’ to rape to not answering her call of help, these 11 people treat Hannah terribly. In fact, one person’s action (Mr Porter, the school guidance counsellor) occurred on the day of Hannah’s suicide. She goes to his office to report the rape but after telling her to’move on’ and not coming after her when she rushes out of his office, Hannah goes home and kills herself.
This complex web opened my eyes to so much. You never know how badly your words and your actions affect people. Even if you are thinking of it as a joke doesn’t necessarily mean that the person on the receiving end feels the same way.
As a person who suffered from depression for over two years, people’s words can hit hard and they stay with you for a while. Something’s people said to me at 12 still hurt me now at 17 and the wounds are still fresh.
Treat people well. Treat them how you would want to be treated.
You never know what is going on in people’s lives
In the show, Clay learns from Hannah’s story and attempts to be a friend to Skye a girl who also attends his school who is showing signs of depression.
The show does deviate from the book in the ending.
Tyler (one of the reasons) took pictures of Hannah and Courtney outside her bedroom window whilst they were kissing and then proceeded to share them at school. Clay, upon listening to Tyler’s tape in an act of revenge, take a picture of Tyler naked from behind and send it around the school.
Tyler is tired of being mistreated by people in school and it is evident from how the show is ending that he is planning something deadly. Not only does a scene depict him buying a gun from a stranger, but Tyler is also seen with a large gun collection and a large amount of ammunition.
He is then seen in a picture developing studio (where he spend most of his time) with pictures of all of the people who have treated him badly hung up. The viewer would think that he is simply taking pictures for yearbook which is what he normally does, but there is a flashback to a scene where Alex defends him from a bully and so Tyler takes down Alex’s picture.
It is clear that Tyler is planning a school shooting, something that all the viewers didn’t piece together because they were not paying attention to all the signs.
Similarly, the main cliffhanger of the show is Alex’s attempted suicide. IT was clear that this was something Alex is planning. Alex in the latter stages of the show eluded to suicidal thoughts and depression in his speech, with his own father not paying proper attention to him. Alex even goes as far to try and drown himself in a pool and nobody notices.
Hannah’s, Alex’s and Tyler’s story all show one of the central theme’s of the show.
You don’t know what people are going through and you never know what is truly going on in people’s lives.
Most of the reasons agreed to never let something similar to Hannah happen to anyone else and an episode later Alex is being rushed to hospital following a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They practically ignored all the signs all over again, something they wanted not to happen.
Rape is rape
To us educated people this one may seem pretty self-explanatory. But evidently not to Bryce Walker who rapes not one but two girls during the show; one of them being Hannah.
This storyline is deeply tragic; Jessica the first girl he rapes is completely defenceless during her assault as she is passed out drunk. Her boyfriend Justin who realises this immediately stop. This is what should happen again as you and I know because Jessica is in no position to give consent as she is again asleep. After seeing him exit the room, Bryce then goes in to have sex with Jessica. Tyler attempts to stop Bryce but is pushed out of the room and Bryce then locks it from behind. (Also important to note that Hannah is hiding in the room, after an argument with Clay).
What I believe is really smart about this scene is how the writers showed the viewers what is right and what is wrong. Justin knew that Jessica was in no position to give consent and so he left her to recuperate. Bryce was wrong because he force himself onto Jessica and proceeded to have sex with her – even though Jessica woke up during the sex, it is clear that the intercourse is in no way consensual as Jessica attempts to push Bryce off her and then starts crying when he realises that she is too weak to do so.
Furthermore, during Hannah’s attack (she is not intoxicated) she attempts to climb out of the pool more than once and once she realises that Bryce is too powerful she becomes completely unresponsive.
Bryce later remarks that the fact that Hannah turned up at his party and was in a bikini was enough consent to do what he did.
Absolutely f*cking not.
Consent is consent. Unless a person is completely responsive, awake and has said yes and not then said stop, you should not be having sex with them. You need consent, otherwise, it is rape.
That was just three lessons, I’m sure you would be able to find more from this masterpiece of a show that deserves so much publicity and is so so important for us all.
Thank you to Jay Asher and all the cast and crew for this show as it is something that I will hold dear to my heart for a long, long time.