The fourth and final season of 13 Reasons Why attempts to give fans closure. However, there are still unanswered questions. Some of the season felt dragged on and unnecessary, ending on an emotional note that left fans upset after following the series for four years.
The series starts by leading viewers to suspect the teens are going to be exposed for covering up Bryce’s murder by framing Monty. However, there was really no mystery, it was more like How To Get Away With Murder. It provides closure the teens are going to be fine since Bryce’s case is closed. Alex reveals to ex-fling Winston he was Bryce’s killer. Winston, the new student who wanted to get justice for Monty, decides not to go to the police because he loves Alex. The whole time Deputy Standall knew his son was guilty of murder but covered it up to protect him. It misleading how they spend so much time investigating Bryce’s case then just shrugged it off. It also makes us question why Bryce’s mother didn’t play a role in trying to find out who killed her son compared to Mrs. Baker.
In the finale, Mrs. Baker sends Clay, Hannah’s old tapes and the group of teenagers decides to put Hannah behind them by burying her tapes. This shows them moving forward but makes us wonder if anyone will find the tapes in the future and why they didn’t burn them instead.
The series ends with the students graduating Liberty High and some will be attending college in the fall. From season one, we witness Clay struggle with mental health issues, it progressively gets worse as we see him spiral in season four. However, in the finale the series provided closure with Clay’s mental health improving. Clay gave a powerful, yet emotional speech at graduation in which he opened up about his mental health struggles and tells the crowd there are ways to get through it. After a long emotional roller-coaster, it was relieving to see Clay will be attending college and continue seeking help. It seems as if the students of Liberty High have put the drama behind them for once and all, but will they keep in touch in the future?
Season 4 of 13 Reasons Why is much like Pretty Little Liars expect a poorly written and scripted version. In case you didn’t know: Pretty Little Liars was a teen drama mystery television series, that plot line revolved around teenager girls who received calls and texts from a mystery person named “A” who threatened to reveal their darkest secrets.
A similar path is followed in Season 4 of 13 Reasons Why, Clay starts receiving spooky phone calls from a distorted voice who claims he knows Clay and his group is guilty for framing Monty for Bryce’s death. That being said, Clay is forced to complete certain tasks from this person or the truth will be revealed. Much of this seems unnecessary and serves no purpose for the plot. In addition, just like “A” knows all the teenagers secrets, a new character on 13 Reasons Why, Winston is introduced who had previous ties to Monty. Winston knows the groups secrets and the truth about Monty, threatening he will go to authorities to reveal the truth. Along with football player, Diego.
Season 4 seemed to highlight the importance of seeking treatment. As episodes progress, Clay’s mental health deteriorates which leads him to attending weekly therapy sessions with Dr. Ellman for anxiety, depression, and dissociative episodes which he doesn’t remember.
In addition to Clay seeking help, Justin Foley comes back clean from rehab for his drug addiction and attends weekly talk sessions. The most devastating event that occurred in Season 4, highly criticized and unpredicted was Justin Foley’s death. In Episode 9, shortly after Justin confesses his love to Jessica at prom, he faints on the dance floor and is immediately rushed to a hospital where he is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The series failed to educate viewers on the importance of HIV/AIDS, along with school shootings. Justin’s death was shocking because there were never any signs of him being sick. The writers also failed to realize HIV takes years to develop into AIDS, as they portrayed Justin developing this condition in such a short period of time. More importantly, they lacked to acknowledge that AIDS is treatable. It would’ve made more sense if he died from a drug overdose since he had a relapse in Season 4 rather than dying from AIDS.
The narrative of the hallucinations, spooky texts and calls felt random and like a bad horror movie. This becomes clear when they are dropped from the seasons narrative. The hallucinations of Monty and Bryce that the characters experienced stemmed from guilt but there was any “justice” served for them. Much of the season focused on Diego and Winston trying to prove Monty’s innocence for being framed. But, something that was largely absent was the shows failure to acknowledge Monty was in prison for sexual assault of a minor. It feels as if some of the topics and plots are rushed, pointless and never fully developed into a deeper discussion.
The first episode of Season 4 opens with a funeral, and grabs viewers attention because it leads viewers with the question: What student’s funeral is in 13 Reasons Why? Season 4 had many twists and the plot was very disorganized, which made it difficult to predict who was in the casket.
There are so many characters on the possible suspect list, I’ll name a few. One could assume it could’ve been Clay because of his erratic behavior and increased violence seen in Season 4. Another possible suspect was Tyler as he started working with police to catch gun dealers. Or Zach as his behavior shifted, becoming reliant on drinking heavily and partying, sleeping with random girls and bringing a prostitute to the dance.
However, 13 Reasons Why left viewers in shock in the last episode when they revealed the funeral was Justin Foley’s. As mentioned previously, Justin’s death was very unexpected because he served as an important character throughout the series. Over the series, Justin had a lot of development, he was homeless, suffered from addiction, was adopted into the Jensen family, went to rehab, became clean, and got accepted into college. It seemed like Justin was on the path to recovery and a happy life until he tragically died of AIDS. Justin’s sendoff was really shocking, unnecessary and heartbreaking to watch.