My previous review spoke about a high-school culture too. It is all about love and the complexities that follow because of technology. Despite being a drama focusing on the life of teenagers going to high school, 13 Reasons Why stands poles apart from most of the American school drama. Its dark approach and social commentaries which make you uncomfortable on your seat is what perhaps made its fan base today in the world. This Netflix series took the world by storm with the story of the suicide of a teen girl Hanna Baker and the reasons or the people that pushed her to her grave. Since then, there has been no turning back for this saga and it came up with its third season on the 23rd of this month. And, yes, it can be binge-worthy for a lot of us.
When the series started it screamed about rapes, bullying, drug addiction, inability to accept oneself, etc. Teenagers do go through myriads of issues in their lives which are physically and psychologically traumatic indeed. Keeping that in mind the production also launched a website named 13reasonswhy.info which takes you directly to their page named 13 Reasons why Crisis Information. I must say this is extremely noble and a significant step.
Season three has its spotlight on Bryce who is apparently killed after being missing for a few days. The script then takes the viewers through 13 evidence that led to the death of Bryce and the people fully or remotely involved in it.
Watch the trailer here:
- Starring: Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen
- Alisha Boe as Jessica Davis
- Brandon Flynn as Justin Foley
- Justin Prentice as Bryce Walker
- Devin Druid as Tyler Down
- Timothy Garnaderos as Monty de la Cruz
Season 1 was indeed a job well-done. However, since then it has all been about picking up the drops and grains and then building the other seasons.With a strong commentary on bullying, rape and teen suicide in season 1, to loose scripting, yet a little impactful aspect of molestation of men and women alike in season 2, season 3 highlights on the character who definitely is not a favorite of any: Bryce Walker. So, by the end of it, it might leave a lot of people like me wondering, if it was all really needed after season 1. Was demonization of a particular character that important?
The script of the series in its first season itself gave us extremely strong characters like Hanna Baker, Clay Jensen, Jessica Davis, Justin Foley, Tyler Down, etc. The fans and viewers cried with them, rooted for them, and empathized with them. The characters are indeed the X-factor of the series, for me they are the reason for the fan base that it has. I have been and will still further watch it to see where the characters land in the end.
Raping of numerous girls in the college, endorsing illegal activities like drugs and peddling, Bryce has done it all to be hated by one and many. Thus, his death brings everyone related to him to be the prime suspect. As the story rolls we are shown that Bryce wanted to be a good person and make amendments to the mistakes that he made in the past. Unfortunately, none of the students give him the chance to be good. It actually makes you question if a criminal does or doesn’t deserve a chance to correct himself/herself. So, are the students the reason that Bryce dies? Is this a story of Karma where he is pushed to his grave for his deeds just like he pushed Hanna Baker? Or is he killed by one of them whom he has harmed?
The only factor that came to be most striking for me in this particular series is how openly it talks about the sexual abuse of men as well. In season 2 we see Tyler Down being abused by Monty de la Cruz and his friends which leads to Tyler spiraling down physically and psychologically. In this season, we see him rising from it with the help of his friends and bringing forth the truth in public. It indeed was one of the most impactful scenes that the entire season had. Devin Druid justifies the role with his acting skills and does make the viewers grieve his trauma and get stirred with the strength of his character. Through him we know that even men are not spared and it is rather sometimes more difficult for them to come to terms with abuse because of the societal norms pertaining to masculinity.
Dylan Minnette is perhaps the star of the show or of any show you put him in. He makes the plot his life, the role his skin. There is nothing but praises for the way he acts as Clay Jensen and makes the entire plot reveal itself as he travels through it by trying to find the answers for the death of Bryce. His angst, suspicion, concern and love for his friends actually makes him the hero of the show.
In this season, we are introduced to a new character named Ani played by Grace Saif. The chemistry she has with Clay and Bryce is commendable. Her acting prowess is not questioned. But, for the entire season all that I kept wondering was, woman! you just came in! why are you digging your nose into matters that are not yours! But again, it is perhaps just me or perhaps it is not.
The writers of the show make the characters decide things which are dark, sinister at some level, and sometimes pretty illogical and stupid. Of course teenagers get indulged in matters that are troublesome, but always? How and why do they have ammunition in the first place? Moreover, the characters are shown to have good relations with their parents, but none of them really talk about the troubles they have. It will make you sit back and think by this season- Why? Why would kids even do that? Why don’t they think that adult supervision is better than injecting steroids, or threatening someone with a gun?
What holds the viewers then are the characters and the unraveling of their individuality and their secrets which comes out because of the unique empathetic connection that they have with each other throughout, which can be especially seen in the relationship of Clay and Justin besides the others. The script sometimes felt like dragging a bit too much with the repetition of the love stories and old drug habits of the characters, which could have been cut short perhaps. The scripting and the dialogues may not be very gripping, but hey! the characters will make sure that you binge through this season as well, slow-binge perhaps, but binge it is.
So, if you are a follower of 13 Reasons Why like me, you probably will like this season a little more than season 2 and might agree or disagree to a lot of the things that I have said. If you haven’t yet watched the saga I would ask you to do so, because of the characters and the various social commentaries that the series makes. Disclaimer: It pushes a lot of button to make you uncomfortable.
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If you haven’t watched the series yet, then do not wait! Find out, Who Killed Bryce Walker.