There have been a lot — a lot, of criticisms about the final episode of 13 Reasons Why. Ranging from the graphic content to the unsatisfying ending, it’s sparked a conversation. In all honesty, I was not a fan of this episode because of reasons of my own — I’ve watched this series twice now so my opinions have changed, especially after conversations had with friends after watching. It was unsettling and left you with more questions than answers. But it did what it set out to do, which was get people talking. You can see now in the news, schools are talking about “13 reasons why not”, or having discussions with students about the other options.
We know now that there will be a season two of 13 Reasons Why, a fact that I’m kind of on the fence about. I really do think that the show is more impactful with just one season because it’s Hannah’s story and with the show moving forward, we aren’t talking about Hannah anymore. On the other hand, the finale ended with so. many. fucking. cliffhangers. And I hate that. So, on the fence.
Anyway, let’s discuss the finale of 13 Reasons Why shall we?
Hannah seeks help from Mr. Porter, the school counselor, Clay plays the new tape for Tony and weighs what to do next.
A week after Hannah was sexually assaulted by Bryce, she returns to school and tries one last ditch attempt at getting help. Although we see her steal the razors and tapes from her parents’ store and know the end is near, we can’t help but hope that the story changes.
Hannah heads to Mr. Porter’s office for some guidance. Throughout the season, we see how extremely unhelpful and how he’s taking the school’s side. We also were previously led to believe that the last time Mr. Porter talked to Hannah was after the college fair, but that’s obviously not true. He was the last person that let Hannah down, even if he didn’t realize it at the time.
So what did Mr. Porter do? More like what didn’t he do. Hannah straight up told him that she felt empty and didn’t care about anything or anyone. Porter tries to talk Hannah through it and she continues to tell him that no one cares and that she doesn’t have any friends. So Porter tries to talk things through with Hannah, unaware that Hannah is recording him.
During the scene, Hannah breaks down, basically telling Porter that she wants life to stop. This catches Porter’s attention and Hannah quickly tries to backtrack, even though she’s telling the truth. Porter continues to question her and without flat out asking, Porter tries to ask if she was sexually assaulted, but instead of being on Hannah’s side, Porter immediately goes to the assailant’s side—asking if she made a decision she regrets.
It becomes increasingly harder to watch as it becomes clear that Porter doesn’t really believe that Hannah was assaulted since she didn’t say stop or no. But he still tries to get it out of Hannah, saying that he would try to protect her, but she needs to give him a name—something that Hannah can’t do.
Porter then advises Hannah to move on. Move on because the boy is a senior and will be gone in a few months. Hannah is obviously not happy with Porter’s advice and frankly neither am I, but it’s a school policy. Since Hannah wouldn’t give the name of her assailant, there’s nothing Porter can really do. It’s horrible and super fucking frustrating, but it’s common.
After hearing Porter’s advice, Hannah has made up her mind. Hannah leaves his office, wanting Porter to follow her and make sure she’s okay, but Porter doesn’t.
We watch Hannah walk down the school hallway, alone as she records her final message. She tells her listeners that none of them cared enough to help her or stop her, which made her not care either. She apologizes before ending the tape and walking out of the high school.
We follow her as she went home, got the tapes together. Before mailing them to Justin, Hannah drops her uniform off at the Cresmont, not saying a word to Clay. She drops the second package of tapes to Tony before heading to the post office to mail the first set of tapes to Justin. There she bumps into the guy from the poetry club, who invites her to pop in whenever she can because the people at the readings miss her. But it was too late, Hannah already had her mind made up.
Returning home, Hannah cleans up her room and fills the tub up with water. She’s dressed in some old clothes and takes the razors from the package then stares at herself in the mirror for a moment, almost hesitant and looking scared.
We are forced to watch her get into the tub, a single tear rolling down her face before she presses the razor against her skin, dragging it up her wrists. It’s extremely graphic and her cries of pain fill the otherwise silent scene. We’re up close and personal with Hannah, watching the blood stain the tub and seeing her pained expressions on her face.
To be completely honest with you, I couldn’t watch this scene. It made my stomach roll and I legit had to cover my eyes with my hands as I went “no no no no no.” to myself. I knew it was going to happen and yet, nothing could prepare me for the amount of uncomfortableness I felt during this less than five minute scene. It was horrific and I just wanted her mom to burst in and save her at the last second.
But no one comes in and we see Hannah slump against the wall, bleeding out from her wrists. Her frantic breathing gets slower and slower and the tub begins to spill over as we watch her die.
We don’t know how much time passes, but we see Mama Baker come in to the bathroom to find her daughter in a tub full of water. Her immediate reaction is to say Hannah’s fine, almost to reassure herself. Papa Baker comes in and freaks out, calling 911 after seeing his daughter. It was so tragic to watch Hannah’s parents find her and something that we don’t often think about when hearing about suicide—the people who are left behind to find the body and pick up the pieces, trying to put the puzzle of why did this happen together.
The time has come for the kids to give their testimonies to the lawyers about their involvement with Hannah. It’s interesting seeing them talk about her after we know what they know. Someone also pointed out that the testimonies were on Nov. 10, 2017, which means in real life, they haven’t even happened yet….weird. But anyway, the only glaring thing that happens is Tyler talks about the tapes, then Jess denies ever hearing anything about them which could come around to bite her in the ass.
The episode does another one of those, Clay narrates while stuff happens in the past. So while we watch Hannah’s last day, we are narrated through it by Clay, who goes to Mr. Porter to give him the tapes. He decided to skip giving the tapes to Bryce because as soon as Bryce figured it out, the tapes would be burned and the second set would be released, exposing all of the teens.
Clay talks to Mr. Porter, almost accusing him of not doing anything, just like he did to all the others. And Mr. Porter makes a good argument, that the kids didn’t know what was going on in Hannah’s head until after the fact. But it still makes the point to always be the one who cares about someone else, not just brushing them off because you never know what they’re going through. A simple conversation can change someone’s entire outlook on life when they know someone cares.
After his conversation with Mr. Porter, Clay gives him the box of tapes. He continues to tell Mr. Porter that everyone on the tapes knows what he did or didn’t do, just like Mr. Porter will know what the kids do. Clay even admits that he added tape 14, which was Bryce’s admittance to raping Hannah.
Clay leaves Porter’s office, but not before saying that the way people treat others has to get better. And he begins to live his statement, going up to Skye and asking if she wants to hangout with him. It’s one small step in making the world a better place, but it might’ve made a big difference to Skye, who we know harms herself.
But Clay talking to Skye doesn’t automatically mean it’s a happy ending cause the world doesn’t work that way. We see that Tyler has a box full of guns, Tony gives the Bakers a digital copy of the tapes, Justin confronts Bryce about the tapes—not wanting to be associated with Bryce anymore, Jess begins to tell her dad what happened to her, Tyler has a room full of pictures of the kids on the tapes and takes down Alex’s picture.
We revisit Mr. Porter to find out that he is listening to the tapes, only to be interrupted by the principal who frantically says that Alex shot himself in the head, and is in critical condition.
Then we see the Bakers have begun listening to Hannah’s tapes…how this will change anything, we’ll just have to wait and see.
The final scene is Clay, Tony, Skye and Tony’s boyfriend all in the car, driving somewhere, almost off into the sunset, but it’s clear that these stories aren’t over yet.