The show had been on a controversial roller coaster since it aired on Netflix in 2017. The story of Hannah Baker, very well written by Jay Asher was in a movie form now and we heard what Hannah had to say in Season 1. In season 2, everyone on the tapes shares their side of the story and basically, we all end up disliking the plot of season 2.
Season 3 which aired on 23rd August gives us a glimpse of Bryce Walker’s death and the main question – who killed Bryce Walker?
Read at your own risk. Spoilers ahead!
Here are 13 reasons why I loved/disliked Season 3:
- Clay & Justin – This season we see a unique bond between these two characters. From being acquaintances in Season 1 to enemies’ slash bearing each other in season 2 to full-on brotherhood in Season 3. I enjoyed their bromance. The way Clay helps Justin and vice versa are very uplifting. The fact that Clay asks his parents to put a picture of Justin on their family wall shows us just how much Clay and Justin mean to each other.
- Clay & Tyler – With the ending on Season 2, one would be surmised that Clay lived to Tyler’s ordeal. But not only do we see Clay and Tyler both alive and well but also the lovely bond between these two boys. It’s not easy for Tyler to trust anyone, but he trusts Clay and shares the critical and life-changing facts about his life with him. Tyler looks up to Clay and wants him there for support when he lets everyone know that he is a survivor just adds to the amazing difference that Clay has made in Tyler’s life.
- HO group – I was so happy when Jessica with Ani and other survivors start the Hand’s Off group to stem rape culture that is prevalent in their high school. It gives a refreshing message to everyone that change can be brought even when you feel it won’t make a difference. The fact that Principal Bolan supports Jessica and HO is admiring. Moreover, he makes it a point to let Jessica know she is wrong and shows feminism in a prime and beautiful way.
- Jessica’s growth – Having survived rape and seeing her rapist every day in school was not easy for Jess. But this season we see Jess taking a stand for those whose voices aren’t heard. She tries to end the jock culture and rape culture splendidly. Albeit, she’s not perfect and makes many mistakes but it’s a good way to show how she has healed over time. The pain doesn’t go away, but she urges herself and others to fight it most positively. Jess isn’t the girl who shies away from a predicament but faces it head-on.
- Tony’s story – in this season we see a completely different side to Tony. He is scared, hurt, upset and in pain at the deportation of his family. He tries to stay out of all the trouble but never shies down from helping his friends. Be it by helping Tyler or wanting to get in the fight at the Homecoming game. The situation that Tony is put through is a very common one faced in America and Mexico and it shows how families have been ripped apart from each other by just one anonymous tip. Tony fights for his family and tries his level best to get them to safety even if it means putting his life in danger.
- Captain Zach – Zach has always been the silent one. In all three seasons, he has stayed away from the main drama that is high school. In season 2, we see him having a very beautiful relationship with Hannah which is destroyed by the jock culture in Liberty. In Season 3, after being named Captain, Zach makes it a point to change the wrongdoings of the team. He makes sure that all his teammates are drug-free and makes sure everyone knows that he wants his team to play clean. He goes out of his way to help Justin get to training and looks out for the new team members. Zach plays a very strong character and doesn’t allow bullying especially in the locker room.
- Bryce – Season 3 is all about Bryce’s murder and his subtle redemption arc. The series goes back and forth from the present to the past few months before Bryce’s murder and shows him in a completely different light. After hearing Hannah’s tapes, he genuinely tries to change. He takes counseling sessions, re-establishes his relationship with his mother, helps the other characters in some way or another. The point is that Bryce tries his best to get better, but the world won’t let him and that is the sad truth of life.
- Tyler’s growth – Season 2 saw an angry Tyler distraught and ready for a mass shooting. But the Tyler we see in this season is one that needs applause. Tyler, with the help of Clay and his friends, grows from the angry boy to a wonderful mature man. He respects his friends, backs them up when needed, provides good insight and ideas for the HO group and overall, is seen as a peaceful young man. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to play Tyler’s character, but Devin Druid has done a splendid job!
- Friendship – Imagine a friendship so strong that helps you cover up a murder. That right there is a huge statement! I won’t say it was the right decision, but the impact of it is huge. Clay, Justin, Jessica, Tyler, Alex, Zach, Tony, and Ani share a bond that is stronger than real blood. The end scene where Tyler displays his artwork is one of my favourite scenes. Just the pure satisfaction of knowing that these characters are at peace makes me joyful.
- Mental Health – One big point that I was really impressed was the openness of the school and parents of each character regarding mental health. The school counselor does a very good job of helping the students and letting them know that she is there for them. Clay’s parents time and again mention the need for Clay to see a counselor for his wellbeing. Bryce’s mum receptively invites Mr. Porter to help Bryce and we do see the change. Openness about mental health buries the stigma around it and the show makes it seem natural and healthy.
There have been so many nice reasons but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any bad points to this season. I’ve got 10 good reasons and 3 not so good reasons.
- Ani – Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate Grace Saif who played Ani, I just don’t feel Ani was relevant in the whole season. The fact that Ani was new, and she just knows everyone’s deep darkest secrets by having great observing skills doesn’t sit well with me. I get that the series needed a third person to narrate Bryce’s story and all the inner struggles faced by the other characters, but I still don’t like Ani.
- Framing Monty for murder – For what its’ worth, this was one of the lowest points in the series. Arguably, Monty has committed many crimes and he was a bully, etc, but he still didn’t deserve to have died a murderer. To top it off, the whole story was created just to hide the real murderer. That was unfair on a whole different level.
- Bryce as a monster – I mean I get that Bryce was a rapist, bully, and an arrogant prick. But the truth is that he did try to get better. I’m not saying that we have to forget all that he’s done but we could give him some credit for realizing his mistakes and agreeing to see a counselor to mend his ways. But sadly, in our society, the bad a person does is always remembered rather than the good.
In conclusion, I have immensely loved this series especially the 3rd season. The 13RW team has tackled various prevalent issues in the world which are always shied upon. No doubt, this show has received its fair share of criticism but it has been a game-changer when it comes to teenagers and all that goes on in a high school. Being a teen is not easy and I’m sure this series is a fresh reminder for all those who believe that mental health is not important.
For anyone who needs help, can find some to talk to you here.