Controversial series ‘13 Reasons Why’ not as far fetched as critics claim by AUTUMN

By Autumn Bippert

With the mysterious disappearance of one of their classmates on the minds of Liberty High School students, everyone is trying to figure out what happened to Bryce Walker.

The Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why,” based off of the Jay Asher book, premiered its third season, which takes its own liberties from the original story. 

The series follows a group of students at Liberty High School as they deal with issues including suicide, sexual assault, substance abuse, bullying, and more, following the suicide of a classmate.

Season 1 focuses on the death of Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, and the effects on her friend, Clay Jensen, played by Dylan Minnette, as he tries to figure out the events leading up to her passing based on tapes she left behind.

In Season 2, as Hannah’s friends and family process her death, the Bakers, played by Kate Walsh and Brian d’Arcy James, file a lawsuit against the school for not protecting their daughter.  More sexual assaults that occurred at the high school come to light, and everyone learns that the sexual assaults of Hannah and Jessica Davis, played by Alisha Boe, by Bryce Walker, played by Justin Prentice, weren’t isolated incidents 

Season 3, like Season 2, is loosely continued from the book. The story is picked up eight months from where Season 2 ended, at the Spring Fling where Clay stopped his classmate Tyler, played by Devin Druid, from shooting students at the dance. 

The show flashes back and forth between to different time frames, before and after Bryce Walker is murdered. The whole season is focused around who killed the former antagonist. 13-reasons-why

The new season is told by a new narrator, Ani Achola, who’s played by Grace Saif. Ani’s narration is actually an interview with the police. The audience is left to wonder which crime she is being interviewed about, and how is this new character a part of it?

ani-947b294The 13 episodes show the two timelines and how the prior events affect the current timeline. Once word spreads of Bryce’s murder, everyone is on edge, wondering who could have killed him. Was it Tyler, who had planned to shoot his fellow classmates? Was it Clay, who had shown hatred for Bryce because of what happened to Hannah Baker in Season 1? Or was it anyone of the other people who were also apart of the tapes Hannah had sent out?

What’s visually appealing about the series is the use of lighting to tell the story. In Season 3, when the show was depicting before Bryce’s murder, the scenes were very vibrant and had a light, airy feel. After Bryce’s murder, the scenes were dark, almost monochromatic, with a heavier feel. I really appreciate how the show tells the story with more than one aspect. The best part of the series is the visual storytelling.

Most of the media critiques of the series call the show ridiculous and over the top. However, being out of high school for only two and a half years, a lot of the issues and situations do have parallels to what some high school students do go through. The show is, of course,  dramatized and exaggerated situations.freepressjournal_2019-08_44a645dc-8e8c-40ea-933d-5c7b0f4be260_62394601_491186448377461_1863770294769341367_n

I do believe that the show does a good job of portraying how high school students interact with each other and respond to conflict, which is a breath of fresh air. A lot of shows have such an artificial view of high school and young adults. I always felt that other shows didn’t draw my attention because they were so fake and not close enough to what it’s really like to be 16 to 18 years old. 

Not everyone in high school, or even later in life, will go through some of the serious situations, such as rape, suicide  and abortions, but a lot of people do go through these things. It was more true to real life than most shows that depict high school life.

For its visual storytelling and its ability to show more than a cookie-cutter portrayal of high school, I give “13 Reasons Why: Season 3,” a seven out of 10.