Content and Spoiler Warning: This article discusses some heavy themes that occurred in the third season of 13 Reasons Why and will also spoil for those who haven’t watched it. Some of the topics covered in this article are suicide, abortion, and rape. Reader discretion is advised.
13 Reasons Why is a heavy series to watch. The Netflix series is an adaptation of the 2007 novel of the same name. Jay Asher was the author of the book. 10 years later, the series would premiere on Netflix with varying and intense reviews.
The book, as well as the first series, follows Hannah Baker, a high school student who committed suicide. Prior to her committing suicide, she recorded 13 tapes, detailing each event that leads to her suicide.
The first season followed the same plot as the book while expanding on the lives of the supporting characters. The second season focused on the trial of Hannah Baker to determine if the school was liable.
Now that the trial is over, the third season continues on with life after Hannah. And opens with a big cliffhanger, “Who Killed Bryce Walker?”
While Bryce Walker was a star athlete and well-liked by some of his peers, he also was a sadistic rapist of several girls at his high school, including Hannah. While his death didn’t come as a shock, the suspects could have literally been any one of his victims.
However, this season didn’t just focus on Bryce’s death. It intertwined many heavy topics worthy of discussion. Let’s explore them here.
Deception in Abortion Clinics
We learn that Chole, former head cheerleader as well as Bryce’s former girlfriend, is attending a different school. The cliffhanger at the end of season 2 shows a scene where Chloe reveals to Jessica Davis (also one of Bryce’s victims) that she’s pregnant. As Ani and Clay are interviewing potential subjects in Bryce’s death, they see Chloe at a new school, dressed in a uniform. She meets up with them off campus to let them know she aborted the baby and hadn’t told Bryce at the time.
You can’t help but feel sorry for her throughout this flashback. What was once a young woman, ready to defend her boyfriend during his trial in season 2 is now scared, alone, and facing one of the biggest decisions of her life.
It’s beautiful to see the friendship flourish between her and Zack. One of the positives is that she had a supportive friend in Zack, who seemed to want nothing more but her happiness. But it was also terrifying and upsetting to see what she went through to get an abortion. At first, she attends a clinic that pulls a bait and switch and instead reveals they don’t perform abortions, they only pressure women to keep their baby.
Knowing how sick and evil Bryce is, this scene can make you nauseous.
It gets much worse. She asks Zack to go with her to an abortion clinic where there are a host of protesters outside. A woman in an orange safety vest approaches her to assist her in “walking past the crazies”. She then tells her that she can change her mind, revealing that she is one of the protestors, and puts a small plastic embryo in her hand. Chloe’s face is wrought with devastation as Zack pulls her away.
The aftermath was subtle but powerful. While she has Zacks support, her recovery from this abortion is lonely. She talks to Zack later and tells him that she doesn’t regret her decision, but you can tell that the events leading up to it definitely affected her.
The Villan Can Be Someone’s Son or Someone’s Boyfriend, and Still Be A Villian
From the first few moments of season one, it was obvious that Bryce Walker was someone to be feared. Throughout the series, there was not only any question on what he did, but there was also no question that he held absolutely no remorse. This season showed a powerful message that he had a family and a girlfriend and still committed unspeakable acts. 13 Reasons Why did a great job of exploring this, which brings me to my next topic
A Villan is Still A Villan, Even if They Aren’t A Villan at Times
Bryce Walker cried. He laughed while painting with his mom and had a girlfriend/hookup partner who he did not assault (Ani, in case you weren’t following). He had many moments where he wasn’t a villain. And yet, very capable of not only doing what he did before but also doing it again.
Time Really Does Heal All Wounds
Another huge plot point in this season of 13 Reasons Why was Tyler. You see him in the aftermath of his brutal assault that he keeps to himself. Your blood begins to boil when you see Monte, his assailant, mock him in the halls.
What Monte did to Tyler was nothing sort of traumatic. It was enough to lead Tyler to contemplate a mass shooting during the homecoming dance. But Tyler’s evolution did prove that time really does heal all wounds.
At the beginning of season 3, you see a blurry figure standing in front of a camera as it flashes. At the end of season three, Tyler reveals to Clay what Monte did to him. He shows Clay the pictures he had been taking on his camera. You can see from the pictures that Monte’s assault on Tyler was brutal and he was covered in bruises. He took a picture every day to show to him than that, slowly but surely, he was healing.
I think that was one of the most powerful scenes this season. It was an inspiration to anyone struggling that, even though you feel pain, that you heal a little bit each day. Eventually, just like Tyler, the bruises and scars fade and you can be made anew.
Violence Begets Violence
“Violence Begets Violence” is something that Ani says in her narration more than once. It absolutely speaks to Monte’s violence and rape to Tyler which almost lead to a mass shooting, Hannah’s rape leading to suicide, and so many more moments throughout the series.
We don’t get to learn Monte’s backstory this season. He does, rightfully so, go to jail for his assault and rape on Tyler. The anger and violence that was bottled inside him from the shame of his own sexuality was never going to slow down.
When his father visits him, he is angry. Not at his crime, but his sexuality. His father asks him, in a not-so-eloquent fashion if he is gay. Monte sarcastically replies, “sure” and his father immediately spits in his face and walks off.
This scene is heartbreaking because it speaks to the phrase Ani keeps repeating “Violence begets violence”. What violence did Monte have to endure to become the person he is now?
In conclusion, I felt that season three of 13 Reasons Why explored some important and hard-hitting topics this season. Have you gotten a chance to watch 13 Reasons Why? Tell me what you thought of this season in the comments section below.