Remember 13 Reasons Why? Remember the ”controversial” first season when people were only talking about its graphic content rather than artistic output? Before wrapping up the series with this new fourth season, last year they happened to release an absolute disgrace to the art form, season 3, after a very mediocre second. Three is still possibly the worst season of television I’ve watched in my life so going to the last one I just kept motivating myself thinking ”well it can’t get any worse”. Thank heavens it didn’t. Don’t get me wrong, it still struggles from the after effects of the last one but at least this time the actors get a chance to try something new.
As said, most members of the main cast can exit this show with dignity. Notably Brandon Flynn (as Justin), who really stepped up during the second season, carries his scenes to his best ability which makes you hope that he gets a proper chance in a similar viewership-level but more age appropriate role soon. Dylan Minnette (Clay) and Alisha Boe (Jessica) also succeed well enough. Visually the show still looks solid but there isn’t anything as interesting going on as the first season’s transitions and flashbacks. The series finale turned out to be the only decent episode as it managed to reflect a lot on the source material and the formed relationships. After these things we can get to the muddiness of it all. I could genuinely write an essay about the downfall of 13 Reasons Why but that would require a lot more words than I tend to write so ask me about it if you see me (hah).
Since it is the final season, let’s start with how the overall story wraps up. It is honestly quite baffling how far removed this is from the first season as you probably have no idea about the show’s themes or message in the end. Wasn’t it about how actions can have tragic consequences? Apparently not since the lead characters get away with murder, assaults and property destruction with no punishment just because they happen to be lead characters who are oh-so-young. Well, except one character whose fate happens so abruptly that you’d think you had missed an episode leading up to it. Casting is at its Netflix peak when it comes to mismatches: there are still actors (new ones too) in the 25-35yo age range playing high schoolers and they even look their age. Other things to point out are the psychological horror elements that come out of nowhere this season, offering nothing, and the abysmal dialogue that keeps over-explaining the plot to the viewer.
Smileys: Brandon Flynn
Frowneys: Story, casting, tone, dialogue
Better than the third but that’s a low bar anyway. The writers didn’t have a story beyond the one and a half seasons.