13 Reasons Why S4 Review: Barring some heartbreaking sequences, we're glad Dylan Minnette's series is OVER

13 Reasons Why Season 4 Review: Although you are obliged to binge-watch the series, it fails to educate like it promises to. With some excellent performances by Dylan Minnette and Brandon Flynn, it's the writing that truly disappoints.
13 Reasons Why Season 4's main lesson was that high school sucks.13 Reasons Why Season 4's main lesson was that high school sucks.

13 Reasons Why

13 Reasons Why Cast: Dylan Minnette, Brandon Flynn, Alisha Boe

13 Reasons Why Creator: Brian Yorkey

When I first started watching 13 Reasons Why, at a time when it's sheer existence created a debate as to whether it was meant to educate or entertain, I was amongst those that felt it deserved to exist. With mental health still not getting the spotlight it so deserves, the Brian Yorkey series started a conversation. Through the tragic tale of Hannah Baker, we saw how one negatively induced action can prove detrimental without you even noticing. Then, came season 2 and with it, we, along with Clay Jensen were given the opportunity to let go and move on.

Then came season 3 and logic went straight to hell. What was supposed to be a conversation on social issues, became fodder for over-the-top entertainment. Moreover, season 4 was even more puzzling thanks to its Riverdale-like treatment. From the get-go, we go head-on into the surviving students and how they're coping after Monty de la Cruz's death. Even though he didn't have anything to do with the murder, it's Clay, who is the most affected because of his guilt that is slowly and strategically eating him alive, thanks to blaming Monty for Bryce Walker's death.

There's also Jessica, who is coping with the concept of being the President while battling her inner demons, with Bryce's constant spirit tormenting her. Let's not forget Justin, who seems to be coping well post rehab and working towards a more successful life that he just may be lucky enough to get until something big triggers his sobriety. Each student is running from their past, which sooner or later catches up to them hard.

Before we get into the haywire storyline, the cast has to be given a special mention for making the characters, relatable. While Katherine Langford may have owned season 1, Dylan Minnette is what keeps us hooked to the show with his heartbreaking performance. Given the mess that Clay is in, writhing in his own self, is brought forward by Dylan beautifully. However, the B-grade horror movie effects added as a recreation of his mental health was borderline caricaturish and dampened the impact one would usually have with such a complex character.

Alisha Boe as Jessica isn't given the spotlight that she deserves and is instead shoved to the corner, stuck in a love triangle that she's much above of. Just when you think it may get better for her, it really doesn't and that's a shame because of how well-rounded Jessica's rise from the ashes arc came out to be. The most targeted, however, was Justin Foley's storyline as Brandon Flynn is truly the breakout star of the series. His character arc seemed just on the right trajectory but to spice up the series finale, he was back to square one and the lost cause storyline will definitely anger the viewers.

The reason why I bring up Riverdale again is that just like the other Netflix series, even 13 Reasons Why has this ability to suck you in and oblige you to binge-watch the entire series. Certainly, there were certain key elements that even I liked including the conversations between Clay and his psychiatrist, Dr. Robert Ellman. We get a closer insight into his headspace and the reason behind every action of his. Yes, there are still some quirky life quotes courtesy of the return of Clay Jensen as the narrator. Ross Butler as Zach Dempsey was simply there to have the time of his life as the reckless student who has the f**k it all attitude and was plain entertaining to watch, albeit the reason for the same is not so funny. Even Tony's story was handled with a sense of grace and subtlety, especially with the complex background that his character entailed from the inception of his character and Christian Navarro is to be thanked for that. Alex's character may have been caught up as a chess piece to solve the mystery but with time, Miles Heizer brings a sense of togetherness and completion to the story arc. There's also the throwback aspects of the first two seasons that the makers cleverly used to instill a sense of nostalgia that unfortunately is a tool that always works in the minds of a viewer.

ALSO READ: 13 Reasons Why star Brandon Flynn teases series finale: There'll be satisfaction, hurt, despair & abandonment

Barring these few positive elements; we come to my main point; what exactly were the makers trying to make out of 13 Reasons Why Season 4? Was the main lesson supposed to be - high school sucks? An argument put forward by the makers since the very beginning was that the show needed to exist to educate. However, season 4 does the opposite of that. From school lockdowns to murder coverups, it's hard to tell what the series was actually trying to communicate to us.

Finally, as a wise yet exhausted Justin Foley once said, "At some point, isn't it enough is enough?"

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Anonymous 2 months ago

it was at a point where you didn't care about the characters anymore where they got arrested or not. I think Ani Jessica we're too much. I think the producers just threw Ani in there. Here Ani had sex with Bryce. But she didn't have sex with Clay for months and never did. Jessica what can I say. Jessica acted like a complete slut in the end. If I were Justin I would have been done with her. I understand the show is trying to touch on teen suicide and drama and I respect that. This show was Far From Reality. My daughter graduated three years ago and went through some serious drama even some of her friends committed suicide. I love the first season but last season I'm glad it's over. I'm glad we don't have to look at Clays miserable face anymore

Anonymous 2 months ago

I absolutely loved season 1 and 2 was exited to watch season 3 but that girl with the accent killed it for me. I didn't like her at all didn't even get half way through season 3. So won't be watching season 4 unfortunately. Poor choice in casting.

Anonymous 2 months ago

That wasn't why i didn't like her... they just wrote a manipulative, narcissistic, character who was completely unlikable or relatable. My question is, why did they write such an atrocious character... and then choose a person of color to play the role, a black woman no less? It played out the old trope of women being deceitful... especially women of color who, we all know, are exceptionally devious. That felt deliberate and disgusting.

Anonymous 2 months ago

Is it because she's a person of color?

Anonymous 2 months ago

Season 4 sucked. It wasn't enough emotional I didn't cry as much and I get angry as much kind of just struggle until the last couple episodes they were decent kind of a disappointment.

Anonymous 2 months ago

You are going to tell me that I am supposed to believe any reputable rehab would take an inpatient IV drug user through detox and keep them for 30 days with a history of s*x work and NOT run tests on them for everything under the sun with the risks involved? Season 4 jumped the shark with that, sorry.

Anonymous 2 months ago

I agree that the season was a WILD TRIP - that said, one that I binged in a day. Even though the plot was an absolute rollercoaster of loose ends, drama, and attempts at moralizing lessons, it did what series are ultimately meant to do- Entertain. The cast and characters elevate the (sometimes messy) writing, and in the end I have no regrets- actually great way to spend a Sunday!

Anonymous 2 months ago

I really loved and appreciated this show. As a mother of a 13 year old that is struggling with bullying and self harm, it's helped educate us in many ways. It was heartbreaking and dark, but it touched on real shit that kids go through daily. I wish the writers would have went a different route with Justin's story arc, especially something other than letting his character die from AIDS, I feel like they set us back about 30 years by giving him that death.

Anonymous 2 months ago

Exactly my point The series must've been finalised after season 2 with much better ending with Bryce walker. After season 2 everything went to shit. Season 3 was pointless and ANI made it more annoying but I'm hugely disappointed with season 4 because I really don't know what was it all about. They didn't even think explain the purpose or sequence of events that lead clay to act in a manner in which he did. Everyone is almost out of character in this series. 13 reasons why was supposed to be a story of Hannah Baker and should've ended with Bryce going to prison

Anonymous 2 months ago

Well, I will have to disagree. The thing about this show is that it reflects on the most real challenges youngsters face these days. We have no idea what someone is going through behind the scenes. And I think season 4 did a great job at that. The dramatic scenes of anxiety and depression were shown as such because that is how it really feels like to be in that mental state. The fact that nobody wants to address that issue, in the series as well as reality, is the Actual Truth. We all speak about making life better for us all, but do we really try to make that change? No, we don't. We want somebody to listen but can we be listeners? No. That is the whole point of the show. And the characters going through different things are all the possible outcomes of anxiety, worthlessness and feeling guilty. They portrayed that very well. :)

Anonymous 2 months ago

The show did tackle things well.. Its the best thing i have ever seen Better than Riverdale ,I guess.

Anonymous 2 months ago

I'm so glad I got to watch a series like this which deals with mental health issues so beautifully... Let anyone say anything about the show.... I believe it's the best series I have ever seen... And the 4th season is so mysterious and so interesting that you cannot stop but watch it all... I know at some point we are like what the hell.. Does this happen in real life but you know what if they showed the only reality then the show might have been super boring

Anonymous 2 months ago

Season 4 was definitely a bit messy but it kept me on the edge of my seat and got me to keep wanting to watch the next episode— based off this article I’d say many viewers felt the same... so I would say that that means the writing did exactly what it was supposed to.

Anonymous 2 months ago

Disappointed is how I feel about season 4. The article told no lies! The season was unreal, all over the place and a waste of my time. The writer's ran out of story telling skills and began to pile so many issues in the final season it was impossible to focus and repair one. Upside down and round and round is how is what this final season was.

Anonymous 2 months ago

As someone who has watched all 4 season's; and in fact binge watched the final season in all of one day, I am extremely upset in the way that the producers/directors chose to end the series!! I honestly don't understand how they could kill off justin, who in my opinion was the one most saving!! Yes, he was a troubled young man who had faced alot of disappointment and turmoil in his life; but in my in my opinion he was honestly the ownly one really making an effort to move on and grow from his experiences and instead of showing him grow into his own the producers decided to make his past experiences and life choices define who he was and end his life!! I honestly feel that there was a much better path for the show to have taken than to kill off justin!! Honestly I am very disappointed in the way the show ended!!

Anonymous 2 months ago

Justin's death was really really heartbreaking for all who have loved the show,even for the least.Bt u know ,this is what life is,far from idealistic & we all lose our loved ones who we least expected to disease & illness.It was so painful & tragic but relatable & realistic.Go watch Brandon's smiling photos in real life you'd feel better,done that :)

Anonymous 2 months ago

Thanks for the spoilers di***ead

Anonymous 2 months ago

Are you sick!?

Anonymous 2 months ago

I don't Understand what this article is about. This is complete bullshit. 13 Reasons Why was beautifully crafted and it delivered the message that was intended. Past always haunts the present and that was correctly shown in Season 3 and 4. The writer must be a complete idiot

Anonymous 2 months ago

I m sad it ended.

Anonymous 2 months ago

Agreed

Anonymous 2 months ago

I agree with the article, and like Riverdale, 13 reasons has definitely gone downhill in quality, from the writing of the plot to the story arcs of each character. I also believe that the second season was a bit unnecessary, and had no direction. It felt like the third season should have been the second, as it had more direction. There were multiple characters in the second season that are never brought up again, and seemed overall pointless, like Sophie. In truth, the writers should have ended this show after the first season, or the third. This fourth season's purpose is really to just tie together the loose ends, but in a sloppy manner.

Anonymous 2 months ago

I thing the 4th season should tell us to move on. And how much mess not comunicating this bad stuff can change your life. It was quite interesting to see Clay fight against him self. I suppose that the 4th season ended this high school drama in an awsome way.

Anonymous 2 months ago

Season three did not go to hell. It was the most tame of all the seasons and it was actually good. This season was good, too. This article is so idiotic

Anonymous 2 months ago

13 reasons why has been controversial since its first season's debut. Notwithstanding its popularity, numerous contradictory opinions have been raised regarding the finale. From a reviewer's point of view, the show definitely has issues, all of which must be thoroughly explained. Not every opinion opposing to our own is idiotic

Anonymous 2 months ago

The article states an opinion, and probably the most common one. It offers a thorough insight into the reasons why, objectively speaking, the finale of the series is a mess. With 13 Reasons why being so controversial since its very first season's debut, numerous contradictory opinions have been raised. Not every opinion opposing to our own is idiotic.

Anonymous 2 months ago

And how many years do you have? 12?

Anonymous 2 months ago

Agreed

Anonymous 2 months ago

I disagree completely. I can't even make it to 15 minutes through the first episode of season 4 Should of been over at season 2. I feel sorry for the actor's.

Anonymous 2 months ago

I disagree completely. I can't even make it to 15 minutes through the first episode of season 4 Should of been over at season 2. I feel sorry for the actor's.

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