13 Reasons Why It’s Complicated: A Review

Hello everybody, how are you?

So. This is a Netflix show that literally EVERYONE has been talking about here in the US. Media, people I know, everyone has seen this show or has an opinion about it. Which is a good thing, as the subject itself is very important to talk about, yet there are a few aspects of the show that I find rather complicated. So I thought I’d be original (haha) and share my humble opinion with you.

If you’re currently watching it, I’ll try and not spoil it for you (at least in the plot and twists, as we all know that the outcome of the story is pretty clear from the beginning on, unfortunately). If you’re interested in watching it, this might give you an input or two to think about the show while you’re watching it.

Here goes the trailer:

The Story

The series is based on the bestseller novel with the same title published by Jay Asher in 2007. It all begins a few weeks after the death of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a junior at a high school. Clay (Dylan Minnette), a classmate (who also had a crush on her), receives a box of cassettes.

They contain Hannah’s descriptions of 13 events that led to her decision to kill herself, each addressed to the schoolmate or adult who caused her distress and pain. Clay, as one of the two leading roles, becomes sort of a detective, who tries to find out what happened to Hannah and confronts other people in the process.

A few reasons why it’s complicated

In the novel, Clay listens to all of the tapes in one night, while he only listens to them one by one (very slowly) in the show (and the show stretches over 13 episodes of 13 hours!). If I were Clay I would totally listen to them ALL AT ONCE. I couldn’t wait for as long as he did. I think every other person would agree with me, right? So this part is rather unrealistic, which sometimes gets borderline annoying.

You want to go and say “Clay, hey, move on a little faster, will ya?”.

But ok. That’s the smallest of all complaints I have.

In terms of dramaturgy the series starts off with you being curious about what happens next. Over the course of the 13 episodes there is definitely a slump in about the middle, where the narrative just gets overly repetitive. However, the final I’d say four episodes increase massively in darkness and gravity. It’s when things get really sad (certain scenes I can’t forget) and you as a viewer feel that the end must be near.

The blame game

We’re meant to see that the things that happen to Hannah (SPOILER ALERT ranging from High School banalities like getting a poem of yours published, over to all different kinds of bullying to very very serious and sad events) lead to her loosing self-confidence and feeling lonely to the point she doesn’t see no way out. While I can follow the narrative, I find that her performance isn’t all that convincing as she seems really strong, at times even very mean and inconsiderate to others too.

One of the most commonly heard criticisms that I actually agree with, is that Hannah turns her suicide into a blame game. She designates all that’s happened to her and the people who caused it – granted all not nice things – as the reason why she kills herself and lets them know too. She even leaves people like Clay behind who were nice and kind to her that now think they were guilty of her death. What I’m trying to say is that of course everyone around you influences you and you should always be considerate of other people’s feelings (as you also never no what they have going on in their lives) and always try to be a good person, still in the end the decision to take your life is yours only and no one else’s.

Suicide as the only answer

The second major thing that I find complicated with the show is that the main character Hannah only at the very end of her life SPOILER ALERT (actually on her last day) seeks help from a school counselor. She makes no other attempts to try and reach out to someone, not her parents or any other professional. I guess it’s difficult to understand such a situation from an outsider’s perspective, still the show has been critiqued for not showing how you can get help in a difficult situation like this when you’re having suicidal thoughts. And I agree. Also, the counselor really is shown as being weak and not of any help at all.

Be nice to each other

Clay says one thing at the very end, which stuck with me. He says something like “It has to get better, the way we treat each other and look out for each other”, which is maybe the thing I agree with the most.

Have you watched the show, did you like it? Apparently there will be a season 2 coming our way (those cliffhangers tho). Have a good day everyone!

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