13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” is an emotional ending with a hopeful farewell, giving the fans closure to a heavily thematic and socially relevant story. The final chapter was way too long but the fans will undoubtedly appreciate it.
This recap of Netflix series 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” contains significant spoilers.
How does 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” open?
So here we are folks, the end of 13 Reasons Why; and they decided to give us a feature-length episode — we definitely didn’t need a 90-minute chapter but we definitely needed to say goodbye to these characters. Episode 10 opens up confirming Justin has been in intensive care for weeks. Therapist Ellman asks how Clay feels. Clay is frustrated and feels selfish for talking about his feelings when Justin is sick. The therapist asks Clay, “Doesn’t your own life hang in the balance?”. The situation gets worse, as Justin has HIV-1 and it has progressed to AIDs. The doctor reveals that Justin did sex work when homeless — he also has fungal meningitis.
Winston approaches Tyler
Winston tells Tyler that he knows Jessica killed Bryce and Monty was a cover-up and that he has enough evidence to go to the police; Tyler tells him he has got it all wrong. Alex meets Winston and tells him that he killed Bryce Walker — “Do what you want with that information”. 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” sees a breakthrough in the investigation by Winston.
More bad news
Clay learns more bad news about Justin; the disease is advanced and that he can only breathe on a machine. The doctor says they will make it as “comfortable as possible” and we all know what those words mean. Clay runs off upset.
Clay goes to the police station and shouts that he has a gun. Diaz tries to calm him down and asks him to put the gun down. Clay reveals that he has no gun and sobs in Diaz’s arms. Clay just wanted people to notice that he was hurting. Jessica thinks about Bryce and wonders how one person causes so much pain — she imagines Bryce talking to her and he tells her, “You’ll probably have it too,” in reference to the HIV.
Clay is surprised that he is chosen as a class speaker for the graduation and Dean Foundry congratulates him. 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” is setting up the ending.
Justin has signed a “do not resuscitate” order. Jessica sees him and Justin looks weak and a ghost of himself. She joins him on the bed and they cry together, expressing their unparalleled love. Clay sits next to him and he’s struggling to talk — they tell each other that they love each other as well. Justin admits he is afraid and holds out his hand for Clay to hold. As Clay and his parents sit next to the bed, Justin eventually dies. 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” says goodbye to Justin in the most painful way.
The priest leads the funeral and reminds the students to use his death to spur them to action. Alex tries to speak at the funeral but he can’t get the words out.
Winston makes a decision.
Afterward, Winston asks Alex for the reasons why he killed Bryce. Alex explains that when he helped Bryce he realized he ruined everyone he loved and got this flash of rage which is sometimes caused by his TBI. Winston asks Alex if he’s sorry that he did it and if Jessica was with him. Alex remains silent on the second question. Winston tells Alex that he isn’t going to do anything — he loved Monty but he loves Alex too. 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” ends the dark cloud hanging over the characters for good.
Jessica and Diego both take HIV tests and they both are negative. Diego apologizes for Justin and he knows how much she loves him. He then apologizes for everything he put her through — “I miss Monty so much”. He leaves the door open for Jessica to date him in the future.
What’s the point?
Clay gets furious that Justin allowed himself to get sick; Ellman raises how Justin probably felt he didn’t deserve to be loved. Clay keeps questioning life and he is struggling to process everything that has happened. Ellman states he was like Clay once and started this career for kids like him. Clay tells Ellman that it starts with Hannah Baker and 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” sees our lead character going full circle with the story, going back to where it all started.
Jessica gives her president’s speech; she admits to being a one-issue president and a one-issue person — which is love. She challenges the students to love better and be more understanding. Clay starts his speech with, “Will you survive high school?” He supports Jessica’s speech of love and understanding. Clay goes on to say high school can hurt, can be painful, but you can survive — “Life or death”. He then admits to the students that he has anxiety and depression — “Whatever happens, keeping moving, get through it — choose to live”.
Falling too fast
The group congregates afterward and reminisce. Clay talks about the ghosts he sees that are not real. Justin tells him you can still forgive people, even those who you love the most. Clay sees Hannah Baker across the hall and he admits to falling in love with girls too fast and too hard — he has never forgiven Hannah properly and he’s ready to now. As he approaches Hannah, a girl approaches him and catches him off guard — she asks if he’d like a coffee; she’s called Heidi. Clay gives her his email and he’s clearly very attracted to her. 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” ends the series with Clay having a potential new love interest.
Burying the tapes
Clay and his friends bury Hannah’s tapes. As a group, they throw dirt over them. Jessica tells Bryce that his days are long gone and that she loves her people due to the world he created. It feels like Jessica got closure on Bryce in this scene — closure that she needed.
How does 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” end?
When Clay returns home, Justin tells him it was a nice speech. Clay reads out Justin’s college application and he described Clay as a positive influence in his life; he says Clay gave him a proper family and he’s “my brother”. Clay struggles to find the words — ” I miss you”. Justin tells him that he will survive. Clay packs up and leaves to start the next chapter in his life. He hits the road with Tony. 13 Reasons Why season 4, episode 10, “Graduation” is an emotional ending with a hopeful farewell, giving the fans closure to a heavily thematic and socially relevant story. The final chapter was way too long but the fans will undoubtedly appreciate it.
- Zach is offered a coaching position but the only condition is that he needs to graduate.
- Diaz tells Standall that the Bryce case is closed for good.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.