13 Reasons Why season 4 serves its fans respectfully despite a fractured plot. The final chapters bring a loving and welcome ending. The worst thing Netflix could do now is bringing it back to life in a few years’ time when they reminisce over the views.
This review of Netflix’s 13 Reason Why season 4 contains no spoilers.
There was plenty of support for 13 Reasons Why to be a single-season series — the story had proved its point, bringing plenty of tears, merging tragedy and pure teenage love, making the ending of season 1 difficult to stomach. Bringing controversy due to the infamous suicide scene without a warning message, it was strongly evident that season 1 was never going to be matched from an emotional perspective.
13 Reasons Why season 4 puts on a resounding effort to bring a specific story — with the deceased Monty framed for a murder that he did not commit, the series does its utmost to continue expanding this reckless war between the football players and our familiar group of friends. Winston, Monty’s lover, is slid in to provide one last throw of the dice to put our characters in danger but it is obvious from plenty of fan-dedicated tweets, that Monty is merely a teenage heartthrob more than an understood foe.
Like many series before it that had to bring an ending, 13 Reasons Why season 4 is created for the fans while trying to provide a new story arc; its a difficult balance to achieve, bringing sympathy to the writers that had to toil with several characters that fans loved and give them a deserved ending. The entire story is still based on the idea that “Bryce destroyed lives” but in season 3 it felt like this concept was being expanded and stretched too thin — there are only so many times that the pot can be stirred before the mixture becomes too thick, and that’s exactly what’s happened with the plot.
The first half of 13 Reasons Why season 4 brings many possibilities and dramas; it brings a sense of a paranoia-thriller, immersing Clay into a world of deep anxiety and a range of mental health issues. The audience is never sure if Clay’s claims are real, as he suggests he and his friends are subject to a Big Brother state, with the truth of Bryce’s murder itching to come out. In many ways, the writers set out what they wanted to achieve but it still feels over-egged and unnecessary.
And the second half of the fourth and final season betrays everything it built. This is where the story suffers but at the same time, meets the requirements of the fans. The series needed to end which meant season 4 expedited character choices and consequences so there could be a reasonable goodbye. Season 4 places one big arm around its supporters with a feature-length ending to spur on the tears.
Like its predecessors, 13 Reasons Why season 4 is heavily themed; it brings a respectful arc on sexual assault survivors, highlights the importance of progressive feminism, and provides ironic, well-timed awareness for the Black Lives Matter movement with an uncanny episode that feels oddly on-beat to what’s happening in the world at the time; the writers must have felt grateful that they coincidentally tackled this now. The final season gracefully gives plenty to the LGTBQ+ community — the story does not skim past the relationships like the cowardice Disney exhibits, but it makes the moments the main event.
But this is the end of the Netflix series that somehow survived four seasons and gripped the teenage community. It raises the question as to whether or not 13 Reasons Why highlights a fundamental flaw to the Netflix model that is evidently based on the volume of views rather than the necessity of more seasons. As we tirelessly recapped every episode, there was a sense of relief that it was all finally over; we don’t need to discuss Bryce ever again and the long-enduring war it caused.
As 13 Reasons Why season 4 sinks in, it’s abundantly obvious that the longevity lays with the cast and the characters. It can be applauded for the cast’s dedication to bring authenticity and honesty to their roles. Ever since the controversy, the production team has tried earnestly to raise awareness and bring forth worthy messages.
It has been a love-hate relationship with this Netflix series and with that, it’s goodbye for good. 13 Reasons Why season 4 serves its fans respectfully despite a fractured plot. The final chapters bring a loving and welcome ending. The worst thing Netflix could do now is bringing it back to life in a few years’ time when they reminisce over the views.
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Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.