Wednesday, April 12, 2017

TV Show Review: 13 Reasons Why

The traumatic high school experience of a teenage girl unfolds through a series of tapes left behind after her suicide. Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) leaves behind the 13 reasons why she decided to kill herself for the people who she blames for her isolation and sadness. Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) discovers the tapes on his doorstep and has to search for a way to listen to them. Finding a tape player, he delves into the last year of Hannah's life and all the terrible drama that led to her finally taking her own life. Tony (Christian Navarro) works to enforce the listeners to make it through the tapes and pass it along.

It starts when Hannah forms a relationship with Justin (Brandon Flynn) who takes a picture up Hannah's skirt that is then spread around the high school by the senior bully quarterback Bryce (Justin Prentice). Hannah has friendships with Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) and Alex (Miles Heizer) deteriorate as they two friends form a bond leaving Hannah alone. Clay follows the trail of Hannah's tapes to a coffee shop and liquor store as she details her harassment and betrayal. He remembers the missed opportunities he had with Hannah working alongside her at the movie theater and even asking her to dance at the school dance.

Other jocks pile onto Hannah's misery like Zach (Ross Butler) and Marcus (Steven Silver) who both ask Hannah out and then treat her rudely. Hannah also discovers that she has a stalker creepily taking photographs outside her window. Tyler (Devin Druid) the school photographer snaps photos of Hannah without permission and when she has a private moment with Courtney (Michele Selene Ang), it becomes publicly and spreads around the school again. The issues grow as Hannah details events that Clay saw totally differently.

A party takes up a large portion of the tapes as Hannah recount cruel behavior on the part of Bryce when he assaults Jessica while Hannah hides in the closet. Hannah and Clay started making out but the recent bad interactions with other boys had left her jaded and standoffish. Clay becomes standoffish to her in return not knowing what is happening. Hannah also recollects the accident with a stop sign in a car driven by Sheri (Ajiona Alexus) that ends up in the death of Clay's good friend and athlete he tutors Jeff (Brandon Larracuente).

As Clay learns more, he begins to have a mental breakdown, unable to keep all the secrets that are piling up. A court case begins as Hannah's parents (Kate Walsh and Brian d'Arcy James) sue the school. The school counselor Mr. Porter (Derek Luke) had a chance to help but neglected his duty and undermined Hannah's pleas for help. Clay finally reaches the end and gains a confession from the real villain. The show had plenty of mysteries to keep it rolling for thirteen episodes though at times the soap opera teenage drama did seem over the top. The ending left some loose ends and I've not read the book to know where that wraps up so we'll have to see if Netflix renews the show for a second season. 

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