This is my first blog entry here, so if you've found yourself reading this then hey! I hope you enjoy the chaos of thought this will no doubt evolve into over time
Oh yeah, there will be spoilers for the show if you're reading this btw, if you haven't already finished it.
So last week I started seeing a lot of controversy on my facebook about 13 Reasons Why. I was seeing people praise it for its brutality, but I was seeing far more people complaining that it was too much/too triggering/disrespectful to mental illness and rape victims. So I had to watch it for a number of reasons. For a start I couldn't imagine it possibly being as brutal as people were making out. Secondly, it was touching on issues like bullying, suicide and rape. I know a lot about bullying, but not much about the other two, so I figured it was kind of important to watch.
The first few episodes didn't really grab me much to be honest. I'm only saying this because I can't fully articulate my thoughts, but they felt kind of High School Musical to me. I obviously knew it was going to go to dark places, and the episodes did have dark undertones, but what I saw from those episodes seemed like a huge cliche, the whole idea of jocks and nerds etc. I don't like the setting of an American High School for some reason, and I thought some of the characters seemed like generic archetypes that would never exist. But I guess that was the genius of the show, you never know what goes on in someone else's life.
As it went on it got harder to watch. I saw the life slowly drain from Hannah over the course of the flashbacks, and I saw Clay unravel in the present through his guilt and anxiety, all while everyone else on the tapes seemed more concerned with their own reputations than the fact they collectively drove a girl to suicide. The basketball scene where Clay hallucinates Hannah's corpse in the middle of the hall stands out to me. I ended up growing to really like Hannah as a character, even though the idea of the tapes was cold and fucked up.
The last few episodes really broke me though. Watching the scene of Bryce raping Jessica was uncomfortable, and I was finally understanding that the show was as brutal as everyone had said, and was only going to get worse. Jeff's death was sad too, he was a sweet guy and didn't deserve his fate, and I felt for Clay in the flashbacks having lost who seemed to be his closest friend. Everybody deserves a Jeff. Then Clay's tape really upset me. The fact that Hannah included him in the tapes, but revealed that she didn't blame him for anything, instead telling him that he was just such a good guy that she didn't deserve because she would've fucked him up. Including him in the tapes to me means that she wanted to explain to Clay why she killed herself, maybe in the hopes of her not wanting him to blame himself. She didn't even do that for her family, and it was really poignant I guess. And Clay's reaction was heart wrenching. Following that, Tony's support for him was touching. We all deserve a Tony too. And the rape in the next episode was painful to watch. The life drains from Hannah's face as it happens. Katherine Langford did a great job as Hannah.
The finale broke me. There had been two rapes and a number of heart ripping emotional scenes, how could it get worse? It showed Hannah actually killing herself. It pulls no punches, we see her slit her wrists and bleed to death in the bath. And if that wasn't bad enough, we see her parents find her body. Nothing happens off screen. I won't lie, that was the moment I finally cried like I'd wanted to since episode 11. And then I cried some more an hour later when I'd gone to bed. Some people can maybe write the suicide scene off as fiction, but it's not. It's reality for so many people every day. When life overwhelms them, they die alone in a bathtub and in agony after cutting their wrists only to be found by a family member or friend who had no idea anything was wrong. It was so raw it really got to me thinking about the people who die like that. And I don't even know anyone who has, I can't imagine what it must be like for people who have known someone who killed themselves. It was sad letting the character of Hannah go too, like I said earlier I'd grown to like her as a character a lot. I should also say I've never been so emotionally invested in a TV show before because I finished it last night but I still feel really fucking sad and gloomy. So please recommend a more cheerful show on netflix to get my mind off this if you can.
I think I'm glad I watched it though, it fucked me up but I can't praise 13 Reasons Why enough.