Sometimes a TV show should not continue beyond it’s first season. For indisputable proof, look no further than 13 Reasons Why, a drama about a teen, Hannah Baker, who died by suicide, that should have ended immediately after completing her story in season one.
The first season’s success led to a second and, as of last Friday, a third that devotes its 13 episodes to resolving a mystery only tangentially related to the show’s initial concern: why Hannah Baker killed herself. The question that dominates season three is: Who is responsible for the death of a character absolutely no one felt compassion for?
In season three, Bryce Walker is dead. Bryce Walker: the serial rapist who raped Hannah and never faced serious consequences for the crimes he committed. Bryce Walker: Perhaps the least liked character on 13 Reasons Why. Bryce Walker: a classic rich, white, male villain who, in the first two seasons, seemed like every other teen-show baddie, except worse.
In a lot of ways, 13 Reasons Why season three is a redemption tour for Bryce, played by Justin Prentice, whom we learn via flashbacks was trying, prior to his death, to learn from his bad behavior and become a better person, albeit with mixed results. but some characters are beyond salvation in the eyes of the audience, and ultimately the season was all the more unsatisfying for it.