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New Netflix release replays cautionary tale

Netflix’s newest release “13 Reasons Why” unravels the complicated suicide of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) through seven pre-recorded cassette tapes. This mini series is full of the harsh emotional reality that comes with the chaos of high school life.

Netflix

Netflix’s newest release “13 Reasons Why” unravels the complicated suicide of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) through seven pre-recorded cassette tapes. This mini series is full of the harsh emotional reality that comes with the chaos of high school life.

Brianna Payne, Reviews Editor

Netflix Original series have become all the rage in finding the best and most binge-worthy programs. Popular originals like “Stranger Things” and “Orange is the New Black” have done remarkably well due to the steady audience they have attained. Finding quality shows like these can be a difficult task, but each new Netflix release manages to meet the incredibly high standards of binge-watchers.

She introduces herself and begins to explain the reasons why she killed herself, making it clear that whoever is listening contributed to her death in one way or another.”

— Reviews Editor Brianna Payne

“13 Reasons Why,” Netflix’s newly released series, has already exceeded these seemingly high expectations associated with all Netflix Originals. Based off the New York Times best-selling mystery written by Jay Asher, this perplexing show emphasizes the sensitive topic of teen suicide.

The story begins with the shy and socially awkward Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) who receives a mysterious shoe box containing seven cassette tapes labeled one through 13. Each tape was recorded in the perspective of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), a friend of Clay who had recently committed suicide. She introduces herself and begins to explain the reasons why she killed herself, making it clear that whoever is listening contributed to her death in one way or another.

Consisting of 13 episodes and a total of seven tapes, each side is dedicated to one individual person, making up the 13 reasons why Hannah killed herself. Hannah includes directions to rewind the tapes after each person finishes them and pass them to the next person. Every episode flashes back and forth between the past and present as Clay struggles listening to Hannah’s tragic story.

Almost every person on the tapes started off on good terms with Hannah. She began school as the new girl who was eager to make friends. Clay and Hannah worked together at the local movie theater, beginning their friendship that they both desperately needed. Clay developed an obvious crush on Hannah which made it difficult for him as he has a habit of saying the wrong things.

The tapes were intended by to be passed on from the first person to the last and contained many secrets of the awful things people did to Hannah. Most of Hannah’s peers deny these events ever happening and call her a liar. Those who spread lies about her, abandoned her as a friend, and made her feel worthless are defensive about her claims and try to keep their secrets hidden. The horrible things they did to her were revealed on the tapes and the only person who believes her is Clay. The students involved begin to see everything fall apart as the truth behind the tapes begin to ruin their lives.  

Before Hannah’s death, she arranged that Tony (Christian Navarro) receive the box of tapes and distribute them to the first person. After listening for a while, he realizes she was going to commit suicide, but he made it to the Baker home too late to stop her.

Tony helps Clay as he listens to the tapes, for Clay has been taking Hannah’s loss worse than everyone and takes the longest to finish all seven tapes. Clay frequently gets frustrated and obsesses over why he belongs on the tapes. He often demands Tony to tell him what he did rather than listen to Hannah’s voice that continuously haunts him.

Meanwhile, Hannah’s parents and mother especially take the loss of their daughter extremely hard. Mrs. Baker (Kate Walsh) consistently refuses to accept that her daughter left nothing behind and is on an endless search for some reason why.

Clay begins to realize that it is impossible to love someone back to life. ”

— Reviews Editor

Throughout the series, Mrs. Baker searches relentlessly to find any clues her daughter may have left. This is quite frustrating to the audience to see Mrs. Baker’s dwindling hope and knowing an explanation lies within the tapes. The teenagers involved in the tapes spend their lives denying the claims made by Hannah and assure that the tapes won’t find their way into the hands of the authorities.   

This miniseries carries an extremely powerful message through the tragic events that are deafeningly similar to what many families throughout the world have experienced. Every episode explores the harsh reality of what it is actually like to be in high school and how words can affect people emotionally.    

Hannah Baker’s character does an excellent job at portraying the gradual sinking of her emotions from the first tape to the last. When approaching the end of the series, the mood turns more depressing than the beginning when things didn’t seem as bad. This is a realistic representation of teen emotions and can be relatable to those who might be going through the same hopelessness as Hannah.

This story is remarkably important for young teens who might be dealing with bullies or suicidal thoughts. One of the messages to be taken from this series is to not be blatantly mean to people because you never know what they could be going through.  

The many relationships that Hannah shares deeply affect the emotions of the audience, through some positive and many negative events. It is extremely difficult not to cheer on the relationship between Clay and Hannah, and frankly that seems to be the point.

There is a lesson to be learned by watching the relationship between Clay and Hannah. Clay loved Hannah, but never allowed himself the determination to get the girl in fear of being rejected. Little did he know, the tapes reveal Hannah’s true feelings for Clay and all she wanted was him to try to be with her.

An almost surreal moment happens near the end of the series, while Clay finally listens to his own tape. He begins to freak out after hearing it, wishing he could have changed what he had done and help save Hannah. He declares his love for her and imagines a dream-like Hannah listening to his words. This makes her angry, asking him why he never said those things when she was alive. Clay begins to realize that it is impossible to love someone back to life.  

This scene feels important to the many messages to be learned watching this series. It teaches to seize the day and not to be afraid of rejection. Scenes like these that occur all throughout the series and can be hard to watch due to the overwhelming and abounding emotional moments.

Some moments in this series are definitely not suitable for children, adding to the realistic feeling of high school environment. “13 Reasons Why” should be watched with caution, for many events are deeply pessimistic and tear-jerking. Being unable to look away from the dreadful things that occur and a feeling of uneasiness are the highest level of concern while immersed in this intriguing show.

This mysterious mini series shares an excellent lessons that effortlessly relates to teenagers. While teaching many valuable lessons and attributing incredibly captivating events, this series is an extraordinary must-see. It is a mind-blowing show making “13 Reasons Why” an exceptional watch that is guaranteed to leave anyone in tears.