13 Reasons Why Season 4 Was a Hot Mess, But Some Things Worked

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To say that 13 Reasons Why Season 4 was a waste would be the understatement of the century. 

The controversial Netflix series had an intricately plotted and emotionally driven freshman season, but the show's purpose died when we learned what led to Hannah Baker's untimely demise. 

Hollywood has been known to milk shows for all their worth, and that's why we witnessed Netflix beat a dead horse three seasons in a row. 

13 rw finale season

While it's difficult to forgive the terrible storylines, 13 Reasons Why Season 4 actually got some of the characters right during its final season. 

The series had some questionable storylines over the course of its run, but with faux school shootings, Clay completely losing his grip on reality, and other outlandish things, it seemed like all hope for worthwhile developments were dashed. 

alex final season vibes

Alex coming to terms with his sexuality is the type of storyline I would have expected the show to botch. Him falling for Zach, only for Zach to shut him down, and continue to be friends with him was actually a breath of fresh air. 

There has been simmering chemistry between them for a while now, but allowing them to navigate their friendship in a platonic way worked as opposed to them being forced together for fan service. 

Alex always questioned his place in the world, even when he seemed to have it together in the flashbacks during 13 Reasons Why Season 1. 

Despite some major apprehension on his part, he was pursued by not one, but two other men during the final season. Winston, despite his flaws, seemed to have genuine feelings for him. 

winston 13rw

But Winston was only really added to the regular cast to stir the pot and expose what really happened to Bryce so that he could clear Monty's name. 

Charlie, who has spent most of his time on the periphery revealing he had long-held feelings for Alex, took me by surprise, but their connection was undeniable. 

As far as genuine people go on this series, Charlie wins by a landslide. Credit where credit is due, this is not a pairing I would have expected going into the season. 

But it also didn't feel forced. 

justin 13 reasons

The series also got Justin's battle with drugs right. Brandon Flynn deserves awards for his acting throughout those final episodes. 

As far as character arcs go, Justin's was the most rounded in the end. It moved along at the right pace throughout all four seasons, but it was inevitable that it would culminate in tragedy. 

The pressure of holding on to so many secrets, coupled with the death of his mother, certainly made it seem like he would return to taking drugs. 

Going cold turkey could have been a recipe for disaster, and even though it seemed like he was definitely about to die, it did not play out the way I expected it to. 

justin 13 rw

The series goes from zero to 100 quickly, amping up the drama in the process, but Justin dying of AIDS was brutal. 

He battled his demons and somehow came out the other end, only to be taken when he had regained control of his life. Flynn played every single beat of this character to perfection. 

Clay was in the driving seat for the entire series, but somewhere along the way, Justin became the voice of reason and the person who felt like there was more to life than being filled with hate. 

The show highlights that, even in recovery, nothing is guaranteed. Justin recognizing the error of his ways was the first step to recovery. 

13 reasons why justin

He had made that first step on countless occasions, and there was no way of telling whether he would continue to straddle that fine line between a clean life or a life that involved him relying on narcotics. 

To many, killing Justin off in such a manner is cruel, but to others, it helps to show that there is more to addiction than a lot of people know. Just because you're in recovery, it doesn't mean that the complications are gone. 

13 Reasons Why has never veered far away from controversial topics, and although it's painful to admit, Justin's death will help educate more people about the pitfalls about addiction and recovery. 

Another big thing the series got right this time was Ani. 

She was forced down our throats on 13 Reasons Why Season 3 because of the way the writers hastily introduced her. Grace Saif garnered a lot of backlash as a result, and it all came down to shoddy writing. 

The New Kid - 13 Reasons Why

Saif seemed much more comfortable throughout the final season in the role, and that's largely because the writing for her character had improved. 

Even if people did not like her introduction, Ani was a crucial part of the story after Bryce's murder. 

The new and improved Ani felt organically linked to the characters and their struggles, and her actions actually made sense. 

Saif brought great vulnerabilty to Ani, and the college interview was particularly telling. She was a teenager dealt a bad hand, and desperate to find her place in the world. 

She struggled fitting in and found herself with a group of friends that loved her for who she was, and the character was not the one-dimensional person we met a year ago. 

13 Reasons Why - Tony Padilla

Since we're here and the show has been put out of its misery, we'll talk about something that was frustrating: The tone of the show completely changed vs. Season 3. 

Instead of playing out like a teen drama, there were cheap horror tricks thrown in, and it was problematic because it felt like a serial killer was going to pop up at any moment and kill the characters. 

I'm all for shows switching things up, but it was too far and put too much emphasis on all of the characters meeting the ghosts of the deceased. 

Yes, the people the characters were seeing were haunting them in some way, but we didn't need all of the cast to go toe-to-toe with a ghost to get the gist of what was going on. 

Being haunted by your demons is one thing, but the show seemingly went the supernatural route during its final episodes. 

What did you think of the final season? What worked for you? What did you not like?

Hit the comments below. 

13 Reasons Why streams globally on Netflix. 

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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