So, as I said in my last entry, we finished watching Thirteen Reason Why. Do not read any more because here there be spoilers. I am trying to learn WordPress, since the blog has been moved here from Livejournal; and I don’t know how to hide text behind a cut here the way I could there. So I am going to try to make this paragraph as long as possible so when it cross-posts over to Facebook no spoilers will appear so anyone who hasn’t watched, or finished watching, won’t see something they shouldn’t. I will say I greatly enjoyed the show, just as I am enjoying reading the book, which I hope to finish reading today.
The show was excellent, I thought, and a lot of that had to do with the superb young cast. Every one of the young actors was superb in their roles, pitch perfect and perfectly cast. As I mentioned in a previous entry, the editing was seamless as the show switched across time-lines; past to present and back again. There were some glaring, to me, plot-holes, and I was incredibly disappointed with the ending–having not finished the book, which had no sequels, I am assuming it was deliberately left the way it was to make a second season possible, and in some ways, it was incredibly clever: you can see how those threads for season two were planted; should there be a season two, it was clear that it will focus on the legal ramifications of Hannah’s tapes and her revelations. I also thought it handled some pretty big issues for teenagers sensitively and with honesty. I can also see why some people think it conveys the wrong message to suicidal teens, but I disagree with that thesis: which maintains that suicidal teens will see how Hannah’s suicide was effect in making everyone who were mean to her feel bad and guilty, and/or how effective suicide as revenge is. People can take that reading from it, I suppose, but I that wasn’t my takeaway. For me, it was more about we don’t realize or understand how the things we do or say can effect other people, nor do we ever really know what someone else is going through. I don’t think Hannah’s suicide was intended, ultimately, to make people feel guilty or bad, although I can see how her actions can be interpreted that way. When she killed herself, to me, she was at the end of her rope, dead inside, nothing to live for anymore; she couldn’t imagine going on anymore knowing there was nothing she could do about what happened to her. I can understand that; (full disclosure: I’ve been suicidal myself, but that’s a topic for another time) she simply didn’t think she had the strength, or the base of support, she needed to go on living after what happened to her, and knowing that there would be no justice; this was her way of trying to make sure that the truth came out, not only about what happened to her but what happened to Jessica, and to Jeff. I cannot imagine how horrific it would be to spend those weeks having both witnessed a rape and knowing the truth about how a classmate died in the same night.
And that wasn’t the end of the horrors for Hannah: impossibly, things got worse.
The character of the rapist was perhaps the most chilling depiction of sociopathy I’ve ever seen in a teen movie/show. And as the show ended with the truth starting to come out….yes, I can see how season two will go.
The irony that all of the kids, knowing all of the reasons why Hannah killed herself, continued to be blind to the psychological damage done to one of the thirteen–damage they continued to do in their self-absorption–and how that may end up, was also incredibly chilling.
I also liked the diversity in the casting, and that there were gay characters who weren’t victims for being gay; no one cared about their sexuality–well, except for the self-loathing lesbian/bisexual girl; which I wish would have been explored a little more.
I will definitely watch a second season, if there is one. But I hope this teen noir soap doesn’t also go down the twisted, complicated, and confusing path that Pretty Little Liars took; Paul and I finally stopped watching because the liars were so stupid we’d started rooting for A.
And now, to my easy chair with the book.