Dylan Minnette as Clay Jensen inside Liberty High’s gym.
In recent years, Netflix has become a player in the producing of great dramas, with series like Daredevil, Stranger Things, and House of Cards immediately coming to mind. Their latest breakout hit is 13 Reasons Why, a mystery-drama based on Jay Asher’s book of the same name. Covering topics such as rape, bullying, depression, and suicide, the show is not only extremely well done, but also socially important in raising awareness on the mental health of high schoolers.
Clay closes his bedroom door with his chucks.
The show follows Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he grieves the recent suicide of his crush Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). One day after school, he returns home to a mysterious package on his doorstep that contains 13 numbered cassettes. He digs up his dad’s old boom box, and plays the first one. Clay is shocked to learn that Hannah is the one who recorded these tapes, and that they contain her 13 reasons why she killed herself. He is at first horrified, but soon his curiosity gets the better of him and he continues to listen. He finds out that the reason he has received these tapes is because he is one of the 13 reasons, and that each of the reasons before him has passed the tapes on to the next.
Clay deals with the emotional trauma of listening to his tape.
Clay slowly discovers who the other reasons are, and the various wrongs they did to Hannah. These people include jocks Justin (Brandon Flynn) and Zach (Ross Butler), former best friends Jessica (Alisha Boe) and Alex (Miles Heizer), popular kids Marcus (Steven Silver) and Courtney (Michele Selene Ang), and a few other surprises. Their crimes range from the absolutely horrible to minor, but they all had a deep effect on Hannah, causing her to see no other option than to end her life. Clay finds out that all these people are trying to keep these tapes, and their contents, a secret so they don’t face the consequences of their actions. However, Clay won’t let Hannah’s memory be disgraced like that, and he vows to make sure they all face justice in some way. He has to not only face off against this high school cabal, but also against a school board that is fighting a lawsuit against Hannah’s family and who would like to keep this scandal quiet. His quest to honor her, and her journey to her grisly end are the driving facets of this show, and both are equally compelling and suspenseful.
Clay faces the consequences of his actions.
Throughout the entirety of the show’s first season, Clay is seen wearing a pair of low top, black Chuck Taylors. His chucks greatly help define his character as the underdog we the audience are supposed to root for. He not only has to go against a cover up consisting of some of Liberty High School’s most popular and important people alone, but also deal with the grief that comes with losing the girl you love, while bringing justice to those that made her feel like suicide was the only option. While Hannah’s fate is not a mystery, the path taken to arrive there is both captivating and tragic, and the production keeps the viewer guessing on how such a fun, smart, and beautiful girl could arrive at such a horrific end. 13 Reasons Why is a great TV series on its own, but its lessons and message are needed in the divided times that today’s children are growing up in.
Clay scaling a wall in his low top, black chucks.
Close up of Clay’s chucks as he storms out of Liberty High, shortly after delivering the last tape.
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