Netflix Series 13 Reasons Why Causes Controversy with Series Finale
13 Reasons Not to Watch?
Back in 2017, Netflix released a controversial series about the struggles of Teenage depression and life choices. Titled 13 Reasons Why, it focused on the story of Clay Jensen. He struggles to come to terms with his crush choosing to commit suicide. Over the course of the series he makes increasingly poor decisions and slides further into depression.
We’re not here to make that argument either way, regardless of your opinion on the show, it was divisive. Subsequent seasons 2 and 3 seemed to rectify that apprehension with rock solid performances and engrossing story.
See, season 4 begins with a funeral. Viewers are not clued in to whom, nor does it give many clues in the initial couple episodes. As fans got nearer and nearer to the end, and then finally saw the finale and pieced it together, they got furious.
See, Justin Foley has been struggling with drug usage and depression now for two whole seasons. Fans wanted to see him triumph after all that he’s been through. They doubled down on that when Justin contracted HIV after using an unclean syringe.
Many expected Netflix to provide a positive outlook on a complicated topic with this storyline. Instead, when it came time for them to deliver, it was revealed that the funeral was for Justin. He died from the HIV virus, and the internet has fairly exploded over it.
There is an argument to be made for the decision being a little bit tone deaf. The world is fairly imploding right now from protests for equality and brutality, so tensions were already pretty high. Additionally, earlier in 2020, the second patient to ever be cured from AIDS was discharged from a hospital.
Actively giving thousands of people reason to hope, and a milestone for communities and health technology everywhere. Netflix had an opportunity to capitalize on that and provide a meaningful and upbeat look into the issue.
All of that being said, 13 Reasons was never particularly upbeat. Rather, it has been universally known for being dour, harsh and unflinching in its portrayal of depression. Not to mention how it looked at what actions can do to people around you.
Arguments on both sides of the issue have valid reasons for their stance. Not every show is happy go lucky, not every show has a happy ending and not every person escapes the confines of their depression.
Fans expected something else, and received something they didn’t necessarily want. Life is rarely that fair however, and in a show all about life, it does kind of fit the narrative.
What do you make of 13 Reasons Why’s decision to end the way that it did? Do you think that Netflix made the right call by remaining unflinching in the face of the story they wanted to tell? Or do you believe that they made the wrong decision with Justin’s character? Let us know in the comments below!