It’s been almost a year since 13 Reasons Why premiered on Netflix and basically took the world by storm. Literally everyone and their mom was talking about the insane chain of events in the show. If you haven’t finished 13RW by now, either get on it or find out what happens in the end.
How does 13 Reasons Why end?
This is a loaded question. Um, poorly? Tragically? There are a lot of adjectives we could use, but let’s just set up the scene. In the season finale, called “Tape 7, Side A” follows the high school students as main character Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) listens to the last tape.
In it, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) explains that she went to the counselor, Mr. Porter (Derek Luke), to tell him about the rape. She records the conversation, which ends with her upset and Mr. Porter being completely unhelpful. But it’s too late. Hannah goes home and commits suicide. He was her last chance at survival and he didn’t do anything. That’s why this is Mr. Porter’s tape.
And that’s how the tapes end. Hannah’s story is over, unfortunately. We knew this moment would come, but it’s still incredibly horrifying to watch Hannah die. But just because the tapes are over, doesn’t mean that the rest of the characters are done, too.
After listening to the tape, Clay is understandably angry. He gives Tony (Christian Navarro) the recording he took of Bryce (Justin Prentice) admitting he raped Hannah, so that he can copy it. Then, he confronts Mr. Porter about his meeting with Hannah. Doing as he was told, Clay gives Mr. Porter all seven tapes, but includes the one with Bryce’s confession. But, he breaks a rule. He tells Mr. Porter that he’s on the last one.
Meanwhile, the rest of the teens are doing the depositions in court. They all follow through on their promise to tell at least some of truth. Before his turn, Tyler (Devin Druid) suspiciously hides guns and ammunition in his room. During his deposition, he reveals the existence of the tapes. Finally, they reveal that Alex (Miles Heizer) is the teenager rushed to the hospital due to gunshot wounds in the previous episode. He’s in critical condition.
Justin (Brandon Flynn) can’t handle the guilt and decides to leave town, but not before telling Bryce about the tapes. In a sad moment, Jessica (Alisha Boe) breaks down and tells her dad about the rape. Perhaps the only good thing to come out of the ordeal is that Clay and Skye (Sosie Bacon) become friends again. Or, at least, don’t hate each other.
How did the book 13 Reasons Why End?
Like most of our favorite shows, Selena Gomez‘s hit was originally a novel. And like some of our least favorite adaptations, the show differs from the book in pretty significant ways. For example, the book focuses much more on Hannah’s story than the reactions of the students on the tapes. Book Clay never goes to Bryce’s house to get a confession. There is no court case happening. The order of the tapes are significantly switched. As a result, the ending is a lot different.
In the second to last chapter, Clay Jensen is at the playground listening to the last tape. The events of the tape are exactly the same: Hannah decides to tell Mr. Porter about Bryce’s assault on her, he encourages her to get over it, and she goes home and ends her life. Because he never got Bryce’s confession, Clay simply repackages the tapes and mails them to the next person on the listen: Jenny Kurtz (AKA Sherri Holland, in the show). After her, the next people to get the tapes are Bryce, then Mr. Porter. That day at school, he sees Skye speaking to Mr. Porter and decides to approach her. It’s assumed that she is going through something and, after everything he just learned, Clay decides to reach out to her. The book ends with him saying “Skye?”
What happened in the 13 Reasons Why alternate ending?
Before you get too excited, there’s no alternate ending to the show. The novel’s author, Jay Asher, originally wrote an ending that will rock your world. Hannah stays alive. Jay told Penguin Teen, the book’s publisher, that writing Hannah as alive felt natural and optimistic. He thinks all the characters deserve a second chance, but that’s just not life.
“Whatever the reasoning,” he said, “it felt false for this particular story and for the seriousness of the issue. If someone goes through with a suicide, there are no second chances for anyone involved.”
Both the show and the book reflect this line of thought. They deal with incredibly sad, yet common occurrences that the creators feel they can’t shy away from. In 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons, the show’s creator Brian Yorkey agrees with Asher. One of the reasons that they show Hannah’s suicide is because he thinks it’s important to face the issues.
For years, the original ending was kept under wraps, but for the tenth anniversary of the novel, Asher released that chapter with the special anniversary edition of the book. The book is still on sale on Amazon and in stores.
What’s 13 Reasons Why Season 2 about?
Netflix says Season 2 “picks up in the aftermath of Hannah Baker’s death and the start of the characters’ complicated journeys toward healing and recovery.” And complicated sounds right. We’ve been compiling all the need-to-know info about 13 Reasons Why Season 2 so that you’re completely prepared for the ensuing drama. There are new characters, flashbacks, and many surprises in store.
Watch: Behind-the-Scenes Photos of 13 Reasons Why Filming