Clay Jenkins is unwittingly drawn into the events surrounding the death of Hannah Baker, a friend who could have been more, with emotional, devastating consequences.
Narrated by Hannah Baker, performed beautifully by Katherine Langford, over thirteen episodes (each representing the side of an old-school audio cassette), we follow Clay Jenkins (played by a perfectly cast Dylan Minnette) as the story unfolds and the secrets of those around him intertwine with the stories that lead up to Hannah’s suicide.
Whilst it could be argued that Hannah is an unreliable narrator, the way the story on the tapes ring true for those involved, and their steps at damage limitation, are a crushing weight for Clay and others, especially as the truths get darker.
A large cast does lead to some characters falling to the way side – Jeff and Montgomery – whilst the core characters are so well crafted that it’s impossible not to be drawn into events. It’s not just the teenagers that feel isolated as the parents of Clay and Hannah have to deal with ones erratic behaviour and the loss of the other, respectively.
A show that has drawn controversy, with some even arguing it is ‘dangerous’, 13 Reasons Why is an exceptional series with an incredibly timely story. The feelings of isolation and the behaviour of their peers can cast a shadow on the lives of anyone, even if they seem fine on the outside.
A bold series that tackles suicide and its aftermath, rape, drugs, violence and peer pressure, if 13 Reasons Why can do one thing, it should be to start a conversation about the risks and threats, not silence the discussion.