The students at Liberty High have been through the wringer, losing friends year after year and experiencing all kinds of trauma. Now, as Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why comes to a close with Season 4 out June 5, there might finally be a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I think the show ends in that way that lends itself to the nature of where you are at the end of high school,” Brandon Flynn, who plays the newly sober Justin Foley, said at a press event earlier this year. There are uncertainties, he explains, but ultimately everyone is young and hopeful for the future. “I think the show encapsulates that ethos of hope.”
If the Season 4 trailer is any indication, this doesn’t mean that the Liberty High crew is having an easy go of it. The Season 3 finale left a lot of questions unanswered: Will everyone get away with Bryce’s (Justin Prentice) murder and subsequent cover up? Are Justin and Jessica (Alisha Boe) getting back together? Is Tyler (Devin Druid) planning another school shooting? What does Winston (Deaken Bluman) know? If you thought the group was safe just because they pinned Bryce’s death on Monty, think again. It seems that the final season is dredging up the past, and no one is ready for the ramifications.
To say everyone is having a rough senior year would be an understatement. Clay (Dylan Minnette) is in the midst of a mental health crisis, Jessica is trying to find her voice, and the trauma the group has experienced is finally catching up to Zach (Ross Butler). Of course, all of them are keeping secrets. As questions arise about Bryce’s death, everyone must figure out who is with them… and who is against them.
“Everything is falling out from under Zach this last season,” Butler said. As for star-crossed lovers Jessica and Justin, this season proves to be emotionally complicated. “I think finally Jessica will get what she wants at the end of Season 4,” Boe says, though she’s coy about what exactly that means.
While Justin may have been universally hated in earlier seasons, his recovery means audiences will get to see more of his vulnerable side. “People have really come to love him and admire him,” Flynn said of his character.
Since Season 1, 13 Reasons Why has elicited strong positive and negative reactions from fans and critics alike, and the controversy around Hannah’s suicide scene in Season 1 turned out to be only the beginning of the drama both in and surrounding the show.
Perhaps that's why Boe hinted that in its final season, 13 Reasons Why will leave you with “mixed emotions.” It captures the bittersweet nature of goodbyes and graduations, which always feel a little unfinished and messy in the end. And despite the tragedies the students have endured, she added, there's still a sense of hope for the future. The actors felt it too — after four years of working together closely, the show is an experience they won’t soon forget.
“I actually feel like the characters in a way,” Flynn said. “I feel like I just graduated from my first big project, and now I get to go into the world.”