Spoilers for 13 Reasons Why Season 4, Episodes 1-10. It is graduation day at Liberty High School and after four seasons of tragedy, the 13 Reasons Why series finale leaves off on a hopeful, albeit heartbreaking, note. Senior year has been rough on just about everyone. While our troubled cast of characters get ready for life after graduation, they must contend with the fallout from Bryce's murder, all while applying for college (and rekindling old flames). In the end, they finally get some closure, but this doesn’t make graduation day an entirely happy one. Keep reading for a breakdown of what happens to everyone in the series finale of 13 Reasons Why:
Clay is finally healing
Clay’s (Dylan Minnette) has been in the depths of a mental breakdown for the duration of this season. Clay has been dissociating, he doesn’t trust anyone and he may have confessed to covering up Bryce’s murder in a college essay? When he finds out that Justin is going to succumb to his AIDS diagnosis (more on that later), he barges into a police station falsely claiming he has a gun — which ends up being the catalyst for his breakthrough in therapy about all the pain he has carried since Hannah’s death. He forgives himself for his actions and makes a rousing commencement speech urging all his classmates to “choose to live.” Despite his less-than-perfect college interview, Clay gets into Brown and might even have a new love interest in his soon-to-be Brown classmate, Heidi. The last time we see Clay he's driving with Tony to drop him off in college, and seems to have finally found some peace.
Justin meets a tragic fate
The finale spelled tragedy for Justin. After showing up at prom to confess his love for Jessica, he collapses and is rushed to the hospital. It is revealed that Justin (Brandon Flynn) is positive for HIV that developed into AIDS because it progressed untreated. The doctor posits that it was due to his drug abuse and his engagement in sex work. Justin and Jessica have a tearful goodbye and shortly after he dies while holding Clay’s hand with his parents nearby. We see Justin a bit later on in the episode — as a ghost-like manifestation of Clay's psyche — in a scene where Clay reads Justin's college essay all about how Clay was the brother he never had.
Jessica has a fresh start
After all the trauma Jessica (Alisha Boe) has had to endure, the end of Season 4 is a somber one for her. On his deathbed, she tells Justin that he was the love of her life and vows at graduation to dedicate her life to love (and taking down the patriarchy). She gets into Berkeley with an essay about her work raising awareness about sexual violence at Liberty High and you can be sure that she’ll be continuing this work in the fall.
Alex’s secret stays safe
Alex (Miles Heizer) gets away with murder, as his role in Bryce's death is never revealed to the authorities. This season has proven to be a big one for self-discovery, with Alex coming out of the closet and dating Winston, only to later start seeing Charlie. He puts his fate on the line when he admits he killed Bryce to Winston, but in the end it all works out.
Diego is still pining for Jessica
After spending all season hell bent on catching whoever framed Monty, Diego (Jan Luis Castellanos) has a change of heart when he realizes Jessica is involved. They both test negative for HIV and he promises to ask her out when a respectable amount of time has passed after Justin’s death.
Zach is pursuing music
Zach (Ross Butler) has been in a drunken stupor for the duration of his senior year. He is told he won’t be able to graduate and the stress of the last four years catches up to him, and leads to even more drinking. But after watching his best friend, Justin, die he begins to heal. With football not in his future anymore, he decides to study music. His mom thinks it is for violin, but he’ll be pursuing voice and guitar.
Tony is off to college
And with a boxing scholarship at that! After finding a mentor in one of the school cops, Tony (Christian Navarro) gets noticed by a scout after one of his boxing matches. While at first he wants to turn down the scholarship and continue running the auto body shop — his dad and his boyfriend convince him otherwise. The final scene of the show follows Clay and Tony on a road trip to drop Tony off at college.
Ani stands by her decision to cover up Bryce’s murder
Ani (Grace Saif) came into Liberty High an outsider, but by graduation day it is clear that she is part of the friend group for life. Her and Jessica are closer than ever and decide to put the money that Bryce’s mother offered her for college into Hands Off Our Bodies, the survivor-led advocacy group Jessica started at Liberty High.
Winston didn’t turn anyone in
Winston’s (Deaken Bluman) ominous presence felt like it spelled doom for everyone. But then he fell in love with Alex and by the end of the season you really see a soft side to him. Though he didn’t end up clearing Monty’s name, he made some friends instead.
Tyler was trustworthy all along
This whole season has been underscored with worry about Tyler (Devin Druid) and what he might be up to. Is he planning another school shooting? Is he talking to the police? Did he turn people in? The season reveals that Tyler has been helping the police catch illegal gun deals to get them off the streets and he reminds Clay and Tony that they can trust him. In the future, he wants to take photos that impact people.
All in all, the finale takes on a lot of hot button issues at once. But the series ends by coming full circle: in one of the show's final moments the friend group buries Hannah’s lost tapes in the ground as they say farewell to high school.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.
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