These Clues About Bryce's Killer On '13 Reasons Why' Were Hiding In Plain Sight
Major spoilers ahead for 13 Reasons Why Season 3. After a season full of twists, turns, and numerous false leads, we find out in the final episode of 13 Reasons Why's third season that it was Alex who killed Bryce. He and Jessica found Bryce at the pier after Zach beat him up so badly that he couldn't move. And though Alex initially attempted to help Bryce, once he started yelling about how he was going to ruin Zach's life and claiming Jessica set him up, Alex snarled that Bryce had "hurt everyone" he loves and pushed him into the water, where he drowned. It may feel like a shocking reveal, but the clues that Alex killed Bryce were there all along.
Alex and Bryce have always had a pretty complicated relationship. As a close friend to both Hannah and Jessica, Alex had every reason to be angry with Bryce — particularly after he got off with only three months of probation during Jessica's sexual assault trial. That being said, Alex has sought Bryce's approval in the past, and in flashbacks, we're shown that the two were at least cordial before Bryce died. But Alex's steroid use only makes him more volatile, and that night on the pier seems to be the first time things really snap into focus for him. Throughout the season, we're led to believe Bryce was working on changing for the better, but that moment makes his true colors clear — to us as viewers, but more importantly to Alex.
For most of the season, 13 Reasons Why pretty deliberately keeps suspicion off of Alex, but there are several subtle clues sprinkled throughout the episodes. Let's break them down below.
Episode 5: The Crime Scene Investigation
While Deputy Standall and the cops investigate the crime scene, Alex waits for his dad in the car. He looks nervous and jumpy as they collect evidence, and begins furiously texting on his phone. When his dad returns to the car, Alex immediately asks if he found any leads.
Episode 8: The Conversation With Mr. Porter
Mr. Porter is brought in by Mrs. Walker to interrogate the kids and build her case against Clay, but Mr. Porter quietly works to do the exact opposite. When Mr. Porter asks about Clay's obsession with holding Bryce accountable, Alex simply tells him that "It was never about hurting Bryce. It was always about justice for Hannah." In that moment, it seems Alex is speaking for himself, too.
Episode 10: Zach Talks to Alex In The Library
It's a small moment, but when Zach tries to talk to Alex about what he thinks about Bryce's murder, Alex is incredibly standoffish. He doesn't quite meet Zach's eyes, and answers with clipped responses.
Episode 11: The Breakfast Conversation With His Dad
Alex again presses his dad for information in the case. "You don't really think it's Clay, do you?" he asks. "Is there, like, evidence?" Alex claims he's worried, because Clay doesn't seem like the type of person who would commit murder.
"We don't always know what people are capable of," his dad says while staring a little too long at Alex. Alex then tells his dad that he was hanging out with Jessica after the Homecoming game. His nervous glance afterwards suggests he's lying (he was technically with Jessica, but as we later learn, it wasn't as innocuous as he made it sound).
Episode 12: Clay's Arrest
When Clay is arrested at the school assembly, Jessica and Alex share a knowing, concerned look.
Episode 12: Zach and Alex's Gym Talk
Zach approaches Alex again, as at this point he's convinced that Bryce died after he beat him up. "I killed somebody," Zach confesses.
Alex just shakes his head. "I don't believe that you did. And even if you did, after what Bryce did to you, and to everyone, how would it be justice if you went to jail?" When Zach asks how it's justice if Clay goes to jail instead, Alex just looks away.
Episode 13: Mr. Standall Searches Alex's Room
Mr. Standall finds what look like alcohol wipes in Alex's drawer, which his wife tells him is a consumer brand — meaning Alex went out of his way to buy them. This makes Mr. Standall even more suspicious of his own son.
Episode 13: Mr. Standall Questions The Footprints At The Crime Scene
This one is more of a visual cue. As Mr. Standall examines photos of the ground where the scuffle happened before Bryce's death, he asks, "Doesn't this show a left foot being dragged?" It's clear he's referring to the gait Alex has due to his gunshot wound, and right when Mr. Standall says this, the scene switches to Alex looking pensively at his clothes.
Episode 13: Alex Talks To Tyler
One of the last major hints is when Alex talks to Tyler. First he asks Tyler for a gun, claiming he wants to keep Tyler safe in case Monty's guys go after him. Tyler finds this unusual, so Alex backs down. Tyler then shows Alex his art project, and Alex cryptically says, "Talking to the police must've been like a weight off, right?"
Now that the case has been closed, Alex must feel like a weight's been lifted from him, too.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.