Let's Break Down '13 Reasons Why' Season 3's Confusing AF Timeline
Spoilers ahead for 13 Reasons Why Season 3. There are a lot of questions hanging in the balance when 13 Reasons Why Season 3 picks up: What happened at the homecoming game? Who killed Bryce, and why? What else has happened in the eight months since Spring Fling? In order to explain everything, the 13 Reasons Why Season 3 timeline sort of hops all over the place, which in turn can be kind of confusing. That's why we've put together an explainer to help you sift through what happened when.
As a short refresher, Hannah Baker died by suicide in October of her junior year. Her tapes covered what happened in her sophomore year and the following summer, while the present day action occurred in the fall and winter after she died. Season 2 took place in March and April of the next year, during the trial between Hannah's parents and the school. Season 3 picks up that fall, just over a year since this all began.
The easiest way to figure out when scenes are taking place in Season 3 is the coloring: everything warm and bright happened before Bryce was murdered, and everything cool, blue, and gray is happening after. The aspect ratio (size and shape of the picture) is different too. The flashbacks are also, more or less, in chronological order — Ani the narrator is telling her version of the story from the beginning, and she doesn't jump around that much.
As for more specific events, here's a breakdown:
April: The Spring Fling Dance
The final scene in Season 2 takes place on the night of the Spring Fling dance. That's the first major reference point in Season 3, which picks up eight months later. After talking Tyler down from carrying out his school shooting plan, Clay and Tony dispose of any evidence that he was at the school and organize a recovery plan that involves everyone essentially babysitting him. Tyler is still bruised after being assaulted by Monty, which is a good indicator of time passing through Season 3.
The very next week after the dance, Ani arrives at Liberty High. "It's kind of a weird time here," Clay tells her after being tasked with giving her a tour.
May/June: Chloe Gets An Abortion
After Jessica is successfully elected as the student body president, Chloe tells Zach that she is pregnant and subsequently gets an abortion with his emotional (and financial) support. She then breaks up with Bryce and decides to transfer to a private school.
July/August: Summer Break
Justin is in summer school after missing large portions of his junior year, and he's (secretly) back with Jessica, who's broken up with Alex. This is also when Alex starts taking steroids and hiding them in his school locker, as well as when he starts making appointments with Bryce's prostitute friend.
Another key summer event? The Hillcrest party where Monty and Winston first hooked up. Expect that to come into play in Season 4.
October: Anniversary of Hannah Baker's Death
Exactly a year has passed since Hannah died on Oct. 9. Clay mentions it to Ani when she sees him looking down and assumes that he's upset about their kiss.
November: Homecoming Game & Bryce Walker's Death
Mrs. Baker comes back to Crestmont to close on her house on Oct. 31 and stays in town for a week. A fight breaks out at the homecoming game on Nov. 2, and Bryce dies that night. He is reported missing and his body is discovered a few days later.
You can tell which events happened after homecoming because of everyone's injuries from the fight: Zach is on crutches, and many of the boys in the main cast are bruised and scratched up.
Some weeks after the game, Monty is arrested for sexually assaulting Tyler and sent to jail, where he dies (his cause of death is not revealed). It is on that day that Ani goes to the police to give her final witness testimony, which serves as the Season 3 narration. She frames Monty for Bryce's death and convinces Alex's father (who knows his son actually did it) to go along with it.
The season ends at Thanksgiving, with families gathering around various tables. There are a few cliffhangers and last-minute discoveries that will inevitably be dealt with when the show returns, indicating that Season 4 will probably take place over Christmas. Knowing what we know now about recent events on 13 Reasons Why, it's not going to be a happy holiday.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.
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.