This Detail In '13 Reasons Why' Makes Its Message Even More Powerful
Taking a frank, incisive look at the effects of high school cruelty, 13 Reasons Why is a tragic and cautionary tale. By the time you reach the end of the TV series, its message is clear: Be a little kinder, listen a little harder, do a little more. Because the show demonstrates that even the smallest details can make a difference, it's fitting that one of its smallest details is one of the most potent. Spoilers ahead for the Netflix series. As eagle-eyed Movie Pilot writer Bridget Serdock notes, at least some of the 13 Reasons Why timeline takes place in the future, which means that as we're watching, there's still a chance to save Hannah's life. It doesn't necessarily change the story — Hannah still dies regardless — but it might change the way you view it.
Toward the end of the series, certain students are called to give taped depositions for Hannah's parents' lawsuit against Liberty High School. If you look back at these scenes, you'll notice that there's a timestamp in the bottom right corner. Zach's timestamp reads Nov. 10, 2017 — a date that's over seven months away from the show's March 31 premiere. 13 Reasons Why is set in present day, so this suggests that some of the events that led up to Hannah's suicide haven't actually happened yet, at least in the real world.
We don't know exactly when everything occurred, but there are some clues that help string together a rough timeline. For example, the winter formal was probably held around the holidays, while Jessica's party took place later, over the summer. This means that some of Hannah's reasons have already happened: The photo leaks from Justin and Tyler, Alex's list, her Valentine's Day date with Marcus. But others, like Bryce raping Jessica and Hannah, or Mr. Porter's mishandling of Hannah's assault are yet to come.
This, of course, doesn't change Hannah's fate. Her friends, peers, teachers, and parents all fail to see her struggling, regardless of whether it's happening in the past, present, or future. But it is a powerful wake-up call for viewers. If they could have saved Hannah then, maybe it's not too late for us to save someone now. All we have to do is be a little kinder, listen a little harder, and do a little more. But as 13 Reasons Why screams so loudly, there isn't time to waste — start today, not tomorrow.