Tony Becomes More Than A Plot Point In '13 Reasons Why' On Netflix
For the most part, Netflix's 13 Reasons Why stays faithful to the YA novel it's based on. It unfolds through the perspective of Hannah Baker, a teen who dies by suicide and leaves behind a collection of cassette tapes detailing the events — and people — she holds responsible for it. But the TV adaptation also fleshes out many of its supporting characters, beginning with Tony (Christian Navarro). Spoilers ahead.
In both the novel and the series, Tony is the keeper of Hannah's second set of tapes, and she entrusts him to release them to the public should any of her recipients fail to follow her instructions. But in Asher's story, he's more of a peripheral figure. Clay doesn't realize that Tony is the one following him until he's on cassette four, while in the Netflix show, he finds out Tony is watching him in the very first episode. This change turns Tony into a guiding force for Clay, always stepping in to get him out of trouble or encouraging him to keep listening to the tapes. It also gives viewers more insight into the character. Tony comes off as mature, trustworthy, and yes, a little aloof, but overall a kind and supportive kid. He's a rock for Clay when he needs him and seems to have a loving relationship with his boyfriend, Brad (in the book, Tony's sexuality wasn't specified.) He doesn't really fit into any of the stereotypical high school cliques, but appears to be liked by those he does decide to befriend.
He also sparks up a close relationship with Hannah's parents after her death. They frequently turn to him when trying to understand why Hannah died by suicide, and though it remains unclear why he didn't do it sooner, he does eventually transfer his copy of the tapes into audio files and hands them off to Mr. and Mrs. Baker.
Like many of the people portrayed in 13 Reasons Why, he's certainly made his own mistakes. In one scene, he's shown beating up a guy with his brothers — a fact that he sidesteps when Clay tries to ask him about it. And though he was probably just trying to honor Hannah's last wishes, he doesn't come forward after learning about Sheri and Bryce's crimes. As with Clay, the show positions him as a good guy, but certainly a flawed one.
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.