Spoilers ahead for 13 Reasons Why Season 4, episodes 1-10. In the series finale of 13 Reasons Why, Hannah Baker’s (Katherine Langford) tapes make a reappearance. In the wake of a gut-wrenching senior year, Clay (Dylan Minnette) gets a package in the mail from Mrs. Baker with a letter that explains that these tapes always belonged to Clay and Tony (Christian Navarro) because they knew Hannah in a way that she never did. The whole friend group gathers around after Liberty High’s graduation to bury the tapes in the spot that Clay first heard them. It is a tender moment of reckoning and relief — and one that gives Hannah's tapes a fitting ending.
In Season 1, Hannah Baker’s suicide was the very first time all of Liberty High had to contend with their failings. She sent 13 tapes to those who had hurt her. Clay Jensen, Justin Foley, Jessica Davis, and Bryce Walker were all on this list. Her tapes forced everyone to confront the ways they treated survivors of sexual assault and the expectations they put on their friendships. It also brought them all together as friends. This story, for all intents and purposes, starts with Hannah Baker. And the way everyone dealt with these tapes has reverberated long after they first pressed play.
We learn in the series finale that Hannah’s death still weighs heavily on Clay, who never really forgave himself for the damage he had done to her. There is moment in the chaos of graduation day where the whole group sits together on the bleachers talking about their future. Clay looks up to see Hannah (or rather, a physical manifestation of his thoughts about Hannah) on the bleachers across from them in her homecoming dress. He smiles and steps towards her — all these years later, he still carries her close to his heart.
Burying the tapes that brought them together and forever changed the course of their lives is a fitting finish to their high school experience. As we say goodbye to 13 Reasons Why, we can only hope that they can all put the traumas of high school behind them and finally get some real closure.
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.