13 Reasons Why Season 4 Review: Exhaustingly depressive with zero substance.
Sajid Ali -
What is the story about?
The story picks up six months after the 3rd season ends and follows a non-linear narration which keeps oscillating with the characters trying to confront everything they’ve done which includes their painful secrets which they have decided to bury than working it through. The series is based on the novel of the same name by Jay Asher developed by Brian Yorkey for Netflix.
Spoilers ahead, tread at your own risk.
The performances of the characters were diminishing and were bidding goodbye to the previous seasons. The entire central cast seemed oblivious to what’s happening around them. Their performance seemed superficial and doesn’t create an impact during this final season. The lead character Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) during the entire course of the 4th season is self-absorbed and it’s everything about him. No matter what happens it circles back to him whether it makes sense or not. And there’s this character Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) which had a strong presence with great fortitude and empathy. But the writers seemed like they were not happy with it and assassinated the integrity of Jessica. You end up hating her during the 4th season. Her character was butchered and had no purpose or regards for any kind of emotion. In the process to make it stronger they ended making it one of the weakest characters among the entire cast. We see Winston (Deaken Bluman) returning in the season 4 with a purpose but gets lost along with Estela (Inde Navarrette) who plays Monty’s sister. These two characters were underutilized by the makers which could have breathed life into the lifeless season 4. Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler) had so much character but was seen drenched in liquor all the time. Tyler (Devin Druid) and Alex (Miles Heizer) were forgotten for their acting chops.
The first two seasons were very good which stuck to its purpose and never deflected. The makers should’ve ended the series when the time was right. But at the end of the second season, you’re left with cliffhanger hoping for an equally good 3rd season. But the series started to fall apart during its 3rd season. It couldn’t cope with the same sincerity and started leaning towards commercial clichés and forced plot twists. They manage to sail through and leave the audience waiting for the 4th season. But even at that point I personally felt that the 4th season was being forced just to carry it forward. The makers finally announced that 4th will be the final season and I was at peace and I’m sure it must be a popular opinion among others too.
You start the final season with an open mind hoping for a good closure to all the chaos which was spewed during the previous seasons. The very first episode gives you the impression that the series is doomed. Every episode runs for approximately an hour. Despite this season being short with just 10 episodes compared to 13 in the previous seasons. It seemed longer than 13 episodes.
The writers stuffed so much depression in this last season that you start feeling restless and worn out physically and mentally. None of the explanation makes sense neither was the closures. The characters were dimmed out, none of them made an impact. Everyone just seemed wanted to get it over with.
In the beginning, the writers give the series a “Gossip Girl” outlook where they keep you guessing who’s sending all those texts from a dead person’s phone. Clay is shown going nuts and finally, the revelation was utterly stupid and pointless. And all this was done just to give an impression that the series is complex than it looks. Then it jumps to another phase where the focus shifts to something which doesn’t resonate or remotely makes sense to the central plot. I was wondering what the writers were thinking about developing the character of Clay during the final season. And what message were they trying to pass on with given a free pass to students who indulge in vandalism, violence and illegal activities? In the series, the personnel at the high school don’t bother to take care of the grave issue and just hug them out. I’m totally up for second chances but in this, there are one too many chances. It really sends a wrong message across putting things in a wrong perspective. And it doesn’t end with that, there’s a scene where students protest and you finally think there’s hope for the series to get better but the entire sequence was immature and poorly written.
The whole point of the 13 Reasons Why to fight depression and bullying was seen going down the drain. And it was aching to see a potential series torn to bits with no consideration for substance. And Hannah Baker (Katherin Langford) on which the series initially banked was totally forgotten. It took a different route and kept wandering with no direction. Just for the sake of it, they show her for a brief moment but that gets interrupted with the appearance of a new character of no importance.
The series runs for hiatus 623 minutes spread across 10 episodes and the last episode really tests your patience with taking a big chunk of 98 minutes. Like Zach mentions during the climax, “Dirty pile of closures”, that’s right the final season was exactly the same.
Music and other Departments
The music was good. The cinematography was very good; one of the pacifying factors in this final season. Sadly I couldn’t say the same for the editing.
There’s one scene where the character Clay actually makes sense and speaks his mind out during one of his meltdowns. And that really was something which came as a consolation.
The final season is hands down the worst among the lot. Lazy writing and poorly written characters with lacklustre performances. The writers were too self-absorbed with one too many things taking the audience for granted based on the success of previous seasons. This is one of those series which was dragged for more seasons and was ended for the sake of it with no proper closure. But I’m sure the makers claim it’s the best, but the truth is something else.
Did I enjoy it?
No, I did not. I still don’t know how I managed to binge it. And with so much negativity spread across the globe, it’s not advisable to bring down your spirits.
Do I recommend it and why?
I definitely do not recommend it. Watch if and only if you’ve watched all the previous seasons. If you’re new to it, then stop with the first two seasons and run your imagination wild. I’m sure you’ll end up getting a better closure than what they spewed on us. It’s currently streaming on Netflix.
|Synopsis :||Follows teenager Clay Jensen, in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.|
|Cast :||Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Justin Prentice, Miles Heizer, Ross Butler, Devin Druid, Amy Hargreaves, Derek Luke, Kate Walsh, Brian d'Arcy James, Grace Saif, Brenda Strong, Timothy Granaderos|
|Directors :||Jessica Yu, Kyle Patrick Alvarez, Gregg Araki, Michael Morris, Kevin Dowling, Carl Franklin, Tom McCarthy, Helen Shaver, Kat Candler, Eliza Hittman, Karen Moncrieff, Aurora Guerrero, Bronwen Hughes, Sunu Gonera, Michael Sucsy, John T. Kretchmer|
|Producer/s :||Barbara D'Alessandro, Joe Incaprera,|
|Cinematographer (DoP) :||Kevin Thompson, Ivan Strasburg, Cameron Duncan, Tommy Lohmann, Andrij Parekh, Marshall Adams|
|Production House :||July Moonhead Productions, Kicked to the Curb Productions, Anonymous Content, Paramount Television Studios|
|Total number of seasons :||4|
|Episode Duration (minutes) :||71|
|Digital Premiere Date :||June 5, 2020|