Explaining the silence to the 13 Reasons Why season 4 ending
After four years, we’ve said goodbye to the students of Liberty High. While most went off to college, one member of the group wouldn’t make it. It’s time to break down the 13 Reasons Why season 4 ending, including the silent car ride.
I’ll admit that the season overall was a bit mixed. At first, it looked like Clay was just going to have a complete breakdown and all his friends would abandon him. However, things picked up with the seventh episode, although there were still moments I screamed at the screen.
This isn’t about the season overall, though. We need to break down the final moments for the Liberty High students.
Who wouldn’t graduate on 13 Reasons Why season 4?
We opened the season with a funeral and spent the season trying to figure out who wouldn’t make it to the end. With Charlie standing on the podium with his football jersey on, it was clear that it would be a football player, so Zach or Justin were the two main theories.
In the end, there were clear signs who it was throughout the season. Justin collapsed at prom and he was diagnosed with HIV, which had developed into AIDS. By this point, there was nothing anyone could do to save his life. Justin had kept some symptoms to himself and others, like the lesions all over his body, were ignored.
Everyone else would graduate, despite Zach’s drinking and attempts to fail Senior Year and Clay’s breakdown.
Jessica and Diego both got tested for HIV and both came back negative. Jessica made a point that Justin was serious about protection, and it’s possible that at the back of his mind he feared passing something on or knew that he didn’t want to bring a child into the world. It gave another reason to love this character.
Who did the spray paint?
Throughout 13 Reasons Why season 4, we watched Clay unravel. Winston was constantly there trying to prove that Monty was framed. He had the football team working with him, knowing that Clay was the one that would break.
And Clay was breaking. In fact, he was the one who spray painted “Monty was framed” and scared his classmates in the woods. He didn’t realize because he was suffering from a dissociative state, an attempt to separate himself from his trauma.
Once he explained to his friends and parents what was happening, they were able to help him and support him. It wasn’t the end to Winston’s attempts to unveil the truth.
During the riot at school, Deigo realized that Jessica was involved in killing Bryce. Later, Alex confessed to Winston that he did it.
Did Winston do anything with the knowledge? Despite loving Monty, Winston and Diego decided not to go any further. The past was in the past and it was time to focus on the future.
However, Sheriff Diaz did know that Alex was involved. In the end, he told Deputy Standall that everything about the Bryce Walker case was going into permanent storage. It was a hint that Diaz knew Standall destroyed evidence to protect his son and Diaz was going to go along with that.
Was it right? Well, no, and that is something the show kept bringing up throughout the season. The justice system is flawed, especially if you have friends in the right places.
Graduation speeches and comfortable silences
At the very end, Mrs. Baker sent Clay the tapes from the first season. At graduation, we saw a couple of the students from the tapes who haven’t been included in recent seasons. The group of students gathered to lay the tapes to rest.
It was time to move on with their lives. All students got into college, with Clay going to Brown and Tony getting a scholarship to Nevada. Tony sold the garage to his boyfriend after his father encouraged him to and was able to do something great with his life.
The final moments saw Clay arrange to Facetime with his psychiatrist (excellently played by Gary Sinise) to continue getting the help that he needs. Then he joined Tony on a drive out of town. The two just drove away in silence.
It was a comfortable silence, marking a good point in their lives. After years of silence eating away at the characters, this moment shows that there’s hope for happiness in their futures.
One thing it does is end with the knowledge there’s no need for a fifth season.
What did you think of the 13 Reasons Why season 4 finale? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
13 Reasons Why is available to stream in full on Netflix.