13 Reasons Why Pivots to Murder

Screenshot: Netflix

I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I think Netflix’s teen drama 13 Reasons Why might’ve found a way to redeem itself.

On Thursday, the streaming giant released a trailer for the show’s third and penultimate season. Unlike the first season, a melodramatic 13-episode run that all but glamorizes the suicide of a young teen girl, and Season 2, where sexual assault was portrayed through an exploitative and ham-fisted lens, Season 3 looks... kind of okay? In a Riverdale-murder-mystery way?

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According to Variety, Season 3 takes a step back from past insensitivity and will not feature suicide—the first logical decision the series has made since removing the graphic, sensationalized suicide scene from the first season—perhaps also because of a recent study in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry that linked a spike in teen suicide and the popularity of 13 Reasons Why.

Spoiler ahead.

The trailer shows that Bryce Walker, the student revealed to be a serial rapist in previous seasons, is dead—presumably murdered. It stinks of a revenge plot, a la Big Little Lies, and I am back on board. Netflix released the following synopsis for the forthcoming series (via IndieWire):

“Eight months after preventing Tyler from committing an unthinkable act at Spring Fling, Clay, Tony, Jessica, Alex, Justin, and Zach find ways to shoulder the burden of the cover-up together while helping Tyler move toward recovery. But when the aftermath of a tumultuous Homecoming game culminates in the disappearance of a football player, and Clay finds himself under police scrutiny, it’s up to a shrewd outsider to steer the group through an investigation that threatens to lay bare everyone’s deepest secrets. The stakes are raised in this riveting third season of 13 Reasons Why, as the consequences of even the most well-intended actions can alter a life forever.”

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Season 3 hits Netflix on August 23. Like Seasons 1 and 2, it is 13 episodes long. Then, according to TV Line, the series will end with a fourth season, the details of which have yet to be disclosed.

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