Who Killed Bryce Walker? A Viewer’s Guide to “13 Reasons Why”

  by Selene Ashewood ’22

Season Three of “13 Reasons Why” came out in late August after months of promotion for it. Of course, when the words ’13 reasons’ ring in the air, everyone wants to know what “the scene” of this season is. What shocking act did they portray on screen to get people tweeting? Well, this time, there is no “scene.” But as a viewer, I still found it the most entertaining of the three seasons, despite it being a structural mess. The flashback scenes and current scenes are jagged and confusing, which the show’s creators try to hide with interesting cinematography.

The big question is “Who killed Bryce Walker?” When Bryce’s body is found in the river, Ms. Walker, his mother, looks to everyone at Liberty High as a suspect; specifically having it out for Clay Jensen throughout the investigation. 

All the narration is done by the new girl, Ani Achola (played by Grace Saif). Saif’s character is widely disliked by fans and casual watchers alike with headlines like “Why Ani Achola Is The Worst Character In 13 Reasons Why” from Refinary29, and thousands of strongly worded tweets going against Ani. Whether related to the hate or not, Achola coincedentally lives in Bryce’s guest house and was the main thing driving home his redemption story. Speaking of his redemtion story, this season heavily uses flashbacks of mainly Bryce and how regretful he was of his actions and showing his attempts to change. Other flashbacks focused on the suspects and where they were the night Walker went missing.

The character, Jessica, (Alisha Boe) is on the road back to empowerment this season. She’s making noise with her school club, Hands Off!Sexual Assault Surviviors and Allies. The plot of this club opens up conversations like the stigma around male sexual assault survivors.

In thevery last minutes of episode 13, through flashback of course, we learn what happened the night Bryce went missing. It was nothing totally shocking but not anything I really expected. As determined by the autopsy, Walker did die from drowning but had other serious injuries as well. 

For someone who isolated himself for most of the season, Clay Jensen, (played by Dylan Minnette) was a very big focus of this plot. Clay understandably keeps a closed mind and refuses to partake in any mourning of Bryce. But he pushes that onto Ani as well, someone who saw firsthand his guilt and every other side of him.

The writers of this season of “13 Reasons Why” did quite a good job considering they turned a serial rapist into a sympathetic figure. This is a significant shift in narrative considering the previous seasons were all about bringing him to justice. We see Bryce break down in regret, which has never been shown before. That impacts the viewers and everything they thought they knew.

 

Grade: B-