13 Reasons Why Finale Recap Season 1

13 Reasons Why Finale Recap: Who's on Hannah's Heartbreaking Final Tape?

Warning: This post contains spoilers from the run of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.

At the end of 13 Reasons Why, we finally learn the role Hannah’s classmates and the adults in her life played in her decision to commit suicide.

Anyone else feel somehow worse after the revelation?

The Netflix drama was never going to have a happy ending — a teenager is, after all, still very much dead following some pretty terrible treatment from her peers — but the loose ends left dangling at the end of the (first?) season are unsettling. They also can be interpreted several ways.

Will Mr. Porter do the right thing and go to the authorities, now that he’s in possession of — and a significant player on — Hannah’s tapes? Will that even matter, now that the Bakers have copies of the audio files? Is it just a coincidence that Alex takes a bullet, or can we infer that an ammo-stocking Tyler now is shooting more than photos?

And, for the love of God, will someone give Bryce the life-destroying retribution he so sorely deserves?

There’s certainly plenty of fodder for the streaming video site’s adaptation of Jay Asher’s novel to come back for a second season (which executive producer Selena Gomez has said is a possibility). And if it doesn’t, well, life is all about not always having the resolution we seek, right?

Yeah, I know. Read on for the major points of “Tape 7, Side A.”

ON THE RECORD | The entire hour is peppered with Hannah’s classmates giving their depositions. As Zach tells the lawyers that he and others said some mean things to her, we see Past Hannah getting the recorder from Tony and announcing to us that she’s giving life one more shot. She gives a quick recap of all of her torment (and the tapes so far): “I started with Justin and Jessica, who each broke my heart. Alex, Tyler, Courtney, Marcus, who each helped to destroy my reputation., on through Zach and Ryan, who broke my spirit. Through Tape #12, Bryce Walker, who broke my soul.”

After making Tape 12, she tells us, she feels a small bit better. “For a minute, just a minute, I felt like I could beat this.” And that one last shot she’s taking? It comes in the form of a visit to Mr. Porter, the school’s guidance counselor. But she also swipes a package of razor blades from her parents’ drugstore, so ending it all is still very much on Hannah’s mind.

13 Reasons Why Finale RecapYOU HAD ONE JOB, PORTER | So we watch Hannah visit Porter’s office on the day of her death; unbeknownst to him, she’s got the recorder in her bag, and it’s capturing everything they say. She tells him she feels “lost and sort of empty” and expresses a desire for “everything to stop — people, life.” She’s crying. She’s clearly in trouble. But when she tells him about the night in the hot tub, Porter does pretty much everything wrong. He goes as far as saying that she made a “decision” that she now regrets, and that sometimes the best course of action is to “move on.” And when Hannah won’t say who hurt her, Porter considers the matter all but done.

“She didn’t give you the name, she didn’t use the word, but she described the rape,” Clay says as he sits in Porter’s office in the present, laying the school staff member bare as he not only reveals that Bryce was the student in question, but that Hannah taped her time in the guidance counselor’s office.

Clay goes on to tell the clearly upset Porter that a) Hannah made tapes outlining why she committed suicide, b) he’s on Tape 13, and c) everyone who has heard the tapes knows he’s on Tape 13. Then the boy says that he’s giving Porter all of the tapes, as well as the decision about what to do with them. Oh, and he added Tape 14 — aka Bryce’s confession — “which I hope will help you make that decision,” he says before he gets up to leave the office.

“It has to get better, the way we treat each other and look out for each other. It has to get better somehow,” the teen says as he leaves. And when he sees Skye in the crowd while students are walking to their classes, he impulsively asks her if she wants to hang out right then, acknowledging that he’s not OK. She says yes (it’s very sweet), and later we see them riding in a car with Tony and his boyfriend. And that is the closest thing we get to an upbeat ending in the hour, because…

THE BEGINNING OF THE END | … we’re about to witness the rest of Hannah’s last day. She leaves Porter’s office hoping that he’ll come after her, and she’s devastated when she realizes that he answers a phone right after she goes, seemingly not giving her another thought. “Some of you cared, none of you cared enough,” Hannah narrates on her final voiceover. “Neither did I, and I’m sorry. So, that’s the end of Tape 13. There’s nothing more to say.”

Then we watch as Hannah calmly goes about mailing the tapes, returning her uniform to the theater, putting on old clothes, filling her bathtub and, just about the moment I’m sure the camera is going to cut away from Hannah slitting her wrists… it doesn’t. We watch in terrifying, visceral detail as the girl uses the blades on herself, then bleeds out. And I honestly can’t tell which is more painful to watch: Hannah’s death or her mother’s finding her and mindlessly saying, “It’s OK, it’s OK, you’re OK,” as she slips on the wet floor and kneels by her daughter’s side.

THE BAKERS FIND OUT | Now here’s where things get very interesting. Tony drops a flash drive by the Bakers’ store, saying that he thought he was helping Hannah by keeping her secrets, but he now thinks that was wrong. Mrs. Baker has the drive in her hand while listening to Tyler’s deposition, but when he mentions on the record that “there are tapes” detailing the abuse Hannah endured, she sits up and takes notice — yet says nothing. (Later, we see Mr. and Mrs. Baker hold hands as they start to listen to the recordings.)

The Bakers’ lawyer later asks Jessica if she knows about the tapes; she’s shocked, but she denies it. Later that night, though, despite earlier in the episode indicating to Clay hat she wasn’t ready to say anything about Bryce’s attack, she begins to tearfully tell her dad about what happened at the party where she was raped.

Meanwhile, an adrift Justin meets up with Bryce, who’s shocked to find out about the tapes and that Hannah was hiding in the room when he violated Jessica. Then Justin takes off, making it clear that he’s disgusted by everything about Bryce. (Join the club, dude.)

Earlier, we see Tyler’s mother worry that his participation in the deposition will make him even more of a target for his mean classmates. “Don’t worry, Mom,” he says, I can take care of myself.” What we know and she doesn’t: He’s stockpiling weapons in his bedroom. And it can’t be a coincidence that he takes down a photo of Alex in one scene… then we learn at the end of the episode that Alex suffers what is believed to be a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, can it?

What did you think of 13 Reasons Why‘s finale? Grade the episode via the poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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53 Comments
  1. Mendez says:

    This show was so haunting and well done. The acting from Clay and Hannah is heart breaking. I love this show, it is not what I expected in the best way.

    • TV viewer says:

      I did like what they did with Skye and Clay. The story was never going to have a happy ending, but the way these 2 characters managed to build one felt earned and it balanced the senseless tragedy around them. This is the life Hannah missed out on: it wasn’t painless, it certainly wasn’t fair, but it did go on without her.

      • Nty says:

        I feel like Skye is going to be a liability to Clay at some point. She has so much pain & darkness within her. God forbid if Clay breaks up with her or does not share romantic feelings for her, is she going to lash out and harm herself?

    • Max says:

      It wasn’t well done at all it is glamorising suicide. What is it with the Australian actors trying to invade the Us to defend such crap controversies. I preferred them when they stayed on Neighbors. Season 2? Insulting, what a farce. No solutions but gives people lots of ideas.

      • Jess says:

        Glamorizing suicide? Where was the glamour in that? Tell me where it was? I’m tired of people saying this show was glamorizing suicide when there was nothing glamorous about it. And wtf is this about Australian actors invading the US? That sounds pretty anti-immigrant. You sound like a sucky human being. GTFO.

  2. Anna says:

    I kept thinking they would cut away during the bathtub scene as well. It was so heartbreaking. My stomach still hurts thinking about it.

    As for Tyler, I interpreted him taking Alex’s picture down as him deciding *not* to shoot him. He had the flashback of Alex defending him for once, then took it down. That made me think he was still planning on hurting the others, but not Alex.

    • Miranda says:

      I agree. I believe Alex spoke earlier in the show about rises in suicide after someone they know kills them-self, and I took that with his father basically telling him he’s a good guy who won’t have to go to the deposition as the warning signs.

    • Steven says:

      I almost passed out watching the bathtub scene. And when her mom found her I cried in a way I haven’t since Joyce died on Buffy. Kate Walsh deserves an Emmy for this.

    • Hawk says:

      I agree, Tyler is in for a school shooting. But I don’t think think the shooting has happenend yet.

      • Bvwert says:

        Yes i agree with that. Mybe it will be the beginning of something, new season that related to school shooting (issues in high school)

    • Ashley says:

      I completely agree. Everyone is saying that Tyler shot Alex but the last memory was him in fact defending him.. Alex has been feeling guilt and remorse the whole show.. then sitting on his bed after his dad told him he’s ” good” .. he probably couldn’t take much more.

  3. Emmy says:

    Since Tyler flashed back to a time when Alex defended him, I took it to mean that he was deciding not to target Alex. Coupled with the pool scene earlier in the episodes, I think Alex really did kill himself.

    • TV viewer says:

      Alex had been trying to kill himself since the story began: going at full speed on the car, jaywalking, picking up fight with bullies, doing drugs. The audience was so caught up on Hannah’s story you missed out the signs up to the point he arranged his affairs (closet, bedroom, school, etc.)

    • David Finucane says:

      To be honest I think they made the episode loke this on purpose. Cause it could go either way either Alex killed himself or Tyler killed him. Very well written. And God I hope there is a second season. So many unanswered questions and I’m curious to see how they build their own stories after the book.

  4. kate says:

    I sort of thought since that last episode is all mixed up as to time, but they took the time to flashback to when Alex stood up for Tyler, that was his exonerating him from his hit list but Alex was dealing the worst with the tapes and didn’t seem to feel good that his father got him out of getting deposed when I have a feeling he was ready to confess everything and probably take more of the blame than he deserves. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the show decides that a second season might just be from Tyler’s point of view listened to by someone who survived the school shooting. It could reasonably be Clay even if he is on the hitlist, by the time he does it, he could reason that karma does play a role and maybe what Clay did was fair considering that Clay loved Hannah and would believe her entirely, so he might get injured, but Tyler might decide he should be the voice for why he did what he did.

  5. Azerty says:

    Spend last week end binge watching this show and I kept hoping that somehow she was still alive, that she faked her death as a good soap opera twist…Such a heartbreaking masterpiece: the acting, the writing, everything was well done. The second half of the show was breath taking for me. I usually watch shows like Game of thrones, walking dead, arrow, flash, etc. which are “not real”. This one felt close to reality, it really felt different for me. I kinda hope there won’t be a season 2, I don’t want closure, not that we don’t need to, but I don’t know it’s just that Hannah’s tape have been revealed, the truth is out there now. And even if there is other possible stories to extend the universe the concept of the show is the 13 tapes. I don’t want to see that Alex made some tapes as well, that would reduce the power of Hannah’s actions. Anyway excellent show, a must see.

    • kn1231 says:

      I also was hoping she was going to be alive but the bathtub scene ruined the hope. I hated the power she gave all involved by taking her own life, but that’s the sad reality of the world we live in unfortunately.

      • TV viewer says:

        Then again, if anything the tapes show that Hannah didn’t take full responsibility for her own decisions. The sad part is that, no matter how much she tried to share the responsibility of this final decision with other 13 people, the consequences of it were only going to be endured by her.

    • Bvwert says:

      I dont think there will be another 13 tapes. I hope the season 2 will be about school shooting, the opposite of season 1 where tyler(the way he bought his weapon and keep it in his closet) killed people instead of who killed who.

  6. Erin says:

    The show is beautifully heartbreaking in every since of the word. First by how so called “friends” were never truly Hannah’s friends. They were only there whenever they felt like it not when they should’ve actually been there. The only person besides Hannah that I feel sorry for is Clay because he really loved Hannah he was just an awkward teenager that was afraid of rejection. I really hope that he and Hannah would date but it never happened. I feel for all of them except Bryce bc life is hard and most of them handled the pain that they were feeling in the wrong way. Watching Hannah slit her wrists was extremely painful yet humbling at the same time bc it made me remember that once upon a time I too was a victim of relentless bullying and once had a fleeting thought of taking my life just to get away from the pain. Thank God that I didn’t do it but I remember the soul crushing feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that nothing would ever get better and that I only had myself to depend on. But not to sound cliché but it really did get better in time. So I just wanted to put my two cents out there bc I felt her pain and I truly did understand why she did what she did

  7. kn1231 says:

    This show was so, so good. I really felt for Hannah, but even more so for Clay because Hannah read all of his signs wrong. The bathtub scene was so intense. I had to look away but I’m happy they included it because it really made me think about how my actions could affect others. I can’t can’t decide how I feel about a second season, as I would love to see where it goes but at the same time I felt like it end in good spot. Again, fantastic show and I would recommend it (and have been) to anyone.

  8. ariana says:

    I don’t exactly want a season 2 because I feel like it won’t be exiting for me but, there is always 2 sides to what I want. If I see the ending and don’t like it I can’t exactly change it but, if I don’t know the ending I can imagine the ending the way I want to. At the same time, the show is so addictive that I want a season 2. I also kept thinking that she maybe would show up alive and might have just faked her death to see how people would react and pop out of no where when Clay was done watching the tapes. When I saw her slit her wrists and bleed to death in her tub, I was devastated and I cried a lot because I felt so emotionally connected with all the shows and the different views/aspects. I guess I cried because of how scaring that video or picture plays back in my head every time someone brings up the fact that she’s dead. All in all, no matter what they chose to do, I will be happy either way. This was a fantastic show (one of my favorites.)

  9. S says:

    This show fcked me up for a couple days following the finale.

  10. Dennis says:

    I have to say, I binged this show and couldn’t stop, the writing, directing, and acting was incredible!! I loved the season finale and the ending. Justice!!!

    • William says:

      I passed up a cookout & a 75 degree spring day to finish the series! This series was gripping, to say the least.

  11. Dennis says:

    Had to add, that I finished this show a few days ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. What a heart-churning, heart-wrenching show. Well done to all involved!

  12. Jared says:

    I’ve only watched the first episode and really liked it. Knowing what happens in the book I can’t see how they could stretch out this story for a S2.

  13. I binge-watched it within 24 hours of its release, and I’m still getting over the bathtub scene.

    When I was in my teen years (many moons ago), you’d hear stuff about how “well, pills are the most painless way to go, but slitting your wrists in the bathtub is almost as painless. And in both cases, you just fall asleep and don’t wake up.”

    If this series helps make one suicidal person realize that this “common wisdom” couldn’t be further from the truth, then everyone involved in the show deserves a Nobel or something.

    (And really, how *could* that be painless when, as we see with Skye, there are others who cut themselves — just not as deeply, not as lethally — precisely *because* it hurts?)

    I share the consensus here that Alex probably shot himself, that it wasn’t Tyler, though Tyler is up to no good. But I was only expecting Tyler to take a shot at Clay to keep him from passing the tapes along to the guidance counselor or the authorities; it wasn’t until after the episode, after seeing reviews here and elsewhere, that I thought about a school shooting scenario. (I must have been distracting during the scene that revealed he was stockpiling weapons.)

  14. Nty says:

    I ever cried through this whole series, but I’m haunted and traumatized in a way no show has ever done to me before. I wanted to look away during the bathtub scene but I was just numb, I think my heart stopped for a bit. The when her mother found her, I almost passed out. This is a taboo issue for a reason, its very confronting…but I am thankful to this show for not shying away from it.
    I think my mind was all confused in the finale, I was so sure it was Justin who was shot in the head. If it’s Alex then I’m guessing Tyler may have something to do with it. And if season 2 is a recount of Tyler and his “reasons why he shot up the school”…then I will def not watch. I cannot go through this emotional beat-down again. 2 days later and the bath tub scene is all I see when I go to sleep.
    For the most part my heart broke for Clay. His pain was the driving force behind this show. My favorite scene of the whole series was when the whole gang got together one last time trying to figure out what to say in the depositions and they all eventually decided to tell the truth. That whole scene went from Hannah is lying, to trying to pin all of it on Bryce to them coming to the realization they all played a part and that Hannah was indeed telling the truth. Outside of Clay and Hannah my other fav character were def Alex and his sassy mouth. My least fav were Jessica and Courtney. The show kinda redeemed Justin in the end there.
    I think now that the Bakers have the tapes, Bryce will get what is coming to him.

  15. Becca says:

    I completely interpreted Tyler taking Alex’s picture differently, Alex was the only one to show him kindness (you see the flashback) and he’s going to be spared from a school shooting.

    • TV viewer says:

      I thought it was a righteous vs wrath scenario: so long as there’s even a righteous one in that high school, Tyler wasn’t going to shot the others. Once the righteous one, as perceived by Tyler, is removed – in this case, Alex killed himself – there’s no reason that stops Tyler from start shooting everyone else.

  16. Cmarie says:

    This show was so addicting and devastating and so incredibly well done. I couldn’t stop watching. Incredible acting by everyone in it. You believed that’s who they were and related to them, even sadly when they were at their worst. I felt so bad for Hannah for thinking that was her only outlet, but I also feel bad for some of those kids. Teenagers can be mean but do they deserve to be blamed for her death? I don’t know. Obviously Bryce does, that (insert words here I’m not putting in the comments). But wow. Overall, just Ann incredible show.

  17. abz says:

    Such an amazing and addictive show. I couldn’t stop watching. It was such a tragic and haunting story. I really hope that there will be another season.
    The cast was amazing. And that suicide scene was both heartbreaking and uncomfortable to watch. Kate Walsh did an amazing job in that scene.
    Side note: I read online that the actors who play Alex and Justin are dating in real life. I don’t know if that’s true, but they’d make a cute couple.

  18. Sheila says:

    Say what you want about Kate Walsh, but Brian d’Arcy James gutted me in the bathtub scene.

  19. Pablo says:

    Can this show compite for Best Children´s Program?. It was really well-made. Most of the sympathetic characters had a sad ending…
    Clay´s mom face after hearing that he son were on the tape was priceless…
    They didnt explain why Tony and Clay were friends. Was it that clay was thought to be gay?
    Skye has a crash on Clay, like Clay had on Hannah

    • TV viewer says:

      I took that they were all friends: Tony, Skye and Clay. Judging by how Clay’s mom knew Tony’s dad well enough to bring Tony to family dinner as a surprise for Clay, or Clay grabbed Skye’s correct wrist, fully aware of the scars he would find there.

  20. Pablo says:

    13 reasons why Second season. Tyler goes to school and he shoot everyone. Tapes explaining why did the shooting happen?

  21. peterwdawson says:

    You know, usually cutting away from the suicide is the smart, tasteful and respectful choice. This wasn’t the case for this show, we’re probably better for it. Manipulative for sure but it felt more in the right place than some other instances I can recall.

    • TV viewer says:

      I liked that they didn’t victimize Hannah: she did make mistakes, she was too self centered and she did see only what she wanted to see in some instances. She didn’t take responsibility for loosing her parents’s money, not stopping Jessica’s rape or going after her first friend’s boyfriend. She killed herself, not because she was a victim, but because took a decision.

  22. Haddy says:

    I was thinking what some of you were thinking about a second season following Tyler mass shooting the school… but he’s really not compelling enough as a character. You have to be able to get emotionally attached to a character, good or bad, to understand their motives and be able to follow a show… Tyler’s not a character I’d like to follow through an entire season.

    • TV viewer says:

      You’re thinking in terms of the survivor – assuming Tyler will survive the shooting, as he did with bullying and Hannah’s rejection – but 13 Reasons Why deals in terms of the deceased. Should we see a school shooting, it would be through the eyes of the victims – random or targeted – that don’t make it out of it alive.

  23. I'm Still Alive says:

    I tried not to watch this show because I was already traumatized by high school and didn’t want to relive it but it’s so well done and compelling. Hannah’s suicide scene is intense and horrifying to watch… also I was glad I didn’t know when I was her age that you slice up the wrist not across. I probably wouldn’t have survived if I actually had known what I was doing. Glad I did survive, despite how hard life can be. I hope this series helps kids understand better how to get help and especially helps kids understand the horrible effects of bullying.
    Which could be a theme furthered in season 2. Obviously Tyler and his stockpile of weapons is the obvious plot direction but maybe school shootings are too touchy a topic in the US?
    Don’t like the idea of further tapes though. That was Hannah’s idea, her story. Still, lots to work with with the other characters.

  24. This was honestly one of the most powerful, well-done shows I have ever seen. Not only was it incredibly addicting to watch, it had amazing acting, and an important message. I actually started bawling during the final episode …and in the 12th episode. It was so overwhelming and heartbreaking. It was almost unwatchable, but I am glad it was included. We shouldn’t shy away from these incredibly important topics. I think this show will stay with me for years to come. I’m happy it’s caught on and that everyone seems to watching.

  25. Bethany says:

    Hey can anyone clarify something for me? Last episode we see zach call alex and he answers, in what time line did that fall? Because the end of the previous episode shows the person unknown, at the time, in the ambulance. Also the principal states alex shot himself last night. So was it a flashback? Is this just another nuisance that zach was the last person to talk to Alex but didn’t reach out enough there again? I dunnnooooo maaaan this show has my head spinning. I’m glad bryce got skipped and never got to hear the tapes and was surprised to hear of their existance. My palm went to my forehead over and over that last episode!

    • Lyn says:

      It isn’t Alex who answers. I think it’s A. The hospital/police seeing the texts Zach sent to Alex’s phone (indicating he knows who the phone belongs to) or B. Its Alex’s Dad. I’m pretty sure its A as there doesn’t seem to be any distress on the other end. And afterwards the principal informs Mr. Porter about Alex once Zach IDs him.

  26. Savannah says:

    Where did the package of tapes get mailed to??

    • Courtney says:

      One set went to Tony. The other got mailed to Justin. There was two sets of tapes. It says it in the first episode.

  27. Joseph says:

    How come Bryce didn’t know about the recordings? Werent the tapes supposed to pass onto eachother, depending on who was the subject of the recording? Clay was number 11 and Porter 13, so Clay didn’t pass them onto Bryce?

    • abz says:

      I believe that was the intention. Clay chose not to pass on the tapes to Bryce and to work on getting Bryce to confess instead. If Bryce had known about the tapes, he probably would have never confessed to rape.