Are you suicidal? No? Or putting it lightly, do you feel like pulling off the plug of your life-support system? Not quite? Well, you should still read this article and I’ll tell you why.
Katherine Langford’s Hannah Baker in the series is a mess of a woman who can’t cope up with her surroundings and finally decides to take the decisive step of committing suicide. Well, it isn’t as simple as that. There’s a twist. Baker leaves behind thirteen tapes, with each being dedicated to one of her friends, colleagues or professors, and explains to the listeners what made her do this.
This is what I was told before me binge-watched this Netflix series and boy! I have never been so wrong. 13 Reasons Why is an utterly complex sequence of tapes which takes you through a delusional ride consisting of vicious graphical depiction of rape, assault and suicide. When the entire ordeal ended, I was forced to think about my loved ones and what I can do so that this never happens in real life.
This show talks about friendship and the deep roots such relationships run. We find this closeness reflected in Baker and her friends Jessica Davis (played by Alisha Boe) and Alex Standall (played by Miles Heizer) in the initial days of her school which was very heart-warming. The story continues to show how Baker lost her support from her friends, with rumours taking a bad shape and people accusing her of a lot many things.
By the time, you reach this far, it has already woven into an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation with Hannah dangling by a thread and we see Ross Butler’s Zach Dempsey shaking this thread to the snapping point.
I remember a dialogue thrown by Langford to Dylan Minette’s Clay Jensen. This scene is actually happening inside Jensen’s mind, where he says to Baker, “I love you, Hannah. And I would never do anything to hurt you.” And his conscience, as Baker replies, “Why didn’t you tell me this when I was alive?” This dialogue is one of the best from the series and is really moving.
We have Christian Navarro’s Tony Padilla who oversees that the tapes are listened to by everybody named on them. One can say that Tony acts as the Guardian Angel for Hannah. The irony here is that this concern for Baker was not reflected by Padilla when she was alive.
Sometimes, all we have is a straw and we try to stay alive with that, hoping that our saviour would arrive and swoosh us from the difficulties. What happens when that saviour doesn’t bother enough to understand that you’re floating with just a straw? This is what percolated here when Derek Luke’s Kevin Porter who was the assigned counsellor for Hannah in her school doesn’t understand that Hannah came to him just before pulling off the plug.
If my memory serves me right, one of my friends commented on the visual portrayal of Baker’s suicide as radically horrific and this comes from a person who sees post-mortem videos for fun. This been said, it is very much clear that 13 Reasons Why isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Although, the show has been in the news for all the wrong reasons with people accusing the producers of promoting suicide, I feel that we can all learn a lesson from it. Baker shows us an entirely different approach to our day-to-day lives. A random act of kindness, an outward thank you or an occasional politeness is often not there in our schedule. Maybe it is high time to make changes to it.
Image Credits – Netflix
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