For Some Reason, The Latest Season Of ’13 Reasons Why’ Dumps All Over Their LGBTQ Characters
Spoiler Alert: This article reveals the ultimate reveal and finale in Netflix’s third season of the controversial series, 13 Reasons Why. You’ve been warned!
I pretty much determined I’ve been on full Netflix mode since last weekend. When I wasn’t catching up on reruns of Forensic Files or giggling to Dave Chappelle’s Sticks and Stones comedy special, I binge watched the entire third season of 13 Reasons Why. Call me childish, but I don’t care! I absolutely fell in love with the cast, especially knowing most of the actors are LGBTQ in real life… so I’m trying to support the quality performers we actually have. If you aren’t familiar with 13 Reasons, it once centered around a teenage girl’s suicide who left a series of record tapes to a group of her peers who all not only have secrets of their own, but played a part in her suicide. The first and second seasons were quite brilliant television, so I was pretty (silently) excited to view the latest season which premiered over the weekend.
Simply put, the third season of 13 Reasons is absolutely horrible. The zany, soap opera drama that I once loved should definitely be canceled after the (predetermined renewed) fourth season – or at the very least take a cue from American Horror Story and change up the series entirely compared to continuing with the lives of these California teens. Not only is the plot completely confusing, far-fetched, and sloppy; the inclusion of a new character, Grace Saif’s Amorrowat “Ani” Achola, was entirely unnecessary, unbelievable, and was the beginning of the end of losing me as a viewer. But, Saif’s poor performance and character wasn’t the part that made me fed up entirely. I mean, I finished the season – only to get even more upset.
This series has given their LGBTQ characters quite the spotlight. While Tommy Dorfman’s openly gay Ryan Shaver is entirely absent and Michele Selene Ang’s Courtney Crimsen barely makes an appearance this season, we are still treated to Christian Navarro’s emotional performance as Tony Padilla, a gay Latino whose parents are deported as he pursues being a hero while dating RJ Brown’s Caleb. At first I thought this was going to be the only LGBTQ storyline we were getting… which is fine. I would’ve been happier with that honestly, because their storyline just gets a little more cringe…
The third season revolves around a who-dun-it AKA who killed the high school’s resident bully and rapist, Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice). Prentice gives a potentially award nominating performance and magically showcases his skills because he makes you empathize and sympathize with a freaking bully/rapist/sociopath to the point where you’re kind of upset that you know he’s dead already just by watching the season three trailer. His killer ends up being Alex Standall (Miles Heizer) AKA the former worst actor of the series until Saif came on board. But, this boy doesn’t take the blame.
The person who winds up taking the fall for the death is Montgomery de la Cruz (Timothy Granaderos). Monty, as his friends call him, was just as big of a douche as the person he allegedly murdered. Monty was a bully to everyone, a narcissist, and raped the school’s biggest outcast with a broom handle. Obviously, the character of Monty had some issues. They gave the actor (possibly one of the sexiest men I’ve ever seen in my life) a lot more to work with this season. He’s more than just the bully d-bag he was in the first two seasons. He’s actually having a sexual relationship with male student Winston (Deaken Bluman) and they have possibly the best sex scene in the series. Newcomer Ani tells the cops (who listen to her?) that Monty killed Bryce. Monty eventually gets killed in jail – off screen – and the town is led to believe Monty is not only a rapist, but a murderer, and his name is tarnished beyond belief. Winston, who clearly had more than just the hots for Monty, gives us a cliffhanger that he may spread the word Monty was with him during Bryce’s murder – thus eliminating him from the possibility of being a killer. And I hope he does, although I will just have to read a recap because I’ve lost interest.
I’m not one of the people you’ll see on your timeline harping that all LGBTQ storylines should have a happy ending. They don’t. We all don’t even have to be portrayed as innocent, kind, and full of love. Because some of us aren’t. There’s bad seeds to any batch. But, the way they portrayed a teenager hiding his sexuality with aggression and violence only to kill him off is pretty bogus on every level. His death came out of nowhere. His character was rather compelling. I’m sure we’ll see him get justice in the fourth (and hopefully final) season of 13 Reasons. But, in the meantime, I can’t help but feel they pretty much just dragged their gay characters through the mud this season or didn’t even care to harness the good ones they had. Instead, they made closeted men look like maniacs and non-binary persons look way to triggered by anything possibly offensive. 13 Reasons was fun while it lasted, but I can think of more than thirteen reasons to kick this show to the curb. Next!
If you’d like to join me in shock, the third season of 13 Reasons Why is currently streaming on Netflix.
Writer’s Note: This is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.