When to End
By Megan O’Connor
So like everyone else in the world, I binged “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix. Based on a book by Jay Asher, the show follows the story of Hannah Baker as she recounts a terrible year in high school through the eyes of her close friend, Clay. It’s not a spoiler to tell you that Hannah Baker is dead; you know that going into the beginning of the show. The premise is that she decides to kill herself but wants people to understand her reasons and as the title would suggest, finds thirteen and records her reasons on tapes to be passed around this group of people.
I’ll be honest in saying that I haven’t read the book, but I did read the Wikipedia page. I really liked the show. I did. And it’s getting a lot of attention and for good reason. The show warns of the realities of very serious issues among teens and even younger kids, things like bullying in person but also and primarily online through social media or text, sexual harassment and assault, feelings of isolation and fear of whatever’s coming next, all these feelings and situations that make people do things they can’t undo.
I’m glad the show is raising awareness of these serious issues. I’m glad that conversation is happening and I hope that people find each other. That we take the time to really try and see the things our friends, neighbors, coworkers, family members, may be trying to keep from us.
And I may be in the minority (in fact, I’m sure of it), but I don’t want a second season. The show was good. The writing was strong and the acting was solid, and again, the conversation it’s inspiring is important, but I believe the story, as it is for these characters, is over. There were some cliffhangers for sure, but I don’t need to know what happens next. I like the idea that they are continuing on and existing in their reality, and for some of them it’s going to be difficult, but I’m satisfied with the story I was given. In my opinion, “13 Reasons Why” is about a community of people who were not able to save a girl from a tragic end, told through her eyes. She’s gone by the end of the series, and whether we like it or not, she’s not able to tell more of their experiences. They will have to pick up the pieces and keep moving forward, but the point of the story was to show what happened and all the places someone could have intervened, noticed her, said something different, gone down a different path, but didn’t. I’m not sure what the goal of a second season would be, but I’m satisfied with the way this one ended.
It’s hard to know when something should end. A story, a relationship, a job. Sometimes we want full closure. We want to indulge any voyeuristic tendencies and experience the next steps with these characters we’ve grown to care about, but life doesn’t always let us to neatly tie up the ends. We lose touch with people we should have tried to keep in contact with, we get fired and never know why, we lose things, people, feelings and it may change everything. But we keep going even if we don’t have all the answers. As a writer, I don’t think this story needs to continue. As a person, I’m going to try and let the lessons of the show stick with me and try to remember to care about people even if I don’t know why I should.
Sometimes things just end. It’s hard, but it’s ok. It’s all going to be ok.
If you need help or someone to talk to, reach out. Ask for it. We’re in this together. Talk to your friends, your teachers, or find support here https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/