13 Reasons Why

*Spoilers ahead*

“Hey, it’s Hannah. Hannah Baker. That’s right. Don’t adjust your… whatever device you’re hearing this on. It’s me, live and in stereo.” – Hannah Baker Thirteen Reasons Why

By now we’ve all seen the show, read the book, or seen the memes on the internet. We all know the tragic story of how Hannah Baker slit her wrists in the bathtub, and the thirteen reasons why she did it.

Alex Standall is one of the teen boys on the tapes for putting Hannah on a hot or not list. Alex unintentionally ostracizes her from their former group when his girlfriend, Hannah’s best friend, find out she is on the not list while Hannah is on the hot list. She assumes Alex and Hannah are going behind her back and ultimately chooses to disconnect with both of them. At the end of the series it is “said” that Alex has shot himself in the head. However this ending is highly debated because the audience is also shown scenes of Tyler putting away guns. Tyler is also shown removing Alex’s picture from a clothesline with pictures of the others from the tape. Tyler Down is on the tapes because he was Hannah’s stalker and released scandalous pictures of Hannah with another girl.

The first of the two theories is that Alex did in fact shoot himself in the head. This backed throughout the second half of the series where Alex demonstrates that he no longer has any will to live. Standall demonstrates many signs that he does not value his own life. When Alex and two other boys from the tape are trying to scare the boy from tape 11, they go for a drive and try to scare him by driving really fast. Although the boys all begin yelling at Alex to slow down he continues to increase his speed until he reaches 145 km/h in an 80 km/h zone, he does not slow down until he is pulled over by the police. In a later episode Alex falls into a pool and instead of climbing right out he stays under the water much longer than he should, almost as if he planned to drown himself right there. He also quits jazz band which demonstrates him losing interest in things that he previously enjoyed. Right after this he gets in a fight with a star athlete, one he is sure to lose from the beginning and is left with various wounds. Alex’s strict father would likely play a part in his suicide attempt due to the nature of their relationship, Alex almost always referred to his father as sir. Lastly, and possibly the most damning evidence is that right before Alex is rushed to the hospital he is cleaning his room. It is brought to the attention of the audience when his dad comments on how good it is looking. According to web Md this is a sign that many people produce before they attempt to take their life. This would run consistent with Hannah who also was shown cleaning her room before she took her own life.

The second theory, and significantly more popular theory, is that Tyler shot Alex. This theory goes beyond just Alex to say that Tyler is preparing for a school shooting. Evidence for this theory can be found in his social interactions with his peers. Throughout the show Tyler is constantly excluded from the group of students brought together by Hannah’s 13 tapes. There is a collective that meets to stop Clay from sharing what is on the tapes. Tyler is constantly trying to join the group but is shunned for being creepy, and for being Hannah’s stalker. The constant isolation and bullying that Tyler experiences from that group could be just cause for him to want to kill the other members. Why he would go that far could be elluded to to the fact that he may want revenge for himself, as well as Hannah. It is also possible that he is expanding her list to include others who bullied him.

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I personally think that it is a fusion of both theories. Both are logical and have extensive evidence that can be gathered throughout the show. Along with the two theories being rational, the pair also benefit the creator. Alex’s suicide provides the message the show is looking for. The characters in the show are all too busy listening to a girl who killed herself, they’re being educated on the signs of suicide, and all are trying to prevent further cases. Meanwhile there is another person right under their noses who is suffering. However, they all miss his signs and he tries to kill himself. Proving the shows point that we need to do so much more than just put up posters to prevent this kind of thing from happening. Tylers theory also provides a gateway into a possible season two. They left the audience on the edge of their seats with this twist.

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5 thoughts on “13 Reasons Why

  1. Dear Alexis,
    I watched all the episodes and i loved seeing a different view on this portion of the story. I watched it with my mom and we both concluded that Alex did not kill himself. I guess I assumed that if he was to kill himself he could just have continued to stay submerged in the pool after playing video games with the boys, but he didn’t. I felt as if he realized that ending his life would not fix anything, but just cause more problems. Now maybe I may change my mind.

    1. Manisha,

      Thank you for your feedback! I’m super glad that I may have changed your mind as I am a strong believer in that side of the theory.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read my blog,

  2. Dear Alexis,

    Another well written piece. It is surprising to see very deep analyzation over an episode on any sort of TV show. You took it to a point where you would watch the characters reaction during the day and began to formulate whole theories based on them.

    I have no suggestions at all for this piece.



    1. Ak,

      Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and noticing the effort I put into the theories!


  3. Dear Alexis,

    Your title immediately captivated me, and I think that this topic was an absolutely wonderful one to explore. I really liked how your first few lines were parallel to what Hannah Baker’s first lines were on her tapes — amazing stylistic choice! As for your writing, I enjoyed how you explored both of the theories and provided a bit of background knowledge for your readers.

    To improve, I would suggest limiting plot retell, and adding in more of your own thoughts. To be specific, I would say that 10% of your writing should be background knowledge, but 90% should be based on what you think. The last paragraph of this piece was by far the most interesting and the strongest, because you were able to articulate your views and invite introspection from your readers.

    Again, I loved the topic of your blog, and how you immediately hooked your readers. Thank you for writing this piece! It was absolutely lovely to read.

    Kindest regards,
    Riya Rai

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