Another day, another reason people are mad at 13 Reasons Why.
The Netflix series has been courting controversy ever since its debut in 2017, as concerned adults worried that graphic depictions of suicide and a lacking exploration of mental health might be bad for the teens who were quickly binging the show.
Netflix has since edited out the graphic suicide scene, and the show now includes a warning and an accompanying website with mental health resources for anyone who may need them, but the criticisms keep coming. This time, the issues are centered around new character Ani (Grace Saif), a new student at Liberty High who gets close to Bryce (Justin Prentice), the bully and rapist who assaulted Hannah (Katherine Langford) and Jessica (Alisha Boe) and ruined a whole lot of lives.
Season three begins with Bryce’s disappearance in the present, while in flashbacks we’re getting to know Ani, a girl who claims she knows things about people.
“Bryce Walker came into my life, and my life got complicated,” she explains, telling us she knows the Bryce that no one else knows, and essentially becoming our new narrator. That alone is an interesting choice for a character we don’t know and who we don’t yet care about, but it becomes much more of an interesting choice when we realize that Ani is Team Bryce, here to lend him some humanity and accuse everyone else of being responsible for his murder.
She somehow found herself in everyone’s business despite having nothing to do with anything that happened over the past two seasons of this show, and befriended Jessica while also having sex with Jessica’s rapist, and she befriended Clay all while trying to accuse Clay of murdering Bryce, and it all just felt kinda weird.
In an interview with EW, Justin Prentice spoke about the relationship between Bryce and Ani and how it was part of Bryce’s potential to change.
“That is the thing with Bryce, he’s learning to be human for the first time either ever or in a long time, at least since he was maybe a little kid and it’s an uphill battle,” he said. “So you do see those tense moments between him and Ani as he tries to figure out how to grasp his emotions and control his anger and open up an empathetic side and let people in. That give and take is interesting and terrifying between the two characters.”
Twitter is filled with fairly popular tweets about how annoying and confusing the character is, with some even calling for the season to be remade without her.
Many fans found themselves regretting their previous opinions about how weird it was to have Hannah continue narrating the show long after her tapes were over.
And many pointed out correctly that Ani did not need to be involved in any of this.
Mean Girls memes were utilized.
It was just really, really hard to care about any of Ani’s opinions on a man who had hurt so many people.
The season ended with a small web of people being responsible for Bryce’s death (spoiler: mainly Alex, but also Zach, and Jessica was there), but Ani succeeded in her quest to get Monty (Timothy Granaderos) held responsible for the murder. Monty was then killed in prison, and all the loose ends could have been tied up in that messy by workable bow, and it could have been a series ending.
13 Reasons Why has already been renewed for a fourth and final season, and we already know things are going to just get worse: Tyler’s bag of guns has been found in the river, and Monty had an alibi for the night Bryce died. Given the fact that Ani is fairly tied up in that story about Monty, it’s likely we’re not done hearing from her.
Let’s just hope that Ani maybe takes a step back from other people’s problems in season four, and that everyone can end season four with some actual happiness in their lives, because we’re not sure we can take that much more of this trauma.
13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix.