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The Ending Of 13 Reasons Why Season 4 Explained

The final season of 13 Reasons Why has been released, and wraps up the story of Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe), and their friends at Liberty High. There are still, however, some random, unanswered questions. For example, Clay draws a symbol all over school that is never fully explained. Characters who disappeared midway through the series are not even mentioned in the finale. Even with all these loose threads, though, fans were able to get some kind of closure. The show's characters even buried Hannah's (Katherine Langford) tapes in an attempt to put that behind them and move on.

13 Reasons Why started off as an adaption of Jay Asher's novel about a girl who leaves behind cassette tapes that explain why her classmates are the "reasons" she died by suicide, but only the first season of the Netflix series covered the events of the book. The three seasons that followed unpacked whether or not it was ever possible to end toxic behavior at a high school, what happens when we try to look out for one another, and how a girl blaming her death on her classmates would affect their mental health going forward. 

Here's your breakdown of how 13 Reasons Why ended, and what happens to the characters.

Spoiler warning! There are major major spoilers for 13 Reasons Why season 4 below. Don't read unless you've finished the series or don't mind knowing what happens.

Who died at the end of 13 Reasons Why?

Season 4 opens with a funeral, but we don't know whose it is until the very last episode, "Graduation." At the end of episode 9, Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn) collapses at the prom. In the series finale, he is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, which it appears he contracted after running away in season 1, and he dies later that summer. This makes him the fifth Liberty High student to die in just over two years after Jeff (Brandon Larracuente), Hannah, Bryce (Justin Prentice), and Monty (Timothy Granaderos). 

One thing the finale did clear up in conjunction with Justin's death is that Clay clarified for the audience that he's not actually seeing ghosts, and neither is Jessica, for that matter. While 13 Reasons Why season 4 did almost swerve into Riverdale and Pretty Little Liars territory with spooky phone calls and pranks, it turns out the post-mortem appearances of characters like Bryce, Monty, Justin, and Hannah are just a coping mechanism for Clay and Jessica, as well as a dramatic device for the audience. It's magical realism, according to Justin's ghost. There's even a clever device in the finale in which a conversation that Clay is having with Justin's ghost turns into a conversation he is having with his therapist. 

What happens to those left on 13 Reasons Why?

Alright, it's time for that "end of the movie" montage in which we tell you where everyone in this high school class ended up. Tony (Christian Navarro) goes to college on a boxing scholarship. Against all odds, Clay gets into Brown University, an Ivy League school. Zach (Ross Butler) was going to stick around Evergreen County and start coaching at Liberty High, but then decides at the last minute to go to college and study guitar and voice. Jessica, Alex, and possibly Tyler (Devin Druid) get into Berkeley. Alex (Miles Heizer) and Tyler are at least going to college near enough to each other in the Bay Area that they make plans to carpool back to Liberty and visit their significant others, Charlie (Tyler Barnhardt) and Estela (Inde Navarrette). Speaking of Estela, Mrs. Walker donates Bryce Walker's college fund to Hands Off at Liberty High, which Monty's sister will be taking over. 

Two students who graduated after 13 Reasons Why season 2 also returned for the series finale. Courtney (Michele Selene Ang) is at Wellesley, and still rolling her eyes at her over-supportive fathers. We don't know where Ryan (Tommy Dorfman) is studying, but he sidles up to Winston (Deaken Bluman) real quick and declares that he wants to be famous.

Missing are Marcus (Steven Silver) and Sherri (Ajiona Alexus), the only two Liberty Students who were named in Hannah Baker's tapes but did not return to the Graduation Party to bury said tapes. Sheri especially should have at least come to Justin's funeral, as she played a major role in his recovery in season 2.  

Did they all get away with everything?

The season finale is tragic enough with Justin's death, but there's still the fact that Ani (Grace Saif) and Deputy Standall (Mark Pellegrino) conspired to frame Monty for Bryce Walker's murder when the students ultimately responsible were Alex, who pushed him, Zach, who broke his legs, and Jessica, who witnessed. 

As it turns out, they're all going to be fine. Winston, who seemingly came to Liberty High to get justice for Monty, and who got Alex's confession on tape, decides against exposing the crime. Much as Clay became obsessed with Hannah despite not really knowing her as well as he thought, Winston needed to let go of his idealized version of Monty. Then, Sheriff Diaz tells Deputy Standall that Bryce Walker's case file is going into permanent storage, implying that he knows Standall's son was behind it and is agreeing to bury the truth because "family comes first" and their job isn't everything. So, that's that! They all get to move on, free from legal consequences, and with the show ending, where they all go from here is anyone's guess.