Warning: Spoilers ahead for 13 Reasons Why season 3.
13 Reasons Why season 2 had one of the most harrowing finales of 2018. The Netflix teen drama’s sophomore year wraps with Tyler Downs (Devin Druid) nearly enacting a mass shooting at that evening’s Spring Fling dance. Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) stops Tyler just before the police arrive. He throws Tyler into the car of Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro), who speeds away. The last shot of the season shows Clay, Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn), and Jessica David (Alisha Boe) standing outside of Liberty, Clay holding Tyler’s massive assault riffle.
Yet, when we return to 13 Reasons, months have gone by. Team Tape’s junior year is over and our heroes are months into their first semester of senior year. There’s a new girl named Ani (Grace Saif) who is in everyone’s business, and, we eventually find out, Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice) is dead. Absolutely no one has time to explain the aftermath of the Spring Fling crisis, which went down eight months prior.
Saying a lot happened between season 2 and season 3 of 13 Reasons Why may be the understatement of the year. Thankfully, the series peppers the answers to our most burning questions — what happened at homecoming? Where the hell did Ani even come from? — throughout the 2019 season's flashbacks. Here is the full guide you need to understanding exactly what went down between then and now, and how it led to Bryce’s murder, all in chronological order.
How did Tyler escape after Spring Fling?
Clay and Justin explain it best over the season 3 premiere, “Yeah, I’m the New Girl.” Inside of the dance, Justin figured out it was Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler) who called the police on Tyler. Outside, Justin and Jessica went to roll Tyler’s car into a parking lot to hide it, but they realized the keys were still in the ignition. So, Clay drove it away, right past the cops. At the same time, Tony drove Tyler to an abandoned structure to meet up with Clay. From the nondescript building, all three boys drove to Tyler’s home to drop him off. Clay and Tony slept over to ensure Tyler wouldn’t go out and try his plan once again.
In the aftermath of the almost-shooting, all of Team Tape (sans a rightly wary Zach) band together to essentially babysit Tyler at all times. They believe if they can take care of Tyler in-house, and prove to him he does have friends, he won’t hurt anyone.
This plan nearly goes awry, as we see in “Angry, Young And Man.” It’s at this point we learn Tyler found out Bryce knows the truth about Spring Fling and went to his motel room to intimidate him into silence. Bryce promises not to call the cops on Tyler since outing him would also ruin his protector Justin’s life. So, Tyler just leaves.
When did Ani arrive at Liberty High School?
In the direct wake of the Spring Fling dance. How Ani’s overprotective mother agreed to let her only daughter go to a school that had an active shooter warning mere days earlier, we’ll never know. 13 Reasons Why confirms this tumultuous time is Ani's entrance into Liberty because it comes right after Clay, Justin, and Alex figure out the schedule to chaperone Tyler during the school day. Tyler still had the bruises he suffered at the hands of Monty de la Cruz’s (Timothy Granaderos) sexual assault and battery.
On that same day, Courtney Crimsen (Michele Selene Ang) — remember Courtney? — summons Clay to the principal's office to ask him to give a new student tour. The new student is Ani. She is living in the Walker home since her mom is Bryce’s grandpa’s nurse. Within minutes, she has found her way into Clay, Justin, and Jessica’s confidence, often with very unnerving observations or compliments.
What happened over the summer?
Relationships tend to go through huge evolutions over the summer for Liberty High students. As we learned in season 2, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) and Zach spent the summer before junior year enjoying a sweet and flirty romance. The summer before senior year, however, wasn't nearly so sunny.
Instead, Bryce and Alex become close. Bryce is lonely and self-pitying after the trial and his banishment to an openly hostile Hillcrest Prep. Alex is lonely and self-pitying after Jessica dumped him for Justin again. So, after Alex starts buying steroids from Bryce in a wayward attempt to increase his masculinity, they strike up a friendship. Byrce urges Alex to try cocaine for the first time, takes him to a sex worker for an alleged confidence boost, and brings him to his dad’s house to wreck the joint. That latter activity destroys the already precarious friendship.
A cocaine addled Bryce ends up driving to the wrong house, so he and Alex ruin the wrong living room. A little boy happens upon the teenage home invaders and stands in the foyer in a panic. Alex attempts to comfort the child. Bryce says, “You speak and you die.” Alex is promptly reminded he has befriended a monster (the same monster who raped Alex’s ex-girlfriend). Alex ends the friendship, but keeps buying steroids from Bryce.
Elsewhere over the summer, Bryce's best friend Monty hooks up with a boy, Winston (Deaken Bluman), at a rich person party. When Winston asks Monty on a date in front of people, Monty, in a homophobic panic, beats Winston to a bloody pulp. Bryce then helped Winston get someone to take the SATs for him as a bribe, therefore securing blackmail over Winston in perpetuity.
Where is Tony’s family?
As we learn in “You Can Tell The Heart Of A Man By How He Grieves,” Tony’s family was taken by ICE. Tony then sold his infamous red sports car to Bryce in an effort to pay for good lawyers to help his parents. Yet, the sale didn’t help, and the older Padillas were still deported. That is why Tony is managing Padilla Automotive.
In “The World Closing In,” it’s confirmed the Walkers turned the Padillas in, but Bryce legitimately had no idea. His father, embittered by the season 2 trial, turned the Padillas in for retribution for his bruised reputation. As punishment for the latest injustice done in his name, Bryce agrees to listen to Hannah’s tapes. He is devastated when he finally understands the full repercussions of his actions.
What happened at homecoming in 13 Reasons Why?
All of the tensions in Liberty High explode at the senior year homecoming game, which was followed by the murder of Bryce Walker. These are the highlights:
— Clay sees Bryce kiss Ani before the homecoming game. This is the exact nightmare scenario Clay was so worried about in “World,” when he infamously threatened to kill Bryce at the Walker home (he was there to ask Ani to the homecoming dance). Now we know what caused the pre-murder blowup. This is also why Clay sent Bryce menacing texts right before he was killed.
— Jessica leads a protest against the sexual assault and violence perpetrated by athletes. During the event, one of Bryce’s Hillcrest classmates (Riverdale's Hart Denton) grabs Jessica’s breasts, assaulting her in front of hundreds of people and proving the importance of the protest. Justin charges onto the field to defend Jessica, and the entire Liberty High football team follows him. This is how the brawl begins.
— Prior to the game, Chloe (Anne Winters) tells Bryce that she was pregnant, the resulting baby would have been his, she got an abortion, and Zach supported her through the entire emotional ordeal. Bryce retaliates against Zach by taking his knee out during the brawl.
— Before all of this goes down, Bryce asks Jessica to meet him by the piers after the game. He intends to fully apologize and hand her a confession tape of his own making. But, we all know that trip doesn't end how Bryce expects...
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).