Warning: Major spoilers for 13 Reasons Why Season 3 are ahead.
One of the most surprising twists of 13 Reasons Why's season 3 was the relationship between Montgomery (Timothy Granaderos) and Winston (Deaken Bluman), a student at Hillcrest. Unfortunately for the students at Liberty High involved in blaming Monty for the death of Bryce (Justin Prentice), Winston is a huge wrench in their plan.
In the series, Monty attends a party with Bryce (Justin Prentice) at the home of a Hillcrest student. Monty doesn't know anyone there, and searches the house for a bathroom — where he stumbles upon Winston. Within seconds, there's sexual tension between them — but when Winston kisses Monty, he immediately pushes him away, angrily. Winston thinks maybe he misread signals...but he didn't. Monty quickly pulls Winston in closer, succumbing to his feelings, and pushes Winston's head down so that Winston can perform oral sex on him.
Monty doesn't tell anyone about the hookup, and as Monty leaves the party, Winston asks if Monty would want to hang out again. This sparks something in Monty: He starts beating Winston to a pulp, until he's a bloody mess on the ground. Bryce rips Monty off Winston, but it's too late: Winston's face is wrecked.
Bryce agrees to pay Winston off (a cool eight grand) in order for Winston to forget that the situation with Monty ever happened. Monty moves on with his life...until he sees Winston outside the homecoming game.
Monty apologizes to Winston for beating him up that summer, and Winston accepts the apology. Shockingly, Winston — having not learned what happened last time Monty asked him to hang out — invites Monty to his parent-free home. Cut to: Monty and Winston having sex.
“Winston was a very important person in Monty’s life," Granaderos tells Refinery29 during the show's press junket in Napa Valley. "He was the only person who told Monty he could be whatever he wanted to be. Monty’s response was 'No, I can't,' which is so sad. If their relationship went on, Monty’s vulnerability could have opened up, and he could have discovered himself and seen things a little differently."
Monty never tells anyone where he was after homecoming — which, as we know, is the night that Bryce was killed. Monty fakes an alibi (that he was at his friend's house getting drunk) but no one can corroborate it since Monty would never tell anyone he was having sex with Winston.
"Brian [Yorkey, the showrunner] and I talked about it and decided that if Monty was gay, he would never talk about it, he wouldn’t even allow himself to explore that in his mind. It would take someone like Winston to come along to make him [act on anything,]" Granaderos explains.
When Ani (Grace Saif) suggests that it was Monty who killed Bryce, there's no good reason for anyone not to believe it. Since Monty was killed in jail just before Ani told the cops her theory, Monty can't even defend himself.
The one person who can defend Monty after his death is Winston, and that seems what he intends to do. Winston finds Ani in the season finale outside Monet's, and tells her that, despite everything Monty did, he was a person. He was also with Winston the night of Bryce's death, all night...making Monty unable to commit the murder.
Whether Winston will tell the police the truth, or if he'll "let the dead bury the dead," we won't know until 13 Reasons Why season 4. What is clear, though, is that the Liberty High gang didn't fix their Bryce problem as perfectly as they thought.