Warning: Spoilers for 13 Reasons Why season 3 are ahead.
Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why includes one of the most topical storylines of the show's history. In 13 Reasons Why season 3, Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro) comes home to find that his parents have been deported to Mexico, after the Walker family reported them to ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) as revenge. Tony is heartbroken to find his family ripped away from him, a very real fear that many immigrants have given the controversial immigration policies under Donald Trump.
"We knew it would be topical," Navarro explains to Refinery29 during the show's press junket in Napa, Calif. "When we started, we were in the middle of the deportation crisis and the ICE scandal. We knew this would affect people. I didn’t think [the immigration situation] would continue to progress the way it has on the national platform and that it would become truly prevalent. I didn’t expect it, and it’s unfortunate that it has progressed this way."
He adds that the show continues to give audiences characters they can relate to with this storyline.
"It’s important that we have this story out there for young people whose families are being deported. It’s sad, but it is a reality, and now we have something on TV they can connect to and feel like their life is [reflected.]"
At the end of the season, Tony "reunites" with his family at Thanksgiving, albeit over Skype.
"I think the conclusion of that season arc with that Thanksgiving scene, it’s really indicative of the Mexican-American experience," says Navarro. "I am Puerto Rican, but I’ve spent a lot of time with Mexican-Americans, particularly since playing this role. The perseverance and grace under pressure and tremendously unfortunate circumstances is [amazing] — to be able to smile and celebrate Thanksgiving under those conditions."
Whether Tony's family will find a way back to him, the series will have the opportunity to explore: 13 Reasons Why season 4 is in production now.