Warning: This article contains mentions of sexual assault.
In season 3 of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice) is dead, and in the process of figuring out who did it, we learn a lot about the ways he was trying to be a better person. It's easier than you think to start to feel endeared to the character, thanks in large part to Prentice's portrayal, but it's important to remember what he did before he passed. The Liberty High student has been a violent, entitled antagonist since the very beginning, and the most upsetting person mentioned in Hannah Baker’s (Katherine Langford) 13 tapes.
But in case you've forgotten, or the impending funeral has you feeling forgiving, here’s just what Bryce did on 13 Reasons Why to earn his reputation as an absolutely awful person.
Who Is Bryce Walker?
Let’s go back to season 1's introduction to Bryce, which hinted at exactly who this guy is. He's a popular jock from a very rich family who seems to think he owns everything and everyone at Liberty High.
Even before we learn that he's a rapist, one of the first things he does in a flashback is share a compromising picture of Hannah with the entire school — it's a photo a boy she was seeing took of her, in which she’s going down a slide in a skirt towards the camera. The leak is Bryce's doing, and one of the first things that tanks Hannah’s reputation at the school.
Who Did Bryce Rape?
After that we learn (and unfortunately see) Bryce rape not one, but two students at Liberty High School, both Hannah and Jessica (Alisha Boe). He rapes Jessica while she’s passed out, drunk, and unable to consent to anything. Hannah happens to be in the room, hiding in the closet while this is happening, and overhears the whole thing. Bryce later rapes Hannah in his hot tub, and while she’s conscious, she asks him to stop and tries to escape him but is unable to do anything to stop Bryce. He leaves bruises on her arms and neck, and shows no remorse whatsoever about it.
By the time we start Season 2, Bryce is now dating a girl named Chloe (Anne Winters). They start dating between seasons, and it’s honestly all a ploy to make Bryce look “nicer” and "loyal" when he goes before the court for Hannah’s trial (because the Bakers are suing the school for negligence). In the beginning, Chloe is painted as a mean girl, and it's seems that she and Bryce are two villains in a pod. But then, things change when it's revealed that Bryce continually sexually assaults his girlfriend.
He is forcing her to have sex whens she clearly doesn't want to and leaving bruises behind (Bryce's mother notices the bruises). It's also revealed that there are pictures of Bryce raping an unconscious Chloe at the clubhouse. As all this comes to light, Chloe decides to testify against Bryce on the stand, but once she's up there, she becomes frightened of her boyfriend and lies about their relationship being consensual. Afterwards she the two are seen consoling each other, with Chloe saying that she believes Bryce is a nice guy.
What Happened During Bryce's Trial?
In season 1, Clay (Dylan Minnette) confronts Bryce about assaulting Hannah, and secretly records the conversation, in which Bryce confesses to the rape. Clay later releases the tapes to the whole school but they unfortunately can't be used in court.
Things also come to a head when Bryce's mother (Brenda Strong) slowly begins to doubt her son's innocence in all of this. After she sees pictures of Bryce raping Chloe, she confronts him about it. Bryce immediately turns to victim blaming, but later confesses that yes, he did rape Hannah. Mrs. Walker is appalled and slaps her son, calling him a stranger. Bryce then blames his parents for that, since they're mostly absentee guardians, but that's only because they felt they could trust him to make good choices.
Meanwhile, Jessica is trying to reclaim her truth and reports her sexual assault to the police. Bryce stands trial for it and gets off easy, only receiving three months probation before being transferred to another school. Our Bryce story could end there, but at the school dance, Chloe reveals to Jessica that she's pregnant.
Knowing all of this, yeah, Bryce is a bad guy. There's no other way to put it.
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).