Is Charlie Saint Of 13 Reasons Why Just Another Toxic Athlete?

Photo: Courtesy of Netflix.
Warning: Spoilers for season 3 of 13 Reasons Why follow.
Even if the main clique in 13 Reasons Why is still stuck in the past, Liberty High keeps changing. The third season of 13 Reasons Why sees the addition of two characters: Ani Anchola (Grace Saif), our narrator, and Charlie Saint (Tyler Barnhardt), one of the members of the much-maligned football team.
Ani is a textbook new kid. Her mom is Bryce Walker's (Justin Prentice) grandfather's live-in caretaker, so she actually lives with the Walkers.
But what explains Charlie's sudden presence? Easy: He's two years younger than the show's main characters, and has "aged up" into their social circles. Warm, kind, and untainted by the drama, Charlie is like a character from a CW show who accidentally stumbled onto the 13 Reasons Why set. Here's what we know about him.
Charlie's primary personality trait is that he's an athlete. He practically lives in his letterman jacket. But is he like his toxic teammates, or nah?
Jessica (Alisha Boe), his colleague at the movie theater, certainly thinks so. Charlie, however, asks Jessica not to judge him based on his athlete friends. Maybe he skipped all the team's questionable traditions, and simply joined the team because he likes football.
On the outside, Charlie certainly seems different. In episode 10, he asks his girlfriend to homecoming with an elaborate display in the school cafeteria.
Still, even if he's a romantic, Charlie does associate with some of the worst people at Liberty High. He can't be let off the hook. In episode 11, Charlie witnesses a showdown between Monty (Timothy Granaderos) and Bryce, who both perpetrated awful assaults. His eyes flit back and forth between Monty and Bryce as their wrongdoings are named. Monty assaulted Tyler (Devin Druid) in a bathroom and tried to kill Clay. Bryce raped Jessica while she was unconscious.
Are these the kind of people Charlie wants to be friends with? No — not at all. By the end of the season, he's opted out of the system of loyalty that allowed his teammates to get away with their bad behavior. He tells Tyler that he'll go to the police with Monty's confession. "How can you do this? You don't even like me." Tyler asks. Charlie sagely replies, "How can I not like you? I barely know you." One man, bravely trying to dismantle calcified reputations. Charlie's not necessarily an asshole jock, and Tyler's not necessarily who everyone says he is, either.
In their red vest theater uniforms, Charlie and Jessica echo Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) and Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), who met while working in the theater in season 1. Charlie and Jessica's dynamic is obviously different — Jessica is reluctant to be friends with anyone on the baseball team, given her history with them. But their presence behind the theater's snack counter shows just how much has changed for the characters since the show began.
And if more athletes are like Charlie, the cycle will end.

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