Alex Standall Is the Most Important “13 Reasons” Character
April 19, 2017
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Netflix’s record breaking series 13 Reasons Why has taken the world by storm. Based on the young adult novel by Jay Asher, the audience is allowed a peek into what was the life of high school student Hannah Baker through a series of cassette tapes. Hannah Baker commits suicide and these tapes are sent to students, each tape explaining why a person is apart of the reason of why she killed herself. Although this harrowing story seems to be too much for a young adult novel, it’s unrelenting honesty and blunt insight into the roles individuals play in our lives is a message that is made for anyone.
Although this story is told through Hannah’s perspective, we get to watch the reactions of all the tape receivers as they deal with the soul crushing realization that their actions are to blame for her suicide. Many of the characters deal with this revelation in different ways, some feeling immense guilt, others deflecting blame onto others, and some even not accepting any ownership for their actions.
The truly greatest character on this show is Alex Standall, Hannah’s former friend and the third to receive the tapes. Hannah blames Alex for writing a “Hot or Not” list in which he placed her under “Best Ass.” For her, this was the beginning of her “slut” reputation and opened the door for all of sexual harassment she received in the hallways of her own high school.
Alex, of course, didn’t know the effects this list could have on someone. But once he listens to his tape, he feels overwhelmingly regretful for his decisions. Unlike many of the others who have tapes, Alex takes full responsibility for his actions, and allows his guilt to engulf him in a way that becomes toxic to his own health. We watch as Alex on a drunken night throws himself into the pool and sinks to the bottom. We watch him angrily tear down the “Suicide is not an option” poster and tells Clay that clearly it is. We watch his passion for music, something he loves dearly, dwindle until he eventually quits playing. While driving with others in the car he starts recklessly speeding with no regard for himself or any of his passengers. We all got so caught up in Hannah’s story and how we all missed the signs, that we were missing the signs of another person right in front of our faces.
Alex made a terrible decision in writing the “Hot or Not” list. His actions were spiteful and degrading and he deserved to have his tape to understand the affects it took on another person, but he is the entire point of this series. We are all so caught up in one thing, that we stop paying attention to anything else happening. The heavyweight message of 13 Reasons Why was that all the little things matter. Alex Standall was by no means perfect, but he is the epitome of what 13 Reasons was all about.