Spoiler alert: We’re about to break down the series finale of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. Proceed at your own risk.
Even if you correctly guessed which Liberty High School student was in that casket in 13 Reasons Why‘s final season premiere, there’s no way you could have predicted how they would end up in there.
After passing out at prom, Justin receives a devastating diagnosis: Not only has he tested positive for HIV-1, but the doctors believe it has already progressed to AIDS. (Clay already knew about Justin’s intravenous drug use, but learning that he was also a homeless sex worker comes as a surprise.) Justin is put on a ventilator, but his various infections — including one in his brain — are progressing quickly, leaving his family and friends with very little time to say goodbye. Each character’s final interaction is heartbreaking, from Jessica thanking Justin for teaching her how to love, to Clay thanking him for repeatedly saving his life.
We also get this savage speech from Phylicia Rashad at the funeral: “How did we get here — again? We made a cruel world, my generation. My parents’ generation. Too little caring. Too much hate, anger and hurt. We talk a good game about protecting our children, but we leave too much on the table that might surely save their lives. Justin Foley died of a disease that, from its inception, thrives in silence. And there are a number of such diseases, a number of ills, that thrive when we are silent about them. Because we let our fears, our shame, our twisted moral codes keep us in silence as death stalks more children. I say enough! Enough shifting blame, enough pointing fingers, enough confusing those who report the damage with those who cause it. Let’s remember his death with sorrow and determination that spur us to action. Amen.”