Just so we can all be clear, fan theories and Easter eggs are about 87% of the fun in watching a television show. In fact, creating theories and spotting Easter eggs has turned us from a passive viewing audience into an extremely active viewing audience. We watch every scene looking for every clue. We are on the hunt for all the theories and all the Easter eggs. We want to know EVERYTHING.
We can all probably thank Lost for this change in the way we view television, right? (What was up with those polar bears?!) Because of the loose ends, Lost was a show that seemed like it was created for the sole purpose of allowing fans to create their own theories. Obviously shows like Westworld, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead are set up for fans to have theories as well. These shows take place in worlds in which zombies, artificial intelligence, and dragons exist. In worlds like those, where anything can happen, theories are bountiful.
Fan theories are not just for shows like those, though. You can even find theories for shows like Friends, a show in which people mostly just drink coffee and debate the rules of being on a break. 13 Reasons Why falls more into the Friends category rather than the Game of Thrones category. 13 Reasons Why is a show grounded in a pretty realistic world with no dragons or White Walkers. Still, the realism of 13 Reasons Why has not stopped fans of the show from spotting all the Easter eggs and creating all the fan theories. Below are 16 huge 13 Reasons Why theories and Easter eggs because, like we said, theories and Easter eggs make watching so much more fun.
Why was Alex shot in the head? Could Hannah still be alive? And honestly, why did Clay head wounds take so long to heal? All of that is below!
16. Alex Was Shot By Tyler
We’ll start with one of the biggest fan theories out there, because why not? 13 Reasons Why ended with quite a few loose ends, which means that it’s up to the fans to figure out what the hell is going on. One of the loosest ends is the fate of Alex, the blondest teen character ever. In the final episode, the school principal informs Mr. Porter that Alex shot himself in the head. You could take that as it is – that Alex really did shoot himself in the head – but why would we do that when theories are so much more interesting? Fans have come up with a theory that suggests it was actually Tyler who shot Alex.
In the finale, we see that Tyler has a bench literally full of guns, which is pretty horrifying. While we don’t know what Tyler plans to do with those guns, a teenager with that kind of an arsenal may lead to some tragic events. The final scene we see of Tyler is at his photo studio, where he has photos hanging of almost everyone on the tapes. These are also students who have bullied in through the entire series. Yes, even Clay Jensen was mean to Tyler. Then, Tyler then takes down Alex’s photo. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?
Well, fans think the photos hanging it Tyler’s studio are all his possible victims and Tyler’s taking down Alex’s photo means that he shot him. It’s like the photos are a to-do list and Tyler just checked off Alex. This is a great theory and, while dark, it’s actually on point with the tone of the rest of the series. This, however, leaves the question of why the school principal thinks Alex shot himself. Did the principal have the wrong information or did Tyler set it up to look like suicide? It’s very unlikely that Tyler could have really made it look like a suicide. With Alex’s father being a police officer, the chances of Tyler pulling that off are slim. Alex’s father, however distraught, would still instinctively know what was wrong with the scene, right?
15. Tyler Decided To Spare Alex
The reveal that Alex has shot himself in the head has led to more than just one fan theory. That’s right, this is another “what happened to Alex” theory. While the Tyler shooting Alex theory is incredibly interesting, there is another equally interesting and perhaps sadder theory about Alex.
This theory suggests that Alex really did shoot himself in the head, attempting to kill himself. Alex killing himself is a bit shocking, since his repercussions for the things done of the tapes are, well, nothing. Creating the famed list that objectified the girls at the school isn’t punishable in the same way that Bryce’s rape, Mr. Porter’s indifference, or even Sheri’s negligence are. It would make more sense if a character contemplating jail time took their own life. Also, Alex was seemingly more together than the rest of the characters… but only seemingly. Alex did have the meltdown over the suicide signs at the school. There was also the scene in which Alex floats in the pool, mimicking Hannah’s own suicide in a way. Then, there’s the biggest red flag of all. The last we see of Alex, he’s cleaning his room. He cleaned his room so well that his father even complimented it. Guess what the last thing Hannah did before her suicide was? Yep, she cleaned her room. It’s often a way of preparing for suicide so you’re not leaving a mess behind for your loved ones. So, maybe Alex really didn’t shot himself in the head.
If Alex did kill himself, what about the scene with Tyler taking down the photo? This theory suggests that because Alex defended Tyler while he was being bullied, Tyler changed his mind about having Alex on his hit list and so he took the picture down. Tyler was going to spare Alex… and then Alex took his own life. Could this show possibly be any darker?
14. Justin Was The One In The Ambulance
This is the last theory surrounding the fate of Alex because we really have to talk about who’s in the ambulance.
We are shown a male figure in an ambulance and it would be easy to assume this is male figure is Alex, who was shot in the head by either himself or Tyler. Why wouldn’t it be Alex in the ambulance? Uh, because Alex has super blonde hair (like, the blondest hair ever) and whoever is in the ambulance has brown hair. Of course, this could be because a stand in was used for this scene instead of the actor who plays Alex, but there are also quite a few troubled characters with brown hair. Particularly, Justin has brown hair and the last we saw of him, he was in a really bad place. Jessica had told Justin she never wanted to see him again, which led to Justin giving an eerie final goodbye to Bryce. Justin also had access to a gun. Did something bad happen to Justin off-screen or is this simply supposed to be Alex even though we don’t see his bleach blonde hair? We need answers. Now.
13. All Of Clay And Hannah’s Musical Connections
Many teens who are going through a hard time will turn to music. In fact, it’s such a common thing to do that’s it’s become a cliché at this point. 13 Reasons Why, though, used this cliché to its advantage. Both Clay and Hannah were suffering in their own ways. While we saw Hannah’s suffering, we were only told that Clay had previously seen a therapist and been on medication. If we assume that both characters found solace through music, music could have been a huge connection between them, especially if they’re into the same music. Well, guess what? They were totally into the same music! Both characters had an Arcade Fire poster handing on their wall. (If this absolutely breaks your heart, don’t worry you’re not alone.) Liking the same music doesn’t actually mean they belong together, but just think of how much music matters to teens, especially teens going through some shit. It’s a subtle Easter egg to nail in how compatible Hannah and Clay really were for each other.
There’s one more musical Hannah and Clay Easter egg. At the beginning of the series, Mr. Porter asks Clay what he’s listening to and Clay says it’s Ultravox. In the final episode, when Hannah leaves Mr. Porter’s office, an Ultravox song is played. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
12. The Importance Of Joy Division
We have one more musical Easter egg for you. The punk band Joy Division is both mentioned and played during the show. In the very first episode, Tony plays their song “Love Will Tear Us Apart” when he drives Clay home. A Joy Division poster can also be seen in Alex’s bedroom. The use of Joy Division is noteworthy not only because of the lyrics that express self-loathing and painful thoughts, but also because Ian Curtis, the frontman of the band, committed suicide. At just 23-years-old, Curtis ended his life. Including Joy Division is a lovely nod to a talented musical artist who left this world too early, much like how Hannah left the world too early.
11. The Biggest Clue About Jeff’s Death
Jeff deserved SO MUCH BETTER.
The audience gets to know Jeff as the nice jock who really likes to use the word unique. He’s pretty friggin’ lovable. While Clay tutors Jeff, Jeff also tutors Clay in the art of seduction. Jeff constantly tries to help Clay put himself out there and not in a creepy way at all. Jeff seems like a genuinely good guy who also just so happens to be popular. In fact, he’s pretty much the only popular and truly nice character on the show.
The last we see of Jeff, he’s at that fateful party. Jeff says he has to go on a beer run, which worries Clay. Clay has no reason to worry though, because Jeff is just the world’s best dude ever and he’s drinking soda. This is a high school boy who is responsible and nice and… we all have a crush on Jeff, right? As fate would have it, Jeff dies in a car accident on his beer run, which is a direct result of Sheri crashing into and knocking down that stop sign. (JEFF DESERVED SO MUCH BETTER!) Hannah’s guilt over this particular event is something that leads to her suicide.
Here’s the thing, though. We should have known Jeff was going to die all along. How? Because the only two characters not in the present day scenes are Hannah… and Jeff! Yes, Jeff was only in the flashbacks and we didn’t even notice it.
10. Let’s Talk About Tony
Tony is like Jeff in many ways, only Tony is 100% less believable as a real human being. Tony is supposed to be a high school student… who just so happens to be covered in tattoos and wise beyond his years? Because Tony is such an odd and unbelievable character, there’s a theory out there that he’s actually a ghost. Yes, there are some people who think Tony is a ghost.
Tony is clearly not a ghost and this theory doesn’t much evidence to back it up, but you can totally understand why this theory exists. Tony is a Yoda figure for Clay throughout the show (Clay even calls him “unhelpful Yoda”) and, at times, his wisdom seems too unbelievable to be real so that’s where the Tony-is-a-ghost theory came form.
Also, we should point out that the tattoos actually aren’t only a Tony thing. Justin and Skye also have quite a few tattoos, which is certainly not the norm when it comes to your average high school students.
9. Broken Symmetry & Endless Blue
13 Reasons Why was full of small Easter eggs that were loaded with big meaning. Below are two small Easter eggs that have powerful meanings.
In episode 8 (“Tape 4, Side B”), Clay looks for his copy of the school’s magazine, Lost & Found. While searching, one can see a book on his shelf that is titled Broken Symmetry. Why is this significant? Broken symmetry is actually a physics term. It describes how small fluctuations to a system, crossing a critical point, decide its fate. This could serve as a metaphor for how the actions of others led to Hannah’s decision to end her life. Hannah also mentions the butterfly effect in one of her tapes, which is another scientific theory that could be applied to the events on the show.
Another small detail with meaning is Hannah’s nail polish used to number the tapes. It’s called SinfulColors Endless Blue. Choosing a color named “endless blue” is a nod to Hannah’s state of mind while making the tapes. Blue is often used as a synonym for sad and the “endless” implies that Hannah didn’t see an end for her suffering.
8. That Rabbit On Hannah’s Locker
If you shipped Clay and Hannah (and really who didn’t?), this Easter egg may hurt your heart just a little bit. Okay, this Easter egg may actually hurt your heart a lot.
Remember when Hannah and Clay were both in that communication class with the compliment bags? It’s on Zach’s tape, which Zach earned because he started stealing Hannah’s compliments out of her compliment bag. But, before Zach started stealing Hannah’s compliments, we see that she receives little rabbit cartoons courtesy of Clay. That is such a Clay way to flirt, right? An eagle-eyed viewer then spotted the same style of rabbit cartoon on Hannah’s locker after her death. Clay drew Hannah another rabbit cartoon after her death and put it on her locker. It hurts, right?
This Easter egg also explains Clay’s reaction to Hannah’s locker finally being cleared off, because the last kind thing Clay did for Hannah had been officially swept away. Excuse us while we go cry forever.
7. The Show’s Meticulous Color Scheme
Creating a show that operates on two separate timelines can be difficult, especially if the target audience for said show is teenagers. 13 Reasons Why needed ways to signal to the show’s audience that they were watching the past at times and the present at other times. One of the ways the show achieved this was through employing a meticulous color scheme to each scene. In scenes from the past, it is brighter, warmer and more orangey. The scenes set in the present, however, take on a blue color scheme. In present day scenes, it’s cooler and gives a much more isolating feeling.
This was a subtle difference to let the audience aesthetically see the difference between the past and present day scenes, but it also serves to tell us about the mindset of the characters. In the past, while Hannah was alive and before they received the tapes, their worlds were warmer, happier and less complicated. In the present, they all feel lonelier and… bluer.
6. The Timestamp Means Hannah’s Not Dead Yet
The Internet went crazy when they noticed a very small, and possibly very important, detail in 13 Reasons Why. This detail is simply the date of the video testimonies the subpoenaed students give. On the video testimonies, the date reads November 10, 2017… a day that hasn’t even happened yet! WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
These testimonial tapes are being recorded on November 10, 2017 and that means that some of the events on Hannah’s tapes didn’t even actually happen yet, including – for sure – everything that happened during or after the summer vacation. Bryce has yet to rape Hannah or Jessica. Sheri has yet to knock over that stop sign. JEFF IS STILL ALIVE. I repeat, Jeff is still alive.
Even given the timestamp, the events of the show don’t necessarily seem changeable, even though they theoretically haven’t happened yet. Many believe that the timestamp is there to promote the positive message of the show, like being kind to others and reaching out to those in pain. The timestamp gives the feeling of “it’s never too late to help” and even though it is too late for Hannah, it’s not too late for someone in your life right now. Suicide prevention is real and that is the message the show wants you to know.
5. And Another Timestamp Theory
While we really want a timestamp theory to just be like “Hannah is alive and none of this actually happened JK LOL,” it doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to go in that direction. Instead, another timestamp theory proposes that a second season, which has yet to be confirmed even though it seems inevitable, will definitely be happening and we’ve already kind of been watching it. This theory suggests that a season two would continue to deal with Hannah’s death through the lawsuit that her parents are bringing against the school. If the season two does focus on that, these testimonials may play an even bigger role.
There is also a theory that Netflix will release the second season, again not confirmed but totally going to happen, on November 10, 2017. Whatever the case, the timestamp definitely feels too deliberate to be nothing, right?
4. Clay Is The Hero
This Easter egg would be way too on the nose if it wasn’t so subtle. When Clay goes to Bryce’s house to confront him, Clay wears a t-shirt that says “Hero” (because, y’know, he’s the hero). It’s a grey tee and the wording is very subtle. It’s so subtle that it’s almost unnoticeable, but it does indeed say hero. This is a reference to his role in the show and in that particular scene as well.
How was Clay the hero? Well, Clay was the one really affected by Hannah’s tapes, while many of the other students claimed that Hannah was lying. Clay worked to make everyone admit the truth to themselves. Without Clay, the tapes may have never had the weight they did in the end. In that particular scene in which Clay wears the hero t-shirt, Bryce beats the shit out of Clay, but then admits to Clay that he did rape Hannah. Clay gets this on tape, giving Jessica solid evidence she needs if she wants to press charges. Clay was 100% a hero in this scene. He got the evidence needed to take down the big, bad monster of the show – Bryce.
3. All The Grey’s Anatomy Connections
Kate Walsh, who plays Hannah’s mother, is best known for playing Addison Montgomery on Grey’s Anatomy, and then the spin-off Private Practice. But, she isn’t the only Grey’s Anatomy alum to star in 13 Reasons Why. Dylan Minnette, who plays Clay Jensen, was also on Grey’s Anatomy for one sweet episode. Minnette played a young boy who – get ready for this – underwent surgery to receive a new set of ears that allowed him to hear. People on the Internet have had a field day with this connection, saying that Meredith Grey gave Clay ears so that he could hear the tapes left by Addison Montgomery’s daughter. It’s a tangled web of TV connections.
2. Why Clay’s Head Wound Took So Long To Heal
Remember when Clay hit his head in the pilot episode and then it took, like, months to heal? Seriously, Clay must have the slowest healing body ever. He went through so many Band-Aids! We should start theories about what kind of secret illness Clay has that keeps his body from healing at a normal speed but we won’t because these wounds were very purposeful. Clay’s head wounds were actually another way to differentiate between the past and present scenes. While it didn’t make sense that it took him forever to heal, it was helpful to tell the difference between he past and present. Likewise, that is why many of the other characters kept getting hurt in the present timeline. 13 Reasons Why producers, you are truly sly.
1. The Show Could Sill Go With The Book’s Ending
In terms of the source material, the ending of the book was changed drastically for the show. In the book, Hannah attempts suicide by an overdose but is saved in time. This gives Hannah a second chance at life, delivering a MUCH more hopeful and positive ending. On the show, they choose to have Hannah slit her wrists and indeed die as a way to send an anti-suicide message. The show has been criticized for glorifying suicide through Hannah’s “cool” tapes, but showing the audience the reality of suicide made their message clear. Suicide is not to be glorified, but it is rather a lonely, painful, dark decision.
All that being said, some fans are hopeful that the show may still go in the book’s direction. The show Newhart famously ended the show with the main character waking up, revealing that everything that had taken place on the series been a dream. It was revolutionary at the time but has since gotten to be cliché. Could 13 Reasons Why go this route? Perhaps, especially because the end of the book is so much different. This theory proposes that everything we are witnessing is a dream-like vision Hannah has while hovering near death. She’ll recover to live a happy, full life after having learned important lessons. This seems extremely unlikely, but it’s not impossible.
Alright, so now we just need to know when season two will be out.