13 Reasons Why: Let’s talk about Alex Standall
Do we only see what we want to see?
While we were all grieving Hannah Baker, consumed with secretly hating everyone she blamed, we didn’t notice Alex and his kind soul. Warning spoilers below!!
Let’s be honest, the whole time we watched, we judged everyone in Hannah’s life, for not noticing the things that were changing about her, and how each of those things brought her closer to her death. Unlike Hannah’s people, we noticed the little things she’d say that—from our point of view—made it hella obvious she was suicidal.
I worried more for Tyler, the creepy photography kid. Everyone treated him like trash, constantly told to “disappear” and “go away”. Yet, in the end I found myself incredibly surprised Alex Standall tried to kill himself. After we hear the Principal tell Mr. Porter, Alex had shot himself— I found myself wondering, WTF did I miss?
The writers of 13 Reasons Why were incredibly clever in slipping his suicide in. It serves as a reminder that, it is NOT simple to determine if someone will commit suicide. More so, if they’ve never attempted to, leaving us with no reason to watch them so closely.
WTF did I miss?
If you go over 13 Reasons Why a second time— after knowing Alex shoots himself— you’ll see details you disregarded before, as anyone would. Take for example the small discussion Alex and Troy (from his band club) have. Alex is asked if hes alright by a girl in his band club. He responds Yes, and hesitantly says he’s overslept (a symptom of depression, btw). Less than a minute later he speaks about song choice with Troy:
Alex: If they want a spirit raiser how about “Gloomy Sunday”?
Troy: Are you serious? That song’s totally depressing.
Alex: Or it’s beautiful, if you have taste.
Troy: Or if you’re suicidal.
Alex then walks off. He takes a breath and runs his hands over his hair. We dismiss his reaction as one pertaining to Hannah’s own suicide, but in a second take, he might have already begun pondering his own.
Prior to this even, his clothing goes from colorful, to dark t-shirts. He repeatedly arrives late, and has been seeing a doctor regularly, as seen in episode 2 when the school office clerk makes a remark ( “another doctor’s note?”). He goes on to a physical altercation, and having bouts of anger as he rips “Suicide is not the answer” type posters from the school walls.
In episode 12, while Hannah’s reasons gather around to discuss why they must protect their secret and what their futures will lose, Alex says “I’ve got no plans, I’m good to tell the truth.”
He’s later seen at home, putting finishing touches on his newly clean and organized room.
All of his actions point to depression and suicidal ideation. Total plot twist and eye opener for those of us, *cough* me *cough* , who think they can pick up on suicidal cues.
*crosses finger for second season*
I know, the show did end rather nicely, but I’m attached to these characters now! There could be a whole separate story line for Alex Standall. We can assume he died, but what if he didn’t. I’m sure others will be affected by his act. I just want more okay?!
I wonder, what did you think of it all? Were you not surprised he shot himself? I’d love to hear about it!