'13 Reasons Why' season 3: Bryce Walker's murderer didn't have an incentive strong enough to kill him
Everyone's a suspect in the wake of the vile and vain Bryce Walker's murder, but his actual killer used the blandest excuse to justify pushing him to his death and we deserved better.
This article contains major spoilers for season 3.
The big mystery that '13 Reasons Why' aimed at solving in Season 3 was who killed Bryce Water? Much like the beginning of the show, with Hannah Baker's death and the mystery surrounding why she killed herself - or rather - who were the people behind her decision, this season also dug deep into a death and offered a poetic sense of justice as it all came down to a tape, just like the ones Hannah left behind to explain her decision to end her life. But while all of this offered much-needed closure after her rapist Bryce had gotten away with just months of probation, the fact that Alex Standall behind his murder doesn't really seem to fit. In that did Alex really have a valid incentive to kill Bryce?
Alex (Miles HAzier) was pretty much the kick-starter for Hannah's (Katherine Langford) suicide too. After he made that list ranking girls in their class based on their best body features, Hannah's sad story of bullying and her eventual rape began, something that caused Alex to spiral with guilt and shoot himself in the head at the end of season 1. But while he didn't die the injury left a part of his body immobile for a long while, leading the already scrawny Alex to walk around with a limp and rely on a walking stick to get by. This earned him the pity of others, but a lot of bullying from Bryce's (Justin Prentice) cronies for his failed suicide attempt, but sadly, it couldn't earn him a place in Jessica Davis's (Alisha Boe) heart that he wanted.
While Jessica was still struggling to reclaim her body after coming out in the open about Bryce raping her back in season 1, Alex thought her lack of interest in having sex with him was more of a result of her not being attracted to him. And as he saw her spiral back to her own toxic boyfriend Justin (Brandon Flynn) -- who was the one who allowed Bryce to rape Jessica while he watched the door -- Alex felt he needed to buff-up the way the school-jocks did to gain Jessica's love. And out of that sick sense of self-pity and stubbornness to win her love he resorted to drugs supplied by Bryce.
Bryce was also the one who, after Alex was dumped by Jessica, took him to a friendly prostitute for much-needed physical intimacy. From snorting cocaine in the back of Bryce's jeep, to wrecking his father's new house that Mr. Walker had moved into with his new mistress, Alex and Bryce's unlikely bond was both a symbol of Bryce trying to be better, as well as Alex partaking in toxic coping mechanisms to feel better about himself. The point to be noted here is that in all the reckless things they did, neither of them got hurt, and most of the time the two emerged from the adrenaline rush feeling 10-feet-tall.
For all that a redemptive arc for Bryce Walker is worth, not only did he offer Alex a supplement to accelerate his growth, but also with a much-needed sense of reckless abandon that began changing Alex as a person through the events leading up to the first episode of season 3. So when at the end it is revealed that Alex pushed Bryce into a lake and let him (Zack had beaten him up earlier) freeze to death -- the reason being Bryce had hurt too many of his friends -- doesn't really seem to fit. It was more like Alex let his love for Jessica blind him once again to the fact that Bryce was making progress. There is no excusing what Bryce did and it's good he is gone, but there is no explaining that Alex felt the need to murder him either. He just didn't have the motivation.
'13 Reasons Why' season 3 premiered on Netflix on Friday, August 23, and all three seasons are available for streaming now.