With four seasons, 13 Reasons Why left behind a legacy of think pieces, headlines and studies about the effects of its subject matter on its audiences. But that won't be its legacy. According to series star Ross Butler, the "biggest lesson is that we need each other."
"That really is what it is. I think in this new generation of social media and everything, it's allowing us to not connect with each other deeply. And we feel like we can look towards looking at someone that we follow for connection or to look outward rather than the personal relationships that we have," Butler told E! News.
"But throughout the show, the one lesson that we keep pushing over and over is that you need each other. You build a community, and that is the community that you turn to for inspiration, that you turn for advice, to help take care of you and for you to take care of them," he continued.
The fourth and final season of the series featured the students of Liberty High, many of them features on Hannah Brown's (Katherine Langford) tapes explaining her reasons for taking her own life, united as they covered up the death of Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice). Butler's character Zach Dempsey struggled with his role in Bryce's demise and rectifying with the fact that his athletic career was over. He abused drugs and alcohol and almost didn't graduate.
"And especially in this fourth season, I guess for Zach it's like, yeah, the second you turn away from that community and you isolate yourself and you allow yourself to go into your own dark hole, that's when things become dangerous," Butler said. "The key is community, and then to speak up when you see something going on that's wrong.
"A lot of this stuff that we talked about in all of the seasons is that the secrets are kind of, for lack of a better term, the trouble. All the secrets that people are keeping in and not telling the community, and they're not speaking up about, these are the catalysts for a lot of issues. It's not only the sexual assault, but also feelings. Zach had feelings for Hannah Baker and he didn't speak on them and he didn't explain them, and that led to a lot of hurt on both sides," Butler continued. "So, yeah, just speak up to your community and trust in your community. I think those are the two big things."
The final season of 13 Reasons Why is now streaming on Netflix.