"13 Reasons Why" Almost Cut The Most Important Scene From The Finale
25 May 2018, 15:25
It took a group of female producers to persuade showrunner Brian Yorkey to include the powerful scene in the final edit.
13 Reasons Why may have come under fire for including some pretty controversial scenes in the past but in the second season, there are a few important moments that have been praised by the audience. One of those scenes, however, almost didn't make the cut and if it wasn't for a group of women associated with the series, we may not have even seen it in the final edit.
The scene in question happens at the start of the final episode where Jessica bravely addresses her rapist Bryce in court and recounts her story, in her own words. Half way through the scene, various other female characters in the show all take the stand to recount their experiences with sexual assault - some of whom the audience didn't even know had experienced sexual assault.
Despite Bryce's weak sentence, it's incredibly moving and liberating for both Jess and the audience to see a survivor have the courage to stand up and speak directly to their attacker. The scene may even remind some viewers of the powerful statement made in court by the 150+ courageous survivors of ex-USA Gymnast doctor Larry Nassar, who all stood up and told their story to the world.
However, showrunner Brian Yorkey revealed to Entertainment Weekly that he originally removed the scene from the finale because he felt like it would be seen as a “parody” of the #MeToo movement, despite being storyboarded and written before the surge in the movement. It took a group of female producers and executives associated with the series to push back on his decision and persuade him to re-add the scene into the finale.
"We broke the whole season’s story over a year ago, long before the surge in the #MeToo movement, long before all the revelations of last summer and last fall. So when we finally got to the producers’ cut of [episode] 213, I actually took that sequence out because I felt like it would seem like we were parodying the #MeToo movement," Yorkey explained to EW.
"What happened in real life was so much more powerful than anything we could do dramatically that I felt like I didn’t want to seem to be piling on. But there was an outcry from our executive producers and our executives, many of whom are women. They were right, and I’m really glad it’s in there because it’s such a cool moment."
And thank god they did because the scene itself has now been praised as one of the most important of the series. Despite Bryce's eventual Brock Turner-esque sentencing, Jessica's courage to stand up against those who tried to discredit her experience was incredibly powerful and no doubt inspiring to those who have unfortunately been through the same thing.
It was also a stark reminder that no matter your age, background or ethnicity, almost every woman you know will have also experienced some kind of assault. For a show that says it aims to address these issues head on, removing the scene would have been a big mistake and a massive disservice to its audience.
Yorkey is now hopeful that the scene will encourage women to speak to each other more openly about sexual assault and harassment.
“Whether they’ve experienced something like this or not, it’s a reminder that even the adult women in your life probably have had some sort of experience, and they will probably understand if you want to talk to them about what you’ve been through. You may think that they’re strong and this has never happened to them, but it very likely has.”