This episode focuses on the students graduation after traumatic events and their respective plans for the future.
Strengthened by the struggles they've endured, the friends say goodbye to high school and look forward to the future in an emotional series finale.
The start of the episode reveals that Justin has been in the hospital in intensive care ever since fainting at prom a week earlier. In a conversation with Clay and his parents, the doctor reveals that Justin has HIV-1 and it has progressed to AIDS. She also reveals that he’s suffering from pneumonia and a fungal meningitis. When asked about how this could happen, the doctor says that it was possibly caused by IV drug use and his sex work. Clay is surprised by this, as Justin never told him that he did sex work.
Clay tries to ask Justin about what the doctor told him, but visibly struggles doing so and is interrupted by Alex and Charlie, who come visit Justin and give him a giant panda. Clay later talks about it with Jessica, who already knew. Jessica thinks that Justin was ashamed, but Clay doesn’t understand as he claims that he wouldn’t have judged him.
Meanwhile, Winston believes Jessica killed Bryce and the group framed Monty. At school, Winston tells Tyler he almost has enough proof for the police, but offers to leave Tyler out of it. However, Tyler says that he has it all wrong and anything Winston does to his friends, Winston can do to Tyler.
Outside of the hospital, Zach can't make it past the doors and Charlie confronts him. He explains to Charlie he watched his dad die at this hospital. Charlie tells Zach that his mom had been at this hospital before she died, and yet he’s visiting Justin. Zach tells him he just can't do it.
Winston meets with Alex, who immediately admits that he killed Bryce. Winston think he’s lying, but Alex tells him he’s not and to do what he wants with this information.
At the hospital, Justin is now put on a ventilator to keep his organs from shutting down. At first, Clay doesn’t understand that this for Justin. When Clay realizes that Justin is terminal, he starts to panic and storms out of the building. Clay runs down the street and ends up at the sheriff station. At the station, he screams that he has a gun, making everyone freak out and hide. Sheriff Diaz calmly talks him down and Clay shows that he doesn’t have a gun. He breaks down crying in the sheriff’s arms.
During a therapy session, Clay reveals he didn't do it because he wanted to die, he just wanted someone to notice that he was hurting. Sheriff Diaz didn’t press any charges and Clay realizes that Sheriff Diaz worries and cares about him. He also says that, after talking for an hour, Sheriff Diaz put him in a room with Tony. Here, they agree that they haven’t been there for each other lately.
Alex and Charlie find Zach drinking and pour out his wishkey. They tell him to get it together to go see Justin. Zach has convinced himself that he is a lost cause, but Alex reminds Zach that he saved Alex’s life and he now wants to return the favor. It works, and Zach finally goes to see Justin. At the hospital, he first hugs Clay tightly.
When Tony comes home, he finds Caleb facetiming his dad. His father tells Tony to sell the garage and go to college. He says that the garage was never his dream; his dream was for Tony to have a better life than he did and this scholarship can give him that.
At the hospital, Jessica has a hallucination of Bryce telling her that he wins. Jessica blames him for killing Justin, as everything that happened started after Hannah killed herself as a result of Bryce raping her. She also tells him that he deserved to die.
Dean Foundry calls Clay to his office and says that he was voted class speaker for graduation. At therapy, Clay says he doesn't know how he can give a speech about the future when Justin is dying in the hospital.
Later, Clay and his dad have a conversation at the hospital. Clay apologizes for scaring him with what he did at the sheriff’s station. His dad says that he will always worry about Clay. He claims that high school is something to be survived, but that there’s also joy. Clay tells him he has known joy.
At school, Coach Kerba offers Zach a coaching job next year. Zach reveals that he took the coach's letter of recommendation out of his file during the riot because he didn't think he could live up to it. The coach thinks he can, under the terms that he needs to get sober and graduate. Zach agrees to do that.
Justin is taken off the ventilator because his brain infection progresses. This way, they can still say goodbye to him. Jessica gets to talk to him first, and immediately breaks down crying as she sees Justin. He tells her that she's so strong. She claims that he's the best thing to ever have happened to her. Justin disagrees, saying he ruined her life. However, Jessica tells him that he taught her what love is. When Clay says goodbye to Justin, he thanks him for saving his life multiple times. They exchange “I love you’s” and Justin asks Clay to hold his hand. Everyone gathers at the hospital’s waiting room as Justin is in his last hours on earth. Justin passes away with the Jensens sitting by his side.
Justin’s funeral take place, which is attended by many students, including Diego and Winston. The pastor, Alex and Zach give speeches. Alex gets a panick attack and isn’t able to finish and Zach talk about how they need to do better.
After the funeral, Jessica and Clay stay at the church together. Zach, Ani, Alex and Charlie go to Monets. Here, Alex thanks Ani for saving his life more than anyone. Winston shows up outside Monet’s, and asks Alex why he killed Bryce and if he’s sorry. Alex explains that he only saw anger when he realized Bryce hurt everyone he loved and he’s more sorry than he can ever say. Winston tells him he isn’t going to do anything because, even though he loved Monty, he also loves Alex.
Tony sells the garage to Caleb, zo Tony can go to college and build a future. Tony asks Caleb what do to if he’s lonely, but Caleb assures him that they're only an eight-hour drive apart and they'll make it through.
At the sheriff’s station, Sheriff Diaz tells Deputy Standall that Bryce’s case is officially closed and that family is the most important thing. This implies that he found out that Bryce’s killer is Deputy Standall’s son, Alex.
Jessica and Diego get tested for HIV together, they both turn out to be negative. Diego apologizes for his investigation into Bryce's murder and for thinking that Jess was involved. He asks her if he can ask her out in a month, to which Jessica tells him “maybe”.
Clay receives a package with Hannah’s tapes from Mrs. Baker. She got them back from the lawyers and decided that they belonged to Clay.
In a therapy session, Clay has a breakdown about how nothing matters now Justin is dead. He’s upset how Justin could’ve let this happen, believing it could have been easy to save him. Dr. Ellman points out that maybe Justin didn’t feel like he was worth loving or saving and that Clay also has a hard time letting people care for him. Dr. Ellman tells about how he was a troubled kid, until a teacher saw something in him. It's a breakthrough for Clay: he starts telling Dr. Ellman about everything that happened since he met Hannah.
The senior students graduate; the graduation is attended by families and by old students like Ryan, Courtney, Chlöe and Scott. Jessica gives a speech about love and Clay speaks about surviving high school and how to find the best in life. He ends it with: "Even on the worst day, life is a pretty spectacular thing."
After graduation, all the graduates are hanging out in the gym with their parents. They talk about what they’re going to study: Jessica and Alex go to Berkeley, Tyler is going to study photography and Zach is going to music school for guitar and voice. Ani says she's donating Mrs. Walker's money to the HO club and she and Jessica ask Estela to take over H.O. Diego asks Winston to hang later that week and Ryan flirts with Winston. Tyler and Estela are revealed to be dating.
Clay sees hallucinations of Bryce and Justin. He explains to hallucination Justin that he doesn't actually see ghosts, but imagines people. Justin talks to Clay about how you can forgive people and Clay thinks about Hannah, suddenly seeing her across the gym. He stands up to walk over to her, but is interrupted by a girl named Heidi who is, just like Clay, going to Brown next year and also likes Alien Killer Robots. They agree to go to coffee and talk about Brown.
The tape subjects, including Ani and Charlie, bury Hannah's tapes in the spot where Clay first listened to his own tape to give it closure. Jessica has a final hallucination of Bryce and tells him that he didn’t win and his time is over. However, she says that he did bring the friend group together. The group looks over town and agree that they’ll be there for each other whenever someone needs help.
Back at home, Clay has another hallucination of Justin. Clay reads him about the essay that got Justin into college. As Clay reads it, he finds out that Justin wrote the essay about him. Justin calls him a positive influence in his life and refers to him as his brother. As Clay tearfully asks the hallucination how he’s supposed to go on without him, Justin tells him “You’ll survive”.
At his therapist's, Clay agrees to keep in touch through the summer and to find resources on campus. The series ends with Tony and Clay driving off to college.
- Clay: "Thank you for saving my life. Like, more times than you know. I love you."
- Justin: "I love... I love... love you... you too, man."
- Clay: "I'm sorry. Are you afraid?"
- Justin: "Yeah. I am. Will you hold... Will you hold my hand... bro?"
- Clay: "Yeah."
- ― Clay and Justin's last conversation.
|“||It comes down to one question. Will you survive high school? Will I survive? Because I know too many people who didn't. In the past two years, three people who I loved have died. And two... two other people who I thought I hated, also died. But I learned that hate is too simple. Jessica's right. Hate is easy. Love and understanding are harder. But they are how we take care of each other, how we survive. My dad loves to tell me stories about when he was in high school. The stories usually involve chess club and obscure bands with funny haircuts, because the '80s were a strange, strange time. But he always gets one thing right. He knows high school can hurt. That it can be painful. That there are days when that's all it is. And he once told me that he's living proof... you can survive. You can get through it. He's living proof, and so am I. And so are all of you. And the thing is, for me, for us, this class, this... this generation, high school actually is life or death. We show up every day not knowing if this is the day we die. If this is the day someone shows up with a gun and tries to kill us all. We practice what we'll do if that happens. Life or death. I suffer from anxiety and depression. But mostly anxiety. I sometimes think all of us kids do, in some way. And how could we not, with the world the way it is? We hear a lot of promises that things will get better. And... and, look, maybe they will, maybe they won't. And what I think I've learned, what I wanna say to you is whatever happens, keep moving. Get through it. Choose to live. 'Cause even on the worst day, there are people who love you. There's new music waiting for you to hear, some... something you haven't seen before that will blow your mind in the best way. Even on the worst day, life is a pretty spectacular thing.||”|
|— Clay's graduation speech|
|“||I just wanna be clear. I don't actually see ghosts. I just, like... imagine people and what I would say to them.||”|
|— Clay to his hallucination of Justin|
- Clay: "This is where I first listened to my tape. And this is where we lay them to rest."
- Tony: "Rest in peace."
- Zach: "Come on, people. Let's pile on the closure dirt."
- ― The group burying the tapes
- Clay: "I really didn’t grow with much positivity in my life and if I had the influence around me, they were definitely bad. My mother was a drug addict. Her revolving door of boyfriends, mostly drug addicts too. I had a best friend I used to look up to, but then he hurt people close to me and now he’s dead. There was a time in my life I truly had nothing but the clothes on my back and the regret of the people I’d hurt. And then a person came into my life. A person named Clay Jensen. Even when I was puking all over his room, he was there. He’s always been there which is why even though I’ve never had a proper family, I know what it feels like to have one because Clay gave that to me. Because he’s my... he's my..."
- Hallucination Justin: "He's my brother, he’s my positive influence, he’s the reason I am alive and able to write this college essay in the first place."
- Clay: "I miss you. How am I supposed to do this without you?"
- Hallucination Justin: "Clay, it's like you said. You'll survive."
- ― Clay reading Justin's college essay about a positive influence in his life
- Hannah's thirteen tapes are returned to Clay, who has them buried at the same place he had listened to his tape. He and the others- Alex, Courtney, Ryan, Tyler, Jessica, Ani, Tony, Zach- bury them; finally putting closure on what their actions had done to Hannah
- Justin is the fourth and final hallucination that Clay sees after Hannah, Bryce and Montgomery.
- Clay also sees a hallucination of Hannah for a final time. In her dark plum-colored prom dress, she smiles and vanishes for good. Footage from "Tape 3, Side A" was re-used for this scene.
- Clay addresses in this episode that he doesn't see ghosts, but their appearances are part of his imagination.
- During the graduation scene, Justin Prentice and Timothy Granaderos can be seen sitting among the graduating students in the background.
- The graduation scenes were shot at the beginning of filming Season 4 instead of at the end because they had to take place during summer. Because the cast didn't know who would die, every actor filmed graduation scenes and the production would later edit out the character that died.
- Clay is seen giving a girl, Heidi, his e-mail address: 'email@example.com'. Fans found out that you can send questions to this address and will get a response from "Clay". The social media team eventually stopped replying as people started to send inappropriate or rude messages.
- Winston finally learns the truth from Alex about Bryce's murder, but decides to leave it alone as he still loves Alex too much to ruin his life.
- At the same time, Sheriff Diaz closes the investigation into Bryce Walker's Murder for good.
- Katherine Langford was asked to return, but was unavailable due to the filming of her new show Cursed.
- Marcus, Sheri and Mr. Porter are the only characters with tapes made for them to not return in this episode.
|Theme Song: "Oh In This World Of Dread, Carry On" by Eskmo|
|"The Shape of a Storm"||Damien Jurado||In the Shape of a Storm||Zach arrives at the hospital and hugs Clay.|
|"Salesman At the Day of the Parade"||Rogue Wave||Descended Like Vultures||Clay walks around the school sad while Justin is in the hospital.|
|"Half Gate"||Grizzly Bear||Shields||Everyone sits in the waiting room during Justin's last hours.|
|"Washing of the Water"||Peter Gabriel||Us||Justin passes away.|
|"Unbelievers"||Vampire Weekend||Modern Vampires of the City||Liberty High's class of 2019 graduates.|
|"Here Comes a Regular"||The Replacements||Tim||The group buries Hannah's tapes.|
|"Take Care"||Beach House||Teen Dream||After burying the tapes, the group looks over town.|
|"Half Light II (No Celebration)"||Arcade Fire||The Suburbs||Clay packs for college; he and Tony say goodbye to Clay's parents and Caleb and drive off.|
|"Trouble (Remastered)"||Lindsey Buckingham||Law and Order||End credits.|
- Youtube (youtube.com) –– Entertainment Tonight (Entertainment Tonight) "13 Reasons Why Season 4: Devin Druid on Justin's Death and Tyler's Happy Ending | Full Interview"
- Digital Spy (digitalspy.com) –– "13 Reasons Why star Katherine Langford reveals why she couldn't film for the season finale" (June 20, 2020)