13: The Musical Ending Explained (In Detail)

Warning: SPOILERS for 13: The Musical.13: The Musical is Netflix's newest family-friendly musical outing — here's its ending explained in detail. Based on the 2007 Broadway musical of the same name, 13 is notable for being the first Broadway show to ever feature an all teenage cast. The show was a success, running for 105 performances and beginning the careers of stars like Ariana Grande and Elizabeth Gillies.

13's premise is perhaps familiar to fans of a popular musical set in a high school: a new kid moves to town and has to cope with social woes, a bully, and romance. Unlike High School Musical, 13 is aged down and set in a middle school with the big set piece at the end being a Bar Mitzvah instead of the school play and the problems being more appropriately aged down to those that tweens might have. 13 serves as an examination of problems both real and imagined that kids face in their almost-teenage years.

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While other musicals examining coming of age exist, 13 is unique in its realistic portrayal of both the deeply impactful and sometimes-inconsequential problems one might encounter in their middle school years. The message of the musical is profound and important, highlighted especially by one of its final songs. Here's what the ending of 13: The Musical means.

What Happens In 13: The Musical's Ending?

13 Musical Ending Evan

Many musicals (like The Greatest Showman) feature endings where the hero undergoes a change of perspective, grows, and achieves some big catharsis. 13: The Musical is no different — Evan recognizes that his focus throughout the movie has been flawed and shortsighted and that his actions have caused harm to his friends and family. His effort to help Kendra and Brett resolve the issues he caused is the beginning of him taking ownership of his flaws and mistakes. The Bar Mitzvah serves as a final apology and a resolution to his conflict with Patrice, bringing the message of 13 home: everyone has some place in their life where they need to grow and change.

Do Evan And Patrice Like Each Other?

13 Musical Evan and Patrice

Romance is a hallmark of many great musicals (even Hamilton explores Alexander's relationships and lovers), usually with the protagonist falling in love or realizing their feelings for someone. 13: The Musical is fresh in this regard; while Kendra and Brett explore their puppy love, Evan seems otherwise preoccupied. His youth is highlighted by his lack of focus on romance. Patrice may well like Evan — and it's heavily hinted that this is the case — but, being true to the ages of its cast, this romance isn't fully explored. The two are friends and that seems to be enough for now.

Did Lucy Actually Learn Her Lesson?

13 Musical Lucy

Lucy serves as 13: The Musical's de facto villain, with her machinations stalling Brett and Kendra's kiss and her betrayal acting as the impetus for Evan becoming a social outcast. Like Into The Woods' Big Bad Wolf villain, Lucy has a self-serving motive behind every action she takes. She and Kendra ultimately reconcile by the end of 13, but is her repentance genuine or is she a wolf in sheep's clothing? There may be no way to tell for certain, but it appears that Lucy is indeed growing up just like Evan — sometimes the villain is just a hurt girl in her early teens trying to figure out life.

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Did Kendra's Mom Ever Lighten Up?

13 Musical Kendra's Mom

13: The Musical shows a problem that may be familiar to some viewers: a controlling parent. Kendra's mom doesn't trust her much and micromanages her life at every turn, including making her attend summer school, taking her phone away, and keeping her from boys. Brett and Kendra ultimately reconcile and get together by the end of 13, but their relationship might seem doomed because of Kendra's mom. 13 doesn't address the problem, but the answer is a resounding "probably." Like Hamilton's ending where Alexander dies with much left yet undone, some things in 13 are left to the viewers' imagination. 13 is about youth and how transitory and changing things are during middle school years. Kendra and Brett aren't "meant to be." It's young love and Kendra's mom is likely to get in the way.

What's Evan's Mom's Novel Going To Be About?

13 Musical Evan's Mom Writing

Evan's mother Jessica is going through a particularly hard time during 13: The Musical. After putting her career on hold so her husband, Joel, could prioritize his law firm, he meets someone new and breaks their family apart. Trying to pick up the pieces of her life, Jessica moves herself and Evan to her mother's place in Indiana. Her mother (played by Rhea Perlman, best known for her character on Cheers, later returning on Frasier) tries to get her writing again as an outlet for her grief and pain, but Jessica is reluctant to get started. By the end of 13, she's working on a novel and when she tells Joel she's writing it he says, "That's not gonna end well for me, is it?" It's never shown what the novel is about, but it's heavily suggested that Jessica will pull from her own life and explore the history of her relationship.

The Real Meaning Of 13: The Musical’s Ending

13 Musical Ending Shot

13: The Musical is all about growing up, making mistakes, and finding ways to fix the hurt bad actions cause to others. The second-to-last song "A Little More Homework" highlights the real message of 13: everybody has work to do on themselves and the process of doing that work can be messy. This is further shown by Evan's last conversation with his father where it's clear that even adults make mistakes that hurt others and have to grow past them. While movie musicals are frequently different from their Broadway counterparts — and 13 is no exception — the moral of 13 is consistent across both versions: it's about how the self-serving decisions people make can have ripple effects on the lives of those around them and how important it is to own one's bad actions and make amends where possible. While 13: The Musical changes much from its source material, the movie never feels lesser for doing so.

2022-08-13T22:48:26.000Z

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