13 Reasons Why was one of the biggest hits of 2017. Based on the book by Jay Asher, the first season focused on Clay Jensen as he discovers that his friend Hannah Baker left tapes regarding the reasons for her suicide. Within the 13 episodes, we listen along with Clay as each person is called out one-by-one to find out what part they had to play.
This is easily one of the most controversial shows to come from recent history. Not only does it deal with serious issues such as suicide, rape, sexual assault and mental health, but the way it is dealt has split opinions. Some people think that the show did a fantastic job at highlighting the issues that happen on a daily basis, however others argue that they “glamourise” the issue and therefore potentially bring more people into danger by exposing them to these sorts of behaviours.
The conversations that were held made people aware of the show, and with such a high viewership it was no shock that season two was quickly announced. This was a show that potentially didn’t need a second season, and even some fans didn’t want a second season. There was no second book to this original story, so what could the writers and producers do moving forward? That was the worry going into this season.
Just before I jump into what I thought of season two, I should give some background of my opinions going into it. I loved season one. I thought it was handled so well, and whilst I read the book after I watched the show, I felt the material was handled fantastically. I didn’t find the issues to be glamourised, and at the end of the day we need a show like this. Life isn’t perfect, and people may be suffering. This show highlights the warning signs, as well as make people aware that stuff like rape and suicide does happen on a daily basis.
I was also worried about a second season. The way the first season ended was good enough for me, as they had answered all of the questions I wanted them to, and I didn’t want them to possibly turn the show into a Riverdale situation (a show I originally liked but got way too “teen drama” like).
In a quick summary, this season picks up a couple of months after the events of the first season. Everyone is seeming to try and live normal lives after the events, but then it is time for the court case of Hannah Baker vs the Liberty High school district. The episodes follow each character as they testify in court, and the suspense builds on whether Ms. Baker will win her case.
Just like in the first season, the acting in this show is superb. Dylan Minnette and Katherine Langford give heart-breaking performances as the lead characters, still making you feel for what could have been for them both. Special recognition has to go to Devin Druid as Tyler, and if you have seen the last episode then you know why.
For almost all of the season, the story-telling is fantastic. This season manages to keep the story-telling aspect of one person as a focus per episode, it also manages to break away from that as they are not the only character in the spotlight for that specific episode. It also keeps with a sense of realism, as nothing is over dramatised or hidden away. They show what would happen in every situation, and don’t try to make the story happy for the sake of a happy ending.
The last episode did annoy me, and it is not for the scene that most people would say it is for. It is for a storyline that the writers decided to add at the end, and I will mention it at the very end of my review. The ending breaks away from the rest of the entire show, as I personally feel that it was not realistic and gave conflicting messages to the fans of the show.
This is definitely a hard watch. Throughout the season I was getting frustrated, annoyed and wanting to stop watching. However, that is the reaction that they want from us. This isn’t meant to be a feel-good comedy, and if something is hard to watch or makes us feel sick, then it has done its job. We shouldn’t feel pleasure watching someone getting bullied, but that is real life and this show really does open our eyes. It seems like there is going to be a season three, and I am interested to see how the story is going to continue on from here.
Spoiler alert! Do not read on if you haven’t not seen the last episode of season two of 13 Reasons Why and don’t want to be spoiled.
So, if you are reading this then you know what happens at the end. I have been looking further into the ending recently and it is apparently inspired by the Columbine shooting, one of the first major school shootings to happen in America. This comes from several references, such as the gun that was used (also can be seen as an AK47, something well recognised for mass shootings in America to this day) and the date that both shootings took place (April 20th).
There are clear intentions as to why the creators of the show thought this would be a good storyline to end the season on. I particularly love the line that Clay says in this ending scene, where he goes “If you think this’ll change a goddamn thing and not just be another f*cking tragedy that adults cry about for a week and then forget,” as this shows what does happen in reality.
However, I feel that overall this was a stupid decision for the creators to do. This comes down to two factors in particular. Firstly, it is very stupid for anyone to try and talk a potential shooter out of committing the crime. No matter how good of a friend you are (which the season showed their friendship very poorly may I add), you should not put yourself at risk. There are basically no cases that end the way that is shown on the show. People are thinking that the show wanted to have Tyler shoot up the school, but that Netflix disapproved of it and had to change the ending. I could see that being a thing.
The other thing that made this decision majorly flawed is by having Tyler turn into the shooter. Not only have we seen him throughout the two seasons go through so much in terms of his own emotions and being bullied, but we also saw him majorly develop within the last few episodes. By the end, we are wanting him to turn good. His rape scene is devastating to watch, and we really feel sorry for him.
However, it seems like a bad decision to make us feel sorry for someone who turns into a potential school shooter. In cases like Columbine, they never had a tragic story like being raped. They never got sympathy, and nor should they. This seems bad taste, especially since a lot of people who may watch this show might have been involved in a shooting incident. To make shooters look like victims and that they should be pitied or cared for, is ridiculous and that was the worst possible ending for this show to have.
What did you make of this second season? Was it necessary for them to have this season, and what did you make of that last episode in particular? Let me know in the comments below.
Until next time, that was some film for thought.