Maybe you shouldn't watch Season 2 of "13 Reasons Why"

Saturday, 26 May 2018


* Contains Spoilers *

I recently finished [binge] watching the entire second season of 13 Reasons Why and it was just as emotional, disturbing, and utterly shocking as the first season. But there's more to these new episodes than just bullying and suicide; it also features gun violence and more sexual assault and these issues have become very important, especially around this time in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the recent school shootings. So I'm here to talk about them.


In season one, the narrative is based around the tapes left behind by Hannah Baker after she takes her own life but in the newest season, the story unravels through a series of polaroid pictures - ones that have been discovered in Clay Jensen's locker. The polaroids leads us to a secret 'truth' of the popular jocks of the baseball team.

Despite the unravelling of the plot through these polaroids, the narrative is primarily based around the trial of Bakers v. school district, where each person mentioned on the tapes testify and tell their side of the story to see whether Hannah's suicide is the parent's fault or the school's.

As fantastic the cinematography and directing is (some of the episodes were directed by a legend, Gregg Araki), the story line of season two bemused me and somewhat angered to some measure.

Creating two opposing sides as a result of Hannah's suicide is unrealistic and slightly over-dramatic, and the fight between two - the fight to see who was at blame for her death - made Hannah's suicide mean nothing more than criminal rather than a tragedy, devaluing her death to some extent. They represented her suicide as a murder when it's not; suicide is a choice. Further, the fact that they're questioning her claims throughout the series creates an unreliability in the story: should we believe the victim's claims, is it really her fault she was bullied, and what would she have lied for if she wasn't exactly being honest?

Not to mention the graphic nature of Tyler's brutal assault in the last episode. It left me haunted because the terror and the screams as well as the violence all seem so genuine. To me, I felt it was unnecessary to finish off the season with something as painful to watch as Hannah's suicide. I personally found it a bit over-the-top, something the writer's wrote in for shock-value. Despite the constant warnings before the episode started, it is way too sensitive for viewers - especially since the show already consists of extremely sensitive content. So, if you're planning to watch it then mentally prepare yourself or watch with a guardian/friend. If you've been a victim of sexual assault or bullying, then I highly recommend not watching this scene at all.


In all's honesty, the contents of this show is too heavy and should be handled like broken glass - which is why I would not honestly recommend this show unless you think you can handle a few sharp edges. The heavy load which the show carries will overwhelm you with a burden of thoughts about the issues and themes it displays; leaving a long-term impact. It left a huge one for me.

Although this show is controversial and dark, it's a way for young people to become aware of important issues - such as rape, suicide and depression, bullying, and violence. Tyler's scene created an awareness of male rape, which is something that not many people know about. It's a great way to challenge young people to think and discuss these issues which isn't commonly discussed, and it's especially important that we start talking, considering the recent events of #MeToo, March for our Lives, and the recent cases of Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby - where victims stood up and spoke their truths. To add more, one of my favourite things they did on this show was the way they depicted teenagers in this day and age: image-conscious, hormonal, secretive, and rebellious.

Overall, 13 Reasons why wasn't too bad. I was expecting different results for the second season - like after Hannah's death, the people involved would try to figure out a way to move on in a constructive way, rather than through a court trial; and Jessica would finally speak up about her non-consensual encounter with Bryce. Even though it wasn't what I expected, the show had great surprises, heart-wrenching moments, and a touch of trauma.

Do you agree? Would you recommend 13 Reasons Why to anyone or would you not watch it ever?

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