I just watched the second season of "13 Reasons Why" not too long ago. I have seen both seasons thus far because I wanted to be able to have conversations about it with people. The topics are so relevant and show up every day in our culture- from the #metoo movement to recent suicides like Kate Spade, it's a show that needs to be discussed. It's become even more noticeable since the first season. I liked the first season, though it was hard to watch. You can read my first article about it here. The second season I didn't enjoy as much as I did the first, and I have quite a few thoughts. Warning: spoilers ahead.
I thought this past season didn't necessarily do a very realistic job of handling the almost-school shooting. I don't know that I can buy that a high school student would react in the same way as Clay did. Clay acted heroically, even though he was scared. In real life, it's easy to say that you want to react the way he did, maybe, but in reality, I don't know that anyone would. That storyline involves a supercritical topic to discuss, but it just seemed like a random plot line thrown into the very end of the season to give them a potential direction for season three. I also thought, as serious as the topic is, that it was just sort of melodramatic. I think the writers realized that they had to start sort of straying away from Hannah because there's not much more they can do with her storyline.
I did enjoy this season how they dealt with sexual assault. The way that Jessica, Chloe, and others handled their experiences and Bryce was exceptionally realistic and brought about some of the best acting moments. I wanted to be mad at the girls sometimes, but I couldn't be. They handled their experiences in the best ways they could, and they respected each other for it. I appreciated that a lot. Also, one of the best parts of the season was Kate Walsh. She did an incredible job portraying Hannah's mom, Olivia Baker. If you watch the post-season interviews, you'll see that Walsh had a mom whose son actually committed suicide in high school consulting with her throughout the season. I value these under-told stories.
If anyone is going to watch this show, I do suggest sticking through to the end (while skipping over any scenes that maybe be triggering or graphics - the show does a decent job of preparing you for those). I also suggest watching the "13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons" in which the case and medical health professionals discuss the recent season and how the writers and cast dealt with exploring these topics. Watching that post-season episode gives me a lot of respect for everyone involved in this project.
I really don't know where the writers are going to go with the third season, but I trust it will be done with a lot of thought. I want the show to continue to be a positive catalyst for conversations about suicide, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. I hope that the way the topics play out stays realistic. I don't think Hannah Baker is going to be part of the show much anymore, if at all, and that leaves the writers a lot of directions they can take.
The bottom line is that if you are going to watch this show, please watch it with major discretion. Talk to somebody about it afterward. Don't hold in what you are feeling inside. You are not alone in your struggles. Share where you're at with people you trust.
Talk to someone by calling 1-800-273-8255 or for more resources go to 13reasonswhy.info.