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13 Reasons Why Season 2's Shocking Finale Explained

Warning: SPOILERS ahead for 13 Reasons Why season 2. Graphic descriptions of sexual assault

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13 Reasons Why season 2 was never going to be an easy watch, but no one was quite ready for just how harrowing the ending was going to be. We knew an ongoing court case from the Baker family would force old wounds to be reopened, and we also knew Jessica coming to terms with her rape ordeal would be tough to see played out on screen. In a finale that finally moved away from Hannah's story, which has been exhausted, we were instead given a deeply disturbing and upsetting season finale that profoundly echoed real-life events taking place at the exact same time that 13 Reasons Why season 2 was released.

13 Reasons Why season 1 ended with the reveal that Tyler possesses a massive stash of guns. The scene looked set for some kind of mass shooting to take place, but when 13 Reasons Why season 2 opened, there was absolutely no mention of this. Instead, Tyler was the first witness to take the stand in the court case that Hannah's parents have brought against Liberty High. We heard his tale of how kids get treated at the school, the vast amount of bullying that takes place, and how Hannah had been kind to him initially. What of the guns, though? It seemed as though showrunner Brian Yorkey had decided to ignore that scene altogether, given the current volatile political climate regarding gun laws in the U.S.. As it turned out, that wasn't the case at all.

Everyone Was Rooting For Tyler

Devin Druid managed to make Tyler Down someone whom the viewers rooted for throughout season 2. This wasn't an easy task. The depiction of his behavior in season 1 made him come across as a socially awkward teenager who got off on stalking teenage girls. As the focus of the first episode in season 2, Druid then had the opportunity to present another side to Tyler, and he did so perfectly. We learned why he enjoys photography, how he views the world, and we also got a glimpse into his home life. Tyler remains socially awkward throughout 13 Reasons Why season 2, but when he meets Cyrus (Bryce Cass) and Mackenzie (Chelsea Alden), we rejoice. It's so good to see Tyler making friends, and being accepted into a peer group for who he is. Although he's still endlessly tormented by Montgomery (Timothy Granaderos), having friends seems to make Tyler a much happier person, which makes the season finale all the more shocking.

The Gun Use Slowly Escalated

Reveling in his newfound friendships, and bolstered by his crush on Mackenzie, Tyler started small: planting a paint bomb in the parking lot which Marcus discovered, and defacing the other boy's car. Cyrus found this funny, and when Tyler takes him into the woods to fire guns, he goes along with it, genuinely seeming to enjoy the power of holding a weapon. The pair fire at tins at first, but later in the season, when Tyler successfully blackmails Marcus, he shoots a crow. He also takes Clay out to the woods for shooting practice, and it's apparent that Tyler's obsession with guns is spiraling out of control. After admitting it was him who vandalized the baseball field, Tyler is sent away to a reform program. As Mr. Porter is fired, he hands over a bunch of files, warning that unless the school takes some action, there will be more cases like Hannah. Tyler's file is on top.

Other Characters Are Getting Closure

The finale of 13 Reasons Why season 2 lulls us into a false sense of security at first. Bryce is found guilty of rape, and though his three months probation sentence is an absolute joke, Jessica does clearly state that she feels stronger for having come forward. Hannah's mom decides to go to New York to live her daughter's dreams, Courtney has noticed a cute girl, and Justin looks set to become a permanent member of Clay's family. At Hannah's memorial service, Clay delivers his eulogy and finally gets rid of Hannah's ghost. So far, so good. There are elements set up to explore further in a possible season 3, but for now, life looks a little brighter at Liberty High, so surely it follows that Tyler will be back on form?

Page 2: Montgomery's Attack and Tyler's Response

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13 Reasons Why Season 2's Shocking Finale Explained