It's been two years since 13 Reasons Why season 1 made its debut on Netflix, and the streaming platform has now made the decision to edit out Hannah's graphic suicide scene that caused a wave of controversy. Based off of the novel of the same name written by Jay Asher, the story followed a teenager named Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) as he investigates the suicide of his classmate, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), by listening to 13 audiotapes she left behind. Its first season garnered mass amounts of controversy over its final episode, which featured an extremely graphic scene of Hannah committing suicide in a bathtub. Regardless, Netflix promptly renewed 13 Reasons Why for season 2, which ended up feeling like an unnecessary continuation and attracted even more backlash from parents who criticized the show's depictions of suicide and sexual violence.
Many viewers thought the show would be finished following its lackluster season 2, but Netflix was once again quick to renew 13 Reasons Why for season 3. The streaming service's aim behind this was they wanted to bring closure to main characters, and they felt there was more story to be told. Even with this being the case for their renewal, they'll now be formulating a story without their leading powerhouse, Langford. Despite being the biggest part of season 1 and appearing through a majority of season 2 as well, Langford won't be returning for season 3. She strongly believes that Hannah's character arc has come to a close, which now leaves the showrunners with the task of bringing everyone else's in the same direction.
With season 3 hitting the streaming service at the end of this summer, Netflix has made the decision to edit out Hannah's graphic suicide from season 1. According to THR, Netflix made a statement on Tuesday explaining they've been, "mindful about the ongoing debate around the show," and decided, "on the advice of medical experts, including Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention," that they're going, "to edit the scene in which Hannah takes her own life from season one." Now, the scene features, "Hannah looking at herself in the mirror before cutting to her parents' reaction to her suicide." There is no longer the scene of the character, "taking a razor blade to her wrists and the immediate aftermath." According to showrunner Brian Yorkey, the intent behind depicting the scene in such graphic detail was to, "tell the truth about the horror of such an act, and make sure no one would ever wish to emulate it."
Netflix's decision has drawn support from a number of communities, including the American Association of Suicidology, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American School Counselor Association, Stanford's Dr. Helen Hsu, Mental Health America, Cedars-Sinai's Dr. Rebecca Hedrick and the Trevor Project. Even with the showrunner's initial good intent, a study has shown an increase in youth suicides following the show's premiere. So, ultimately, this decision bodes well for everyone involved.
13 Reasons Why has brought a lot of conversation to the table since its release. On the one hand, it has served as a way to encourage young people to be open about mental health and suicide prevention. But, on the other hand, scenes like Hannah's suicide are a risk for vulnerable viewers. The show still holds a powerful message, even without the graphic suicide scene. Hopefully, 13 Reasons Why season 3 can still carry that important message without entering into repetitive territory with its narrative.