Warning: Spoilers for 13 Reasons Why Season 2
At the heart of 13 Reasons Why Season 2 is a court case meant to decide who was responsible for Hannah Baker's suicide. Ultimately, Hannah was responsible for her own death, but there were a multitude of events leading up to it which could, or should be to blame. A lot other events depicted across the entirety of 13 Reasons Why also came about thanks to many failings.
For one school, Liberty High certainly has a lot of tragedies happen. Not only did Hannah Baker commit suicide, but Bryce raped Jessica and Hannah, Justin was neglected by his mom, Alex attempted suicide and Tyler was brutally beaten and sexually assaulted, before attempting to carry out a school shooting. There are certainly issues within the walls of Liberty High but are they, as Hannah's parents claim, responsible for Hannah's death due to their neglect?
At the end of 13 Reasons Why Season 2, the school are found not guilty after a long and intense court battle, where the defense tried to discredit Hannah and her friends, as the prosecution attempted to highlight the failings of the school. Undoubtedly, the school let Hannah and many others down, but are they really responsible for her choice to end her life?
- This Page: Who's Really To Blame For Hannah Baker's Suicide?
- Page 2: What Liberty High Did Wrong
Hannah Baker Did Know Happiness
Hannah's decision was made after many twists and turns that, frankly, are part of growing up for a lot of teenagers. Thanks to 13 Reasons Why Season 2, we now know she was happy in the summer of her sophomore year when she was in a relationship with Zach. She also had a crush on Clay, and always liked being around him. She had disagreements with friends - namely Alex, Jessica and Courtney - that weren't great, yet wouldn't have triggered most teenagers to be contemplating suicide.
She was though, as Tony says, "a drama." Hannah was a victim, sure, but she was in no way blameless for the disagreements between friends. Zach made some stupid mistakes, and Marcus was a jerk to her, but again, they didn't do enough to be culpable.
One Event Was The Final Trigger
Bryce Walker played a large part in Hannah's decision to take her own life. When he raped her in the hot tub, he not only violated her physically, but he destroyed her mentally and emotionally too. For an already unstable and vulnerable teenager, it all proved too much. Hannah sought out the school guidance counselor, Mr. Porter, to ask for help, but when she refused to name her rapist he told her there was nothing he could do.
Should he have listened better? Of course. Hannah was clearly not in a good place and desperately needed help and a guidance counselor, of all people, should have recognized that. If we're pointing the finger at those who never listened or noticed Hannah's anguish, though, then we also need to look at Olivia and Andy Baker.
Hannah's Parents Are Not Blame Free
Hannah's parents seemed loving, attentive, and everything you'd expect from parents of a teenager; a little overprotective at times but overall they were doing good. Except... their daughter was driven to suicide and they didn't pick up on her becoming more withdrawn or upset. They didn't push for answers just like Mr. Porter didn't, just like Clay didn't, just like Tony didn't. Liberty High is guilty of neglect, but then, by the same token, so is everyone else. Hannah Baker had mental health issues that someone, somewhere should have picked up on. That way, she could have healed.
Take a look at Jessica; for a while, it looked like she would be the next tragedy. Drinking heavily and in total denial, Jessica was headed down a dangerous path until Clay and Justin forced her to face up to what had happened. Her dad was that all-important listening ear, and in 13 Reasons Why Season 2, we see that Jessica is sleeping in her parents room, and that her dad sits with her every night until she falls asleep. Jessica is also attending a help group and gradually realizes that she doesn't need to let her rape define her anymore. All of that only came about because Clay and Justin were so hyper-aware of what happened to Hannah that they refused to let it happen again. Her parents, too, made sure to accompany her to the school in order to make sure she was safe in their care.