Netflix has confirmed the renewal of 13 Reasons Why; hardly a surprise, given the huge reaction the show has gotten. Following Hannah Baker and her decision to commit suicide, 13 Reasons Why told her story tactfully, while still confronting taboo issues such as suicide and rape, head on. Arguably, of course, these issues should be being talked about openly, and 13 Reasons Why certainly promotes that. Going forward into season 2, the show not only has the chance to tie up some of the characters' storylines, but it also has the opportunity to raise even more awareness about mental health, sexual assault, and the effect suicide can have on family and friends. Here’s what we’d like to see in 13 Reasons Why, season 2.
Arguably, the single most important storyline we’d like to see fully realized is Bryce facing justice for his rape of Jessica and Hannah. Given the nature of the show, it’s hard to see this not happening, but it probably won't be an easy road to get there. We’d like to see 13 Reasons Why take a closer look at why and how women (particularly teenagers) are often not believed when they report a rape, and how society judges them by assuming they were “asking for it,” or that they “led the rapist on.”
Given the controversy surrounding Hannah’s death, the very real topic of sexual assault in high school has almost fallen by the wayside, but it must be picked up again. The more this subject is shown and discussed, the more empowered victims will feel, and the more likely people will be to report rape in the future.
Jessica Getting the Help She Needs
Tied into Bryce’s storyline, is Jessica’s. She (as far as we know) is the only person alive that can testify against him. Hannah’s tapes and Clay’s confession are damning evidence, but will Clay’s recording be admissible in court? At the end of season 1, we saw the heart-breaking moment that Jessica found the courage to talk to her father. Presumably, the police will now become involved, but perhaps the hardest part of Jessica’s journey starts now.
With her rape made public, she will have to return to high school and face those who were, and possibly still are, friendly with Bryce. She will become the subject of gossip, speculation, and, most likely, some of the degrading bathroom graffiti we saw in season 1. While it would be accurate to show the school and the law failing Jessica, it would perhaps be better to instead show the school learning from its failings with Hannah, and getting Jessica the help she needs to move forward with her life.
A Crisis Being Averted
The last time we saw Tyler, he was in school, with a backpack full of guns and ammo. Scarily reminiscent of many high school shootings, he seemed cool, calm and collected as he spoke with his mother before leaving the house, and then as he worked in the darkroom at school. However, he was disgruntled at his treatment at the hands of his peers, who all dismissed him and didn’t want him in their group. Sadly, that meant Tyler had no one to talk to about Hannah’s tapes, and obviously vulnerable, having no outlet meant that he internalized all of his anger.
Again, with Tyler, it would be good to see him getting the mental health help he so badly needs, and that might mean him leaving the school altogether. While there are probably those who would like to see him attempting to carry out his plans, we can’t help but feel that everyone at Liberty High has been through enough. It would be better instead, to see the trigger that stops Tyler from shooting anyone, and the effect that then has on him. Will others learn of his plans? And, why did he take Alex’s picture down just before he left the Dark Room?