13 Reasons Why has, unsurprisingly, been renewed for a third season at Netflix, and there's a few things we need to see from its story. The drama first arrived on our screens in 2017, an adaptation of Jay Asher's novel of the same name. Season one told the story of Hannah Baker, who had taken her own life and left behind 13 cassette tapes, each detailing a reason why she made that awful decision. The show caused a massive amount of controversy for allegedly glorifying suicide, but at the same time, the show immediately became a smash hit and spawned a fervent fanbase. A second season renewal was inevitable, but with no source material left, it fell to showrunner Brian Yorkey and his team of writers to continue the story.
This they did, by following the court case brought against the school by Hannah's parents, which saw Jessica, Clay, and others, coming to terms with their friend's death as well as issues in their own lives, such as Jessica's rape ordeal at the hands of Bryce. The show also closely followed Tyler, who was brutally bullied and ultimately tried to carry out a school shooting. Despite note being alive, Hannah also featured in season two in both a flashback and as a ghost who talked to Clay. It was perhaps this element of 13 Reasons Why season 2 that made critics feel as though the show had run its course. Regardless, 13 Reasons Why remains one of Netflix's most popular shows, and it was quickly picked up for season 3. Going forward, though, there's a number of key points we need to see addressed for the show to recapture the greatness of season one.
- This Page: These Kids Need Help
- Page 2: It's Time to Focus on Positives
Tyler Needs To Be Helped
Tyler Down used guns as a form of escape; having always been ostracized by his peers he released his frustration and anger through the possession and use of firearms. When he made friends in season 2, it seemed as though maybe all would be well, but the bullying Tyler suffered at the hands of the jocks was merciless, culminating in a horrific sexual assault. Tipped over the edge, the very troubled Tyler then took his arsenal of weapons into school, with the intention of carrying out a mass shooting during the school dance. In the final moments, he was talked out of his decision by Clay. No adults intervened at any point, and although Mr. Porter warned about Tyler's behavior before he was fired, the school did nothing to help him.
The reality is different, though. Our schools have some outstanding teachers and guidance staff, who understand and help the students in their care. Kids like Tyler do slip through the net, but with so many mass shootings taking place across the U.S., and with the debate around gun control raging, wouldn't it be great for 13 Reasons Why to show Tyler getting the adult assistance he needs, from a supportive family and school, to help him with his mental health? In the same vein, we need to see Monty de la Cruz and his gang getting their comeuppance for their hideous assault on Tyler. Their actions don't excuse Tyler's intentions, but they do go a long way towards explaining why his mind went to that place.
We Need To See Positive Adult and Child Relationships
A large part of both seasons of 13 Reasons Why has been focused on adults failing to notice that the kids in their care needed extra help or support. No one realized Hannah was suicidal, and when she did go to the guidance counselor, Mr. Porter, to seek help, she was told that unless she was willing to give him the name of her rapist, he couldn't do anything. Hannah's parents had no idea something was wrong with their teenage daughter, and Jessica's parents didn't know anything was amiss until she found the courage to tell her dad she'd been raped.
It's a known fact that teenagers are often reluctant to talk to their parents about their lives. A certain level of secrecy is expected and, as maddening as that can be, those who are parents to teens can usually remember being the same themselves. 13 Reasons Why takes that to a whole new level, to the point that Clay even hides Justin in his bedroom while he's withdrawing from heroin. Hannah Baker kept everything from her parents. Alex Standall couldn't talk to his parents about feeling suicidal, Courtney couldn't tell her dads that she's gay. While we get that not all parents are understanding about everything, it would be refreshing to see the parent/ child relationship portrayed in a more positive light. Given that a large part of the audience will be in that age category, it might just resonate with some, and if it prompts one teenager to speak up about issues they're facing, then surely it's worth it?
The same goes for teacher/ student relations, too. Many can surely remember that one teacher who stood out among others? The one who inspired you and who you felt always had your back. There seems to be none of these at Liberty High, and there needs to be. Mrs. Bradley tries, but she's not forceful enough with the school leadership team to fight for what the kids need, which is guidance and support in coming to terms with all that's happened at that school.