13 Reasons Why Season 2: 13 takeaways from the controversial Netflix show
Season 2 was uncalled for and the season became even more controversial than it was but then the takeaways are important. Here are 13 reasons why
Netflix's '13 Reasons Why' season 2 was not really necessary because season one had already wrapped up the question of 13 reasons why Hannah Baker killed herself.
Season two proceeded with a courtroom drama for Hannah Baker's justice, but left enough story plot development for season 3, which will likely be without the Bakers since their story is done and dusted, and Olivia has decided to move to New York and live the life Hannah wanted.
That leaves us with Clay Jensen, the protagonist, Justin Foley, who gets adopted by the Jensens, and Tyler Down, who attempted a school shooting in the season finale.
Season 2 may also be the last for Bryce Walker and his girlfriend Chloe, since they are moving to a private school and as unfair as it may seem, Bryce clearly did not get what he deserved.
At the start of episode one, the cast members narrate a video disclaimer citing that the series will deal with potentially disturbing subject matters, including sexual assault, substance abuse, and teen suicide.
“If you are struggling with these issues yourself, this series may not be right for you,” says actress Alisha Boe, who plays Jessica, a cheerleader who, in the first season, was raped by the most popular guy in school.
But in the second season she confronts her own fears and manages to get Bryce arrested, though temporarily because he is from a rich and powerful family. Justin Foley, on the other hand wins our heart by standing against his childhood best friend, defending Jessica and allowing himself to be arrested along with Walker.
From the first episode of the season till the 13th, we had some intense takeaway moments and what started as an unnecessary season 2 unfurled more dialogues and controversies.
The series which was started to initiate a conversation has turned into a Netflix hit, bringing in a lot of profit for the streaming giant.
So season 3 is likely because season 2 ends in a cliffhanger with Clay holding Tyler's gun while police sirens are heard nearby.
The debate on the show's intentions can be debated but let us look at the show's takeaways.
1. Hannah Baker isn't a ghost, she's a message
Now that the story on the tapes were over in season one, we wondered how we would see Hannah Baker again. But the show's creators had something else in mind, something we could never fathom. Season two had Hannah Baker as an entity that only Clay could see and talk to.
Fans were confused because throughout the course of the story, they couldn't figure out if Hannah is really a ghost or a figment of Clay's imagination.
We will go with the latter because Hannah does not say anything new or unknown to Clay. She just emphasizes how hurt she was, driving Clay crazy, to the point of taking a gun to Bryce's home to shoot him. Also, when Clay gets the polaroid of the clubhouse, Hannah does not identify the place despite going there with Bryce.
The purpose of Hannah Baker returning to the second season, even as a ghost, is a reminder of how hard it is let go of people you have loved and lost. But when it is necessary, you have to move forward and live your best life for yourself and for them.
2. Justice served is unfair
After Jessica Davis comes forward with her case on Bryce Walker raping her, she delivers a powerful message in the court. Despite that Bryce is given only three months probation, while Justin Foley, accused of letting the crime happen, is given six months sentence, which is absolutely ridiculous. Bryce walks out free because he's got money and power, something Justin lacks.
3. Be kind, everyone is fighting their own battles
It's the 21st century and many adults and teenagers are troubled. Hannah Baker was a loved individual but still she was troubled. Her sufferings were mentally penetrating and that led her to cut her wrist in the bathtub. In season two, when Clay starts dating Skye, we see she has her own set of battles to fight and so does Clay. It is so hard for him to let go of his dead beloved despite being in a relationship with someone living. Even a close overview of Bryce Walker, the rapist, shows how troubled he is and how he developed the mindset of a serial rapist. Tyler Down is bullied in the most scary way possible and that drives him to turn into a school shooter. Thank god for Clay, the situation is under control; and Clay says that he never understood how troubled Tyler was.
4. Supporting something that's wrong shows how needy humans are
When Chloe sees the polaroids of her being raped by her boyfriend when she was unconscious, she agrees to testify against him in the court. However, despite ample support from Jessica and the rest, Chloe backs out from charging Bryce with rape. We later learn that she did so because she is pregnant with Bryce's child and she helplessly needs him.
5. The mentality of a rapist is that he's done nothing wrong
One of the most disgusting episodes was when Bryce was shown getting aroused thinking about how he had raped Hannah Baker.
There was not any sense of guilt even while testifying in the court. According to him, Hannah asked for it, looking at him with "hungry" eyes and not telling him "no".
6. There's nothing called an absolute truth
Season 1 was Hannah's version of her truth but in season 2, we see the other half of the story. Every individual have different reactions to the same situation. What is your truth may not be someone else's.
7. Perfection isn't real
Zach Dempsey is a perfect example of how farfetched the conception of perfection is. According to his mother and friends, he is gold. But for him, there's pressure to keep his mother happy even at his own expense. He is a kind person but he tries to mask his good side by hanging out with the goon-like jocks, because there's pressure to be popular as well.
8. Depression is universal and talking to a friend or a trusted adult helps
When you think you're going through so much pain all by yourself, you should know that you are not alone. Hannah Baker did not get the help she needed but Jessica did and she came out stronger in season 2. All kids as well as adults have their own set of problems but there is nothing that can't be tackled with an open conversation.
9. Justin Foley
Yes, he's another takeaway from season 2. He may still have battles to win, mainly his drug addiction, but when he sobbed while Clay broke the news of his adoption, we couldn't help but replay the scene and wet a tissue or two.
Clay gets a brother and we cannot wait to see their relationship bloom. He also gets back with Jessica, because they are clearly in love. There are high chances that he may be the next protagonist in the upcoming season.
10. Words are powerful to make or break someone
Hannah's poems are an unconscious call for help and no one in particular recognizes that. When her poem is published anonymously, her words are used against her. She is slut-shamed. But at the same time, she looks forward to the compliments that her classmates drop for her in the "compliment box," and which Zach Dempsey hides from her.
Hannah says on her tapes how important those compliments were to her and we also understand that in season 2 words can either make or break you.
11. Truth can set you free
Jessica overcomes her greatest fear of repercussions of being a rape victim and stands up for her right. Even though Bryce Walker isn't given the punishment he deserved, Jessica feels stronger than ever.
On the other hand, Chloe is troubled. She is aware about consent sex and rape when Bryce Walker forces himself on her when she did not want him to. She is a rape victim but she hasn't come to terms with it because she is pregnant. Her truth is yet to set her free.
12. Don't provoke a troubled kid. Always be nice
What happened to Tyler Down in the season finale was beyond bullying. It was rape and abuse and torture all at once. As much as it was painful to watch, it provoked Tyler to commit a school shooting. A troubled kid, who is loved by his family is driven to commit a heinous crime because he is a social outcast and subjected to abuse because he isn't built strong enough to defend himself from bullies. There are few parallels that can be drawn between Tyler's and Hannah's provocation.
13. Suicide is not the answer
Few have pointed out that the suicide series has not validated suicide. Well, if it did, then it's glamorization. What Hannah did is something that's plaguing the country and no matter how hard we try to justify, we fall short.
Olivia Baker gives Clay a note on 11 reasons why she had the option not to kill herself. "She fell short of two," sighs Olivia Baker.
Clay in one of his Hannah hallucinations lashes out at her saying she did an "evil thing" and when he apologizes later, she says "you said nothing wrong," establishing the fact that suicide is an evil act. Note here that suicide harms more people than just the person committing it. Look at Alex Standall, who realizes that. Suicide is not an answer and there are other options. You just need to look around.
14. Added point for Selena Gomez's song 'Back to You'