Love it or hate it, 13 Reasons Why is officially coming back for a second season. Of course, the renewal isn't all that surprising given the fan fervor surrounding the Netflix drama, which follows the aftermath of 17-year-old Hannah Baker's suicide. But the news does leave us with more questions than answers.
Whereas Jay Asher's 2007 novel ends with 17-year-old Clay Jensen reaching out to a fellow student he thinks may be suicidal, the series takes a different approach by leaving viewers with several cliffhangers, including Alex's (Miles Heizer) attempted suicide and the fallout from Hannah's (Katherine Langford) tapes being made public. It's clear Hannah Baker's story isn't over, so let's examine the things we need to see in Season 2.
More Hannah BakerBeth Dubber/Netflix
Katherine Langford's magnetic performance as the ill-fated teen at the center of the heartbreaking story was career-defining for the Aussie actress. As Hannah Baker, she carried a lot of the season's emotional weight, and her easy onscreen chemistry with costar Dylan Minnette, as Clay, was buoyant and heartbreaking at the same time. Langford not only narrated each episode (er, tape), but she was also featured prominently throughout in a series of flashbacks.
According to co-showrunner Brian Yorkey, Season 2 will still "weave past and present" with voice-overs, but Hannah will no longer be the one narrating each episode. Langford, however, will be a big part of the second season as the show digs deeper into Hannah's story. "We're going to see a lot of things we hadn't even heard about yet that fill in some really interesting gaps in our understanding of who Hannah Baker was and what her life was," Yorkey told EW.
At the end of the season, Jessica starts to come to terms with her painful sexual assault. It's implied that Jess told her military dad about the assault in the season finale, but we never got to see the aftermath of that conversation. Right now, Jessica needs a strong support system, and with her boyfriend Justin (Brandon Flynn) complicit in her assault and her best friend Alex in the ICU, she needs her family more than ever right now.
Hopefully the second season also sees justice served to her rapist, Bryce (Justin Prentice). After all, Clay did tape Bryce's confession, which should be enough to convict him. Then again, affluent white boys have a way of gaming the system.
Somebody needs to punch Bryce in the faceNetflix
Speaking of the town's vile golden boy, somebody really needs to punch him in the face. We thought that was where Justin's confrontation with Bryce was headed in the series finale, but instead, Justin mysteriously packed a gun and seemingly skipped town. We'd also like more clarity on that, too.
Resolution for AlexNetflix
Alex's growing depression throughout Season 1 was one of the show's most brutally affecting story lines. Hannah's death impacted everyone on the tapes, some more than others, but Alex was the only one who openly admitted to how his actions influenced Hannah's decision to kill herself. He felt personally responsible, and he didn't know how to deal with his own guilt. In the season finale, it's revealed that Alex tried to kill himself with a gunshot to the head. He's in critical condition by the episode's end, and his fate is still TBD. That being said, we can't think of anything more bleak than another student's death from suicide. But judging from what Heizer told The Hollywood Reporter, it sounds like Alex does survive the attempt.
"That's another subject that's very rarely shown onscreen and is probably a lot more common than people think it is," he said. "People attempting to take their lives and it not happening, I'm sure that will bring a crazy set of issues. It would be interesting to go into that."
Help for TylerNetflix
High school photographer Tyler (Devin Druid) faced constant verbal and physical harassment throughout the series. The bullying intensified after Clay snapped a photo of Tyler's bare butt and shared it with the entire school as revenge for stalking Hannah. Even the other teens on the tapes all but ignored Tyler and excluded him from their frequent plotting. Fast-forward to the end of the season, and Tyler is seen purchasing a gun and opening a case of what look like explosives. Did his classmates finally push Tyler too far? It would be nice to see a character like Tyler being given the help and support he needs instead of being exploited for a school shooting story line.
Everyone deserves to come out on their own terms, but we can't help but think what a powerful story line Courtney's (Michele Selene Ang) coming-out would make for Season 2. In her tape it's revealed that Courtney spread rumors that Hannah was a lesbian to hide her own sexual orientation, and she later confessed to Clay that she was scared to come out. She's aware of the awful stigmas that gay parents face, and Courtney doesn't want to put her dads in that situation. (She'd hate for anyone to think her dads "turned" her gay.) Not to mention, she's still figuring things out and coming to terms with her own feelings.
More warnings and resources for those who need itNetflix
For all of the brilliant performances in 13 Reasons Why, it's ultimately a show about teenage suicide — and that suicide is shown in extremely graphic detail in the season finale. Some viewers and mental health professionals have warned against watching the series because of the triggering material. Netflix responded to the criticism by adding more warnings, including a content advisory at the beginning of the series. That's certainly a start, but it would also be beneficial for the show to include more resources, like the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to each episode for anyone watching who may be at risk.
If you or someone you know is dealing with mental illness, there are ways to get help. Find resources, tips, and immediate help at Half of Us, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.