Tyler Down's journey in 13 Reasons Why S1 and S2 has been harrowing Image: Netflix
The teen drama, which took mental health issues, school bullying, rape culture, misogyny, malevolence and other issues head-on with its first season, is back with its second season with more issues related to problems that teens battle.
13 Reasons Why Season 2 is like the closure fans needed after Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford) committed suicide and left reasons citing why she took her life. She recorded tapes and they were just the beginning. While the first season hit you with the raw truth in the face, left you curled up overthinking about your own issues — the second season picks up right where we left them.
Clay Jenson (Dylan Minnette) is still coping with Hannah's death and battling mental issues of his own which no one talks about, while folks around Liberty High tackle their own. The series is gripping for sure, and talks about real important issues. But somehow it fails to have the same impact as the first season.
Clay Jenson in Season 1 GIF: Giphy
Having said that, the season finale was one of the most stomach-churning episodes of both the seasons combined. In S2, Mr Porter (Derek Luke) hands Principal Bolan (Steven Weber) red-flagged students who critically need guidance and counselling, the top file on the heap was of Tyler Down (Devin Druid).
Through the length of Season 1 he was bullied, and through Season 2 he started acting out, bullied again and sent away to get better. But the minute he came back to school with renewed hope, the graphic act of sexual abuse on him by bullies Montgomery and people from the Varsity Football Team sent him back to square one. The scene is just impossible to watch.
The mental scars he carries around become burdening and that lead to him turning bitter. He almost commits a mass-shooting at Liberty High's Spring Ball Dance. But Clay somehow manages to change his mind by being that ONE person who cares whether he lives or dies and talks him out of it.
Tyler Down in Season 2 Image: Netflix
That brings us to the heated debate that it has sparked on social media. We are no strangers to the growing cases of gun violence and mass-shooting America (and the whole world) is battling at the moment.
Just five-and-a-half hours after Season 2 became available on Netflix on May 18, a gunman opened fire at Santa Fe High School outside of Houston, Texas, killing at least 10 people. It was one of the deadliest school shootings since February's Florida shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which had left 17 people dead.
And, the show's timing makes it even important to have the talk. The makers, in a very twisted way, wanted people to begin a conversation on the pertinent topic. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Brian Yorkey – creator and showrunner of 13RW – said, "We had a character who was obviously severely bullied, suffering from social isolation and was thinking of making a very tragic choice in addressing those feelings for himself. With season two ... we're very interested in continuing to follow his journey and to try to understand his state of mind and the state of his soul. I think you'll see in the balance of the episodes that it's very much about trying to understand Tyler's character and how a troubled young man might be driven to consider this very difficult choice."
He also added, “We’re anticipating that there will be a lot of conversation about the show, and I think we’re hoping there will be. We’re hoping there will be strong and divergent opinions and that people will talk about these issues in the context of the show, and more importantly in the context of the real world.”
And that is exactly what happened. It sparked a social media debate on the content of the show's finale.
The Internet is divided into camps and serious discussions are taking place.
In this debate, no one's right or wrong. But are we ready to address the elephant in the room?