WARNING: THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE 1ST AND 2ND SEASON OF 13 REASONS WHY. IT ALSO CONTAINS DISCUSSION OF THE SENSITIVE TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THE SHOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.
13 Reasons Why is Netflix’s original series that came out last year and released their second season about a week ago.
The first season was based on the book of the same title by Jay Asher and tells the story of Hannah, a girl who kills herself and leaves behind 13 tapes, each one for a different person at her school, that chronicle the events leading to her suicide.
Due to my fragile mental state, I usually refrain from watching shows that deal with suicide, but my mom had gotten me the book 5 years earlier and I had loved it. I enjoyed the first season and thought it stayed very true to the book. However the first season ended where the book ended so I was curious to see where they would go with the second season.
The first thing I will give the show credit for is it’s “bingeability” I finished the whole season in about 5 days. The show definitely keeps you engrossed and on the edge. This isn’t necessarily always for the best though. Throughout the season, the characters are faced with disaster after disaster and even when things are looking up it only lasts for about half an episode before everything once again comes crashing down. It gives the show an over all feeling of hopelessness which is not ideal for a show based around suicide.
Speaking of the shows themes, much like season one, the show faced a lot of backlash for it’s graphic depictions of rape and suicide as well as the way people deal with it. A lot of viewers say the show depicts suicide as a way that’s offensive to those that have suffered suicide attempts. Here’s my take on it: the show focuses on one story of one person. The show never claims that this is typical of all suicidal people or that all people with these experiences behave this way. The fact that the show even uses something that is so often tiptoed around as a main theme is something to be commended over the logistics of how Hannah comes to kill herself and leave the tapes. As a survivor of a suicide attempt I don’t find it offensive at all and I appreciate the shows boldness with this and other topics. The show also provides a very large selection of resources for people struggling with these topics.
The best part about this season by far was Jessica Davis’s recovery from her rape. The compassion her friends show her and how she works towards owning her experience and getting professional help is very refreshing throughout the shitshow everyone else is enduring. This, as well as Sky’s example of the person who deals with suicidal thoughts in a healthy way by going to a mental facility, brings the high-strung, emotionally charged show down to a more comfortable level.
Which brings me to the thing that annoyed me the most about this season. While every character is dealing with their mental illnesses and their problems, not once is anyone ever concerned about Clay’s vivid hallucinations. He spend half the show talking to a dead girl but somehow he’s just helping everyone else? Hallucinations are a very real symptom of mental illness and it’s annoying to see a show that’s trying so hard to shine a light on these symptoms, just brush this one under the rug.
It’s pretty obvious at the end of this season that Netflix is shooting for a third, and while the second season was engrossing it seems to me the show has completed what it was meant to do. The creation of problems at the end seemed unnecessary and it seemed like the show was just fishing for a problem that could be considered bigger than Hannah’s suicide.
Overall, the second season was well written and engrossing with all the actors once again giving incredible performances. While not as good as the first season the second season holds strong on its own. Can the third?