Season 2 of '13 Reasons Why'
The controversial show continues to bring important topics to the forefront (Image via Metro)
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Season 2 of '13 Reasons Why'
The controversial show continues to bring important topics to the forefront (Image via Metro)

The second season of the controversial show widens its net to include harsher realities.

The second season of “13 Reasons Why” came out on Netflix on Friday, May 18. The season focuses on the legal trial of the Bakers versus the high school Hannah Baker attended. The Bakers blame the school’s negligence of bullying for their daughter’s suicide.

The show faces a lot of controversy because of its sensitive and often triggering topics. Some of the main topics from the first season include suicide, bullying and mental health issues. The new season contains many of the same themes about mental health and bullying, along with even more subject matter that viewers struggle to watch.

The harsh topics bring a variety of opinions about how appropriate the plot may be for young viewers. The second season of “13 Reasons Why” addresses even more emotionally-charged topics, such as drug abuse, sexual assault and school shootings.

Following all the emotionally-charged topics the second season covers, the group of students grow close and offer each other a lot of support throughout the show. The sense of community among the students acts as a more positive outcome of the many traumas that occur during the show.

*Spoilers ahead*

Drug Abuse

The second season begins with no one knowing where Justin Foley went following the first season. Clay Jenson and Tony Padilla eventually figure out where he went — in the city living on the streets. They go and find Justin to bring him back to Clay’s house to stay until he can testify against Bryce. They find out Justin became addicted to heroin while living on the streets and help him detox.

After Justin sobers up with the help of his friends, he returns to school and testifies in the case against the school. At school, a very upset Jessica yells at him. This altercation sends him to their high school drug dealer where he buys more heroin. Alex Standall later finds Justin passed out at Clay’s house. Justin pukes while passed out and Alex must roll him over so he does not die.

Justin’s drug addiction is rarely mentioned in the middle and end of the season as other dramas unfold. But, in the last episode, after Justin’s release from prison, he is supposedly sober.

Sadly, viewers see him injecting heroin between his toes, showing just how hard it is to beat drug addictions. Portraying Justin’s struggle with drug addiction and abuse opens up the conversation and addresses the issue head-on as usual for “13 Reasons Why’s” viewers.

Sexual Assault

Following Jessica Davis’ rape in the first season, the topic of sexual assault was not a surprise. Jessica told her father about her rape at the end of the first season so viewers were anxious to see how everything turned out.

The second season of “13 Reasons Why” focuses on Jessica’s emotional recovery and her difficulty naming Bryce as her rapist. Her struggle with the rape continues throughout the whole season. She goes to a rape support group, spends some nights on the floor of her parent’s bedroom and experiences flashbacks throughout the 13 episodes. At the end of the season, she finally decides to share her story and press charges against Bryce.

At the end of the court proceedings against Bryce, Jessica reads aloud a statement to him. During her moving speech to her attacker, other women from the show replace her in the courtroom.

All the women share their different stories of being sexually assaulted or harassed. The women in the scene include Hannah, Mrs. Baker, Mrs. Jenson, Sheri Holland, Nina Jones and more. This scene acts as a physical representation of Twitter’s #MeToo movement.

The powerful scene of all the women addressing their assaults backs up Mrs. Bakers statement in the 12th episode to the press. Mrs. Baker, upset after losing the case against the school, spoke to reporters outside, saying, “I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t faced sexual assault, abuse or worse. Not one. Many survive. My daughter didn’t and that’s not her fault.”

The sentence that Bryce ended up receiving for raping Jessica was only three months of probation. This lenient sentence resembles that of the Brock Turner case in March 2016 where Turner only served three months in jail.

Another time the second season of “13 Reasons Why” addresses sexual assault is talking about “The Clubhouse.” The students find out that the baseball players would invite girls to “The Clubhouse” and then sometimes sexually assault them or attempt to.

Their team kept hundreds of Polaroid pictures of girls as souvenirs. Some of the pictures show the girls happy and smiling, while others are more graphic and show members of the team having sex with passed out girls.

School Shootings

One of the most disturbing scenes in the show occurs during the final episode. In the scene, Montgomery “Monty” de la Cruz assaults and sodomizes Tyler Down with the end of a broom in the school’s bathroom. The scene is graphic and extremely uncomfortable to watch.

The assault Tyler undergoes is the last straw for the school outcast. He later shows up to the school dance the following night, armed with many guns and a lot of anger. The bullying Tyler went through during both the first and second season pushed him to plan a shooting at his school’s dance.

The scene of Tyler getting out of his car with many guns is chilling, especially when the new season of “13 Reasons Why” came out the same day of a high school shooting in Santa Fe where a student killed ten people and injured ten others.

Clay ends up talking Tyler down outside the dance and shoves him into Tony’s car right before the police arrive. The idea of Tyler planning a school shooting is not much of a surprise for viewers because the end of the first season shows him with a wide array of weapons.

Throughout the second season of “13 Reasons Why,” Tyler exhibits many warning signs. He uses his wide variety of guns to shoot bottles and cans in the woods, even saying he sometimes names the targets as people he doesn’t like.

He escalates and shoots and kills a crow while in the woods. His lack of close friendships also serves as a warning sign. he has one friend, Cyrus, and becomes close with him and his crowd until he yells at Cyrus’ sister and loses those close friends.

Writer Profile

Samantha Jorgens

Central Michigan University
Journalism: Public Relations Concentration

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