My Honest Opinions On 13 Reasons Why Season 2

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

I feel like I'm possibly the last person to finish the eagerly awaited second season of 13 Reasons Why. But if I'm not please be warned there are spoilers ahead that will ruin it for you so STOP READING and go finish it, before coming back and letting me know your thoughts!

As with most of the world I have been patiently waiting for the new season of the Netflix Original since I watched the final episode of the last season. It left so many unanswered questions and every time I thought about it, my blood boiled in anger over Bryce Walker. I rewatched the first season at the start of the year and forgot so much I'm glad I did, it also got my husband hooked so he was just as excited for the new episodes as I was. 

So, my thoughts. It was a difficult season for me. There were elements I thought were done really well and then others that I thought could have been handled/written very differently. Now I'm no expert on American school shootings, sexual assault or the judicial system but I found parts of all of these subjects a little unbelievable or overly graphic. 

Let's start with the good. It was another season that tackled massive issues that teens and young adults are facing day in day out in todays society. Like last season, I think the show should be praised for creating awareness and starting conversations between people about subjects that up until recently and still in some cases are taboo topics. It showed real growth in certain characters such as Alex Standall with him coming to terms with his attempted suicide and the effects it will have on him for the rest of his life. But also showed how even the characters trying to turn their lives back around, continue to struggle and not receive all the help they clearly need, like Justin Foley. A kid crying out for help at every turn and even though he is now receiving more help than ever, the law still managed to fail him in his rehabilitation from drugs and the life he was living before hand.

The series showed the real struggle with sexual assault victims and the victim blaming culture that seems to be prominent today. I thought that Jessica's story line was handled really well and was a insight into how young girls still don't feel like they can come forward in today's society without being ridiculed or not believed.

However the fact that Bryce walked away with a suspended sentence, after being found guilty, and being allowed back into the same school as her I found very hard to believe. The sentence not so much, that just made me really angry. Especially when Justin went down for it and for much longer, even though he didn't actually commit the crime. But to allow Bryce back in to the school and in contact with her or anyone at that school was unbelievable. Again I have no idea how these things work, but I just found that to be a bit far fetched.

Now on to Tyler Down's story line. This is the one that's caused the most controversy since the series release. From the end of last season we've all been waiting for that last straw, the nerve to break and for him to go on a rampage with the guns he's been hoarding away. There were so many times I thought, well that's bound to have done it now, but then a faint glimmer of hope gets him through and he carries on. I feel like his story lines has been one of the hardest to watch. Mainly because he was the only one who wasn't forgiven at any point for his tape. He was constantly harassed and bullied and nobody seemed to care even slightly, even though a lot of them had done worse. It was hard to watch because there seemed to be nothing he could do to get himself out of that situation no matter how hard he or his parents tried and that seemed like a very real and scary set of circumstances.

Then came the last episode. If you follow me on Twitter you would have seen me tweeting about it as I watched it (from behind a pillow). You see Tyler return from a camp, which looks to have got him back on track and helped him cope with the issues he was dealing with day to day. He seems up beat and positive even when everything starts to go back to normal and people start to alienate him. This is where I started to feel uneasy, you can see he is really trying to use the tools the program has given him to stay positive and help get him through his day, even when the baseball team start to circle him in the toilets. You hear him apologise for previous behaviour and try to talk the situation down without violence which was heartbreaking when you see what came next. The scene made me feel sick to my stomach, the violence was bad enough before the sexual assault. A lot of people have called out the show creators and also Netflix for allowing the scene to stay and I can see where they are coming from. But I can also see why they have done it. My personal opinion would be that it didn't necessarily have to be that graphic to get the message across. But it has also opened up a massive discussion on male rape and sexual assault especially of teens and young adults. This is something rarely spoken about and definitely something that needed a voice.

The school shooting was also something that made me feel uneasy. Not the subject itself, but the way it was handled. For me it felt a little problematic to show Clay running out to meet Tyler to talk him down. It felt irresponsible to have him blocking someone who he has bullied in the past and does have reason (or thinks he has reason) to shoot him. Especially when he hears the sirens, in my opinion he would have been shot way before the sirens started and he would have already been on a rampage through the school. Then to have another student pick him up, knowing he is armed and not in a fit mental state, just set alarm bells off in my head. The whole situation just seemed off to me and could have been handled a lot differently. With the current climate of school shootings in America I felt like the last thing that should be shown is someone putting themselves into that situation and it ending with them resolving the situation with no casualties. 

For me the show is doing a really important job of creating conversations about hard subjects and I applaud them every step of the way. Elements could have been better during this season but overall I think they did a good job in portraying realistic characters and storylines that generate discussions to move us forward in helping people. 

What are your thoughts on this season? How did you feel about 'that' scene?

Abi xo

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