One question anchors 13 Reasons Why's upcoming third season: who killed Bryce Walker? As we know from 13 Reasons Why Season 2, almost everyone at and surrounding Liberty High has a motive. But there were a lot of secrets revealed and new bombshells dropped the last time the show hit Netflix, so you may want a quick recap before trying to piece together this new mystery.
Season 2 takes place in March, five months after Hannah Baker's death. In those months, Justin Foley has been living on the streets in Oakland, Alex has been recovering physically and mentally from his suicide attempt, and Sheri has been in juvenile detention after inadvertently causing the death of Jeff Atkins. Everyone else has been back at school, trying to move on and process both Hannah's suicide and the content of her tapes.
During the season, Clay is haunted by Hannah — literally. Still reeling from her death and unable to accept that she's gone — or that there may have been to her than the idealized version he remembers — he starts seeing her everywhere. This wears on him mentally, and he at one point confronts Bryce at gunpoint. Fortunately, Justin stops him, and at the end of the season, he's finally able to let Hannah go.
Here's what else happened:
The Bakers' Lawsuit
The main focus of Season 2 is the legal battle between Hannah's parents and the Evergreen County School District. They are suing Liberty High for negligence resulting in Hannah's death, claiming that the school allowed bullying and ignored red flags instead of reporting them.
During the trial, multiple students testify. Bryce lies and says he and Hannah had a casual relationship, Marcus defends the school and throws Hannah under the bus, and Bryce's girlfriend, Chloe, stands by him even though he raped her too (which she lies about in court). In some of the more emotional moments, Courtney comes out on the stand, and Zach reveals he and Hannah had a relationship over the summer, unbeknownst to everyone else. Justin also testifies against Bryce and admits to seeing him rape Jessica (more on that later).
Eventually, the tapes themselves — including the confession Clay got from Bryce — go into evidence and go public. Unfortunately, the Bakers lose the case, but they find closure in lieu of justice. A month later, they hold a funeral service for their daughter.
Bryce Is Arrested
At the end of the season, a second trial occurs after Jessica reports Bryce and he is arrested for rape. Polaroids from the clubhouse discovered during the season reveal that Bryce is a serial rapist, but Jessica is the only one who comes forward. Though Bryce is convicted, he gets off with only three months of probation.
Clay Gets A Tattoo (And A New Girlfriend)
Despite being (for the most part) underage, the teens at Liberty High seem to love getting inked. In Season 2, Clay gets a semicolon for Hannah in honor of Project Semicolon, a suicide prevention organization founded in 2013. However, he passes out at his first appointment and therefore has just a comma on his arm for the majority of the season.
Clay is also dating former Monet's barista Skye Miller, who accompanies him to the tattoo parlor. After harming herself, Skye seeks treatment for bipolar disorder at a mental health facility and ends up transferring schools.
Justin Returns To Liberty High
A major subplot in Season 2 is the return of Justin, who ran away from his toxic home at the end of Season 1. When Clay and Tony find him in Season 2, he has become addicted to heroin and only agrees to testify in Hannah's case if it helps his ex-girlfriend Jessica, who he betrayed by not stopping Bryce from raping her. He ends up being charged with accessory to rape and gets six months of probation, which should be noted is twice Bryce, the actual rapist's, sentence.
Throughout Season 2, Clay hides Justin in his room, though they are ultimately discovered. In the final episode, Clay's parents offer to adopt Justin.
Tyler Gets Better & Then Gets Worse
Another character whose journey shapes Season 2 is Tyler Down. He is the first to testify in Hannah's case, and one of the only students who speaks to the school's bullying culture. Feeling resentful, he gets into punk rock and guns and starts going down a really dark path. First, he and fellow punk Cyrus set fire to the baseball field. Tyler is then sent to an anger management/wilderness program, which seems to center him. However, when Monty assaults Tyler with a mop in a school bathroom, he's pushed to his limit. Which leads us to:
The event that ends the season and undoubtably sets Season 3 into motion is the Spring Fling dance in April. After an ominous text tips the group off, Clay discovers Tyler outside with an assault rifle and a backpack full of guns, ready to enact a school shooting. Incredulously, Clay puts his body between Tyler and his weapons and talks him down. With Tony's help, they take the rifle away from Tyler and get him as far from the school as possible, preventing another tragedy for the time being.
Other important things that happened at the dance: Caleb shows up for Tony as his date, Justin takes drugs and hooks up with Jessica (who is dating Alex), Chloe finds out that she's pregnant, and Clay cries on the dance floor during his and Hannah's song.
All of this will come to a head in 13 Reasons Why Season 3, which hits Netflix on Friday, Aug. 23. At this point, everyone is a suspect in Bryce's death; hopefully, we'll find out who did it by the time the end credits roll.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.