What '13 Reasons Why' Season 2 Needs To Do Right That Season 1 Did Wrong
No one should be surprised to hear that 13 Reasons Why is returning for Season 2. The Netflix series, based on the 2007 Jay Asher novel of the same name, was a bonafide hit. The Netflix series tackled rape culture in a way that showed its very real consequences and forced parents to have difficult conversations with their teens about cyberbullying and suicide. But the show also had its fair share of misses. Critics thought 13 Reasons Why actually glorified suicide with its graphic depictions and had a habit of being provocative in a way that didn't really get at the issues. All of these reasons and more are why 13 Reasons Why Season 2 should make some serious changes.
When the show returns in 2018 with another 13 episodes (how fitting), it gets a chance to rewrite its ending. The book actually ends the same way as the first season, meaning there's no source material for where this upcoming season can go. Considering all the questions 13 Reasons Why left fans with, it's clear there's still a lot of ground to cover, but with a few changes the show could be even better. Even more importantly, the show could do a better job of getting its important point across.
1. Find Some Adults That Can Actually Help These Kids
One of the most frustrating parts about the show was the adults. They were negligent in the most blatant way. No one expects parents or teachers to be perfect, but why couldn't any adult in any of these kids' life seem to be able to sit down and have a real conversation with them about Hannah Baker's suicide? Clay's mom seems like she wants to help, forcing him to have family breakfasts and asking him over and over what's wrong. But every time he showed up with a weird bruise or cut on his face, she seemed fine with the answer that he fell off his bike. That's not enough.
In Season 2, let's get some parental figures that seem willing to stand up and have the difficult conversations with these kids, so history doesn't repeat itself.
2. Provide Resources For Viewers Looking For Help
Netflix added additional trigger warnings to 13 Reasons Why after viewers asked for them, but what the show really needs in Season 2 is hotline numbers and websites that anyone watching the show can use if they or someone else they know needs help. These should also appear at the top of the episode. It would be even better to have the cast film PSAs for different helplines to show that the series' commitment to these helping with these issues doesn't end once the cameras stop rolling.
3. Find Hope In A Hopeless Place
No one would deny that being a teenager is hard, but this show seemed to take the attitude that high school is hopeless, there is no one who cares for you, and there's no way that things will get better. That's completely untrue, as any adult who hated high school will tell you. It wouldn't hurt for this show to try and find some hope in its story next year. Maybe that hope comes from finding justice for Hannah in this court case against Bryce. Or maybe it will come from allowing Jessica a chance to tell her own story of being sexually assaulted by Bryce. I just want 13 Reasons Why Season 2 to give us something to believe in. Just a little something.
4. Give Other Perspectives On Hannah
It's already been announced that Hannah Baker will be in 13 Reasons Why Season 2, and the show should continue to focus on her life and her death. Over the course of the first season, we learn that, for all the truth she tells in her tapes, there are things that were not exactly as she thought they were. For example, Hannah thought Zach Dempsey ripped up her note, when in fact he didn't. What else did she miss?
It was refreshing to see her get to be in charge of her own narrative, but, with the lawsuit against the school in full swing, the next season gives viewers a chance to get a different look at Hannah and what she was struggling with. It's a chance to see how other people saw her, since we already know how she saw them. And, perhaps, it's a chance to really talk about the warning signs we too often miss.
No show is perfect, which is why a second season for 13 Reasons Why allows it to take the criticism and figure out ways to better explore these serious and necessary topics. It's already been revolutionary in so many ways, but there's always room for improvement.