Spoilers ahead for 13 Reasons Why Season 3. Tyler was burying a lot of pain in 13 Reasons Why Season 2, which is part of why he decided to take his guns to school during the Spring Fling dance. Fortunately, Clay was able to talk him down before he followed through with his plan, but that night wasn't the end of Tyler hiding things: for most of 13 Reasons Why Season 3, Tyler keeps what's on his USB flash drive to himself. But in the end, the secrets contained on it are what finally set him free.
The flash drive first makes an appearance in Season 3's premiere episode. Tyler left it, along with a note to his mom and dad, in his room before going to Spring Fling. The note was presumably his goodbye message, as he tells Clay that he never expected to see his mom again. However, when Tyler gives the letter to Clay to dispose of, he hides the flash drive in his pocket, and it's not until Episode 11, when he opens up to Jessica, that we find out what's on it.
During the times Jessica is in charge of watching Tyler, he attends her sexual assault survivors meetings with her. She doesn't know Monty assaulted Tyler, so she assumes he's there as an ally, not a fellow survivor. But in Episode 11, Tyler decides to tell her — or rather, show her — the truth.
Though by this point Tyler has already told Clay about his assault, he chooses to give Jessica the flash drive in order to explain — perhaps because recounting it out loud again is too much for him. On the drive is a video — an extension of Tyler's goodbye note from Spring Fling — explaining what Monty did and how it made him feel.
"I feel rejected, not just alone, but rejected," Tyler says, "Like I am nothing, no one, and my life is meaningless, and I don’t think it's ever going to be any different. That school is never going to change. I'm sorry I have so much rage, I wasn't born with it. To everyone I love, I'm really sorry about all this. Mom and dad, you've been great parents, you really have. You did your best. I'm sorry. Alex, thank you for being the only one who was ever nice to me. To everyone hearing this, I did what I had to do. That's it. I'm sorry. Goodbye."
Tyler originally intended for the world to see what was on the flash drive, just not while he was around. Instead, he got to share it with someone who understands and cares about him. Hearing Tyler's story inspires Jessica to continue to stand up for survivors at the school assembly, where she invites other survivors to stand up and be strong together. There, Tyler publicly reveals that he is also a survivor, prompting other guys to stand up and join him. So in the end, instead of eliciting a tragedy, Tyler is able to set off a positive chain reaction.
Afterward, Charlie offers to be a witness for Tyler if he chooses to file a police report against Monty. As we saw earlier, Tyler had previously shared the contents of his USB with Bryce, who then confronted Monty about what he did in front of Charlie. With the support of his friends, Tyler does decide to press charges — which is a major turnaround from the beginning of the season. He went from talking to no one to sharing his story publicly. And while that is not the path every survivor has to take, it worked for him.
Now that the flash drive has served its purpose, hopefully Tyler will continue to be open with his friends about his feelings going forward, so they can give him the help and support he needs.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit hotline.rainn.org.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.