Since watching 13 Reasons Why, I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. I was very critical of the series, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t haunting and poignant in some very big ways amidst the controversy. Whether you appreciated Season 1 or not, there is no denying that it has spurred some big conversations about teenage suicide, high school bullying and rape culture in our country. For that, the show absolutely needs to be applauded, because these are big conversations we should be having — especially when you consider that suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals ages 10-24.
While I do think these are important topics to discuss, I don’t think they are topics kids should be tackling by themselves while watching a television show. But they are. CNN reports that the show has mental health experts concerned about impressionable teens watching the series and, for that reason above all else, I hope 13 Reasons Why takes some big steps in Season 2 to have a broader and healthier discussion about these heavy issues.
1. Some healing
The biggest thing I want to see in Season 2 is some hope for these kids moving forward. Season 1 ended on such a bleak note. Besides the graphic scene of Hannah’s suicide, we saw Alex also try to kill himself and Clay get beaten to a pulp while Bryce that revealed he did, in fact, rape girls and Tyler plotted a school shooting. It’s not exactly a “Yay, life!” message.
2. A little happiness
Going right along with my first point, let’s get these kids connecting and regrouping as young adults in a positive way. Let’s add in a little comedic relief here and there instead of the constant doom and gloom. Everyone in this show just seems so terribly sad all the time. I know the town was grieving, but maybe in Season 2, it’s time to let some of that go.
These kids need some serious help, and I’m not just talking about Jessica, who is dealing with the aftermath of her rape, or Alex, who is in critical condition in the hospital after shooting himself. I’m talking about all of these kids. And the adults, too, for that matter. The culture at this school is so unhealthy that it’s almost like they need someone from the outside to come in and help straighten everything out. Maybe we’ll see police involvement in Season 2? Perhaps a strong, independent detective who could actually be an encouraging force for everyone?
4. The end of Bryce
Bryce is really the only one on the show who, to me, just seems completely irredeemable. Lock that guy up and throw away the key. He has got to go. And while the system is checking his god complex in a big way, let’s educate these kids about rape and sex — the definition of consent and what it looks like, the significance of sex and how to say no, the importance of protecting yourself and your partner.
5. Adult intervention
After the adults get an intervention, they need to intervene with their kids. The only set of decent parents in this show seem to be Clay’s, and even they are making their fair share of mistakes. Discussions about suicide shouldn’t be happening outside a police station or in an interview room. Sit these kids down, get multiple counselors involved and have a long-term series of meaningful conversations.
6. That whole school shooting setup…
This series is already tackling so many emotionally heavy topics, the fact that they threw in that little hint of a school shooting in Season 2 with Tyler kinda makes me feel sick. The show just needs to ax this idea. They’re already struggling with the controversy surrounding their message on bullying and suicide. Adding in a school shooting is just going to lead to too many terrible things and not enough show to explain them in a way that will do these topics justice.
The biggest complaint from Season 1 is that the storyline romanticized suicide. And I agree. Hopefully in Season 2, 13 Reasons Why can better explain the message and share the hope in life rather than the revenge in suicide.