13 Reasons Why season two is uncomfortable but remarkable viewing

City Press TV Review

Show: 13 Reasons Why

Rating: 4 stars

Available on Netflix SA

Netflix’s controversial teen drama 13 Reasons Why is back for a second season and continues to delve into the death of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who committed suicide in season one.

Hannah, whose graphically detailed death was central to season one, comes back to haunt would-be boyfriend Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) like some kind of ghost to his grief.

Her appearance is a chilling example of how our deepest hurts can remain with us long after we thought they had healed. Moving on seems to be next to impossible for the traumatised teenagers Hannah left behind.

As the show is a reflection of the realities teenagers face, I’m still not convinced that the content is a healthy image. Or maybe it’s just too real.

In season one, we’re introduced to a small community that has to deal with the shocking suicide of Hannah, which she decided to explain on cassette tapes that get passed among her peers and some of the adults.

The teenager decided to end her life because of depression, bullying, violence and sexual assault. For those brave enough to continue to follow the story of Hannah in season two, the storyline resolves some of the cliffhangers from the first season, taking the story beyond just Hannah’s experience – which makes the show more emotive than shocking this time around.

One of the better decisions made by the show’s creator is showing how Hannah’s truth is challenged by her peers by introducing new facts that change our understanding of her relationships in season one.

In this season, each episode focuses on a student testifying in the lawsuit Hannah’s parents brought against her school, saying that they believe the school failed to protect her.

To be honest, I thought that this season would be lost because the gimmick that kept everyone coming back for more – whether they enjoyed the show or not – were the tapes because you wanted to see how the mystery unfolded. One of the harder things to watch was when Tyler (Devin Druid) was gruesomely assaulted. Do incidents like that occur? Absolutely. But if the show is skewed towards teenagers, the brutality portrayed is rather intense, and the scene still haunts me.

The show also looks at the toxic masculinity among those raised by wealthy families, but doesn’t attempt to interrogate it, thus leaving us with the impression that it’s just part of life – get over it.

Despite its flaws, 13 Reasons Why has a strong message about the consequences of bullying, and how the lack of introspection by teenagers can be damaging to their peers and their own future. By the looks of it, the show will be back for another season.