13 Reasons Why Confronting Conversation Needs To Keep Rolling In Season Two

CONTENT WARNING: This article discusses suicide in conjunction with the television show 13 Reasons Why. If this causes distress, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Season Two of Selena Gomez’s widely scrutinised series 13 Reasons Why began filming this week, sparking a number of theories as to what controversial topics fans can expect from the upcoming season.

Clay (Dylan Minnette) listens to Hannah’s tapes. Image credit: moviepilot

Christian Navarro who plays Clay’s quasi-guardian angel, Tony Padilla, tweeted confirmation of his return to set for the upcoming season.

A teaser trailer for the new season was posted on the official 13 Reasons Why Twitter account last month, featuring flashes of iconic locations such as Liberty High, Monet’s and Baker’s Drug Store. The teaser fades to black as a red ‘play’ button flickers onscreen – does this mean there is more to Hannah’s story?

While Brian Yorkey (who adapted Jay Asher’s novel for screen) promises the second season isn’t out to villainise Hannah, he hints that there are two sides to every story and the narrative will continue through the other characters.

It’s difficult to visualise how this move won’t undermine the very essence and impact the first season sought to accomplish. Hannah was a mouthpiece for silent sufferers of mental illness and depression, and this ‘thirteen sides to every story’ narrative could potentially undercut the programs overt message of enabling an open and judgement-free conversation for those seeking assistance.

Critics have been quick to question whether a second season would diminish the deferential finality of Hannah’s death, instead attempting to offer an unprecedented resolution to her tormentors.

Miles Heizer plays Alex Standall in 13 Reasons Why. Image credit: Netflix

While 13 Reasons Why has come under intense scrutiny for its graphic depiction of suicide, the show has certainly earned praise for opening a dialogue for confronting subject matter such as consent, rape, cyberbullying and substance abuse. Nick Scheff, a writer for 13 Reasons Why, penned an eye-opening op-ed for Vanity Fair explaining why he felt it necessary the show accurately depict the protagonist’s suicide.

It seemed to me the perfect opportunity to show what an actual suicide really looks like—to dispel the myth of the quiet drifting off, and to make viewers face the reality of what happens when you jump from a burning building into something much, much worse.

Katy Perry’s recent candid confession of past suicidal thoughts only affirms that this confronting conversation must be kept rolling on a public platform.

Regardless of whether the upcoming season supplements Hannah’s story, Scheff instils hope that 13 Reasons Why will continue to portray the harsh, often undocumented realities experienced in early adolescence and beyond.

We need to keep talking, keep sharing, and keep showing the realities of what teens in our society are dealing with every day. To do anything else would be not only irresponsible, but dangerous.

Season Two of 13 Reasons Why is expected to premiere in 2018, on Netflix.