Over the weekend, I binge-watched all thirteen episodes of Netflix’s new series 13 Reasons Why.
You may have watched the trailer for 13 Reasons Why and quickly discounted it as another forgettable YA adaptation, but I assure you, the series is worth your time. It has episodes directed by Oscar-winning director Tom McCarthy (Spotlight, The Visitor), Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin, The Doom Generation), Jessica Yu (American Dreams, Ping Pong Playa), among others. And since it’s adapted from a book, it feels more like a 13-hour movie than a 13 episode TV series (and this is a care where this is a good thing).
When 13 Reasons Why ends, it leaves us with some questions and lingering storylines that make me wonder if the series could return for more, even if the source material has already been brought to the main screen. Let’s explore the unanswered questions and discuss if there are plans for a 13 Reasons Why Season 2.
While the book that the series is based on is one and done, author Jay Asher told EW he would like to see a 13 Reasons Why Season 2:
I’d just like a continuation of all those characters. I’m curious as well. What happens to Clay? How do people react to what Alex did at the very end? What’s going to happen to Mr. Porter? I’d thought of a sequel at some point. I’d brainstormed it, but decided I wasn’t going to write it. So I’d love to see it.
To expand the book to the TV series, they developed the stories of many of the side characters and thus the season finale features a material not in the book. Executive Producer Selena Gomez, who was originally going to play Hannah when it was set to be a movie produced by Universal Pictures, was also asked about the possibility of a second season. Here is what she said:
We don’t know what is going to go beyond it, but we know there are so many stories that lie beneath each character. That’s why it became a series in the first place. So we’ll see.
It sounds like they have some ideas for a second season, but they are still waiting to see the response for the show on Netflix. Katherine Langford, the actress who plays Hannah Baker in the series, agrees that “there’s definitely more story to tell”:
It would be cool to continue the dialogue of this story. There are so many cliffhangers at the end of the season. At the end of the season, I had to sit back. I didn’t think about what happens next. It’s more of this feeling like, “Oh my God, that’s the story that needed to be told.”
Many fans believe they shouldn’t have a second season. Having just watched the first season, I can definitely see why they would want to end it here. But the show’s season one finale certainly sets up a number of dangling plot threads and the characters are interesting enough to explore further. But could they come up with a conceit that is as interesting as the first season/book?
Let’s take a look at some of the questions left by the ending of 13 Reasons Why‘s first season.
The penultimate episode of 13 Reasons Why teases that a young male student is being rushed to the hospital as the result of a gunshot wound to the head. The show leads us to believe that the boy is Tyler (Devin Druid), who we see illegally buying a gun during the episode. But we don’t learn the identity of the student until the final minutes of the last episode: Alex (Miles Heizer) was the one that apparently committed suicide.
The last time we saw Alex on screen, he was organizing his closet and hearing from his dad that he wouldn’t need to sit through the deposition. During the finale, Zach (Ross Butler) receives a number of urgent text messages from Alex, but when he calls him back, he is greeted by someone else on the other end.
Was that Alex’s dad? Why would Alex attempt suicide? Is it possible that he was shot by someone else? Will he survive? Those are just some of the questions that are unanswered at the end of the season.
One of the other shocking reveals in the season finale is that Tyler’s (Devin Druid) gun purchase is part of a bigger plan. We see that he has been stockpiling weapons in a case with a secret bottom, but for what purpose?
Was Tyler responsible for Alex’s death? And if so, why would he want to kill Alex? Is Tyler planning to shoot up the school in retaliation for all the bullying? We see Tyler organizing a set of photographs he took of his classmates. Is that Tyler’s revenge list? Did he remove Alex from the bunch because he stood up for Tyler in the hallway or is it because he somehow knew Alex had been shot?
I imagine that 13 Reasons Why season 2 could center on a school shooting, just as the first season focused on bullying/suicide/rape. Tyler’s memories have been captured in his photos and I’m sure that could be used as a framing device to present past events.
Now that Hannah’s parents (Kate Walsh and Brian d’Arcy James) have the tapes, will they still go ahead with the lawsuit? And if so, will they win? A court trial could be an interesting way to continue the fractured flashback narrative, but is there more to say about Hannah’s story?
Will Clay’s mother be removed as a lawyer on the lawsuit? It seems like an obvious conflict of interest. Will Sheri (Ajiona Alexus) face manslaughter charges now they she turned herself in for knocking down the stop sign on the night of Jeff’s (Brandon Larracuente) accident? Is Clay’s taped confession enough to convict Bryce (Justin Prentice) of rape? Will the guidance counselor Mr. Porter (Derek Luke) get fired? Okay, we probably know the answer to that one.
Why did Hannah trust Tony (Christian Navarro) so much? During the whole series, I expected Tony to be revealed as one of the classmates on the tapes, but we never really got much insight into his relationship with Hannah. Tony seemed to help Hannah once or twice, but Tony didn’t seem close enough to her to be trusted with this mission. He appears to have a much more personal investment than is revealed during this season.
And where will Justin (Brandon Flynn) go? We least see him in the finale confronting Bryce about the rape and apparently leaving town with a few personal belongings, which included money, a bottle of vodka, and a handgun. What does he plan to do with the gun?
If the show did return for a second season, could Langford possibly reprise her role as Hannah Baker? The whole conceit of the show is that she only recorded that set of tapes, and now that her character is dead. What would be the conceit to bring her back for the continued story?
The most obvious would be to have her return for more flashbacks, memories of her from parents and classmates. They could also explore bringing her back as Clay’s imagined conscious, but that could be really stupid. Hannah probably has hidden journals somewhere that could be exploited in some way, but should the show move past Hannah Baker?
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