What a show!
Unless you've been avoiding social media for the last two weeks (and congrats if you have!), you've probably seen people talking about Netflix's new original series 13 Reasons Why.
I was hesitant to jump on board because I'm one of those people who resist when friends tell me that I have to watch something. 13 hour-long episodes is a commitment that I didn't feel ready for about a show on teen drama.
But then I dug deeper and realized it wasn't just another Dawson's Creek. This show, based on the book of the same name by author Jay Asher, exposed what it's really like to live as a teenager in the age of social media and rampant bullying.
I was hooked in with the very first episode. And then I read that Selena Gomez not only executive produced the show but contributed to the soundtrack; I was doubly hooked.
Here is the powerful song sung by Selena Gomez, Only You:
I might be 34 years old but I still love me some Selena Gomez and her honesty about mental health issues is what we need more of from those who are role models to our new generation.
She even went as far as to get matching semi-colon tattoos with some of the cast and it broke my heart but also filled it with love and joy because I might be hard-core but I'm also a huge sap. *shrug*
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
The show revolves around teenager Hannah Baker's (played by Katherine Langford) suicide and the cast of characters that either directly or indirectly influenced her decision to end her life.
ScreenRant The characters Clay Jensen and Hannah Baker
Before Hannah's final act (and I will warn you that the show depicts her suicide in full graphic images and it is disturbing), she records 7 audio cassette tapes. Each side of each tape contains the story about 1 of 13 people who contributed to her depression in some way that led her to suicide.
I must stop here and explain that though this is a novel idea and one that was truly captivating over 13 episodes, the decision to kill oneself is all on the person committing the act.
The notion of blaming others is perpetuating a dangerous myth involving mental health by creating the mandate that other people are responsible for your actions, which is not true.
However, in the case of Hannah Baker, she was in fact bullied, sexually assaulted and raped by a fellow Liberty High student.
It's a very sticky premise and though those factors can lead to suicidal ideation, and sadly sometimes actual attempts, I just want to make it clear that suicide is complicated (to say the least).
With that said, back to the show!
There were so many characters that had their own domestic issues and it was a very enlightening view that children (yes, high school kids are children) are affected by so many things in so many ways.
Here are 7 theories about 13 Reasons Why, analysis of the finale, questions we still have, and possible season 2 topics:
1. Did Alex really kill himself?
Alex Standall talking to Clay Jensen
When we first meet Alex (played by Miles Heizer), he's sitting alone in a coffee shop when he's approached by new friends Hannah and Jessica (played by Alisha Boe). The three soon become best friends with a motto of "FML" they use to solidify their friendship.
After Alex (who was originally thought to be gay) starts dating Jessica without telling Hannah, things start to decline. With their friendships broken, Alex seems to be spiraling downward into what could be seen as a depression.
Because his father is a police officer, we know he has access to guns. So in the penultimate episode, when we learn someone was critically injured from a gunshot wound, and later find out it's Alex, was it self-inflicted?
Could it possibly be Tyler (played by Devin Druid) who shot him?
Tyler, who has also been bullied, has an entire arsenal of guns and bullets; he's also shown hanging photos of students in his dark room when he removes Alex's picture—because he decided not to kill him or because he already did?
2. Was it even Alex in the ambulance?
One eagle-eyed YouTuber noticed that if you zoom in on the shot where you see a medic aiding the gunshot victim, it looks like he has brown hair. Alex is known for his bleach blonde hair. Could it be a stretch? Did they just use any old extra to film that scene or is there more to this story than we haven't seen yet? Who else could be in the ambulance? Justin? Bryce?
3. What happens to Justin?
Zimbio Justin Foley
In episode 1, it seems like Justin (played by Brandon Flynn) has it all. He's an amazing athlete with a ton of friends, he's good looking, and he most definitely charmed the crap out of Hannah. But we soon learn that his home life is not one to be admired. His mom lives with a man that possibly abuses Justin, named 'Meth Seth' and his behavior towards Hannah and Jessica leave a lot to be desired.
When Hannah originally had a crush on Justin, she went to the park with him where he took a picture on his phone of Hannah sliding down a slide on the playground.
Bryce (played by Justin Prentice), Justin's friend, took that photo and sent it to their entire class (presumably). This is the incident that encourages the initial bout of bullying. Justin let the other students believe she had slept with him when she did not.
By the end of the show, Justin is obviously worn out by the tapes, the rape committed by his friend, Hannah's death, and his home life.
With a gun and a few other items in a duffle bag, he leaves. But where is he going with no job or money? What happens to Justin? Does he take revenge on Bryce? Or does Tyler take revenge on him?
4. Will there be any consequences for Sheri?
Yahoo Sheri Holland
A bright and popular cheerleader, Sheri (played by Ajiona Alexus) makes a poor judgment call after driving into a stop sign that comes down. Instead of calling the police, which Hannah prompted her to do, she decides to leave it there. But she also leaves Hannah there, alone in the dark.
Hannah finds the nearest store to make a phone call to police about the downed stop sign but learns that a call had already been made.
Soon after Sheri hightailed it out of there, a fatal accident occurred and the victim was none other than Jeff (played by Brandon Larracuente), the student that Clay Jensen had been tutoring.
Wiki Jeff Atkins
Initially, it was concluded that the accident was a result of drunk driving however that was not the case. Jeff was not drunk; it was because of the downed stop sign that Sheri had just run into.
By the end of the show, Sheri turned herself in. Will she be charged with manslaughter? What will happen to her?
5. Is Tyler planning a school shooting?
By the end of the series, we see that Tyler, as mentioned above, as acquired a heavy duty arsenal. He also has photos of all the students who were mentioned in Hannah's tapes in his dark room hanging up in a seriously spooky way.
Is this a sign he's going to target all these students? Why else would the show make a point to show all these photos but to plant the seed of him using his guns in a school shooting, which is all too common an issue in today's world.
In the last episode we see Tyler take Alex's photo down. He remembers the time Alex was nice to him in the hallway. If these kids are all being targeted for a mass shooting as theories predict, did Tyler decide to remove Alex from his list of intended victims? Or did he already kill him?
6. Why did Hannah trust Tony with the tapes?
We never really see a full relationship develop between Tony (played by Christian Navarro) and Hannah? So what exactly pushes her to leave the tapes with him?
The show reveals that before she died by suicide, she went to Tony's house and left the box of tapes with him. He saw her but didn't really want to deal with whatever drama he thought she was bringing. After a while, he looks at the box and realizes her intentions.
By the time he gets to her house, the ambulance has arrived and her deceased body is being placed into the vehicle.
I would have really liked to see an explanation or her reasoning behind why she chose Tony.
That's a lot of guilt to leave with one person and I'm eager to learn why Tony was the chosen one.
7. Will there be a season 2?
According to the showrunner Brian Yorkey, he would like for there to be a season 2. It appears Selena Gomez and the rest of the cast are interested as well.
What could it be about though now that the 13 reasons have been revealed?
Well, apparently there's a whole lot more story to tell on each character.
But could season 2 also be about Tyler and the planning of his mass shooting?
We won't know because nothing official has been confirmed ... yet.
But we are waiting and hoping to hear that the show will get a second season, if not for the amazing storytelling, but for the open dialogue, it creates about mental health and the stigma around sexual assault and rape.
If you or someone you know have thoughts about suicide, there is help. Please contact a trusted friend or family member, and if those aren't viable, there are other ways to get through this. Please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.