13 Reasons Why Season 2 Review!
Lots of Spoilers, Grindr Advertisements, & Teenage Sex!
#DRAMA! If you haven't read the title, please beware of some spoilers. The second season of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why premiered over the weekend and I’m here to tell you all about it. From the moment the season one recap began, my eyes were glued to my “whatever device” I was watching on. The story surrounds the aftermath and subsequent trial after Hannah Baker’s (Katherine Langford) tragic suicide. Many, including myself, were skeptical on how a new season would progress as much of the plot seemed to be resolved by the season’s end. To my surprise, the second season takes a different direction that may even top the first season’s success.
We are taken back into the lives of the colorful characters, many who are gay and lesbian (in real life and on screen) as each episode deals with one of Hannah’s “reasons” for suicide. The reasons – or people - explain their side of the story Hannah told about each of them. Please let me be the first to say that these teenagers have more sex than I could ever dream of! It’s like they are all walking around in a bathhouse, jeez!
Quickly, we learn Hannah wasn’t as much of a “good girl” as she led us to believe in the recordings she released before her suicide. Throughout the season, Hannah’s should’ve-been-beau, Clay (Dylan Minnette), and her mother Olivia (Kate Walsh) fight in court believing the school – and a rapist (Justin Prentice) – should be held responsible for the suicide. In the end, believe it or not, they lose the case due to the teenagers lying about their past and Hannah’s reputation is destroyed, along with her parent’s marriage and pharmacy. In the finale, Olivia, now divorced, moves to New York, Clay painfully decides it’s time to move on from Hannah, and the rapist gets probation for three months. Yes, it’s a devastating ending to an otherwise remarkable season.
Throughout the season are incredible LGBTQ storylines. Stand outs include the coming out of character Courtney (Michele Selene Ang), who is the adopted child of two hunky, gay men including Robert Gant – who you may know as Ben from Queer as Folk. Miles Heizer’s character Alex survives a gunshot to the head and plays a weepy, nothing-to-write-home-about victim throughout the season. He’s the series’ worst Actor and it’s clear every time he’s on screen. Musician Sam Smith’s boyfriend, Brandon Flynn, chews scenery as a recovering heroin addict Justin – although it is a little difficult to see him playing heterosexual. If any of the males from the series are getting any sort of Academy nomination – it’s Flynn, for sure.
There’s a long-drawn out storyline with two openly gay characters, Tony (Christian Navarro) and Ryan (Tommy Dorfman) that drains from any of the wild, teenage angst on screen. I suspect there will be a third season and the writers really need to give their gay boys something else to focus on besides relationships and Grindr dates. Grindr was featured a lot; there must have been a sponsorship.
Playing a rape victim herself, Alisha Boe’s Jessica truly takes the cake for best Actress out of the entire bunch. She’s made a new fan in me with her stellar performance and I hope I can see her talents beyond this streaming service gem. She’s seriously such a Rockstar and may be the only relatable teenager among the dramatics of the series.
Ross Butler’s Zach was a total beefcake all season and finally got to show off his acting chops as the only jock in the school with any sense about him. It also helps he had an endless amount of sex scenes with the series titular character. Seriously, that body! Even if the actor has an immature focus on relationships, he was still fun to watch. Another hot body on a douche is Monty (Timothy Granaderos) who is arguably the series’ sexiest actor – and gives us a buttshot in episode one of season two! His character rapes a male student (Devin Druid), but I’m really trying hard to separate acting from reality.
The season ends with a would-be school shooting from the aforementioned raped, male student but he is halted by the goodness of the rest of the cast as they all unite in a teary-eyed embrace to a song which reminds them of Hannah.
The second season of 13 Reasons Why is definitely worth a watch in any and all aspects. The chance to see – and celebrate – many LGBTQ actors and characters is noteworthy for all of the community. The story, while intense and about mental illness and suicide, is still fun and certainly binge worthy. I wouldn’t be surprised to see another season appear on Netflix, although season two pretty much finished up any remaining storyline. I’ve grown to like nearly all of the characters, so I’ll be along for the ride next year.
What did you think of the second season of 13 Reasons Why?
This post is the opinion of this contributing writer to Instinct Magazine. Opinion pieces do not always reflect the stance of the magazine or the other contributing writers.
Important to note: If you or anyone you know is considering suicide, please consider visiting the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website for immediate distress information.