Published: Wed, May 23, 2018
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

'13 Reasons Why' fans are torn about season 2's grim finale

'13 Reasons Why' fans are torn about season 2's grim finale

A student arriving at school armed with guns. In its first season, the graphic depiction of Hannah Baker's suicide sparked a wave of backlash. And experts told Business Insider that season 2 fails to address a unsafe problem, in that Hannah - the character who took her own life in season 1 - is still a prominent character in the second season.

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The show was previously accused of glorifying teen suicide in its first season. Season 1 had its issues, but even those problematic aspects led to productive discussion, which is the greatest possible power of television.

"If you come into the series with feelings of hopelessness or depression, " wrote PTC program director Melissa Henson, "you'll never walk away from the series feeling any better". A large portion of the second season was dedicated to exploring how someone like Tyler could go from a misunderstood loner to a potential mass murderer, as the new episodes showed Tyler struggling to find his place in the school.

This is not the right message to be sending to students faced with a shooter, Phyllis Alongi, clinical director of the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide, told NBC. Some feel like it was interesting to show what might drive someone to a school shooting while others felt it set a unsafe example of confronting an active shooter (something you should never do - more on that in a moment). "You call the authorities". This is why victims have a hard time seeking help. Clay (Dylan Minnette) stopped him before he went in. For our part, we did as much research as we could'. Just as Season 2 continued the conversation of what happens after a sexual assault in the era of #MeToo, the inevitable third season could tackle how America, specifically its youth, moves forward in an age of gun terrorism.

The scene left many viewers divided on whether it went too far, with some even calling for the series to be canceled.

Things quickly take a downward turn for Tyler, though, as towards the end of the episode, he is followed into a bathroom and sexually assaulted with a mop by the group he thought were his new friends. The horrifying two-minute-long scene is shown with full sound and begins with Montgomery de la Cruz, one of the athletes, slamming Tyler's head into a mirror before repeatedly bashing his head against a sink. He then drags Tyler to a stall and starts drowning him in a toilet bowl. Ignoring his pleas for mercy, two other members of the team hold Tyler down and Montgomery grabs a mop. By providing an unflinching look at Hannah's life, her decision to end it and how this impacted the people she left behind, the show aimed to open a dialogue that would hopefully point teens in the direction of trusted adults to help them deal with their own grief, depression and trauma. He didn't get to say, "I don't want you to die", so it really is the thing he believes he needs to be saying at that moment. Fans on Twitter are torn.

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But, other fans of the show were quick come to its defense.

Katherine Langford appears in a scene from 13 Reasons Why.

The same user added that sexual assault and rape happen in real life and people can't "skip over" them. "Viewer discretion is advised", the warning read.

In many ways, Tyler's storyline this season parallels Hannah's from Season 1, as tiny incidents that seemed inconsequential on their own built a path of tragedy until one particularly traumatic event pushed them over the edge.

She added that she was "just about ready to throw up".

"13 Reasons" peaked at 64.4 million demand expressions on the date of its premiere (vs. a peak of 51.5 million for "Cobra Kai"), reinforcing the show as one of Netflix's top breakout hits.

"It was important for us to try and bring the audience over to Tyler's side a little bit, " Yorkey said. He is convinced not to go through with it by Clay in the final minutes of the episode, but the incredibly graphic rape scene and the ensuing school shooting narrative have been criticized for not only being unnecessary, but rather horribly timed.

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