REVIEW

13 Reasons Why

Season 2

OR (Chuck those tapes)

Author

Ankit Ojha




WORDICT

Outstanding!






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BYTE THE BULLET

There are more reasons why to watch this than you think. Highly recommended.


Ankit Ojha

June 1, 2018

Plot

The discovery of why Hannah took her own life is still sending shockwaves; but the treachery and darkness looming over Liberty High isn’t over with her—and didn’t begin with her either.


The entry of 13 Reasons Why was quiet. Those who spoke of it were either a fan of writer Jay Asher’s source or just wanted to know the mystery behind the tapes. Nobody knew what would be of it after—or just how much of a furor it would create. With the arc of Asher’s novel ending by the end of the freshman season, it was quite natural for the casual viewer to assume the series had reached its final course; a secret was revealed, a perpetrator found, and the people responsible looked like they’d get what they deserve. Except, if anybody’s noticed how far and how treacherous the roots of the #MeToo campaign have been, they’d know that life is not a movie.

Anger Management

(L-R) Christian Navarro and RJ Brown star in 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix Original series.

Often, nothing warrants justice. Victims of bullying and assault are usually gaslit and dismissed in favor of innocent-till-proven-guilty perpetrators, and everybody calls them out—mostly for merely trying to be heard—by labeling the accusations just how callously Coach Rick (Ben Lawson; ABC’s Designated Survivor, 2017-2018) collectively calls them: “a witch-hunt.” So what’s the solution? For a start, forming a support system, fostering empathy among one’s peers, and always asking questions, even if they’re not the right ones often—as viewers notice with Clay (Dylan Minnette; FX’s Awake)—because there’s always some leeway for unlearning and consequently bettering oneself.
[Alisha Boe] makes the complexity of replicating emotional nuance onscreen look like a piece-of-cake.
It’s why we have the second season; to give us answers, and implore us to support those who need it before it’s too late. As Hannah’s mother rightly says in the show, “there will always be more reasons why not.” But wait, Hannah’s dead; what’s the point? Mostly, if we’re following the traditional plot device of closure-by-revelation, there’s none. Creator Brian Yorkey and the rest of the team, however, don’t want that. Between the show’s accurate portrayal of grief, guilt, PTSD, internalized misogyny, and the ancient art of victim blaming (and shaming, because we can’t just stop at one thing), there’s a lot to unpack here—especially with Jessica’s (Alisha Boe) struggle.

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

Dylan Minnette stars in 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix Original series.

For many reasons, Jessica’s the real MVP of the sophomore season. Boe makes the character her own—from the frighteningly real vacant stares, denial, and eventual realization, to the discomfort of reintegrating with society, she makes the complexity of replicating emotional nuance onscreen look like a piece-of-cake. Her journey to find agency and reclaim empowerment feels both accurately terrifying and emotionally cathartic. Then again, she’s not the only one we get to empathize. Between Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler) and Justin Foley (Brandon Flynn) and everybody else who Hannah (Katherine Langford) looked at through trust-issue-tinted glasses, we get to see a whole new chapter a la Kurosawa’s game-changing Rashomon. Particularly eye-opening is Bryce’s side of the story, giving us an inside look at the worst of male entitlement and institutional privilege.
Last season was about individuals fractured by norms. This is about breaking free, standing united, and moving forward.
In the case of Zach and Justin, there’s a lot to be gleaned from when it comes to acknowledging who you were and how you want to improve yourself. Both of them are part of a clique, both appreciated Hannah’s existence, and both of them let her down in different ways, just for the sake of keeping it all together for themselves. What they contributed to her eventual fateful decision still isn’t morally or ethically justifiable—nor do the makers try to manipulate us to feel for their mistakes—but these sides of the story are equally essential to uncover societal pressures, friendships of convenience, and relationships based on fear and unequally distributed power.

Ghosts of Hannahs Past

Katherine Langford stars in 13 Reasons Why, a Netflix Original series.

This season doesn’t boast of the thrills of the last, but there’s a perfectly good reason why—it’s not about the mystery anymore. The truth is out, a lot of people are in pain, and something needs to be done. Those of you having dark thoughts in your head need to reach out to someone—anyone—and those who begin to notice just about any sign of anybody you care about falling into the rabbit-hole need to reach out to them, only to get them to feel they’re not alone. And if you stumble across the way, get up, acknowledge your mistakes, and better yourself. Last season was about individuals fractured by norms. This is about breaking free, standing united, and moving forward. And if that’s not reason enough for the show’s timely existence today, I’m not sure what is.

VERDICT

13 Reasons Why is a bitter pill to swallow, but is a whole lot more hopeful than its preceding season. While not completely without its flaws, there are more than just 13 reasons why you must give the sophomore season a chance than why you shouldn’t. Highly recommended.

About the Author

Ankit Ojha

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Ambivert. Intermittent cynic. Content creator. New media enthusiast. Binge-watcher. Budding filmmaker.

Plot

The discovery of why Hannah took her own life is still sending shockwaves; but the treachery and darkness looming over Liberty High isn’t over with her—and didn’t begin with her either.

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Season Release

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Plot

The discovery of why Hannah took her own life is still sending shockwaves; but the treachery and darkness looming over Liberty High isn’t over with her—and didn’t begin with her either.

Created by

Season Release

Rated

TV-MA

ELITE METER
0
%