10:00 am EDT, April 27, 2017

How ’13 Reasons Why’ can continue without Hannah Baker

3 reasons why 13 Reasons is far from over.

Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why is close to an official green light, so here are some ideas of what a sequel could look like if (when) it happens.

Since it’s release, there’s been a lot of talk about a 13 Reasons Why season 2. Both the author of the original book and the show creator would love to see a second season, and continue the story of the dozen or so characters who remain. But with Hannah’s story finished, what could be next?

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Bryce’s trial

13 Reasons Why ended before we found out whether anyone divulged what Bryce did to Jess and Hannah. If anyone were to make Bryce’s crimes public knowledge, it could be an entire season covering another serious issue: Rape culture, and the difficulties surrounding rape crimes.

Season 1 ended with the teens being deposed, Clay handing the tapes over to Mr. Porter, and Tony handing (digitized) tapes over to Mr. and Mrs. Baker. What next?

When Clay revealed to Mr. Porter how badly he, and everyone else, failed Hannah, Mr. Porter was clearly affected by it. Might Mr. Porter feel obligated to bring the tapes public, even though the school could lose the trial because of it? By telling everyone what Bryce did, it would be his opportunity to rectify what he can for Hannah. Then again, he might be pressured by the school to not say anything, so as not to incriminate themselves any further.

As for Mr. and Mrs. Baker. Hannah’s parents will presumably listen to Hannah’s tapes, and considering how far they’ve already gone for Hannah, it can be assumed they’ll do their damnedest to make Bryce pay for what he did. Mr. Porter and the Bakers would continue season 1’s theme of juxtaposing those who feel the need to speak up vs those too afraid to.

Then there’s the students. Will any of them come forward? Will Jess come forward? It can take victims years to feel ready enough to take the crime to the police, if they ever do. With Hannah gone, her parents can speak up for her, but perhaps Jess won’t be ready to tell anyone other than her closest family and friends. It would be a great opportunity for 13 Reasons Why to show how rape can affect people differently.

The fallout from Alex

Hannah wasn’t the only suicide victim in 13 Reasons Why. It’s revealed through dialogue that Alex had also taken his life, presumably from overwhelming guilt over what happened to Hannah.

In the 13 Reasons Why: Beyond the Reasons documentary, the cast and crew discuss the ripple effects of suicide, and how someone taking their life impacts those left behind. In Alex’s case, the grief was too much and he ended his life.

With two suicides and a fatal car accident all occurring in a short period of time, how would the rest of the school react and cope, if they even do? A second season of 13 Reasons Why could show how suicide of a family member, friend, or acquaintance affects people differently.

Alternatively, it’s being speculated that Alex did not actually kill himself, but was instead shot by Tyler. It’s thought that Tyler taking down Alex’s photo could be an indication of ‘one down, eleven to go.’ Alex’s murder would present a whole different storyline for season 2, more of a whodunnit than season 1, and less of a drama.

However, it’s unlikely Tyler killed Alex. The moment of Tyler taking Alex’s photo down was preceded by a flashback in which Alex was kind to Tyler. It’s more likely Tyler was taking Alex’s photo down because he did not intend to make Alex one of his victims, rather than he was the first victim.

Tyler’s story

Continuing the theme of teen bullying, season 2 of 13 Reasons Why could tell Tyler’s story, and how he copes with being bullied.

Ironically, despite being one of Hannah’s bullies (specifically her stalker), Tyler suffered from bullying too. He was one of the less frequently seen characters among Hannah’s thirteen, mostly because he was consistently shut out of conversations. There were, however, hints throughout the series that Tyler was ostracized and picked on before the Hannah tapes.

At the end of the season, we saw that Tyler had a small arsenal hidden in his room, and a sinister-looking array of pictures profiling some of Hannah’s own twelve. While Hannah’s suffering led her to taking her own life, it’s possible Tyler’s suffering could lead him to taking others’ lives.

Perhaps the next serious subject 13 Reasons Why will tackle is a high school shooting. It would be particularly controversial if presented from the perspective of Tyler, the shooter. As the victim of bullying, he would likely be portrayed sympathetically, right up until he murders his peers.

Although the clear victims would be those killed, with this storyline, the waters are more muddled. Tyler is obviously mentally disturbed, but is he sympathetically mentally disturbed? It’s easy to say ‘no’ at the moment, but it might not be so clear after seeing his story play out.

What would you like to see in ’13 Reasons Why’ season 2?

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