***SPOILER ALERT, DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT CAUGHT UP WITH THE SERIES***
By now, I am going to presume that those of you who had been wanting to watch the 13 Reasons Why series have caught u. But for those who are procrastinators on almost everything (much like me) and have yet to catch up with the series, I suggest you bookmark my article and come back to it after you have watched it because there will be a lot of spoilers ahead! However, I welcome all those who have not watched the series and have strong opinions on its’ entry into popularity.
When TV executives sit down and read new pitches for TV series there is a lot that goes on to reach our screens. The concept of the series is something that is still somewhat considered a controversial topic to enter the mainstream. Even if you have not watched the series or agree with how the showrunners decided to portray the story you know about it, and that is a win for the creators and broadcasters of the series.
The entertainment business strives on any controversy, it is probably why even the bad press the series received increased its popularity. I would like to discuss 13 crucial plot points that were either good conversation starters or just a bad idea, to begin within the first place.
First, let’s begin with Season 1.
- Justin Bragging About Having “Done” Things with Hannah
I mean, this is problematic and all too real of a situation that persists to this day. Why must we congratulate the guy for “scoring” with the girl but criticize the girl for doing the same? And, this ritual of taking unwanted pictures of a girl is wrong and you all know it. The guy never gets blamed for tarnishing the reputation of the girl, but she is questioned instead. Am I missing something? Not only do men question the women, but even the women do not want to understand.
- Jessica and Alex freezing Hannah out of their friend group
We have all been there whether we like it or not. Once your friends get boyfriends/girlfriends, the strength of the relation usually weakens. It is important to remember that friendship is something so sacred and special that to recreate that exact bond with another is almost impossible, which is why it is important to never turn your back on them.
- Courtney being afraid to define her sexual orientation
This is something that we see occur far too often, which I thought was important to point out. Keeping up with appearances is hard and unfortunately, with teenagers, it is even harder because when you are a teenager, every little thing that strays away from the norm is almost like it’s the end of the world. Courtney wanted to be seen a certain way and was meticulous with each step she took for her future.
- Marcus trying to force himself on Hannah
I will never know what gives a man entitlement over what he thinks he can and can’t do with a woman. Women save themselves from sexual assault on a rather enormous amount of times. It was uncomfortable to watch Marcus force his ways on Hannah and the most disturbing thing was watching his friends encouraging him to go about his ways.
5. Justin and Hannah allowing Bryce to rape an under the influence Jessica
This scene was particularly hard to watch because you knew what was about to happen and yet none of the two did anything to stop Bryce. I like to say I understand how each of them felt in that situation and how hard it must have been to speak up against Bryce, but I don’t and thought that this inclusion to the story only made it more problematic.
- Sherri’s Hit and Run
Now, teenage road accidents are another issue that needs more attention. The fact that Sherri was scared to admit fault and accept the consequences for her actions. The series has started a lot of discussion since its start, and many have chimed in their support of the loss of Jeff Atkins, but when it came to getting justice for his death not only did Sherri remain quiet but so did Hannah and those who have heard the tapes. If one does something wrong and you witness it, we do not turn a blind eye.
- Bryce forcing himself on Hannah
The scene was far too real and harmful than ever. By now, for those who have kept up with the series have realized that it has too many trigger scenes for people who have gone through such experiences. The reality is that it was too much and should not have been shown in such a way. But for storytelling purposes, it was required to show the aggressiveness.
- Hannah’s Suicide
This is another triggering event; the act in itself is hard to watch but having Hannah’s character going through the steps made it more real. Thinking about taking one’s life is a huge decision and one that leaves our loved ones with more pain. This particular scene should not have been included in the narrative because it is suggestive for susceptible children.
And now onto season 2.
- The Courtroom, testimonies of students, teachers, and staff.
I was not amongst the many who were happy to have seen the series be renewed for another season but also confused as to how the story would evolve from the end of season 1. Although, I’m surprised that they decided to move with the Baker family heading with a lawsuit against the school. But as a viewer I did see something that I wanted to in season 1, people accepting their faults. Out of all those who had testified it was refreshing to see the different sides of the same story.
- Zach hiding his feelings and himself from others
Stereotypes surround us on a daily basis and it is hard to stray away from them as adults, and we can only imagine how had it must be to fight against it as a teenager. We did not know a lot about Zack in season 1, but as season 2 evolved we got to know his struggles and further understand that everything is not always as it seems. Speaking up, fighting against dominant voices is hard but a necessary fight. through his character, we are able to bring some type of justice to Hannah and the other girls in the story.
- Justin’s overall situation
It is a harsh reality, but we have an increasing number of young children live in an unsafe and inadequate living environment. They are the children that face many perils and many of them seek refuge in other places, many times with friends. Much like Justin, the only person that gave him any sort of affection (other than Jessica) was Bryce, which is why he never wanted to disappoint him, and unfortunately, let him get away with a lot of wrongdoings. Once he realized his mistakes he left and not having a stable home, he resorted to the streets and got involved in more harmful acts.
- Bryce Walker
Contrary to Justin, Bryce had everything he could ask for in terms of material possessions, but he was still lacking parental guidance. He grew up detached from emotional and physical affection and that completely obliterated his socialization process. He learned to buy his friends affections through the use of materials and money. He always got want he wanted and that made him believe that he was entitled in some way. Which could explain why we never saw him feel any type of remorse for his acts. It was important to show this type of person because they are all around us.
And lastly, that last scene, that did not make sense and there was NO ABSOLUTE REASON FOR THAT EXTRA PLOTPOINT TO EVEN BE DISCUSSED.
- Tyler preparing for the school shooting
Tyler, the ever-constant victim throughout the season 2, thinking that showering the school and the people within with bullets would be a great idea, a way to set the record straight. Tyler’s character development is perhaps the most developed and interesting things about season 2. The showrunners were trying to show how emotionally, and physically traumatizing bullying can be on teenagers. However, they did not have to show him go the “psycho school shooter” route. There are a lot of teenagers that have faced similar and or far worse things to have to happen to them at school and outside, but they do not all turn into school shooters.
And now I leave you with all these to ponder upon and share your thoughts on whether you agree or disagree. Until the next season is out, let the discussion continue.