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

Spoilers ahead.

May 22, 2018, 11:15 am*

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Christine Friar

Last week, Netflix premiered the second season of its hit original series 13 Reasons Why—no small feat considering a second season technically shouldn’t exist. Season 1 presented a premise and then resolved it completely, like a made-for-TV miniseries. A teenage girl had committed suicide, leaving behind a box of tapes explaining why she’d killed herself addressed to the people in her life, and at the end of the first season, all of the tapes had been played. But the show was such a success Netflix ended up giving it a second season, and the writers had to figure out what the heck to do with these characters.

Season 2 picks up five months after Hannah’s death. If you care about spoilers, you should stop reading now.

As Hannah’s friends and Liberty High School classmates struggle to make sense of everything that’s happened, Tyler the school photographer is raped in a bathroom by three athletes. It’s a controversial scene, and one the show’s creator has defended in the press this week, saying, “Talking about it is so much better than silence.” The events push the socially isolated Tyler over the edge, and he plans a mass school shooting by collecting a stockpile of weapons, only to change his mind in the final episode after a classmate shows him kindness.

“If there’s a greater sense of backlash about this scene, especially it being hard to watch, ‘disgusting,’ or inappropriate, that goes to the point that we need to be talking about the fact that things like this happen,” show creator Brian Yorkey told Vulture. “The fact that this would be somehow more disgusting than what happened to Hannah and Jessica, I’m shocked but not surprised.”

It’s a hot-button finale for a number of reasons. On the one hand, two female characters were sexually assaulted in the show’s first season—so why should the male-on-male sexual assault draw so much ire? On the other hand, is it realistic to depict a white, male school shooter as someone who’s best stopped with kindness and not common-sense gun reform? Fans on Twitter are torn.

https://twitter.com/AlyshaRSimone/status/998604405392990209

https://twitter.com/HorrorshowFlick/status/998033844207939584

No matter which camp you end up in, it’s safe to say Netflix managed to make a splash with this second season.

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*First Published: May 22, 2018, 11:08 am