Season 1 was told partially in the present and via flashbacks that eventually reveal Hannah witnessed the captain of Liberty’s football team Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice) raping fellow student Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe). Bryce later also raped Hannah, who told the school’s student counselor, only to be dismissed. She then went home, climbed into a bathtub and slit her wrists in an excruciatingly gory three-minute scene.
The show left a number of loose ends about what was happening in the present (including a lawsuit against the school and a hint at a potential school shooting). But for all intents and purposes, the story seemed finished. After all, the title is “13 Reasons Why,” and we now know those 13 reasons. Plus, the season was based off a book by Jay Asher, and as The Washington Post’s TV critic Hank Stuever pointed out, the show already had “an egregious problem with length, taking a 288-page novel and stretching it far beyond what it has to offer.”
But it was also a hit — 2017’s most tweeted about show, in fact. And hits get sequels.
So now we have a second season, which drops on Netflix on May 18.
The new season appears to fit in as much melodrama and unrelenting darkness as its predecessor.
The trailer opens with Clay saying what everyone was thinking: “I felt like this whole thing was going to be over. But it’s not.”
So what’s it about?
The story will follow the characters’ attempts to return to an normal life while the high school prepares to go on trial. That won’t last long, since someone is trying to obscure the truth of Hannah’s death — apparently there are more secrets left undiscovered.
Another part of the story will focus on Bryce’s rape of Jessica. “Jessica is just beginning the process of recovering from her rape, and we have a rapist who has not in any way been brought to justice,” showrunner Brian Yorkey told Entertainment Weekly. “To leave those two things hanging out there in the world would be upsetting. . . . I want to do Jessica’s story the deserved justice of following her as she goes back to school, as she tries to begin to recover from what happened to her, because it’s something that millions of young women go through.”
“And also [I want to] see somebody punch Bryce in the face,” Yorkey added.
The framing device this go-round seems to be several ominous Polaroids that Clay receives. The trailer reveals a few of them. One shows a guy and a girl holding red Solo cups, presumably at a party. “Hannah wasn’t the only one,” is scrawled on the back in blue marker. Another is blurry, but the back reads, “He won’t stop.”
“You don’t know what was happening in this photo,” comes the voice of cheerleader Sheri Holland (Ajiona Alexus) off-screen. “And you don’t know what happened after.”
The trailer is peppered with portentous images: A man burning a handful of papers. The word “rapist” sloppily painted on Bryce’s locker. A man holding a piece of paper that, in red ink, reads, “You talk you die.” Slammed doors. Ambulance lights. Fistfights.
It’s also chock full of seemingly menacing but ultimately vaguely cliched statements: “This is proof of who they all are.” “The truth doesn’t always make things right.” “This is going to keep happening.” “It doesn’t stop.” “Don’t you know what goes on at this school?”
Hannah also appears in the trailer, speaking to Clay. Presumably she’s a figment of his imagination.
Speaking of Clay, the boy seems different. Last season, he rode his bike and bickered with his parents. Now, he’s stone-faced in the woods holding a pistol (where did nice, bookish Clay get a pistol?!) and shooting at bottles. Then, he’s yelling at a friend, “I can’t count on anyone else anymore. I have to do this myself. No one’s going to get justice for her.”
It closes with him unleashing a primal scream in the face of Hannah — who, again, probably isn’t actually there.
“There’s a time jump. Season 2 is a couple months after Season 1, and there’s a lot that’s happened to Clay in between. You’re playing catch-up when you start, and you see where Clay’s at,” Minnette told Yahoo Entertainment about his character. “Clay’s trying to live his life. . . . but I think Hannah, his life with her, and everything with the tapes, is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to him, and I don’t think he’ll ever be able to escape it, no matter how hard he tries.”