This overview was created by the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why was released at 7.01pm on Friday 18 May. It is rated RP18: Contains rape, suicide themes, drug use, and bullying. Note this overview comes with a SPOILER ALERT.
(Note: PARENTS NEED TO KNOW: There is a graphic and brutal anal rape scene of a male character with a mop handle in Episode 13.)
Season 2 takes place five months after Hannah Baker’s suicide. In the time between the end of season 1 and the beginning of season 2, Alex has recovered from his suicide attempt and is about to come back to school. Jessica is also ready to return to school after taking some time off to try and recover from the trauma of being raped.
Hannah’s parents, Olivia and Andy, have refused to come to a settlement with the school as they believe the school failed to keep Hannah safe and was ultimately responsible for Hannah’s suicide. The first twelve episodes are narrated by different witnesses – Hannah’s friends, parents, teachers and Bryce, the boy who raped her.
The series features graphic flashbacks and retellings of both Hannah and Jessica being raped by Bryce. There is also a new, brutal and graphic sexual assault against Tyler by three members of the baseball team.
The impact of Hannah’s suicide is widely felt by those she left behind. Hannah herself returns and only Clay can see her. She encourages him to ensure Bryce is punished for what he’s done.
Hannah’s story is further explored by her friends who offer different perspectives to the events Hannah talks about in her tapes.
The show explores issues like bullying, suicide, self-harm, drug use, sexual assault and rape.
Adults are largely shown to be ineffective or actively unhelpful when young people are dealing with challenging issues. The young characters in the series often feel they have to take matters of punishment and justice into their own hands.
The series finishes with Tyler, who was raped by his schoolmates, attempting a school shooting. Clay persuades him to put the gun down and Tony helps Tyler escape. Clay is left holding an automatic weapon.