After 15 long months, it's finally time to return to Liberty High. Netflix’s massively popular and hugely controversial series 13 Reasons Why is back with a new season this week. What have the kids of the über-dramatic adaptation of Jay Asher’s novel been up to? We’ll find out soon enough, but first: a look at where five of the show's five key characters were when we last saw them at the end of Season 2.
Considering all that Clay’s been through, he walked out of Season 2 in fairly solid shape. He finally shook the ghost of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who had been haunting him throughout the season. He processed his grief over her death and surrounded himself with friends who could empathize with his trauma. In short, he seemed ready to move on.
Whether or not he can actually do so remains to be seen. 13 Reasons Why is jumping ahead eight months for Season 3, which may have allowed our protagonist some time to clear his head and move on. We’ve seen him haunted plenty by the past, but there would be value in seeing how he moves forward.
Jessica has always been the low-key hero of 13 Reasons Why, both for realizing the ways in which she betrayed her friend Hannah in search of popularity, and for aiming to do better. She was also a victim of Bryce the rapist in Season 1, because her then-boyfriend Justin allowed it to happen.
Season 2 saw major growth for Jessica, as she grappled with her post-rape trauma and sought justice for Hannah. Her reunion with Justin, although somewhat worrying considering their history, felt earned by the finale. She’s been through the ringer, but among the primary cast of characters, she’s probably in the best emotional space heading into Season 3.
Justin’s a part of the Jensen family now! His was easily the most endearing storyline of Season 2, as Clay helped him go from homeless youth to rehabilitated addict. He was rewarded with a place in a stable home for the first time in his life, and an emotionally healthy reunion with Jessica.
Unfortunately, because this is 13 Reasons Why, good things can only last for so long. Justin was back on drugs by the finale, so it looks like the Jensen family’s drama with their newest member won’t be ending any time soon.
Tyler had a rough finale, to say the least. In one of the most excruciatingly and unnecessarily graphic scenes of the series — a high bar, when you consider that Netflix recently edited out the suicide scene from Season 1 — Tyler was sexually assaulted by a broomstick in the school bathroom. His assailant was Monty (Timothy Granaderos), Bryce’s friend and a main cast member in the new season. So expect some fallout from the assault to take center stage this season.
That wasn’t all that happened with Tyler in the finale, though. He showed up to Spring Fling not with a date, but with a car full of assault weapons, intending to shoot up the school. Clay and friends realized what was happening, and went to intercept him. They were successful, but the choice to get Tyler away from the school instead of allowing him be arrested left Clay, Justin, and Jessica with a car full of guns in front of Liberty High. How they explain their way out of that one remains to be seen.
Bryce got off for Hannah’s rape at the end of Season 2, thanks to his girlfriend, Chloe Rice (Anne Winters) perjuring herself on the stand. (She did so because right before testifying she learned she was pregnant with Bryce’s baby.) However, he was set to be forcibly transferred away from Liberty High.
That seemingly won’t happen, however, as the big hook for Season 3 is “Who killed Bryce Walker?” The question turns the series into a whodunnit that more closely mirrors Season 1’s structure, although that was more a whydunnit. Anyway, Bryce is dead, which means renewed story focus for new main cast members Chloe and Bryce’s mom, Nora (Brenda Strong). Expect him to show up plenty in flashbacks, though. After all, Hannah Baker was a main cast member for two seasons after dying in episode one.
People are talking about 13 Reasons Why in our forums. Join the conversation.
Kevin O'Keeffe is a writer, host, and RuPaul's Drag Race herstorian living in Los Angeles. Follow his musings and rantings on Twitter @kevinpokeeffe.