13 Reasons Why season 1 took the entertainment world by storm. Immediately upon its release, this was all anybody was talking about. A key aspect of the debate was, whether the show glorifies suicide or not. In my opinion, it does not. I loved the first season but was confused when it ended the way it did. I was really hoping for closure. It was also confusing because I was not completely sure why they would want to use a complete season to show the trial. This show is not a courtroom drama, and I really did not want it to become one. Now that I have close to binge-watched the second season, I can say I am more than satisfied with the result.
13 Reasons Why season 2 starts off with the aftermath of the tapes. Tony gives the tapes to the Bakers (Hannah's parents) and they take it to the authorities. The trial between the school district and the bakers forms the centre of the second season.
However, to my surprise, the show never turns into a courtroom drama. Instead, the focus remains on the central characters and their side of the story.
That said, this show is not for everyone. Everyone is not going to love it or be able to relate to it. You get the hang of the narrative style fairly quickly and it is again a highlight for the show. It mixes present time with flashbacks with such finesse, thanks to a superb screenplay. One by one, most of the people on the tapes are asked to testify and they give us their side of the story. There are confessions, lies, breakdowns, frustrations, and emotions once again take centre stage.
The emotions are so real and pure that your heart goes out to the characters in question. I felt like jumping out and helping the lonely Mrs Baker or beating Bryce senseless or even shout at Chole in irritation.
The writing is delicate and some scenes have been written beautifully. These will stay with you for a really long time, along with a few others which are hauntingly unforgettable. As my favourite scene, I would pick one from the last episode. All the new friends are attending the spring fling and are having a good time. The fast dance numbers give way to the soft and heart wrenching 'The Night We Met'. It was the song for Clay and Hannah and you suddenly see Clay breaking down listening to the song. Goosebumps follow, when one by one, each of the friends realizes the importance of the song and come towards a devastated Clay and comfort him. The emotions that this scene evokes are unparalleled.
There are a few other scenes that have a lasting impact, like Clay's speech at Hannah's memorial, Mr Porter's testimony and the entire final sequence featuring Tyler. The latter being the most haunting thing about this season by far.
The soundtrack and background score of the show lifts the experience several notches. The album is splendid and is available on Apple Music along with a few other streaming services. The highlight of the season once again are the performances. Clay Jensen, played by Dylan Minnette and Tyler Down, played by Devin Druid, are simply exceptional. And the list does not stop there. Alisha Boe (Jessica Davis), Brandon Flynn (Justin Foley), Miles Heizer (Alex Standall), Derek Luke (Kevin Porter) and Kate Walsh (Olivia Baker) are all fantastic. They live and breathe as their characters and you feel connected to each of them.
13 Reasons Why Season 2 is a compelling watch, especially after the first 3 odd episodes. For a show like this to have the kind of pace it does is rare, and such a treat. I practically binged the last 10 episodes. Like I said before, it is not a show for everyone and is definitely disturbing for some. If you liked the first season, chances are you will like this one as well.