How many seasons and cassette tapes does it take for a small suburban school like Liberty High to crack the mystery that was Hannah Baker’s suicide? According to Netflix, at the very least, two whole seasons. 13 Reasons Why, the show you’re scared to talk about with your teens, has been renewed for a second season. Some might say 13 Reasons Why didn’t need another reason to keep on going past a first run. To those people, we say there’s no cap on teen suffering. Four years is long! But just what will Netflix do with another season of a show that seemingly already solved its titular investigation? Easy: Open 13 new doors where one just closed and deviate further from the book. Here are 13 queries we need 13 Reasons Why to settle in season two, with obvious spoilers for the first season referenced throughout.
1. Did Alex Standall kill himself, too?
Season one ended just as it began: with a teen suicide. Or in the case of Alex Standall, a possible attempted suicide. We’re left with the cliff-hanger that Alex, one of Hannah’s former best friends and recipient of one of her tapes, shot himself in the head and is in critical condition. It was the show’s unsubtle way of demonstrating to the audience how easy it is to be a silent bystander to someone in grave pain and in imminent danger of self-harm, just as the teens of Liberty High were when it came to Hannah. But if this is also the show’s way of setting its second season up for 13 more Hannah copycat tapes, now narrated by Alex, it’s towing an already thin line.
2. Is someone going to finally report Bryce Walker to the authorities?
Over a dozen teens and several adults have the testimony from Hannah Baker that she and Jessica Davis were raped on two separate occasions by their classmate, star athlete Bryce Walker. Judging from one of the final scenes of the first season, Jessica, now his only living victim, seems like she is going to tell her father. At what point does it become criminal negligence for this many people — including the school guidance counselor, by the way — to continue sheltering Bryce from the law? Clay has Bryce’s confession on tape (obtained through not the most legal means, but it exists). Hannah has her own account of what happened on tape, which her parents now also have in their possession. Jessica can give her own statement if she’s comfortable and wants to press charges. Someone call the dang police already. Or better yet, get Jessica’s military dad to handle it his own way. For what it’s worth, series creator Brian Yorkey had this to say: “If we left these 13 episodes out in the world with [the rapist] not being brought to justice … it’d be incredibly dissatisfying to me.”
3. Is Tyler Down trying to plan a Columbine-like attack?
One of this show’s many PSAs is its strong anti-bullying message, and no one was bullied worse than Tyler Down throughout the season. As a proven stalker, who repeatedly photographed Hannah and other students in private moments without their consent, he was also an easy target with a lot of pent-up rage. In one of the season’s final shots, we see Tyler with a case full of assorted guns and ammunition that he’s hiding from his parents, for obvious reasons. For a show that hasn’t shied away from suicide and rape (and seems fixated on revenge), a school shooting seems well within its scope.
4. What are Hannah’s parents going to do with the tapes?
Hannah’s tapes were only ever meant for a select few classmates and the school guidance counselor to hear, but her appointed keeper of those tapes, Tony, ultimately hands them over to her parents, now that everyone else has heard them. (In a thumb drive, thank god.) The tapes have in them accounts of rape, bullying, underage drinking and drugs, violations of privacy, and administrative failings. Hannah’s parents are still suing the school to hold it accountable for her death by the season’s end. If they want to win their case, these tapes could be a game changer.
5. What’s happening with the lawsuit?
Speaking of, the first season leaves Hannah’s parent’s lawsuit against the school district open-ended. They’re suing for millions in damages and, in a nice nod to the show’s teen lineage, are represented by My So-Called Life’s Wilson Cruz. The school is being represented by, of all possible lawyers in this world, Clay’s mother. The case hasn’t gone to trial yet, but a handful of the teens on Hannah’s tapes have already been subpoenaed and have given their testimonies, and with the evidence mounting (especially now that the tapes are out), it seems headed that way. Now that it’s public knowledge that Clay was very much involved with Hannah (and, in her mind, partly responsible for her death), will Clay’s mother have to step down from the case?
6. Is Sheri Holland going to be charged in connection with Jeff’s death?
It wouldn’t be 13 Reasons Why if there weren’t 13 different crimes all playing out at once — one being the death of fellow student Jeff Atkins. Jeff was killed in a car accident, where it was believed he’d been drunk driving after a party a couple weeks before Hannah killed herself. But according to Clay, who spoke to Jeff not long before his death, he was below the legal limit. What did play a role in Jeff’s death was the fact that Sheri accidentally plowed down a stop sign at the intersection where Jeff was killed, while driving an intoxicated Hannah home from that same party. Sheri fled the scene without Hannah, who insisted Sheri call the police to notify them about the sign; before Hannah could call them herself, Jeff had already been hit by another car at that intersection. Hannah’s tape for Sheri is essentially blackmail, but we eventually see Sheri appear to report what she did to the police. It remains to be seen if this could implicate her in Jeff’s death.
7. Is someone going to finally fire Mr. Porter?
Look, Mr. Porter, the school guidance counselor, means well and cares about these kids’ future in so much as he’s been instructed to, but he is also criminally unqualified to be helping teens. Emphasis on criminal. Hannah’s final tape is for Mr. Porter because he was one of the last people she spoke to on the day she killed herself. She came to his office for just two reasons: to try to tell him she was raped and to also tell him she was having suicidal thoughts. She says all of this in so many words, but Mr. Porter is dismissive, distracted by his wife’s phone calls, and tells her to “move on.” Hannah has the whole conversation recorded on tape, a tape that her parents now have. Mr. Porter also has knowledge of Bryce Walker’s confession because Clay tells him. He has the tapes now as well and will hear about the rapes in full detail. If, once again, he does or says nothing, and all this comes to light in the lawsuit or elsewhere, his days at Liberty High (and life not behind bars) have gotta be numbered, right?
8. Where the hell are Clay, Tony, Skye, and Tony’s boyfriend driving off to?
With all due respect to Grease, we assume this random foursome isn’t taking a joyride off into the clouds (maybe off a cliff to go be with Hannah, sure), so what gives? The last we see of Clay, he’s cruising with his new gang. When Tony asks, “What happens next?” Clay gives a classic teen-soap-finale response: “I don’t know, I guess we’ll find out.” Let’s just assume he’ll be home late to dinner.
9. What’s up with Clay and Skye?
For a while there, it didn’t seem like Syke and Clay were even the same age (it still doesn’t), but they do in fact both go to Liberty High, and we’re told they used to hang out in middle school. Why they had a falling out, who knows? And why Clay all of a sudden cares that Skye self-harms, other than to free his conscious after missing all the barely there signs with Hannah, is also a mystery. Is second-season Clay going to be hopelessly devoted to Skye? What a boy.
10. Is Hannah Baker going to keep haunting this town?
Hannah’s story seems told now that we’ve gone through all her tapes, but this show is nothing if not good at beating a dead horse. According to creator Brian Yorkey, “Hannah’s story isn’t over — she has parents who still don’t have the complete story.” She already existed entirely to the audience via flashbacks and voice-overs, so it’s possible that’s how her presence will remain. Hannah Baker “lives” on!
11. Can Courtney Crimson just come out already?
Everyone has their own coming-out process, and we would never rush anyone, especially a teen, into it, but Courtney Crimson, girl, just bite the bullet. Both of this popular girl’s dads are gay; she was raised in a progressive household; and several of her classmates (Tony!) are openly gay. And, yet, she remains deeply closeted — she fears making life even harder for her parents — even after a photo of her and Hannah making out leaks. Live your truth, Courtney. This town already has more secrets than Riverdale and Rosewood combined.
12. So, how much Ross Butler will there be?
Ross Butler quit Riverdale to give all his time to 13 Reasons Why and, by god, this show had better utilize every spare second he now has. Butler’s character, Zach Dempsey, is the rare sensitive jock, so there’s plenty to explore there. Might we suggest he do all that exploring with his shirt off?
13. Are these “kids’” true ages ever going to be revealed?
It’s cool, Tony. You can just say you’ve repeated whatever school year you’re claiming to be in six times. Your many large tattoos are already telling on you and your classmates.