4 Theories On What '13 Reasons Why' Season 2 Will Be About

Let's speculate!
PHOTO: 13 Reasons Why/Netflix

Usually when a show hits as big as Netflix's 13 Reasons Why did last month, a second season is a no-brainer. But the premise of this show in particular makes a continuation tricky. In case you've somehow missed the buzz and the backlash, season one chronicles the days leading up to and following the suicide of a teenage girl, Hannah Baker, who leaves behind a series of tapes addressed to everyone who she feels contributed to her death.

With each of the 13 tapes corresponding to an episode of the show, 13 Reasons Why is not only a self-contained story but also a very tightly structured one. It's hard to imagine how a second season could replicate that structure, but the evidence is mounting: Per The Hollywood Reporter, a renewal is all but confirmed at Netflix, with a writers room already up and running. Yesterday, Ross Butler—who plays one of the show's less-terrible jocks, Zack—dropped out of his other gig on Riverdale, citing a busy schedule. SO YEAH, THIS IS PROBABLY HAPPENING.

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Showrunner Brian Yorkey and his writers did leave plenty of loose ends deliberately hanging in the finale, so here are a few elements season two could center on:

1. A school shooting

The most shocking revelation in the finale was that yearbook creep Tyler has an arsenal of guns stashed in his bedroom. Tyler was the only person on Hannah's tapes who was ostracized, even by the other students she blamed, so the groundwork has been laid for him to feel isolated. Later in the episode, Tyler is shown in his photography studio gazing over hanging photographs of various high schoolers. He removes Alex's photo after recalling a time when Alex was kind to him, suggesting that the photographs might be a hit list. Top of that hit list? Clay, who spread the naked picture of Tyler around the school in retaliation for what he did to Hannah.

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Could season two be another set of "13 reasons why" Tyler was driven to carry out a school shooting? And is there any way the show could pull off this repeat structure without it seeming ludicrous? Tyler doesn't seem like a character we particularly want to spend 13 episodes getting to know, but maybe that's the point—Tyler is alienated to the point where even the viewer doesn't like him.

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2. Alex's suicide attempt

The finale begins with a cliffhanger—an unidentified teenager has been shot, and later it's revealed to be Alex, who suffered a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Assuming Alex survives his suicide attempt, will season two be his own list of 13 reasons why? Or, if the writers want to push for a more positive spin following the criticism of season one, maybe season two could comprise 13 reasons he decides to live?

Whether Alex survives or not, season two has a compelling opportunity to explore the idea of "suicide clusters" or grouped copycat suicides, an awful phenomenon that was highlighted two years ago at high schools in Palo Alto. The link between Hannah's suicide and Alex's attempt already seems clear—he was tormented by guilt over his role in her death, and BuzzFeed noted that Alex is shown cleaning his room shortly before his suicide attempt, just like Hannah.

There's also a popular fan theory suggesting that Alex's gunshot wound might not be self-inflicted after all, and that the photograph moment actually means that Tyler shot him. That...doesn't feel as interesting as the alternative, but anything's possible at this point.

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3. The lawsuit

Hannah's parents filed a lawsuit against the school during season one, and the finale sees several students giving depositions. But later in the episode, Hannah's parents also get a copy of her tapes. So what happens with the suit once Mr. and Mrs. Baker hear their daughter's firsthand account of exactly who is responsible for her death? Will they still blame the school—and specifically Hannah's guidance counselor, Mr. Porter, who was the subject of her final tape? The lawsuit in itself doesn't feel like enough to sustain a season two, but what if that storyline was coupled with a criminal trial?

4. Bryce's rape trial

If season two does go ahead, the one thing it absolutely needs to deliver is some justice to Bryce, the smug jock who raped both Hannah and Jessica. And the finale makes it pretty clear Bryce's time is up. Clay has a taped confession (sort of) from Bryce, Jessica begins to tell her father about her assault, and Hannah's parents will find out about hers from the tapes.

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So season two could focus on the prosecution of Bryce, and more broadly on high school rape culture and toxic masculinity around the "bro code." Assuming the second season of 13 Reasons Why does away with the tapes structure but retains its basic MO—using its high school setting to explore tough, graphic subject matter—this feels like a compelling way forward.

Follow Emma on Twitter.


This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com/uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.

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