A Netflix show that has divided many. One that shows the raw details of Hannah Baker’s life, and why she decided to end it. I wrote a post named 14 Reasons Why Not, where I wrote about all the reasons why not to watch season one because of the way it portrays mental health. Now watching season two, it has left me with very much mixed feelings
Season one shows us why (and how) someone’s actions can lead to suicide. I do not agree on how they portrayed most things in the season as showing Hannah’s suicide scene was an insensitive move, especially because of there being no warnings around this. There was no mentioning of any of the characters, not just Hannah’s, mental health. These were insensitive moves that they took with little thought for their viewers and the personal struggles they could be going through.
Season Two has left people with mixed feelings, some saying that the final episode with the sexual assault scene was too much, while others jump to defend the show’s decision in this by saying that warnings were sent out for this scene and that it was at the viewer’s the discretion to continue watching.
My opinion? I think that season 2 is a lot more accurate in accordance to Hannah’s suicide. I do think that the scene featuring Tyler was a bit too much. I look at it though and despite my first reaction to this graphic scene, I do see why they have put this in. That scene alone has generated a whole new discussion in society about the impacts of sexual assault/ abuse and being able to start a conversation about this matter. With this topic being a taboo subject, a person who has gone through this can find it hard to open up. This could be a way to slowly introduce the idea of speaking about sexual assault and lead into a flowing conversation.
The other episodes however really won me over. It shows issues in a true light and doesn’t attempt to glamorise any of it or try to make it into a comedy to make something of such a sensitive issue into a mockery. Take some of the characters story as examples; Justin, they show what life can be like for someone struggling with drug addiction, Jessica and her acceptance in her sexual abuse and learn how to deal with it, Alex on his progression journey after his suicide attempt, or Clay and the grieving process he goes through with Hannah’s death.
One thing that did make me very happy about this season of 13 Reasons Why is that they talk about the characters Mental Health, and opening up the clarification of Hannah and her experience of depression. Watching these episodes, I found that the production team have put a lot more thought into the new season compared to the first one. This along with featuring at the end of each episode a web-address with an actors voice saying go to the website to find resources, and at the beginning of the season with the actors being filmed, giving out viewer discretion and explaining what the show is about showing us that they took the comments in that society had and improved the show.
The second season has left me thinking about mental health and suicide and how this show is a great way to start a conversation on this topic.