The series was praised by many (this writer included) for not shying away from difficult topics — particularly sexual assault and its ramifications. However, the buzz also had a downside: Some people believed that the way suicide was portrayed in 13 Reasons Why was potentially dangerous, especially to those who experience suicidal ideation. Though the producers of the series insisted they carefully considered how to shoot the scene in which Hannah dies ("We’re showing suicide as a very horrific thing to endure," creator Brian Yorkey told Vanity Fair of the scene) for many parents and school officials, the series rang alarm bells.
There's no doubt in my mind that these schools are trying to do the right thing by their students, just like there's zero doubt, to me, that Yorkey and the rest of the 13 Reasons Why team chose to tell Hannah's story in the way they believed was best for teens to see. 13 Reasons Why has seemed to learn from the backlash, too, and will now include a video trigger warning with the cast before every episode. In the new video, the cast states that the series might not be for everyone due to its difficult subject matter.
Which brings us back to — when will 13 Reasons Why return? It may be waiting until its target demographic — teens — are no longer in school. The reason, should this be the case, might not be to block any further controversy (it seems inevitable), but to give the teens watching it a chance to view the series at home, perhaps with their parents or guardians present.
If 13 Reasons Why depicted anything well, it's that often, parents do not know what really goes on when their child leaves the house for school in the morning. While every family is different and summer does not necessarily mean more family bonding time, having 13 Reasons Why season 2 come out when kids are not in the thick of the school year may simply give families more time to watch the series together. During the school year, it seems likely that students will first be discussing the series amongst one another first — but during summer, it may be parents and their teens who have the first initial conversation.
Of course, this is just a theory — but given that production on season 2 of 13 Reasons Why wrapped months ago, it seems that the series is waiting for something. Could it be May or early June, when kids get out of school? Whenever it comes out, I'm eager to see what talking points 13 Reasons Why sparks this time.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.