The second season of 13 Reasons Why drops on Netflix May 18, but fans are already speculating about the meaning behind the new season's teaser trailer. On Monday, 13 Reasons Why released a very cryptic video for season 2, and while it featured many things (and lots and lots of Polaroids), there was one thing that really stood out. Bryce (Justin Prentice) is still a sexual predator, but it's possible that he will face justice in season 2 of 13 Reasons Why as well.
In the teaser, we see Bryce hanging out with new character Chloe (Anne Winters). Everything seems fine, until a Polaroid reveals a passed out Chloe, and Bryce with a smirk. Given Bryce's history, it's possible he intends to sexually assault Chloe.
It's not the only moment in the teaser that suggests this season will revolve around Bryce and his crimes. Mr. Porter (Derek Luke) is seen looking at Bryce's file. Has he finally chosen to believe the late Hannah (Katherine Langford) and learned that it was Bryce who sexually assaulted her?
Mr. Porter seeking justice for Hannah's sexual assault is an important choice for the show to make — it was, partially, his inability to help Hannah that led to her feeling like she was alone in her situation. However, there is a darker side to seeking justice for rape survivors that the series may be interested in exploring as well.
In the teaser, we see someone wrote "LIAR" in reference to Jessica (Alisha Boe). Clay (Dylan Minnette) also receives a note in similar writing, which states "YOU TALK, YOU PAY." Olivia (Kate Walsh), Hannah's mother, is seen with similar graffiti. All of it implies that anyone who talks about what Bryce did to both Jessica and Hannah will be bullied into silence.
Sadly, this is a reality for many sexual assault survivors, and those who choose to speak out for them. Tarana Burke's #MeToo movement, which culminated after 13 Reasons Why season 2 already began filming, seeks to make sure no person who has been victimized ever feels too ashamed to come forward. Oftentimes, however, women are blamed for their sexual assault after they face the already difficult task of coming forward. Even Boe stated that her character Jessica was slut-shamed following her own onscreen rape.
13 Reasons Why show creator Brian Yorkey opened up to The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday about how Bryce's season 1 actions will come into play during the show's sophomore endeavor.
"I once read something online where someone said, 'Well, Jessica told her dad she was raped, so her story is over.' I remember thinking that right there is reason enough to do a season 2, because her story is just beginning — her experience continues to be a central part of season 2," Yorkey told THR.
He added: "Over the course of the summer, we watched events unfold in our culture that confirmed to us that yes, unfortunately, it is possible for severe sexual abuse at a very high, consistent level to be kept secret by many, many people, and for institutions to be complicit in it. So that’s very much a part of our story in season 2, and we’re hoping that enters the conversation around the show, particularly because it is something that girls even at a very young age are dealing with in our culture, and it’s something that needs to change."
As for whether justice will be served, Yorkey told THR that was a question he and his writers had at the forefront of their minds this season.
"Justice is definitely a central theme. We had a number of notecards taped to the wall of the writers' room, and one of the big ones was: What is justice? And: Can we find justice in an unjust world?"
Will Bryce be held accountable for his actions? In the wake of the #MeToo movement, our fictional characters can help set the tone for the culture around us. Here is hoping that justice is finally served for the women of 13 Reasons Why.
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.
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