Warning: spoilers ahead for season 2 of 13 Reasons Why.
It’s not overselling it to say that Tony Padilla (Christian Navarro) has got more secrets than a game of Clue on 13 Reasons Why. Seriously, ever since season 1 and his mysterious appearing acts, fans have been wondering what exactly Tony’s deal is and why he has always been so hellbent on helping Hannah.
Picking up five months after Hannah’s tapes were first heard, the sophomore season of the Netflix drama explores how Liberty High School students attempt to move on with their lives. Tony has become increasingly close to Hannah’s mom, Olivia, as her suit against Liberty prepares to go to trial and her husband Andy is mysteriously absent. Tony also remains a key confidante to Clay, who’s determined to get justice for Hannah by taking down her rapist, Bryce.
Though helpful and a good listener, Tony grows more and more mysterious as the season progress. He constantly argues with his ex-boyfriend Ryan in hushed tones about an “incident” and even burns the letters Hannah left to him that explained what to do with the tapes in her absence. But when he’s put on the stand at Hannah’s trial in episode 10, his secrets finally come pouring out.
The reason Tony was so determined to help Hannah the whole time was because she helped him once during an extremely low point in his own life. She hid Tony at the Cresmont when the cops were looking for him after he assaulted a man who called Tony and Ryan “faggots.” This man is revealed to be Lucas, the one-eyed client of Tony’s new boxing coach/boo, who suffers from PTSD and has no memory of the assault.
Season 2 also reveals that this assault is only one of two charges Tony has against him, and one more strike will get him sent to juvie. That’s why he’s always so careful about what he does and who he’s seen with — he’s on probation.
All of this explains why Hannah trusted Tony with the tapes. Hannah didn’t leave them with him because they were friends, but because he owed her for keeping his secret. Likewise, Tony knew one of Hannah’s biggest secrets as well: she was a bully at her old school.
He burned the letters Hannah left to protect her in court, as the lawyers for the school were determined to make it seem like she left the tapes behind for revenge, which the tapes did kind of made it seem like. If this doesn’t prove that Tony is a ride-or-die friend, then I don’t know what does.