Warning: This story contains mentions of sexual assault.
But, by the end of the season everything has changed and now the cheerleader has become a victim herself. What happens to Chloe — and her relationship with Bryce — over the season is horribly tragic for a variety of reasons, and it's easy to go from hating her to sympathizing with her over the span of 13 episodes. It's also important to remember how we got to this place with Chloe ahead of 13 Reasons Why season 3.
In case you forgot, it's all because of Bryce.
As you probably recall, Bryce Walker is not a good guy. In season 1, though flashbacks cited on Hannah Baker's (Katherine Langford) tapes, we see him rape both Jessica (Alisha Boe) and Hannah — the latter actually witnesses the former's assault. So, going into season 2 everyone already knows that Bryce is bad. Things only get worse when the truth behind his relationship with Chloe is slowly revealed.
At first, it certainly seems like these two go together well because they're both, well, not great people. Chloe is, without a doubt, mean. She's only friendly to Jessica to her face, in hopes of using her. The kids are all caught up in the Baker Family's trial against the school for Hannah's death, and which involves the rape claims against Bryce, and Chloe hopes to keep Jessica from speaking out against him. Unbeknownst to Chloe, Bryce's dad is also pulling something similar: In order to make him look like a good, well-adjusted student, Bryce's dad encourages him to stay with Chloë so he can be seen as "loyal," with a girlfriend who stands by his side, no matter what.
As the season goes on, the story begins to shift when we see Bryce rape Chloe. Though she doesn't try to stop him, it's clear she's not a willing participant, thanks in large part to one of the most haunting scenes on the show which finds Chloe listlessly watching TV while Bryce does the act. The encounter is also rough, and she's left with visible bruises, which Bryce's mother notices.
This is already horrible, but it gets worse.
Chloe is asked to testify in Hannah's case, and, in doing so, indicate that Bryce has been raping her, just like he did Hannah. While she does eventually decide to do so because she's increasingly fearful of Bryce, when she gets up on the stand, she can't go through with it and lies, denying that Bryce has ever hurt her. It's absolutely heartbreaking to watch.
At the end of season 2, during the school dance, Chloe reveals that she's pregnant — and the baby's father is Bryce. At stake in season 3 is the question of whether or not Chloe carried the baby to term or seeks an abortion, as well as the effect of the lasting trauma from her relationship with Bryce. Her rapist may be dead, but, as is true in real life, the effect of his actions on Chloe's life aren't going to disappear along with him.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).