Content warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual violence and intended violence at a school.
If you haven't watched a single episode of 13 Reasons Why but decide to start at the beginning of season 3 you're going to think this school lives in a parallel universe where literally everything bad happens under one government-issued roof. Liberty High has seen more than its fair share of drama and from the second 13 Reasons Why season 3 starts, you're going to want to remember what happened with Clay (Dylan Minnette) at the end of season 2.
It's a lot to process.
A few things have been brewing all season and they all finally come to a head at the Spring Fling dance at Liberty High. Chloe (Anne Winters) reveals she's pregnant with Bryce's (Justin Prentice) baby, and acknowledges that Bryce has been abusing her all season despite testifying for him during the trial against the school. Jessica (Alisha Boe) and Justin (Brandon Flynn) are able to reconcile after a rocky period, and they have sex in the locker room. But neither instance marks the the biggest twist in the final moments of 13 Reasons Why season 2.
Tyler (Devin Druid) has finally had enough abuse at the hands of his classmates. After having recently been sent away to deal with his anger issues, Tyler returns to school with a clearer perspective, which is quickly shattered. After being cornered in the boy's bathroom by Montgomery (Timothy Granaderos) and his friends, Tyler is beaten, has his face repeatedly pushed into the toilet bowl, and is then raped by the end of a broomstick and left bleeding. Unfortunately, this is the last straw for Tyler. There have long been hints about a possible school shooting happening in 13 Reasons Why, and at the end of season 2 Tyler decides to go through with it.
He texts a warning message to a girl he had a crush on, Mackenzie (Chelsea Alden), and while we never see the context of the message she realizes it's cause for concern. Mackenzie shows the text to a group of others at the dance where they all have different ideas as to what to do. The first idea is to call the police (which is the right idea, by the way) and then lock the doors from the inside so Tyler can't get in. However, Clay believes they can avoid this whole situation if he can just talk to Tyler first. During all of this, no one knows where Jessica is and Justin goes off to find her.
Heading outside, Clay confronts Tyler, who appears to have made up his mind to go through with a shooting. Somehow, through an act of God and television writing, Clay is somehow able to talk Tyler out of shooting anyone. He knows that Tyler is hurting but explains that he doesn't want to see Tyler end up dead, and that's the only outcome for him in this situation. Not knowing what's going on, Justin and Jessica race outside, only to be shooed back inside by Clay, who is trying as best he can to diffuse this situation.
Before all this happens, Clay is insistent on calling Tony (Christian Navarro) for reasons we don't really understand. yet. As sirens start to creep up in the distance — because clearly someone on the inside has called the police — Tony and his red mustang pull up. Clay ushers Tyler into the car, and in exchange Tyler hands Clay the automatic weapon he's holding. Tyler and Tony then drive away into the distance for parts unknown, as Justin and Jessica come back.
The final scene of the season is of the three of them standing outside, Clay with the assault rifle in hand, as the police sirens approach in the distance.
The question now, heading into season 3, is whether Clay will be able to explain to the police what just happened without getting arrested or implicating Tyler and causing him even more harm.
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).