We need to talk about the “13 Reasons Why” cliffhangers

I know that it’s been a week since I watched the entire first season of 13 Reasons Why in one sitting. I know how many times I’ve played the song Hannah and Clay danced to, “The Night We Met” by Lord Huron, and that I’m still not sick of it. I know that even though I’ve had time to emotionally process the power of this show, I still cannot stop thinking about what’s next for the surviving students of Liberty High.

There’s still no word on whether or not the show based on the best-selling book by Jay Asher will get a second season. And do we really want one? For so many of us, this show was all-consuming. It left us breathless from episode 1, and probably unable to sleep for a few days after it ended (or was that just me?), but would continuing this story without Hannah as the narrator give us the same chilling wake-up call to pay more attention to those around us?

Regardless of what happens next with this show, the season finale left us with several unanswered questions. Let’s discuss.

1. Alex’s fate


The last time we saw Alex, he was in the back of an ambulance after suffering from a gunshot wound to the head. Alex’s life is in grave danger, and even though the principal told Mr. Porter that the wound was self-inflicted, are we sure that’s the case?

A popular theory right now is that Tyler actually shot Alex. Remember when he was menacingly looking at his developed photos of each person who received a tape, and then took Alex’s picture down? We also know that Tyler is secretly hiding a collection of guns in his room, and has been ruthlessly bullied throughout the entire show. Was his plan to murder each of these people one by one? Or to take those guns to school and target even more students?

On the other hand, Alex showed several classic signs of depression and suicidal behavior. Aside from Clay, he seemed to be the most devastated about Hannah’s death, and openly blamed himself in public. He cleaned his room the night he was shot, just like Hannah did before she got into the bathtub, and he had progressively been more and more withdrawn from his friends and family.

Sadly, unless Alex miraculously survives, both options are utterly tragic.

2. Hannah’s parents


Hannah’s mother and father were just starting Tape 1, Side A when we last saw them. Their lawsuit against the school was getting more intense, and they were struggling to pay their bills while also searching for some kind of closure in the wake of Hannah’s death. Despite their dwindling pharmacy sales, all they really wanted was to know why she did it. It was never about the money. So will they find the peace they need by listening to Hannah tell her story. I hope so.

3. Where’s Justin?


After Jessica refused to forgive him for lying about her rape, Justin took off with a bag full of cash, a gun, and tears in his eyes. We don’t know where he went, or what he planned to do. He can’t go home, he won’t stay with Bryce, and he no longer has Jessica to lean on. Even though his last scene was heartbreaking, and he had a terrible home life, we need to remember that he allowed his “best friend” to rape his girlfriend when she was passed out on her bed. So would we even want to see Justin again if given a second season? I know I don’t.

4. Karma for Bryce?


Bryce is pure evil, and clearly sees women as nothing more than objects. Given that he admitted to raping Hannah while Clay recorded him shows how terrifying his ego is. That was basically a brag about what women will let him do. Hmmm… where have I heard that before?

He will not stop assaulting women, unless someone stops him. So if the trial continues, (or a case directly against Bryce is filed) I hope there is eventually some justice for Hannah and Jessica and that Bryce ends up rotting behind bars.

5. Tyler’s secret project


Tyler’s last scene still was definitely the most haunting. We know he has several guns stashed away in that trunk, and that he’s reaching his breaking point with the others. Nobody has ever taken him seriously, or shown him an ounce of kindness. That doesn’t negate the fact that he’s a creepy stalker who violated Hannah’s privacy on more than one occasion. However, what we watched Tyler experience could essentially be the making of a terrorist. And even though this show depicted very graphic scenes in a powerful way, watching Tyler take those guns to a school filled with innocent kids is not something I’d be able to sit through. Then again, maybe that’s the point.

6. Will Mr. Porter get fired?


For some reason, guidance counselor Mr. Porter thought it would be appropriate to tell a rape survivor that maybe the whole thing was just her fault. Maybe it was just sex that she regrets? That maybe she should just “move on?” REALLY? If it turns out that Alex’s gunshot wound was self-inflicted, and once he listens to his own tape, I hope he loses his job and reconsiders what it takes to be a decent human being.

7. Jessica’s healing process


Jessica’s cliffhanger meant the most to me. As a rape survivor myself, I felt a deep connection with the pain she experienced. I, too, was unconscious at a party when I was assaulted, and Jessica’s flashbacks once she started accepting what had happened to her had me visibly shaking. She stood up for herself against Justin, she told her dad the truth, and was prepared to begin the healing process. It’s a long and painful process, but seeing Jessica clearly ready to find internal peace was perhaps the only sliver of hope viewers were given, aside from watching Clay and Tony drive off into the sunset while listening to the radio, of course.

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