There are major spoilers ahead for the season finale of 13 Reasons Why Season 2. Also, let this serve as a trigger warning as the season finale deals with many sensitive subjects, like gun violence and rape.
And it’s the latter that is causing a lot of controversy for the Netflix show. After seemingly getting “better” throughout the season, school photographer Tyler is raped in the school bathroom. The season ends with a culimnation of just about every shitty thing that’s happened over the past 13 episodes finally reaching a head. Jock Montgomery, who has it out for Tyler, corners him in the boy’s bathroom along with a few others and sticks his head in the toilet.
This is bad enough as it is, and then Montgomery grabs a mop and uses it to rape Tyler. Just like in Season 1, 13 Reasons Why does not shy away from showing this graphic scene, and Tyler is left with his pants down, bloodied and bruised. Later, he hides these injuries from his mother, as to not clue her in as to what’s happened.
Following this incident, Tyler decides to carry out something that’s been hinted since Season 1: A school shooting. Though he doesn’t actually go through with it, the fact that he actually shows up at the school with firearms in hand — before being talked down by Clay — has sparked backlash against the show.
In an interview with Vulture, Brian Yorkey — the series creator and showrunner – spoke about the decision to include the rape scene, along with what Tyler decides to do following it.
Yorkey then brought up the fact that Season 1 included two rapes, Hannah and Jessica (both by that jerk-face, Bryce). However, though those were both graphic and difficult to watch, neither received as much negative response as Tyler’s.
With this in mind, it seems like just another double-standard out there between violence against men and women and how it’s depicted, and received, in the media. If you or someone you know is struggling with the issues depicted in this season of 13 Reasons Why, you can find more resources and help here.