This post contains spoilers for 13 Reasons Why Season 2.[hhmc]
13 Reasons Whys second season was, in many ways, a true continuation of the shows best and worst impulses, at once raw and misguided—beautiful and brutal. There were moments of triumph presented right alongside horrendous, at times exploitative failures. And while the formerly limited seriess renewal last year came as something of a surprise—the project was originally envisioned as a one-and-done adaptation of Jay Ashers original novel—coming off of Season 2, a third season feels almost inevitable.
When asked during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter whether theres room for a third season, series creator Brian Yorkey stopped short of saying yes: “I always think theres more story to tell, but I think that depends on viewers and everyones reaction to it and whether its important to keep telling the story,” he said. But though hes being coy, an agreement has already been reached to transform Analy High School—which serves as the backdrop for the series—into Liberty High once more, should a third season move forward.
During his T.H.R. interview, Yorkey did, however, shoot down a rumor, dismissing the idea of converting the show into an anthology series that would follow a different set of students in future seasons.
“If there is a future for the show, to me, its about these characters, and not necessarily a new set of reasons or a new set of tapes,” Yorkey said. “Someone else might do that, but thats not my job to do that.” The rest of the shows cast and creators have not publicly discussed a potential third season.
Even so, weve already gotten plenty of clues about what to expect if and when the show returns. The most notable dangling narrative thread, of course, is the moment that ends Season 2: as we cut to the credits, Clay is standing outside Liberty holding a semi-automatic weapon, police sirens crying in the distance. There are also plenty of smaller cliffhangers that promise to come back in the shows potential junior year. Here are the most important ones.
Clays got a gun
Season 2 spent time following Tyler on his road to recovery—only to ultimately throw him back into a pit of despair. In Season 1, Tyler was the one who stalked Hannah, taking photos of her kissing her closeted classmate, Courtney—and sending the photo around the school after Hannah rejected him. As we saw at the end of Season 1, an isolated Tyler had begun stockpiling weapons. In Season 2, his behavior became more troubling; as he went into the woods with his friend, Cyrus, to shoot cans, he shot a bird, standing over it curiously. Cyrus eventually alerted the school to Tylers worrisome behavior; he was sent to a treatment program, and came back seemingly recovered.
Unfortunately, Tylers reprieve was short-lived. In a truly horrifying scene, he was beaten and sodomized by a member of the football team—even after using the multiple de-escalation techniques he presumably learned while in treatment. That traumatic run-in, it seems, fueled Tylers decision to attempt a mass shooting during the spring dance.
“We had a character who was obviously severely bullied, suffering from social isolation and was thinking of making a very tragic choice in addressing those feelings for himself,” Yorkey told The Hollywood Reporter. “Were very interested in continuing to follow his journey and to try to understand his state of mind and the state of his soul. I think you'll see in the balance of the episodes that it's very much about trying to understand Tylers character and how a troubled young man might be driven to consider this very difficult choice.”
Clay improbably managed to talk Tyler down, taking the gun away—but as the season drew to a close, Clay was left standing in the parking lot holding the semi-automatic weapon himself. Its unclear what, exactly, hell do now, as the sirens draw nearer and nearer.
Most likely, Clay will hand the weapon over to authorities when Season 3 picks up. Then again, the show could also go a more unexpected route—because Clay, too, harbors some demons. He went shooting in the woods with Tyler once, as well, and as he fired, he heard Hannah whispering the word “Bryce” in his ear. Given everything we know about him, it seems unlikely that Clay would turn around and commit a violent act himself—but then again, in this brutal series, its not something Id completely rule out.
Speaking of Bryce: thanks to the extreme leniency he was afforded in court, Bryce will not be in prison when Season 3 picks up. Instead, the star athlete who raped Hannah, Jessica, and several other girls at Liberty High received only 3 months probation. (Justin, who comes from a poor family without any of the influence Bryces family enjoys, received a probation sentence twice as long, despite only being an accessory to the crime.) Bryce will be transferring schools next year after being held back—but hell also be back on the football field, presumably playing against his old teammates. Its a plot twist that reads like a clear ploy to keep the series main villain around for just a little longer—and it means well probably be seeing more of him next year.
Another reason to expect more from Bryce? Chloe, his girlfriend—who refused to testify about her own coerced sexual encounters with him—is pregnant. As Chloe told Jessica, she doesnt know what to do—but given the series commitment to discussing topics often skirted by other shows, abortion should at least get a passing mention as one of her options. What shell ultimately decide, remains up in the air. Given the fearful way Bryces mother, Nora, has looked at her son all season—especially after his chilling admission of guilt to her—she and Chloe could form a particularly interesting bond, should an occasion arise for them to spend some time together away from their toxic romantic partners.
Like most characters, Justin ended the season in an uncertain place. On the plus side, he and Jessica appear to have rekindled their romance—or, at least, they made out during the spring fling dance. Clays parents have also announced plans to adopt Justin, granting him a reprieve from his unstable family. (Although it seems his mothers violent boyfriend, Seth, is not happy about Justins newfound family; he was glowering at Justin and Clay from afar during the party following Hannahs belated funeral.)
But the biggest cliffhanger, when it comes to Justin, is definitely his heroin addiction. Though Clay and his family think that Justin is clean—hes going to meetings and everything—as we saw, hes still surreptitiously shooting up between his toes. Hopefully someone finds out and intervenes before things go very Requiem for a Dream.
Jessicas fate during the finale was similarly ambiguous. On one hand, as she told Clay, she feels stronger now that the legal battle is behind her. Its unfortunate that she expected a lenient outcome for Bryce, but at least shes been able to move on following her assault. In fact, she and Alex have begun seeing each other again. The problem? She also made out with her ex, Justin—and possibly did more than that; its unclear—at the school dance. As Jessica then noted to Alex, shes actually not sure if shes actually ready to date anyone just yet. Now, it seems, shell be in an even more difficult situation come Season 3. Whatever choice Jessica makes—Justin, Alex, singledom—will be hers and hers alone to make. But if she chooses Justin, there might be one silver lining for Alex. . .
Alex and Zach?
At a few points during this season, its seemed possible that Alex and Zach could be forging a bond that goes beyond platonic friendship. Zach helped coach Alex through some of his intimacy issues following the traumatic events of last year, and during the finale, he tenderly showed Alex how to dance with Jessica despite his recovering leg. As the two leaned on each other and slowly swayed, its worth wondering if Season 3 might build on that potential. Although this series spends the vast majority of its time trudging through the darkness, it shines when it allows its characters to lean on each other and form strong, human connections. Zach and Alex have quietly found that in each other this season, which would make any potential romance feel earned, rather than contrived—even though neither has expressed same-sex attractions before. In any case, even a show as tragic as this one could use a few good ships, right?
Get Vanity Fairs HWD NewsletterSign up for essential industry and award news from Hollywood.Laura BradleyLaura Bradley is a Hollywood writer for VanityFair.com.