13 Reasons Why: season 2 review Netflix’s teen saga struggles to find purpose second time out

The lead is now a ghost( of plot devices past ), and though it still tackles big issues, the structure of this high-school teen drama has crumbled

When Hannah Baker killed herself, she left behind a box of cassette tapes explaining why she’d done it. That was the first series of 13 Reasons Why, accommodated from the book by Jay Asher.

Originally destined to become a movie, Netflix get hold of it and gave it the Netflix stretching. It did attempt to explore important matters- not only suicide but rape, self-harm, bully, high-school sexism- sensibly and seriously, even if any messages to emerge came across as simplistic and a little bit preachy: be nice to people, be a real friend, otherwise bad shit goes down. It meandered, but the cassettes and the 13 reasons in 13 episodes gave it a structure of sorts. The performances, especially from Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette as Hannah and her friend Clay, were good.

The second series continues to explore the same big issues sensitively, as well as taking on board some of the criticism and controversy the first made( it now comes with a public service announcement, delivered by the actors, links to relevant resources, plus the parents- Clay’s especially- are more well informed what their kids is passing through ). And that’s about all that’s good about series two.

It’s a few months later, and there’s a civil lawsuit going on against the school for failing to protect Hannah. There’s a lot of dragging through the same stuff all over again. But this time without the framework of the tapes and the reasons. The trial, of which there isn’t much, perhaps provides the crumbliest of structures, and some photos are turned up that depict Hannah wasn’t alone in suffering bully and abuse. But if the first series meandered, then this circles aimlessly with its head to the ground.

Some of the acting remains decent, though Langford, the stand-out in the first season , now has to do hers as a ghost. The ghost of Hannah. The ghost of a lame device past.

I’ve only watched three episodes. But that was enough. It’s like being locked in a room with a bunch of self-obsessed teens, occasionally telling things like” the truth can free you if you let it” or” sometimes it seems that no matter what you do people see you the style they want to “.

I know teens are only concerned with what others think of them. I know if I was one I might connect better with this( it would be interesting to hear from them ). I know the issues are very real, very important and, in fact, deadly serious. But they deserve a better vehicle. As drama this is pointless, cumbersome, baggy, poorly written, ponderous and boring. That’s less than half of the 13 reasons why you shouldn’t bother.

In the UK the Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is on 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org .

Make sure to visit: CapGeneration.com

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