’13 Reasons Why’ Season 3 Episode 2 continues in the same pattern as the last episode, that is, splitting the narrative into two timelines. As a smart show, the Netflix series knows how to play with the emotions of the viewers to show that in the real world nothing is black and white. Instead, it is all different shades of grey. This is most evident in the case of Bryce Walker.
Although the series has successfully painted him as a monster, there were inklings in the past season that Bryce comes from a broken home. We witnessed some vulnerable moments from the rapist jock when he confessed that his parents were almost never home and it made him feel lonely. Bryce’s humanity is pushed even more to the forefront in Season 3 when we are informed that his parents have split up and Bryce appears to be all too human. Of course, we cannot forgive him for his past crimes, but ’13 Reasons Why’ seems to be telling us that he did not deserve to die either. That being said, it appears as though the episodes of Season 3 will tackle all the possible lies that the people of interest to the case might have said. Episode 2 begins with Zach Dempsey, Bryce’s former teammate.
13 Reasons Why Season 3 Episode 2 Recap:
Episode 2 of ’13 Reasons Why’ starts in the present as Tyler approaches Clay to talk to him. However, Clay seems to be too preoccupied, which is contrasted with a flashback that shows that Clay extremely concerned about taking care of Tyler. He goes to the extent of coming up with a schedule so all of Tyler’s friends can assist him every day to prevent another outburst from the boy who almost became the perpetrator in a school shooting. However, the pressing question in this episode is why Zach lied about not knowing who tackled him during the homecoming game, which resulted in the brawl. It turns out from pictures that Bryce tackled Zach so as to ruin his chances of getting to college based on his sports accomplishments.
Thus, the episode launches us deep into the enmity between Zach and Bryce. They are both jocks but the former wants to do things better when he is made Liberty’s football team captain. This aggravates Monty who thought he would take over after Bryce’s departure. However, the enmity turns the focus to Chloe, Bryce’s girlfriend in Season 2. Chloe’s story about her pregnancy grabs eyeballs as we see how she used to love Bryce, but leaned on Zach for support when she wanted to get an abortion. ’13 Reasons Why’ deals with pertinent topics affecting teenagers and the issue of pregnancy, is wonderfully raised here. The anti-abortion lobby is also given a chance to raise their voice in a harrowing scene. More importantly, it is suggested that Zach and Chloe might be developing romantic feelings for each other.
The rest of the episode is squarely devoted to humanizing Bryce. We see him through Ani’s eyes, who remains the narrator in this episode. Bryce appears to have been bullied by the jocks of Hillcrest, the new school he moves to. Moreover, his reputation as a rapist seems to have followed him there. A flashback shows a broken and crying Bryce when Chloe breaks up with him and he seeks solace in Ani’s company. Episode 2 ends with Bryce’s dead body being dragged out of the water and Ani insinuates that Jessica might have gotten to Bryce before he could change since she was the one he had hurt the most.
13 Reasons Why Season 3 Episode 2 Review:
Episode 2 of ’13 Reasons Why’ takes us deeper into the mystery. Finally, we know that Bryce is not just missing, he is dead. This will allow a fuller investigation into Bryce’s story and the secrets that everyone seems to be harboring will spill out. Ani continues to provide a fresh perspective of things as the new girl. It would have been impossible for anyone at Liberty to give a completely unbiased view of Bryce. It would either be in his favor or prejudiced against him. Ani tries to reconcile Bryce’s humanity with what she has read about him doing monstrous things. Once again, the show proves that there is more than one side to any story, no matter how clear cut it appears.
That being said, Episode 2 takes the show back into familiar grounds where it deals with pertinent issues that affect teenagers and society at large. We are given a taste of women exercising their choice when it comes to pregnancies and their bodies. There are no half measures as we are made aware of the pro-life lobby and given a peek into Chloe’s reaction during and right after the abortion. Episode 2 also has a fantastic moment where Jessica runs for the student body president and promises to call out the enabling culture at Liberty that allows the jocks to get away with bullying and even molesting students. Meanwhile, Tyler’s strange obsession with taking bare-bodied pictures of himself remains unexplained. It is something that future episodes will definitely address. The second episode kicks things into gear and it would seem the ’13 Reasons Why’ will only pick up pace hereon.