You guys. We need to talk about Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why. (Spoiler Alert!)
Like the first two, this season has generated a lot of passionate chatter online. Mainly about whether Bryce Walker’s attempt at redemption is acceptable at all and whether new girl Ani appearing on the show makes any sense. But also about sexual assault. Gun violence. Bullying. Addiction. Suicide. And screwed up family lives.
It’s seriously heavy stuff. And whether you believe Season 3 missed the mark or not, whether you’re applauding the show for covering taboo topics or feel that it went too far, one thing is clear. Amongst all this heaviness and trauma, there is so much empathy and kindness too. And I really wish we’d talk about it.
In many ways, it’s the most important part of the whole series.
It’s the part that helps the characters open up about their traumatic experiences and ask for help. It’s the part that let’s the characters know that whatever they may be feeling, they’re not alone.
It’s the stuff we can all do to help our own mates who might be suffering.
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How many times do you hear Clay asking his friends “are you okay?” and following it up regularly? It’s this very question that leads Tyler to eventually open up about his horrific sexual assault experience and learn to live with the unimaginable pain.
It’s this question that Jessica asks Justin after he reveals he’s a survivor too.
According to Aussie mental health organisation R U OK, we can’t always “fix someone’s problems” but reaching out and making that connection can make all the difference.
How many times do we hear the characters tell each other “I’m sorry you went through this”? Whether it’s about Tony’s family being deported, Tyler being raped or Chloe having an abortion, there are countless times the characters feel each other’s pain and are just there for each other.
How many times do you see them intervening when they think someone is being bullied? From Zach calling out his boofhead teammates to Clay breaking up what he thought was a fight at school.
How many times do you hear the characters say “I love you man, I’m here for you” ?
These things are easy to miss when there are so many other traumatic issues being explored. But they’re definitely there – and if we’re going to talk about the traumatic stuff, let’s also talk about the kindness and empathy that’s so vital to suicide prevention. That’s so vital to bringing out the best in people.
Like Tyler says to Clay at one point, “maybe if we spent a little more time watching and listening you know? To our neighbours. To life around us. Maybe the bad things wouldn’t happen so much.”
Have you watched Season 3? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing a personal crisis, you can contact: Lifeline 13 11 14 or lifeline.org.au, Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467, BeyondBlue 1300 224 636 or beyondblue.org.au, Mensline 1300 789 978, KidsHelpline 1800 551 800 or please find a crisis help line in your country. You are not alone.