In the past few years, Netflix has quickly become a hub for challenging original content. Streaming services are able to operate outside the confines of network or cable TV, and can produce more gritty and controversial work. One of the most divisive shows on Netflix is 13 Reasons Why, based off the young adult novel of the same name. The show has been criticized for its depiction of tough subjects like teen suicide, sexual assault, and violence. Season 2's finale was controversial, especially when it came to Clay's actions during a would-be school shooting. Rather than alerting the authorities or getting anyone to safety, Clay confronts bullied student Tyler himself, at great personal risk. This plot twist has been admonished by advocates, and now star Dylan Minnette himself has addressed those concerns, saying:
I think we're supposed to know and believe that what Clay did is the wrong decision to make. They should have locked the doors inside and called the police and let everyone know what was happening. I think we are not supposed to believe that Clay made the right decision, even though it was ultimately successful. We're supposed to believe that that is a decision that Clay would make because he is someone who acts on his emotions, without thinking his actions through, and really tries to take everything on himself.
Well, that's pretty cut and dry. Viewers may not have agreed with Clay's actions in the Season 2 finale, but it appears that's purposeful. Dylan Minnette and the rest of the cast and crew acknowledge that Clay did the wrong thing. But it's ultimately a TV show, and therefore took creative liberties to tell the most thrilling story possible.
Dylan Minette's comments to ET may help ease some of the tension around 13 Reasons Why's most recent finale. In many ways, Season 2 was arguably more kind than the show's first season. Parents are attentive and understanding, and most of the starring cast become likable characters to empathize with. But there are still very dark subjects being explored in the teen melodrama, especially when a system of sexual assault is exposed at Liberty High. These subjects are very emotional for viewers, and that's why the onscreen depictions are often triggering.
The controversy around the Season 2 finale was almost solely focused on the character Tyler, who was bullied mercilessly throughout the show's first two seasons. After seeking mental health treatment, he returns to school to be a better person. But he's beaten and sodomized in the show's most unsettling sequence since Hannah's suicide. It's this assault that brings Tyler to a violent place, and he attempts to murder his classmates at the school dance. That is, until Clay comes in and helps him escape into Tony's car.
Despite the controversy (or perhaps because of it), 13 Reasons Why has already been renewed for a third season on Netflix. You can catch the first two on the streaming service now. In the meantime, check out our summer premiere list to plan your next binge watch. Plus our Amazon premiere list and superhero premiere list to ensure you don't miss a single episode of your favorite show.