Caution! Spoilers about 13 Reasons Why Season 2 ahead!
The first season of Netflix's adaptation of Jay Asher's 13 Reasons Why immediately sparked a massive cultural conversation about the show's portrayal, and potential glorification, of teen suicide. Although some of the show's stars pushed back against the backlash, and a second season was ordered despite the lack of a book sequel to base it on or the involvement of the embattled author, it appears that little has improved in the way of treating the subject of self-harm with the delicacy of care it deserves.
Many of the early audience reactions to Season 2 have been pretty laser-focused on the mixed messaging on the subject of suicide, insisting that while the show claims to be raising awareness for the issue, it does little to further the conversation except to depict depression and arguably exploit it without offering any healing principles.
Of course, there are others who think that the dark depiction of the circumstances leading up to such decisions is in and of itself an important element to the story.
But this time, it's another scene that's really gotten people upset, as it depicts a very graphic and violent sexual assault incident involving a central character. In a devastating moment from the season finale, Tyler Down (Devin Druid) is confronted by Montgomery de la Cruz (Timothy Granaderos) and other bullies in the school's bathroom, who proceed to slam his head into a porcelain sink before submerging him in toilet water and brutally sodomizing him with a mop stick.
The incident culminates in the character deciding to go forward with his plan to attack his classmates with a gun (a scene which, in light of the Sante Fe High School shooting, earned the cancellation of the show's premiere last week), and the episode was prefaced with a content warning label that promised a scene of graphic sexual assault.
For some audiences, however, that warning label did not prepare them for what they were about to witness.
There are some who believe the horrific nature of the scene is simply a harsh reflection of reality, and the warning label was adequate forewarning, the early consensus seems to be a collective rebuke of the situational shock value of the scene.
13 Reasons Why Season 2 is streaming now on Netflix.