'13 Reasons Why' Got The Final Gun Scene Very Wrong And Here's Why

22 May 2018, 16:47

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Episode 13 Gun Scene - Clay
13 Reasons Why Season 2 Episode 13 Gun Scene - Clay. Picture: Netflix
Woodrow Whyte

By Woodrow Whyte

"No kid or friend should ever try this. Ever."

When the first season of 13 Reasons Why ended, one of the biggest unanswered questions was whether Tyler Down, the nerdy school photographer who stalked Hannah, was planning a mass school shooting.

After experiencing bullying from his fellow students at Liberty High, we watch Tyler reach what appears to be his breaking point. As it turns out, he doesn't reach breaking point until the final episode, "Bye", on season two.

The new season closely follows Tyler's life during the court case into Hannah's death. He finds a new group of friends, a motley crew of outcasts lead by Cyrus and together they plot their revenge against the jocks of Liberty High with pranks, a light spot of blackmail and vandalising the school's baseball field by burning the word 'rapist' into the grass (Bryce is the captain of the baseball team).

While some of the things Tyler and Cyrus do together isn't entirely ethical, you get a sense that their new found friendship is saving Tyler, pulling him back from the brink of committing a horrendous crime against his bullies and other school students. You feel a redemption storyline coming which, regretfully, never materialises.

13 Reasons Why Season 2 Episode 13 Gun Scene - Tyler
13 Reasons Why Season 2 Episode 13 Gun Scene - Tyler. Picture: Netflix

It falls apart in the final episodes. Cyrus ends his friendship with Tyler because of the way he treated his sister, Mackenzie, after a bad date. Tyler is then violently beaten up and raped with the end of a mop in the men's bathroom by Monty, who is angry about Tyler's involvement in Bryce's sentencing. The scene is incredibly difficult to watch.

After this, Tyler reaches his rock bottom. Without friends and feeling like he cannot confide in his family, he decides to go to the ball to murder the students there. When Clay finds out about his intentions, he runs outside the hall where the ball is being held to confront Tyler and persuade him not to do it. Eventually, Tyler gives his rifle over to Clay and leaves in a car with Tony.

The ending has received mixed-to-negative reaction. Some feel like it was interesting to show what might drive someone to a school shooting while others felt it set a dangerous example of confronting an active shooter (something you should never do - more on that in a moment).

What's particularly bizarre about this choice of ending is that makers of the show are well aware that people should never approach an active gun man.

In Beyond The Reasons, the show-runner Brian Yorkey sits down with Miles Heizer (Alex), Dylan Minnette (Clay), Christian Navarro (Tony) and Rebecca Hedrick, M.D., who is the Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Ceder Sinai Hospital in California. The very first topic they discuss is the scene between Tyler and Clay, and Hedrick warns that Clay's actions should not be repeated under any circumstances.

"The safest choice would’ve been to go behind the doors and lock himself in with the rest of the kids and help everyone get to safety, to hide in closets or behind objects and make sure someone has called 911", she says. "We would never advise anyone who’s exposed to an active shooter to confront them, even if it’s a loved one. We would advise to get away."

So why did Yorkey decide to proceed with this storyline then? A little later on he explains that, “Unfortunately there are many many cases of school shootings over the past 25 years in the United States and there’s a tremendous amount of damage in the life stories of people who commit atrocities like those."

"There’s a tremendous amount of hurt and that doesn’t excuse what they do for a millisecond but long before a gun gets into anyone's hands we need to be taking care of each other and looking out for people who are hurting, and trying to find ways for them to cope with that hurt and express that hurt in ways that aren’t damaging and that don’t compound and repeat the hurt."

In a seperate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Yorkey said they did "as much research as we could" to understand the psychology behind people who commit such horrendous crimes. "The thing that's interesting for us is the journey and trying to understand what goes into the experience of a young man who goes that route."

"We did as much research as we could," he haid. "Unfortunately, there's a great deal of literature about a great number of troubled young men who resorted to or almost resorted to violence to act through their feelings. So we were able to study a great deal of the history there, and we tried to be authentic and honest and also accurate in our portrayal of the character."

If you're affected by any of the issues discussed in 13 Reasons Why, head to 13reasonswhy.info.

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