9:21am PT by Hilary Lewis
'13 Reasons Why' Season 2 Trailer Takes Aim at High School "Rapist"
After releasing a cryptic teaser filled with Polaroids and an investigative bulletin board, Netflix has revealed the official trailer for season two of its controversial high-school drama 13 Reasons Why.
In the extended look at the upcoming episodes, dropping May 18, Bryce's (Justin Prentice) past as Hannah (Katherine Langford) and Jessica's (Alisha Boe) alleged rapist comes to the forefront.
The preview opens with Clay (Dylan Minnette) and Bryce sharing a look as they walk past each other in the hallway. Clay opens his locker only for a Polaroid to fall out, with a message on the back: "Hannah wasn't the only one."
The rest of the teaser features Clay, Jessica and other students trying to piece together clues from a collection of ominous Polaroids, including one with the message, "He won't stop."
Meanwhile, Bryce is shown telling his friends "we're all in this together now," closing his locker to reveal that "Rapist" has been spray-painted across the front, and getting attacked by the school guidance counselor.
The preview ends with scenes of people brandishing guns, with Clay telling Justin (Brandon Flynn), " I can't count on anyone else anymore. I have to do this myself. … No one's going to get justice for her."
Showrunner Brian Yorkey previously said that the second season would explore serial sexual assault, including Jessica coming to terms with having been raped as well as Hannah's friends and family dealing with the continuing fallout from her suicide as the trial between Hannah's parents and the school district proceeds.
The sexual assault storyline, especially timely in the #MeToo era, was actually plotted well before the wave of sexual misconduct claims against high-profile figures broke last fall. Yorkey said the second season would examine what it's like to "go from being a victim of sexual assault to being a survivor of sex assault."
"We look at the ways that sexual assault has been perpetrated over a number of years and has been in fact documented, and also the ways in which the institutions — the athletic department, the high school itself — are in some ways complicit in letting that happen," Yorkey said. "When we first developed it, we had these discussions about whether it was realistic to think that serial sexual abuse could be kept secret by so many people for so long. Over the course of the summer, we watched events unfold in our culture that confirmed to us that yes, unfortunately, it is possible for severe sexual abuse at a very high, consistent level to be kept secret by many, many people, and for institutions to be complicit in it. So that’s very much a part of our story in season two, and we’re hoping that enters the conversation around the show, particularly because it is something that girls even at a very young age are dealing with in our culture, and it’s something that needs to change."
As for the guidance counselor, Mr. Porter (Derek Luke), Yorkey said, he "will be coming to terms with the way that he let Hannah down and will be determined not to let any kids down in the future. His story is one of the most compelling to me. We’ll see a man who is determined to reach every kid who needs to be reached and help every kid who needs to be helped, whatever it takes. I think he will probably go out of bounds a bit in the other direction, trying to be helpful in the best way that he knows."
The 13-episode second season starts streaming on Netflix on May 18.