13 Reasons Why season 2 premiere recap: The First Polaroid

13 Reasons Why photo David Moir/Netflixvia Media Center
13 Reasons Why photo David Moir/Netflixvia Media Center /

Season two of 13 Reasons Why kicks off five months after Hannah’s death just as the Bakers’ case against Liberty High School goes to trial and Tyler is the first to testify. Clay finds a mysterious picture that changes everything.

13 Reasons Why is officially back. Even though the second season begins months after the harrowing events of last season, the town is still in full recovery mode. Considering the graphic nature of the series, Netflix made some changes to the viewing experience including using the cast present warning messages before watching the episodes. They also list a website where viewers can visit to find help or educational material is believed to be dealing with similar situations the show focuses on.

Episode one of the second season, titled “The First Polaroid,” finally gives viewers an update into the lives of key characters from the first season. A lot was left up in the air and the end of the season but much has happened in those five months since Hannah’s suicide. Let’s jump right in.

A town in recovery

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Not only did Hannah Baker serve as the focus of season one, she served as the show’s narrator. Season two continues with a narrator but this time with a twist. Each episode’s narrator is the character testifying during that episode. In this case, the narrator and first to testify is Tyler. The season continues the trend of interweaving multiple timelines. As the episode begins, Tyler is at the trial explaining how much worse school became after Hannah’s death.

Clay truly believes he is recovering from Hannah’s death. He goes with Skye to get a semicolon tattoo (a symbol representing suicide awareness) but faints halfway through and only gets a comma. It turns out, that Clay and Skye are actually dating so they obviously grew a stronger relationship since we last saw them. Clay seemingly helped Skye out with her own issues but is upset to learn she has started cutting herself again. He then goes home and learns that the Baker family didn’t settle so the case against the school is going to trial. Interestingly, Clay is not on the witness list. He then starts to see a vision of Hannah outside.

Back to school

One of the biggest cliffhangers of last season involved the fate of Alex after he shot himself. Well, he is alive and seems to be in good spirits. He is finally going back to school after the incident and is preparing himself for the reactions. Jessica is also going back to school and the two have a plan to stick to their stories. Before leaving the next morning, Alex asks his mom to see the suicide note he left. She is hesitant but gives it to him and it says “I could’ve stopped it” but he isn’t sure what it means. When he and Jessica get to school, Zach is there to help Alex since he relies on a cane now. The students at Liberty High are no longer allowed to talk about suicide or the events surrounding Hannah and Alex without consequences.

13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons Why /

Mrs. Baker is still in the grieving process, which is completely understandable considering the situation. She is seen at the shooting range taking out some of her anger before the trial. Before Tyler takes the stand, he finds threatening messages in the dark room. Mrs. Baker wants to use Bryce’s action in the trial but then they would have to use all the tapes and the legal team advises against the decision. Mr. Baker doesn’t even attend the first day of the trial.

Tyler testifies

Tyler takes the stand and tries to stand up for the bullied like himself and Hannah. He tells the courtroom that people told lies about Hannah. The litigator asks him about specific pictures he took of Hannah. Tyler tells a story about a photo shoot she agreed to do and said when she showed up, it looked like she had been crying. Hannah was always nice to him and tried to help her after Justin spread crude photos of her. He decided to give Hannah a copy of the photoshoot images as a gift but she was with Clay that night. This is when he snuck by her window and took photos of her without her knowing. Tyler caught her undressing and sending photos to someone. The litigation team then try to spin Hannah’s intentions. Clay is in attendance but gets upset at this revelation and storms out.

13 Reasons Why photo David Moir/Netflixvia Media Center
13 Reasons Why photo David Moir/Netflixvia Media Center /

Meanwhile, Bryce is living life as if nothing has happened. He is seen injecting steroids into one of his teammates and has no worries regarding the trial. Regarding the encounter with Jessica, while she was out of school, he spun the story and told people that she consented to sleeping with him and left school because she was upset from cheating on Justin. The guidance counselor, Mr. Porter catches up with Bryce and warns him that he knows the truth about the rapes. He even pins Bryce up against the wall by the throat to get his message through. Bryce then returns the favor and threatens Tyler after hearing about what he said at the trial. Mr. Porter is there to step in and invites Tyler to the new class he is forming.

The picture

Clay opens his locker and a polaroid drops out. It is a picture of a guy and a girl while the back says “Hannah wasn’t the only one.” He has no clue who put it in his locker but he sees one of the baseball players, Scott watching him from across the hallway. The baseball team meets in the dugout so the coach and Mr. Porter can give a lecture about consent, most of the players act like it’s a joke. Later during practice, Bryce can’t focus on the mound once he sees Jessica at cheerleading practice. The new cheerleading captain, Chloe, lets Jessica right back onto the squad in a prominent role. After practice, Bryce tries to welcome back Jessica and acts as if nothing ever happened between them. Then she realizes that Bryce and Chloe are dating.

More characters are revealed to be testifying, including Tony and Ryan. They meet at the coffeehouse and Ryan gives Tony a few notes of Hannah even though he probably shouldn’t. Tyler goes to visit Alex and brings him snacks since his mom only lets him eat healthy since the event. When Tyler uses the bathroom he finds that tiles were replaced in the wall. Alex explains that he flinched when he pulled the trigger and the bullet when through his skull and into the wall. He now doesn’t remember anything up to a month before he tried to kill himself. This is why he is so unsure what his suicide note even means.

Hannah’s return

After Hannah did the photo shoot, Mrs. Baker criticized a lot of the pictures details and told Hannah she was being dramatic about her concerns. Now with the photos present at the trial, Mrs. Baker feels extremely guilty. She wonders if she really even knew her own daughter. It remains a mystery regarding the letters that Tony has but he burns them. As for Jessica, she wants to testify but her parents are concerned. When she hears a noise outside, she finds a blowup doll with the word “slut” written on it hanging by a noose from her porch.

13 Reasons Why
13 Reasons Why /

Clay goes to see Tyler to ask him why he lied about Hannah sending pictures of herself undressing. Tyler doesn’t know who Hannah sent the pictures to but claims it really happens. Hannah may have had more secrets than first thought. Even when Clay is with Skye, he keeps envisioning Hannah. Clay’s distractions and strange mood make Skye feel very insecure so she asks him to leave. Once he gets to his room, Clay finds Hannah is back in some form and this time she talks. She wants to know what Clay will do about the photo. Sure looks like there is still a ton of story to be told but this time will be through Polaroids.

Next: Interview: Chelsea Alden talks joining 13 Reasons Why season 2

13 Reasons Why season 2 is streaming now on Netflix!