In the new season of 13 Reasons Why, Zach redeemed himself from any of his unsavory Season 1 moments by becoming Alex's right-hand man when the latter returned to school after recovering from his suicide attempt. Some fans viewed Zach as a watchful mother hen, but after seeing Season 2, many other viewers are interpreting Zach's concern and a certain reaction of Alex's as something more. 13 Reasons Why fans are shipping Alex and Zach after watching their Season 2 storyline, and I'm honestly into it. This post contains spoilers for 13 Reasons Why Season 2.
At the beginning of Season 2, Zach insists to his jock buddies that he's helping Alex out by his mom's request, but it's clear that he's accompanying him out of guilt for Hannah's death and the way it affected Alex. He carries Alex's books for him, drives him to school, and even guides him in physical therapy sessions, which Zach previously turned to in the wake of his dad's death. Alex even confides in Zach when his body doesn't react to him kissing ex-girlfriend Jessica, expressing fears that his brain injury has caused even further damage.
Eventually, Alex does experience that kind of reaction, but as a result of his swimsuit-clad fight with Zach in the pool locker room. Even though Zach's understandably awkward in the moment, he handles it quite well, saying that Alex's body's response is simply because of their fight's physicality. However, any hints of romantic meaning behind the moment were only amplified when Zach later teaches Alex how to dance ahead of the Spring Fling.
Needless to say, anyone who isn't crying over Zach's old relationship with Hannah or hoping that Alex and Jessica get back together now has a new 13 Reasons Why couple to ship. The terms of Alex and Zach's bromance are still pretty ambiguous, but Season 2 definitely hints that an upcoming season could explore what the boys mean to each other.
If the 13 Reasons Why writers are on board with the idea, there are plenty of fans already willing to go down with this ship. We just have to turn to Twitter to see how quickly viewers went along with Zach and Alex hypothetically being together. Forget the Alex-Jessica-Justin love triangle and Clay's pining after Hannah — for some fans, a Zach-Alex relationship is the only thing persuading them to watch a potential third season.
I have to admit that Zach and Alex are quite precious together, but they do have a complicated past and even more complex connections to Hannah. Love is never easy, so now that Alex's dramatic romance with Jess seems to have exhausted itself, maybe Zach and Alex pursuing each other will be the inevitable will they-won't storyline of Season 3.
The actors portraying the boys, Ross Butler and Miles Heizer, haven't seemed to address the relationship rumors in interviews yet, but Butler, who plays Zach, has discussed the friends' shifting dynamic in Season 2. Speaking to ELLE, he said:
Our characters did have a friendship in the first season, but there wasn’t much elaboration on how close we were or how we interacted, so it was really interesting to work so much with Miles this year. Zach wants to help Alex [through his recovery] because it’s the right thing to do, and I think more broadly Zach is starting to feel like he needs to do what he thinks is right, and not necessarily what he thinks is going to make him popular.
Throughout the second season, Zach becomes more disconnected from his usual crowd of Bryce and the other athletes, even getting into a fight with Bryce about his secret relationship with Hannah. It's safe to say that Zach isn't down to go along with the athletes' widespread abuse anymore. This fresh new start could certainly encourage Zach to pursue a relationship with Alex if it's what he wants. Can we expect him to start envisioning Hannah next season if he goes ahead with the new relationship? She'd definitely have some things to say if he and Alex become a couple.
Before we start plotting out the boys' potential relationship, we'll have to wait for official confirmation of Season 3 of 13 Reasons Why.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.