Given how dramatic Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why quickly became, the only solution of how to cap off that craziness was to toss an insane cliffhanger at the audience. Clay managed to talk Tyler down from starting a school shooting, but the finale episode ended bleakly, as Tony rushed Tyler away in his car and, with sirens wailing in the distance, Clay still had Tyler's weapon in his hand. The ending drew mixed reactions from viewers, but Dylan Minnette has now explained the shooting scene in 13 Reasons Why from his perspective, and he has an interesting take on it.
Because Tyler was seemingly whisked away to safety in the Season 2 finale, some fans didn't exactly appreciate how, as a potential school shooter, he got off a little easy. Others were furious with Clay for putting himself in danger when he approached Tyler unarmed. 13 Reasons Why characters become so lifelike to us that it can be tricky to separate a character's intention from the the actor's beliefs, but Minnette has spoken out about how he doesn't quite agree with Clay's actions, telling Entertainment Tonight:
I think we’re supposed to know and believe that what Clay did is the wrong decision to make. They should have locked the doors inside and called the police and let everyone know what was happening. I think we are not supposed to believe that Clay made the right decision, even though it was ultimately successful. We’re supposed to believe that that is a decision that Clay would make because he is someone who acts on his emotions, without thinking his actions through, and really tries to take everything on himself.
Minnette has totally nailed down Clay's characterization in his answer, proving that, deep down, he definitely agrees with fans about Clay's slight stupidity in the heat of the moment. Haunted by visions of Hannah throughout the season, Clay definitely wasn't OK in the aftermath of her death, and remaining engrossed in its tragedy because of the Bakers' court case didn't help him in the long run. To be fair, no one was totally fine throughout the season, but Clay seemed particularly perturbed.
According to Minnette, Clay still felt guilty for the loss of Hannah by the end of the season, and that inspired his interference in Tyler's plan. He told ET:
He was trying to make up for mistakes that he had made in his past by not being there for someone who really needs it, and that’s what he's saying when you hear the narration of his speech from Hannah's memorial service that day. Clay just feels a responsibility to go and save anyone he can, and in doing that, it could have been an extreme disaster. I don’t really think Clay knew what he was getting into — I don’t think he fully realized in that moment that he'd be facing Tyler with an assault rifle.
The season's ambiguous ending has inspired plenty of fan theories about Season 3, which debuts on Netflix in 2019. Reddit user thissubredditlooksco suggested that Clay's success in dissuading Tyler could turn out to be a fantasy, allowing for a dark, violent start to the third season. Reddit user PumpkinSpice210 also wondered if the Season 3 narration theme could focus on police interrogating people in a quest to find Tyler.
No matter how Tyler's role is explored in upcoming episodes, I don't think there's much possibility for a positive storyline in this case.
Minnette's viewpoint is even more similar to fans when it comes to the topic of Tyler being assaulted. He admitted to ET that he was also reluctant about whether the graphic bathroom scene was necessary, saying:
I remember just not being prepared [for] the complete lengths that that scene goes to. It’s really, really brutal, and I remember being shocked and angry and confused and conflicted on whether I thought it needed to be there. But then the more I talked to [showrunner] Brian [Yorkey] and everyone, I understood why it was there and I think it was shot really tastefully.
Fans, take comfort in the fact that at least one actor on the 13 Reasons Why set understands our problems with the ways the show portrays certain things. I'm definitely into the idea of Minnette sharing more of his opinions on the show's hot-button issues in the future.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.