Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why may not had made Tyler the total villain fans anticipated he would become after his ominous Season 1 ending, but the new season's ending put the social misfit in another questionable position. The fate of other Liberty High students now lies in Tyler's hands, and although the show suggests that no one is immediately harmed because of Tyler's actions in the finale, some fans have assumed otherwise. This 13 Reasons Why Season 2 finale theory hints that we could see an ever darker path for Tyler if the show returns for Season 3. This post contains spoilers for 13 Reasons Why Season 2.
Season 2's finale episode picks up a month after the conclusion of the Bakers' trial, and after an emotional service commemorating Hannah, the kids kick back for a fun night at the school dance. However, following Monty's assault of Tyler, the latter is fed up with trying to be calm about the consequences of high school's social hierarchy. Tyler arrives at school with his weapons in tow, telling Mackenzie about his plan to start a shooting there so she'll leave in time.
Instead, Mackenzie tells Clay about Tyler's dangerous plan, and Clay soon meets Tyler outside after telling the others to lock the school doors and stay inside. Miraculously, Clay manages to talk Tyler out of his goal, taking his gun from him just as Tony drives up to rescue Tyler from the scene. The season ends with Tyler's gun in Clay's hand as sirens wail in the distance. So, while Clay saved everyone at the school, he risks the chance of looking like a culprit if he doesn't drop Tyler's gun before police arrive.
The ambiguous scene allows for the still unconfirmed Season 3 to go in countless directions, but it hasn't convinced certain fans that Tyler is completely off the hook from what he was planning. Reddit user thissubredditlooksco suggests that, in true fake-out fashion, the final scene depicting Clay's "victory" could all be in his imagination, writing:
Season 3 begins with black & the sound of screaming. They don't even have to show the violence. Just show the aftermath (cop cars and crying parents). Turns out, the ending of season 2 was just Clay's imagination...what he hoped would happen. It really did seem like the daydream we all have of talking down a school shooter or being spared by one. So maybe it didn't really happen that way at all.
The theory basically suggests that Clay fails to persuade Tyler not to begin shooting and that Tyler gets away with his original plan. Going along with the fan's idea, a voiceover at the start of Season 3 could confirm that the ending of Season 2 is what Clay wished had happened. This would also allow for the third season to have a brief time jump rather than pick up immediately after Season 2 and show gun violence onscreen.
13 Reasons Why viewers had long speculated that Season 2 would cover a school shooting after Tyler was seen purchasing so many guns at the end of the first season. However, since Season 1's debut, the national conversation around gun control and violence has intensified, particularly following the deadly shootings at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and Texas's Santa Fe High School. The latter incident even occurred on the same day as Season 2's Netflix launch, prompting the cancellation of the show's Los Angeles premiere.
We don't know if 13 Reasons Why creators altered a gun storyline in response to the past year's mass shootings, but Clay preventing one from happening onscreen is a understandable decision. Would the show actually go through with this daydream idea in today's times? Viewers have mixed thoughts, with some Reddit users guessing that the show's legal team advised against portraying a shooting and others believing that the fan theory is the only way the show can continue without relying on old or unrealistic storylines.
What the show can tackle next is an endless debate, but here's hoping that we receive news about a possible third season soon.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.