The creator of 13 Reasons Why has defended the Netflix show’s school shooting storyline and brutal series two finale.
In the second series, ostracised high school student Tyler channels his rage through target shooting as he becomes more and more isolated from his peers.
After being viscously sexually assaulted by a classmate in the final episode, he arms himself with multiple guns and make his way to the school dance.
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The show’s LA premiere event was cancelled last Friday after the mass shooting at a school in Santa Fe, Texas, that left 10 dead.
Brian Yorkey explained the justification behind the school shooting storyline two weeks before the show’s premiere and the attack in Texas, saying: “We had a character who was obviously severely bullied, suffering from social isolation and was thinking of making a very tragic choice in addressing those feelings for himself.
“With season two,” he told The Hollywood Reporter, “we’re very interested in continuing to follow his journey and to try to understand his state of mind and the state of his soul.
“I think you’ll see in the balance of the episodes that it’s very much about trying to understand Tyler’s character and how a troubled young man might be driven to consider this very difficult choice.”
On the challenge of depicting gun violence without glorifying it, Yorkey said: “I think each viewer will have their own opinion about whether we found that balance, so I will leave that evaluation up to each individual viewer. For our part, we did as much research as we could.
“Unfortunately, there’s a great deal of literature about a great number of troubled young men who resorted to or almost resorted to violence to act through their feelings. So we were able to study a great deal of the history there, and we tried to be authentic and honest and also accurate in our portrayal of the character.
“As with all things with the show, our hope was that we could honestly represent the experience; that our viewers might, through the experience, learn more and start more conversations about those issues in their own world.”
Meanwhile, many viewers have deplored a brutal assault scene in the final episode as unnecessarily graphic and upsetting.
Yorkey said he was expecting there to be a big response to the events of series two. “There are many issues presented in the show that are very much topics of conversation in our culture right now. We’re anticipating that there will be a lot of conversation about the show, and I think we’re hoping there will be,” he said.
“We’re hoping there will be strong and divergent opinions and that people will talk about these issues in the context of the show, and more importantly in the context of the real world.”