REVIEW: 13 REASONS WHY – SEASON 3

Dylan Minnette in 13 Reasons Why (2017)

MAIN CAST

Dylan Minnette (Don’t Breathe)
Christian Navarro (Bushwick)
Alisha Boe (Paranormal Activity 4)
Brandon Flynn (BrainDead)
Justin Prentice (Izombie)
Miles Heizer (Rails & Ties)
Ross Butler (Shazam)
Devin Druid (Louder Than Bombs)
Amy Hargreaves (Wonderstruck)
Grace Saif (Doctors)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Timothy Granaderos (Runaways)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Anne Winters (Mom and Dad)
Chelsea Alden (Unfriended: Dark Web)
Tyler Barnhardt (Tales From The Loop)
Benito Martinez (Sons of Anarchy)
Mark Pellegrino (Lost)
Kate Walsh (After The Sunset)
Steven Weber (2 broke Girls)
Michele Selene Ang (Elementary)
Wilson Cruz (Star Trek: Discovery)
Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow)
Parminder Nagra (God Friended Me)
Raymond J. Barry (Alias)
Derek Luke (Glory Road)

freepressjournal_2019-08_7de0229f-0b42-4203-b9cb-20cb73cfefb8_13Netflix’s popular series 13 Reasons Why has returned with its third season. The show has now shifted its focus from Hanna Baker and Jessica Davis’ rape to their abuser, Bryce Walker. The showrunners have tried hard to stay away from the controversies they stirred up with the first and second season. However, they do not deviate from highlighting bullying in schools and its consequences. While Season 1 makes you reflect upon your actions, Season 2 established that there’s another side to every story. Season 3 tries to explain that nothing’s black and white.Screenshot-2019-08-23-at-08.09.26-2The new season picks up right after the events of Liberty High Spring Fling when a gunned Tyler Down came in school premises to hurt his abusers. Since then, things have not changed much. These students are damaged as before but are trying to recover. But before they could recuperate completely, they are struck with the news of Bryce Walker’s death after a big Homecoming game. Everyone has a reason to kill the bad guy of Liberty, but you aren’t really sure who did it. The entire season is built on solving Bryce’s murder. During the course of the investigation, you realize nobody’s clean. They all have something they lied about. The trial and the revelations in season 1 and 2 have impacted these students a lot, especially Bryce Walker.cuka1jql6m5rndkuwaovFor a long time, we have seen that Bryce bullied students and he raped Hanna Baker, Jessica Davis and many other girls. He is convicted for sexually assaulting women but gets only 3 months of probation. In a way, we are habitual of seeing him in a certain way. Season three shakes that up and we finally see the other side of him. The good side of Bryce. The new season also progresses on Jessica front screening her journey from being a victim to a survivor. The girl who couldn’t gather enough courage to speak up until the end of season 2, leads the voices of survivors. Justin Prentice and Alisha Boe as Bryce and Jessica, offer intriguing, emotionally complex and layered performances. Prentice’s breakdown as Bryce will make you grieve for him despite all that he’s done in the past. Boe, on the other hand, stuns with her transformation. Her confidence is both rattling and inspiring.13rw-e1566448279569Season 3 also introduces new character Ani (Grace Saif), who’s kind of a replacement of Hanna Baker (Katherine Langford) to lead the plot. She does her job fairly well, to say the least. Apart from Bryce and Jessica, nobody is seen in a different light that you haven’t seen before. Clay Jenson (Dylan Minnette) is the same caring friend we have been watching since two seasons and Christian Navarro as Tony Padilla is also the same good looking tough guy with mysteries. The showmakers have made the transitions between timelines smoother than ever. Music wise, season three gets a remarkable soundtrack like its previous seasons and some of them will definitely make it to your playlist. If you have followed the show, 13 Reasons Why season 3 is likable. With lesser violence and more voice, it gives us some pondering moments. The new season is definitely better than the second one, however, the makers do not entirely reach the benchmark they had set with the first season.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 6

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Ken Leung (Inhumans)
Emilie de Ravin (Roswell)
Jeff Fahey (Texas Rising)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland)

Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Brad William Henke (Bright)
Kimberly Joseph (Hercules: TLJ)
Fredric Lehne (Amityville 4)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Dominic Monaghan (Flashforward)
Mark Pellegrino (13 Reasons Why)
Daniel Roebuck (Final Destination)
Ian Somerhalder (The Vampire Diaries)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
Greg Grunberg (Alias)
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
David H. Lawrence XVII (Heores)
Hiroyuki Sanada (Westworld)
William Mapother (Anotehr Earth)
Jeff Kober (New Girl)
Katey Sagal (Futurama)
Veronica Hamel (Cannonball)
Dylan Minnette (13 Reasons Why)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Kevin Durand (Swamp Thing)
Anthony Azizi (Eagle Eye)
William Atherton (Ghostbusters)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
Jon Gries(Taken)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
Neil Hopkins (The Net 2.0)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (The Vampire Diaries)
Titus Welliver (The Town)
Andrew Divoff (Wishmaster)
Chad Donella (Smallville)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Sonya Walger (Flashforward)
Fisher Stevens (Hackers)
Harold Perrineau (Constantine)
Cynthia Watros (Titus)
François Chau (The Tick)
Kevin Tighe (My Bloody Valentine)
Allison Janney (Mom)
Mira Furlan (Babylon 5)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Maggie Grace (The Fog)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
John Pyper-Ferguson (Caprica)

Nestor Carbonell and Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Season 6 of Lost is quite possibly the most scrutinized season of television in history. With both longtime fans of the series and curious outsiders wondering if this season would deliver both on answers and a satisfying conclusion, series show runners DamonLindelof and Carlton Cuse had an incredible task on their hands. With an edge-of-your-seat conclusion to Season 5, the small band of survivors we’ve grown to love set out on their final journey against a villainous shape shifter on an island of mystery.

In Season 4, “The Constant” established Lost as a science fiction series when it introduced time travel into the equation. From that point forward, until the conclusion of Season 5, the series maintained and expanded on that concept by sending the survivors hurtling through time until they eventually landed in 1974 (or 1977, for those on Ajira 316). Season 6 drops the time travel story completely and introduces a different sci-fi concept: alternate realities. It appears that the detonation of Jughead in “The Incident” created a parallel universe in which events played out slightly different and Oceanic Flight 815 never crashed.Much like flash-backs and flash-forwards, we experience this parallel universe through a series of “centric” flash-sideways featuring the lives of these characters as if the crash had never happened. This gives Lindelof and Cuse a unique opportunity to reexamine the lives of these characters from a completely different perspective.Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)The flash-sideways giving us incredibly important character moments and an intriguing new story that’s both surprising and engaging. With each “centric” flash-sideways story, parallels are drawn to the character’s plight while they are on the island. This relationship between timelines establishes a key connection between both storylines that give the flash-sideways an importance outside of simply being a different perspective on how things could have ultimately played out.Jeff Fahey, Michael Emerson, Yunjin Kim, and Zuleikha Robinson in Lost (2004)Connections between the two universes are explored more thoroughly as the series progresses and we do ultimately get a resolution to the flash-sideways storyline. How satisfying that resolution is will ultimately be based on a number of factors that stem from your own expectations. In other words, it’s a polarizing conclusion to a very unique story and you’re probably either going to love it or hate it. I loved the way the flash-sideways story ended because it satisfied the need for closure.Josh Holloway and Elizabeth Mitchell in Lost (2004)“Happily Ever After” stands out as the episode that had the most impact on both universes. Living, breathing Desmond David Hume (Henry Ian Cusick) has his consciousness transported into what we now know to be the afterlife and acts as the genesis for everything that happens in the “flash-sideways” realm after his departure. Desmond is also the catalyst for most events that occur leading up to and including the finale.Matthew Fox and Jorge Garcia in Lost (2004)He’s seen as nothing more than a tool by those around him; a means to an end. However, Desmond is infused with his own sense of purpose. With the events he experienced in the other universe infecting his mind, Desmond sets out to free those remaining on the island from their pain and suffering and take them to a better place. It’s funny how both Desmonds are essentially driven by the same goal, with only one succeeding. But Desmond’s error on the island gives Jack and Kate (Evangeline Lilly) the window they need to stop the Man in Black.untitledTerry O’Quinn, who spent most of the past five seasons playing John Locke, slips into his new role as the embodiment of dark temptation with ease. We actually saw him as the Man in Black last season, but even O’Quinn didn’t realize that he was technically playing a different character until close to the finale.Terry O'Quinn in Lost (2004)Here he’s allowed to truly enjoy portraying a villain and it’s obvious he’s having a hell of a lot of fun in the role.Josh Holloway in Lost (2004)The Man in Black tests the survivors like never before. Offering them freedom, survival and even answers to some of the island’s more pressing mysteries. The way that the survivors respond to this temptation ultimately defines who they truly are, even if it takes them some time to make the right decision. Again, just like the flash-sideways, this gives us yet another fascinating new perspective on these characters. We see them at both their weakest and their strongest this season. )Season 6 does a good job of explaining some mysteries while others are left up to the viewer to dissect for years to come. Lost: Season 6 is a strong conclusion to what has been an extraordinary series.Naveen Andrews and Hiroyuki Sanada in Lost (2004)All the elements that made the past five seasons so great are here, with the added bonus of this being the final season and the stakes being raised for all the characters. Whether or not the answers provided are satisfying or cover enough ground will vary drastically for different viewers, but ultimately, Lost: Season 6 delivers closure on a story that has captivated us for so long.

REVIEW: LOST – SEASON 5

Starring

Matthew Fox (Alex Cross)
Jorge Garcia (How I Met Your Mother)
Elizabeth Mitchell (V)
Evangeline Lilly (Ant-Man and The Wasp)
Jeremy Davies (Hannibal)
Terry O’Quinn (The Rocketeer)
Josh Holloway (Colony)
Naveen Andrews (The Brave One)
Michael Emerson (Arrow)
Rebecca Mader (Iron Man 3)
Daniel Dae Kim (Insurgent)
Yunjin Kim (Shiri)
Henry Ian Cusick (Hitman)
Ken Leung (Inhumans)

Naveen Andrews in Lost (2004)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Sam Anderson (Angel)
L. Scott Caldwell (Chilling Adventures of Sabrina)
Alan Dale (Ugly Betty)
William Mapother (The Mentalist)
Sonya Walger (Termiantor: TSCC)
Sean Whalen (Twister)
François Chau (The Tick)
Michelle Rodriguez (The Fast and The Furious)
Jeff Fahey (Texas Rising)
Cheech Marin (Machete)
Fionnula Flanagan (The Others)
Nestor Carbonell (Bates Motel)
Alexandra Krosney (Last Man Standing)
John Terry (Full Metal Jacket)
Raymond J. Barry (The Gifted)
Zuleikha Robinson (Homeland)
Saïd Taghmaoui (Wonder Woman)
Malcolm David Kelley (You Got Served)
Lance Reddick (Bosch)
Reiko Aylesworth (24)
Patrick Fischler (Happy!)
Doug Hutchison (Punisher: War Zone)
Sterling Beaumon (THe Killing)
Brad William Henke (Bright)
Eric Lange (Narcos)
Jon Gries (Taken)
Tania Raymonde (Texas Chainsaw)
William Sanderson (Blade Runner)
Kim Dickens (Hollow Man)
Dean Norris (Breaking Bad)
Marsha Thomason (The Haunted Mansion)
Alice Evans (The Vampire Diaries)
Andrea Gabriel (2 Broke Girls)
Mark Pellegrino (13 Reasons Why)
Titus Welliver (Argo)

Jeremy Davies and Nestor Carbonell in Lost (2004)Last season, Lost successfully made the transition into the realm of science fiction with classic episodes like “The Constant” and of course, making the island literally disappear in “There’s no Place Like Home.” Season 5 dives head first into weighty science fiction concepts with time travel playing a major role in the narrative for the entire year. There are inherent risks with introducing time travel into a story that is already as complex as the one Lost has become over the past few years. For the most part, the writers do a good job of keeping the time travel aspect of the story from becoming too complicated, but there is no dispute that it is the driving force of the season’s narrative.The first half of the season is comprised of two very distinct storylines.Jeremy Davies, Ken Leung, and Rebecca Mader in Lost (2004)One of those being Jack Shephard’s desperate attempt to reunite the Oceanic Six in order to return to the island and the other being the journey of those left behind as they find themselves inexplicably traveling through time. The Oceanic Six storyline is definitely the weaker of the two. The story of the Six, hours before they return to the island was weakened by a slow start with the somewhat Hurley-centric “The Lie.” This is an episode that featured a little too much of Hugo Reyes’ wacky exploits as he transports an unconscious Sayid around Los Angeles. The rest of the Oceanic Six story is essentially a waiting game as we watch the pieces fall into place so that these characters can return to where we really want them to be – on the island. In fact, their return to the island in “316” feels rushed, almost as if the writers realized that the best place for these characters is back on the island.The aptly named “The Life and Death of Jeremy Bentham” is the best episode that takes place almost entirely off the island.Terry O'Quinn and Rebecca Mader in Lost (2004)The story chronicles John Locke’s attempt to convince the Oceanic Six that they need to return to the island in order to save those left behind. It’s a tragic story for John Locke who has spent the last four seasons in the belief that the survivors of Flight 815 are tied by a single destiny but only in death does he finally make people believe. It’s a well-scripted story and wonderfully acted by Terry O’Quinn who does a great job of portraying an interesting transition for Locke on screen.Locke isn’t the only one who goes through a transition this season as Benjamin Linus is forced into a situation that is quite surprising for the character.Daniel Dae Kim and Melissa Farman in Lost (2004)Without delving into too much detail, the dynamic between Locke and Ben changes quite a bit but the great chemistry between O’Quinn and Michael Emerson is still as exceptional as it has always been. Linus fans should not be disappointed by some of the great developments for the character this season. On the island, Sawyer and the rest of the survivors left behind are forced to cope with the fact that they are constantly flashing through time, either to the past or the future. The approach taken here is straightforward and clearly laid out in the first episode of the season; you cannot change events in the past – whatever happened, happened and couldn’t of happened any other way. Faraday acts as the mouth piece for much of the technobabble in the early part of the season with Sawyer playing the part of the ‘everyman’ who constantly questions why things are happening the way they are. This allows the writers an opportunity to ease the audience into this shift of events without making things too complex to follow. There is plenty of exposition,Matthew Fox in Lost (2004)but with Sawyer’s classic charm to offset Faraday’s jargon, it makes it a lot easier to swallow.Time travel is utilized to its fullest here to reveal some of the island’s back-story over the last 50 years. Sawyer and co. pay a visit to the Others of the 1950s and are introduced to past leaders of the mysterious group. We also see some much-needed loose ends tied up as we finally learn more about Rousseau and her research team and we also discover why Richard Alpert visited a young Locke just one season ago. As secrets are revealed and key puzzle pieces are slid into place it’s surprising to see just how well everything fits together. Some of this is certainly due to the asset of knowing how many episodes you have left to tell your story in, but I’m hard pressed to find many plot holes in any of the explanations given. Cuse and Lindelof deserve credit for maintaining a watertight narrative throughout most of the season.

REVIEW: THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK

JURASSIC PARK 2

CAST

Jeff Goldblum (The Fly)
Julianne Moore (Hannibal)
Pete Postlethwaite (Solomon Kane)
Vince Vaughn (Swingers)
Arliss Howard (Full Metal Jacket)
Richard Attenborough (Doctor Dolittle)
Peter Stormare (22 Jump Street)
Richard Schiff (The West Wing)
Joseph Mazzello (The Social Network)
Ariana Richards (Timescape)
Camilla Belle (When A Stranger Calls)
Robin Sachs (Buffy)
Marjean Holden (Vampire)
Michael Milhoan (That 70s Show)
Mark Pellegrino (Lost)

Four years after Jurassic Park was overrun by cloned dinosaurs on the Central American island of Isla Nublar, a young girl named Cathy Bowman wanders around on nearby Isla Sorna during a family vacation, and survives an attack by a swarm of Compsognathus. Her parents file a lawsuit against the genetics company InGen, now headed by John Hammond’s nephew, Peter Ludlow, who plans to use Isla Sorna to relieve the company of financial losses. Mathematician Dr. Ian Malcolm meets Hammond at his mansion. Hammond explains that Isla Sorna, abandoned years earlier during a hurricane, is where InGen created their dinosaurs before moving them to Jurassic Park on Isla Nublar. Hammond hopes to stop InGen by sending a team to Isla Sorna to document the dinosaurs, to help rally public support against human interference on the island. After learning that his girlfriend, paleontologist Dr. Sarah Harding, is part of the team and is already on the island, Ian agrees to go to Isla Sorna, but only to retrieve her.

Ian meets his teammates, Eddie Carr, an equipment specialist and engineer, and Nick Van Owen, a video documentarian. After arriving on the island, they locate Sarah and discover that Ian’s daughter, Kelly, had stowed away in a trailer being used as a mobile base. They then watch as an InGen team of mercenaries, hunters and paleontologists led by Ludlow arrive to capture several dinosaurs. Meanwhile, team leader Roland Tembo hopes to capture a male Tyrannosaurus by luring it to the cries of its injured infant. That night, Ian’s team sneak into the InGen camp and learn the captured dinosaurs will be brought to a newly proposed theme park in San Diego. This prompts Nick and Sarah to free the caged dinosaurs, wreaking havoc upon the camp.

Nick also frees the infant T. rex and takes it to the trailer to mend its broken leg. After securing Kelly with Eddie, Ian realizes the infant’s parents are searching for it and rushes to the trailer. As soon as Ian arrives, the infant’s parents emerge on both sides of the trailer. The infant is released to the adult T. rexes, which then attack the trailer, pushing it over the edge of a nearby cliff. Eddie soon arrives, but as he tries to pull the trailer back over the edge with an SUV, the adult T. rexes return and devour him. The trailer and the SUV both plummet off the cliff. Ian, Sarah, and Nick are rescued by the InGen team, along with Kelly. With both groups’ communications equipment and vehicles destroyed, they team up to reach the old InGen compound’s radio station on foot.

The next night, the two adult T. rexes find the group’s camp. The female T. rex chases the group to a waterfall cave, while Roland tranquilizes the male. Much of the remaining InGen team is killed by Velociraptors while fleeing through a tall grass savannah. Nick runs ahead to the communications center at the InGen Worker’s Village to call for rescue. When Ian, Sarah and Kelly arrive, they are attacked by the raptors. They evade the raptors until a helicopter arrives and transports them off the island.

A freighter transports the male T. rex to the mainland, but crashes into the dock after the crew is killed by a creature of unknown species. A guard opens the cargo hold, accidentally releasing the T. rex, which escapes into San Diego and goes on a rampage. Ian and Sarah retrieve the infant T. rex from a secure InGen building and use it to lure the adult back to the ship. Ludlow tries to intervene but is trapped in the cargo hold by the adult T. rex and mauled by the infant. Before the adult can escape again, Sarah tranquilizes it while Ian closes the hold. The T. rexes are escorted back to Isla Sorna, and Hammond says that the American and Costa Rican governments have agreed to declare the island a nature preserve, affirming that “life will find a way”.

It’s by no way a cheap show, and there are plenty of fun moments. Vince Vaughn and Pete Postlethwaite have fairly interesting characters, even if the rest of the supporting cast is along just to be eaten alive.

REVIEW: DROWNING MONA

  CAST

Danny Devito (Batman Returns)
Bette Midler (Beaches)
Neve Campbell (Scream)
Jamie Lee Curtis (Scream Queens)
Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone)
William Fichtner (The Dark Knight)
Tracey Walter (Conan The Destroyer)
Will Ferrell (The Other Guys)
Mark Pellegrino (Chuck)
Melissa McCarthy (Mike & Molly)
Brian Doyle-Murray (Waynes World)
Paul Ben-Victor (Tombstone)

Neve Campbell in Drowning Mona (2000)This typically barely seen dark, wonderfully tasteless, cynical and quirky comedy was one of the funniest movies of all in 2000. It’s a deliciously warped murder mystery, not without charm either, involving a roster of deliberately nitwit suspects so hilariously feeble-minded that they can’t help looking guilty…something expected when everyone learns just how hateful the much-loathed victim.Jamie Lee Curtis in Drowning Mona (2000)Great comedy players turn in gleefully wild performances when the situation call for it, but are intriguingly on edge in many scenes. So much for her death setting them free. To know Mona, as a nasty, bullying Bette Midler nails her so well, was to hate her, so naturally the question fast becomes not who would want to see her dead, but who wouldn’t?! It’s a shocking pleasure to see two slasher scream queens (Neve Campbell, Jamie Lee Curtis) in one film together.Jamie Lee Curtis appears as RonaThere’s fun casting all the way through-Casey Affleck, William Fichtner, Mark Pellegrino, Kathleen Wilholte-who does a very funny song regarding the dead woman, proving no one had respect for her, and look for an early hialrious role by Will Ferrell, owner of a funeral home-his comment that “people have been more upset losing change in a slot machine, than over this woman” is one of many classic lines from people in this, and a number where ad-libbed, especially by Casey Affleck, a gifted comedian who puts his brother utterly to shade. It is strange that De Vito’s sheriff really can’t understand anyone’s problem with Mona, nevermind anyone who’d want to kill her, but while he tries to uncover the truth, it seems more likely the town just wants to know who to thank.Promo PosterNote worthy is the fact Melissa McCarthy appears in the film.

REVIEW: 13 REASONS WHY – SEASON 2

Dylan Minnette in 13 Reasons Why (2017)

MAIN CAST

Dylan Minnette (Don’t Breathe)
Katherine Langford (The Misguided)
Christian Navarro (Bushwick)
Alisha Boe (Paranormal Activity 4)
Brandon Flynn (BrainDead)
Justin Prentice (Izombie)
Miles Heizer (Rails & Ties)
Ross Butler (Riverdale)
Devin Druid (Louder Than Bombs)
Amy Hargreaves (Wonderstruck)
Derek Luke (Biker Boyz)
Kate Walsh (After The Sunset)
Michele Selene Ang (Elementary)

2

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brian d’Arcy James (Smash)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
Wilson Cruz (Star Trek Discovery)
Sosie Bacon (Scream: The Series)
Tommy Dorfman (Fludity)
Allison Miller (17 Again)
Tom Everett Scott (Race To Witch Mountain)
Ben Lawson (No Strings Attached)
Robert Gant (Supergirl)
Chelsea Alden (Facd 2 Face)
Bryce Cass (Battle Los Angeles)
Brandon Butler (Ring of Silence)
Anne Winters (Mom and Dad)
Jackie Geary (NCIS)
Brenda Strong (Supergirl)
Anthony Raoo (Star Trek: Discovery)
Tommy Dorfman (Insatiable)
Meredith Monroe (Hart of Dixie)
Mark Pellegrino (Lost)
Jake Weber (Homeland)
Brandon Butler (Trinkets)
Ajiona Alexus (Runaways)
Josh Hamilton (Alive)
Sosie Bacon (Scream: The Series)
Andrea Roth (Cloak & Dagger)
Sean Blakemore (Bones)
Brandon Larracuente (Bright)
Steven Silver (Council of Dads)
Keiko Agena (Gilmore Girls
Parminder Nagra (God Friended Me)

“I know some people don’t want us to talk about what happened,” Tyler (Devin Druid) says in voiceover at the start of “13 Reasons Why’s” second season. “But if we don’t talk about it, it’s never going to change. So it’s important for everyone to understand how it all happened. The whole story.”  This is the very first thing viewers of the new season will hear — well, second, if you include the new trigger warning video featuring members of the cast that plays ahead of the premiere. But the warning and monologue are intertwined, because they’re ultimately about the same thing. The warning acknowledges that, while Netflix’s mega-hit series was well-received in its first season, it also drew plenty of controversy over how it treated its sensitive subject material: suicide, sexual assault, drug abuse, and so on.MV5BMThiMjMyMmUtMjcwMC00NjAxLWI0MDMtMmEwN2UzYTExNjIzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzUwMTgwMw@@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,733,1000_AL_But Tyler’s monologue, which we soon learn is delivered from the witness stand, is a defense of season two’s very existence. Yes, the creators (including showrunners Brian Yorkey and Diana son) know of the criticisms. Yes, they know there are questions as to why a season two even needed to happen. But their argument is that the season is necessary — “important,” even. And considering how successful the show has been, the story we see in season two may not even be the end. The trial in question, which has compelled troubled gun aficionado Tyler’s testimony, is a lawsuit against Liberty High School by the parents of late student Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). Hannah’s tapes explaining why she committed suicide provided the narrative arc of season one, with each tape focused on a different person in Hannah’s life. The trial serves the same function this season, with each episode centering on a particular witness’ testimony.13-reasons-why-season2The result is something of an inverse of the first season: instead of Hannah’s voice on the tapes, we hear the other students, teachers, and her parents. They open up parts of the story we didn’t hear in season one, though we’re left to to decide on our own if we trust them as our narrators. Reversing the narrative doesn’t do much to change the core of the series. Clay is the rock of “13 Reasons Why,” the anchor who keeps us chained to Hannah’s story. No matter whether we disagree with Hannah’s actions, get frustrated with the treatment of rapist baseball player Bryce Walker (Justin Prentice), or would perhaps rather follow the complex, challenging story of survivor Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe), Clay keeps us on track. This is about Hannah, the girl he loved but never got up the guts to tell. This is about his journey to make sure her suicide is avenged — whatever that personally means to him. And this is about his relationship to her and her memory, no matter how many forces of doubt come to challenge that.https _blueprint-api-production.s3.amazonaws.com_uploads_card_image_771242_269f95fd-56f8-4925-86ec-20d889c7690dMinnette is a marvel, turning in one of the most committed, insular, intense performances you’ll see anywhere on television. The 21-year-old actor reads as a blank slate when he’s still — maybe a hint of a perpetual grimace on his face, but ultimately inoffensive. As a result, Clay is often seen looking pensive, quiet, and expressionless. When he breaks, however, Minnette shines. Clay screams, cries, and generally loses his cool this season, and Minnette captures it all without missing a beat. Every bit of pain seems to leave an extra wrinkle or crag on Clay’s face. Minnette himself makes Clay feel heavier as the season goes on, like having to do any small thing would cause the young man to explode. Minnette plays Clay as a teen on the verge of a nervous breakdown, and you can’t take your eyes off him. A good deal of the cast is good this season — particularly Kate Walsh as Hannah’s grieving-but-furious mother Olivia — but Minnette stands above the pack. His is a tour-de-force performance that goes a long way to making “13 Reasons Why’s” second season feel worth the drama.

REVIEW: 13 REASONS WHY – SEASON 1

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MAIN CAST

Dylan Minnette (Don’t Breathe)
Katherine Langford (The Misguided)
Christian Navarro (Bushwick)
Alisha Boe (Paranormal Activity 4)
Brandon Flynn (BrainDead)
Justin Prentice (Izombie)
Miles Heizer (Rails & Ties)
Ross Butler (Riverdale)
Devin Druid (Louder Than Bombs)
Amy Hargreaves (Wonderstruck)
Derek Luke (Biker Boyz)
Kate Walsh (After The Sunset)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Brian d’Arcy James (Smash)
Steven Weber (Izombie)
Keiko Agena (Labor Pains)
Josh Hamilton (J. Edgar)
Tom Everett Scott (Scream: The Series)
Giorgia Whigham (The Punisher)
Robert Gant (Supergirl)
Ajiona Alexus (Runaways)
Michele Selene Ang (Elementary)
Tommy Dorfman (Insatiable)
Mark Pellegrino (Lost)
Sosie Bacon (Scream: The Series)
Tom Maden (All Night)
Andrea Roth (Cloak & Dagger)
Steven Silver (Council of Dads)
Brandon Larracuente (Bright)
Henry Zaga (Trinkets)
Wilson Cruz (The Finder)

High school is a crappy, messy experience for the vast majority of people. That fact has never really changed, even with all the talk of Millennials being more sensitive and open-minded than any generation that preceded them. If anything, high school bullying has only become a more serious problem in recent years with the advent of social media and smartphones. Kids have always had a knack for being horrible to one another, but give them the anonymity of the Internet and a screen to shield themselves from the consequences of their actions, and suddenly you have teenagers driven to suicide thanks to revenge porn or targeted online harassment. 13 Reasons Why is perfectly positioned to explore bullying and high school culture in the post-Facebook era. It’s an often depressing and even uncomfortable show to watch, but that only makes it all the more powerful.Based on the best-selling YA novel from Jay Asher and adapted for television by Brian Yorkey, 13 Reasons Why opens several weeks after the tragic suicide of high school junior Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford). Despite her death, Hannah remains a very active participant in the show’s narrative thanks to copious flashbacks and a narrative device involving a series of cassette tapes she recorded shortly before her suicide. Those tapes fall into the hands of Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), a socially awkward classmate still struggling to come to terms with Hannah’s death. Each of the series’ 13 episodes revolve around one of these tapes, with Hannah explaining in minute detail how her peers (including Clay himself) drove her to take her own life.It’s a pretty grim premise for a high school drama, even by the standards of death-obsessed YA stories like The Fault in Our Stars and Me and Earl and the Dying Girl. And apart from the occasional friendly banter between Clay and Hannah or the recurring joke about Clay and his fellow students being utterly mystified by the concept of cassette tapes, there’s little room for humor here. That can make 13 Reasons Why a pretty emotionally draining experience, particularly towards the end as the pieces really start to fall into place. The final episode in particular features one of the most uncomfortable scenes on TV.Not really a show that encourages binge-watching, in other words. But 13 Reasons Why definitely succeeds in its goal of exploring how countless small and large acts of malice, as well as simple indifference or inattention, can fuel a terrible tragedy. Hannah herself references Chaos Theory in one episode, and it applies to this situation as well as it does an amusement park full of hungry dinosaurs. Hannah encounters just about every form of humiliation high school life can possibly throw at someone – from social isolation and petty gossip to sexual harassment and worse. The outcome is a foregone conclusion, so it’s really more a story about how and why so many of those close to Hannah failed to save her in time.Though a newcomer, Langford shines in the lead role. There’s a bright spark to Hannah that slowly fades over the course of the series as she becomes progressively more worn down by life’s disappointments. Langford embodies that optimism and that profound sadness well. Minnette’s Clay is, by design, a much more stoic and reserved character. In the present, Clay is practically a walking zombie stricken equal helpings of grief, confusion and fear about what he’ll learn when he eventually reaches his tape. Even in the past, Clay is someone who struggles to express his emotions and open up to those around him. Minnette does a fine job in what’s often a difficult role, though the show does rely a little too much on shots of Clay gazing wistfully into the distance as he reminisces about his interactions Hannah.Langford and Minnette are often at their best together, channeling just the right sort of warm but awkward chemistry you’d expect from two teens who can’t quite admit to their feelings for one another. Each new bit of progress in their relationship feels like a major victory, one rendered all the more poignant by the knowledge that their friendship/nascent romance is inherently doomed. There’s a nice sense of mystery and unease to their relationship as well. For a long time, it’s very unclear just how close the two characters were prior to Hannah’s death or what exactly Clay might have done to earn himself a spot among the dreaded thirteen .In general, 13 Reasons Why boasts a strong cast that tends to make the most of the material. Initially, Clay and Hannah’s classmates seem to fit into the usual high school stereotypes – your jocks, your cheerleaders, your preppy overachievers, your slackers, etc. But as each member of the thirteen is fleshed out in turn, they show a real depth and angst that reminds viewers that Hannah was hardly the only one who suffered from loneliness and a deep malaise. Standouts include Alisha Boe as psychologically troubled cheerleader Jessica Davis and Brandon Flynn as her equally tortured boyfriend, Justin Foley. The show places a greater emphasis on adult characters than the novel, with memorable, emotionally charged performances from Kate Walsh as Hannah’s grieving mother and Derek Luke as the school’s embattled counselor.13 Reasons Why is far from the most pleasant viewing experience Netflix has to offer, but it is a very powerful and hard-hitting series. The show explores the build-up to and aftermath of a teen’s tragic suicide with great care, painting a compelling portrait of one teen broken by life and another determined to find answers. The show easily ranks among the best high school dramas of the 21st Century.