Thirteen Reasons Why – Tyler
Tyler, if you can’t remember, is the guy from season one who would take naughty photos of Hannah without her knowledge. He seemed to do it to quite a few people actually and, being quite a shy loner anyway, he got bullied a lot for it.
In the second season after he testifies in court against the school and more of what he did comes to light he gets bullied even more but ends up becoming friends with a boy called Cyrus. Cyrus is a bit of a goth character with a close group of friends and likes to take revenge on people who have done him wrong. Tyler is not shy from guns and takes Cyrus shooting because he finds it fun. Even taking Clay once too. This all is obviously to mirror the Columbine Massacre back in 1999 where two boys who were outcasts went into their school and killed their classmates and a teacher. The date Tyler goes to attack his own school in the show also falls on the anniversary date of the Columbine Massacre.
But more on that later. In other parts of the show Tyler does go to get help for his anger issues and his dad even takes him to a shooting range to teach him properly about guns. This doesn’t seem to help Tyler however. And things go from bad to worse until he decides to make the decision that would change his and the people around hims lives forever.
But the worst scene out of it all was the bathroom scene where Tyler is confronted by some of the jocks and they slam his head into a bathroom mirror, ‘drown’ him in one of the toilets and then, and this is the worst thing I’ve ever witnessed, anally assault him with a broom and it’s so horrific we as an audience can see blood and other things on the end of the broom as it is thrown across the bathroom. It’s an absolutely horrific moment in the show and one that still haunts me to this day.
But what’s the point? Why include all of these bits and make them so graphic and horrible? Well to start with the graphic nature of what happens to Tyler is to show what people go through. The whole point is that all this really does happen in the world we live in and we shouldn’t shy away from the problems but to speak out against them and help whomever may need it. I believe it did not need to be that graphic. I spoke in my season 2 review about how just the idea that this is happening to someone can be just as horrific as actually seeing the act being played out. But that’s another matter.
But all these little moments accumulate into Tyler becoming almost a school shooter. If it wasn’t for Clay stopping him at the school gates and getting him out of there dozens of teenagers and teachers could be dead now. But does this justify what Tyler does? Why Tyler does it? Are we meant to feel sympathy for a wannabe murderer?
Now I feel this could be up for interpretation. In one way yes they want us to feel bad for him but does he deserve that? No one deserves to be bullied no, but again, not many people would then shoot up a school because of said bullying. In another way they want us to see how what we do and say can effect people and the extremes of that. It’s in the news practically every other week that there’s been another school shooting and often these are because of the shooter being bullied or harmed by their peers.
I don’t believe we should side with Tyler’s decision to kill his classmates because that is horrific thing to do but at the same time I get it. He’s angry and he wants his revenge. His life has been surrounded by guns and anger for months at this point and the anger therapy he went to clearly didn’t help but rather suppressed his rage until it became too much. I don’t feel like we can learn too much from this situation. Yes we should be there for people and we should help them and his dad should’ve hid his guns better but at the same time when people are suffering sometimes it is hard to see that. They may seem fine on the outside much like Tyler did when he was having fun and laughing and joking with Cyrus. It was all going downhill yet many of us wouldn’t see that in our day to day lives.
I believe what would’ve been better for this series as a whole is if we got to see one person’s story but over the course of one day an episode. Almost like Groundhog Day where they go through terrible things and at the end of each day they make a decision, a choice as to whether or not they want to kill their classmates or take their own life or whatever. And then each day we see something changes, someone stands up for them, or someone sits with them at lunch, or another person joins in on the bullying that breaks the last shred of hope they had left. Then we’d be able to see in its simplest form how our actions can change a person’s life even if they’re the smallest thing we do that day. Then I believe, especially as it is targeted to a teenage audience, the moral would be easier to understand and we as viewers would be able to take even more away from a show that is clearly trying to teach us that what we do in our lives to other people can change everything. Everything affects everything and that’s one thing we need to remember.
Was the stuff that happened to Tyler really needed? Well yes, we needed to see the stages that led him to his decision, did we actually have to see what happened happen on screen though? No, definitely not, and those moments of horror with what was happening to Tyler still haunt me and I definitely don’t think that was needed at all.
What do you think of Tyler’s story?
Until next time.