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'13 Reasons Why' Season 3, Episode 2 Review, 'If You're Breathing, Then You're a Liar'

“13 Reasons Why” is one of the most talked-about shows within the mental health community. This season, we’re breaking down each episode to see how the show’s coverage of mental health issues has evolved.

Editor's Note

This post is a review of season three, episode two of “13 Reasons Why” and contains spoilers. 

Need a refresher? Check out what happens in season 1 and season two

Chloe’s relationship with Zach gets intense as she considers options related to her pregnancy. Bryce doesn’t seem to bond well with the other jocks at his new school. At the end of the episode, we find out where Bryce has been all along.

What Happens in Episode Two

Chloe hasn’t been at Liberty High since the Spring Fling when all chaos broke loose. She insists that she did not inform Bryce of her pregnancy, but, did confide in Zach – who seems to have a crush on her. Zach offers to help Chloe raise the baby on her own (OK, I love him even more now), but Chloe decides she wants an abortion. Zach fronts her the money, and Chloe is scammed at a fake abortion clinic that pretends to perform the procedures and takes her money.

Zach and Chloe find a real abortion clinic, but Chloe is traumatized by a protest outside. A man offers her help into the clinic as an advocate, but then hands Chloe a fetus doll covered in fake blood to scare her into leaving. Yes, I was as angry as you are.

This episode brings up the unfortunate reality of being a woman today and facing the trauma that is associated with ending a pregnancy. Chloe second-guesses herself when she is surrounded by those who are literally screaming in her face, as she is making one of the most difficult decisions of her life. This episode highlighted that while we may not all agree, we all experience pain. It is a strong reminder to be kind to those around us, even if they don’t talk, look, or act like us.

Ani roots for the “sensitive” Bryce as she reminds us of a time where she consoled Bryce after his and Chloe’s break-up. The flashback shows that Bryce was not a charismatic, charming football player at Hillcrest, and was instead isolated. His new teammates remind him that they are not interested in associating themselves with a known rapist and push Bryce down the stairs. Sigh, can someone tell these boys two wrongs don’t make a right?!

We can’t tell if Ani is being manipulated by Bryce or if he is showing a new side. When she finds him emotional about Chloe, he asks her to stay and she agrees. Switching to the present, she finds a notepad in his room with the imprint spelling out a letter to Jessica.

While Clay is concerned about Tyler and his potential harm to himself, the clip ends to show officers pulling out a body from the river. But to our surprise, it’s not Tyler. They’ve found Bryce… *dun dun dun.*

Throughout the first and second season, we see a bit of Bryce’s mom that gives insight to her past. While she is not involved much in her son’s life, she explains to Chloe that to escape her own abuse from her father, she married someone who treated her the same way.

She says she believes Bryce is worse than both of those men. This episode reminds us that abuse in any form can have lingering effects on our lives, including our relationships. It is natural for us to judge others and the way they live, often thinking things like, “Why is someone in a relationship that is unhealthy?” but trauma is multi-dimensional. Effects of trauma are unpredictable, and nobody interprets trauma the same. This scene provides viewers with the perspective that although it is easy to judge from the outside, domestic violence is not as easy to escape as we tend to think.

While Clay becomes reasonably concerned with Tyler’s mental health, Ani makes a point that some people react to acts of violence by perpetrating violence against themselves. We see Tyler struggle with the past trauma of his assault and is showing signs that he may be experiencing suicidal thoughts. This scene shows how survivors experience self-harming and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. While professionals tend to be more in tune with this, many of those who have not experienced self-harm or suicidal thoughts do not understand the deep-seated pain that someone who experiences these thoughts has. It is an uncomfortable conversation that needs to be had when discussing suicide.

Rating:  four out of five stars

Discussion Questions

  • Do you think Bryce’s mom is right when she says “Bryce is worse than both of those men”? Should she continue to support her son even after all he’s done?
  • What are some subtle signs of suicidal thoughts that often get overlooked?

13 Reasons Why Season 3 – Episode 2 Recap

Previous Review: Episode One