Warning: Spoilers below!
It's been a few weeks since 13 Reasons Why hit Netflix, and fans of the show have been picking apart every detail to see if they can uncover hidden meanings. For example, did you catch that the camera filters are much darker in the present day without Hannah? Or that some people think Alex didn't actually shoot himself? Something that caught my eye the very first time I watched the show (I re-watched it immediately) was the very obvious and deliberate timestamp in episode 13. Zach Dempsey (Ross Butler) is the first student to give his deposition in the lawsuit between Hannah Baker's parents and Liberty High School. The first shot of this scene is made to look like it's from the actual camera the lawyers have on the table to record their conversation and includes the month, year, and time of day it takes place: November 10, 2017 at 8 a.m.
Up until that point, I had just assumed this all took place during the Fall of 2016. Since we know Hannah kills herself shortly before Halloween, and we see Clay listen to the tapes in the few weeks that follow (the Halloween decorations around town and the kids TP-ing Hannah's house back this up), it never occurred to me that there was some time jump into the future (after all, the book takes place back in 2007 when Jay Asher wrote it). So, what could this date mean? I have a few possible theories below.
- They're hinting at season two. The cast has already talked about wanting to do a second season, so could the producers have slid in a clue about when we can expect to be back in Crestmont? While this is definitely a possibility, the show would be in a bit of a time crunch as they would have to get the green light for season two, film everything, and have the premiere ready for November.
- It's a cautionary message. The show has been praised for its honest and unfiltered portrayal of teen suicide, depression, and bullying, and the producers could be sending their audience a bigger message with this date. When you think about the show in the present-day timeline, this means that Hannah is alive right now. She and Clay are wrapping up their sophomore year at Liberty High and this coming Summer is when she decides to cut her hair and start fresh. Jessica's party also hasn't happened yet, which means Bryce hasn't raped Jessica or Hannah. The message could be that if you know someone in your life that's currently struggling, you can change their future if you decide to do something to help then right now. It also could be encouraging people to immediately re-evaluate how they treat others before it's too late.
- It's hinting at season two's plot. While there are solid arguments both for and against a second season, the show could really go in a number of different directions. Since a second season would be missing Hannah's tapes, which were the driving force of the show, this timestamp could mean that season two takes place after the lawsuit's trial. The new "tapes" could be these depositions as each character reveals new things about their pasts or hides things to be uncovered in the court room. It could show the aftermath of the trial and have flashbacks to what went on, much like Clay's flashbacks of Hannah in the first season.