Every teen drama needs a sweet romance to truly solidify its status as a record of the teenage experience, and Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why checked off that box with its reveal of Zach and Hannah’s secret summer fling. Receiving a little less screen time was the short-lived romance between Mackenzie and Tyler, but Mackenzie’s understanding of conflicting outsider Tyler appealed to fans, making Tyler’s own Season 2 ending even more heartbreaking. Elite Daily spoke to Chelsea Alden, who plays Tyler’s artistic new love interest, and she revealed details about Tyler that will make you crave a Season 3 ASAP.
First appearing in Cyrus’s merry band of misfits in Season 2, Mackenzie quickly extinguishes any fan assumptions that she shares Cyrus’s edgy, almost intimidating persona. She introduces herself to Tyler, who is clearly smitten at first sight, and when the show reveals that she’s Cyrus’s sister, 13 Reasons Why proceeds to turn that beloved "guy dates his friend’s sister" trope upside down. While Tyler’s controversial photographs of Hannah continue to get him into trouble with other peers, Mackenzie represents a clean slate for Tyler, being one of the seemingly few Liberty High students who is disconnected from the details of Hannah’s death.
Alden, whose past work includes guest stints on NCIS, Veep, and Grey’s Anatomy, interprets Mackenzie’s willingness to befriend Tyler as her trait to "see beyond what other people are willing to see."
"I think we see as a theme throughout the show [that] these characters are concerned for their reputations, for the truth to come out, and for their stories to be told because of the repercussions of what may happen to them," Alden says. "Mackenzie, though not involved in Hannah’s particular storyline, doesn’t really seem to have been affected by that in her day-to-day experience, and I think that’s what’s so refreshing about her."
Alden hasn’t read any of the current fan theories about Tyler’s fate, but one amateur guess revolves around Season 3’s narration stemming from police questioning about Tyler’s location. Reddit users have suggested that Mackenzie could be among the interrogated witnesses, allowing for an exploration of her backstory if the show returns for more episodes. Although her connection to Tyler is likely to dominate much of her potential storyline, Alden has her fingers crossed for more information about Mackenzie’s past.
"I would love to know more about Mackenzie and Cyrus and how they sort of came to be at Liberty High," she shares. "Clearly, [there are] some cool punk influences with Cyrus, and Mackenzie clearly looks up to him and admires him, so I’m curious to see how he came to be this punk."
Netflix remains tight-lipped about the likelihood of 13 Reasons Why receiving a third season, but Mackenzie’s involvement in Tyler’s progress will inevitably introduce more focus on difficult topics haunting today’s teens.
"It may not be appropriate for everyone, but it’s a really powerful show," Alden says of 13 Reasons Why, "and there are a lot of great resources that Netflix is taking responsibility to put out there to help people who do want to talk about it, and I’m proud to be a part of that voice."
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
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