Now that 13 Reasons Why Season 2 has been released and Season 3 has been officially announced, it's time to unpack one of the most complicated characters on the show: Justin Foley. It's true, he's had a troubled life, and at 17 years old, he's been on a longer emotional rollercoaster than most adults. Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about him before Season 3!
WARNING: There are spoilers for Season 1 and 2 of 13 Reasons Why in this post. If you don't want to know what happens before you watch, then we suggest you stop reading at this point!
What happened to Justin on 13 Reasons Why?
Justin is arrested outside of the courthouse for accessory to sexual assault after a jury decided that Liberty High School, the faculty, and the staff were not responsible for Hannah Baker's death. But, Justin's arrest was not connected to Hannah's trial. It actually stemmed back to a scene in Season 1 where Bryce Walker, Jessica Davis, Justin, and several other students were drinking at a house party.
TRIGGER WARNING: The content below contains language about rape and sexual assault that some readers may find disturbing.
Justin and Jessica were dating at the time, and they went up to Jessica's room to hook up. She ended up falling asleep and Justin left the room, but things didn't end there. Bryce went into the room and forced himself onto Jessica, and although Justin tried to stop it, Bryce locked him out and raped her. Neither Justin nor Jessica ever reported the incident during Season 1.
Then, at the end of Season 2, Jessica and Justin finally found the courage to go to the police and report the rape. But, by telling law enforcement, Justin also admitted to a crime because he didn't do anything about the rape in the first place. The teen got arrested and locked up in juvenile prison for weeks because there was no one to bail him out, whereas Bryce — who was arrested for felony sexual assault — was only given three months probation after he was quickly bailed out.
Why didn't anyone bail Justin out of juvenile prison?
The answer is quite complicated and all goes back to the relationship Justin had with his family. He never met his dad and his mom is a junkie whose boyfriend threatened to kill Justin after the teen stole money from him. In order to protect himself, Justin fled town and lived on the streets. He became a heroin addict, but was eventually rescued by two of the show's main characters, Clay Jensen and Tony Padilla.
Because he ran away, Justin didn't have a relationship with his mom, either. So, there was no legal guardian to bail him out of jail. Clay's mother — who is an attorney — started to work on Justin's case, and when she couldn't find his mother, she and her husband offered to adopt him until he turns 18.
While on a temporary leave from juvenile prison, Justin accepted the offer to be adopted by the Jensen family. Unfortunately, just as things were looking up, he slid back into his old ways. Justin used heroin in Clay's room while he was out getting sushi and became depressed when he saw Jessica dancing with her current boyfriend, Alex Standall, at the school dance.
But, Jessica and Justin's history outweighed her relationship with Alex.
In the final episode of Season 2, Justin walked into the boys locker room alone after he saw Jessica with Alex at the dance. Later on, she found Justin and the pair hooked up. It's not clear if they will end up together or how their relationship will run its course during Season 3, but one thing is for sure: Justin is in love with Jessica. Only time will tell if he can clean up his act enough to win her back.
If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, please don't hesitate to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.