Rowan in Heartbreak High season 2

What Rowan Really Needed in ‘Heartbreak High’ Season 2 Was Help, Not Revenge

In Heartbreak High season 1, it was Amerie vs. Harper. Luckily, those two besties found a way to communicate with one another, repairing their relationship once and for all. However, this new batch of episodes didn’t give Amerie (Ayesha Madon) any time to breathe because soon enough someone new was out to get her, too.

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With Dusty (Josh Heuston) having left Hartley High off-screen between seasons, someone new needed to complicate Amerie’s relationship with Malakai (Thomas Weatherall). Enter Rowan (Sam Rechner), an artistic yet slightly shy film buff who finds himself romantically entangled with both of them. Yep, Heartbreak High season 2 didn’t shy away from the messy romantic drama we all came to love in season 1.

In the midst of all of Amerie’s relationship shenanigans, she also becomes the target of a new, anonymous bully and stalker who seems intent on ruining Amerie’s friendships, her social standing, and her chance of becoming school captain. This creep becomes known as “Bird Psycho,” and Amerie is forced to deal with dead birds on her doorstep, rude message boards, incriminating videos, and private photos being printed on school flyers. Bird Psycho clearly had no limits, and unfortunately, that became true in the Heartbreak High season 2 finale.

Amerie attends the school dance with Rowan—Malakai left to move to Switzerland with his mother. Though he wrote her a heartfelt letter in which he confessed his true feelings for her, she never got the chance to read it before it was destroyed, courtesy of Mr. Voss (Angus Sampson), Hartley High’s physical education teacher and the most pathetic “men’s rights” activist the school has to offer. In an extreme display of fragile masculinity, Mr. Voss and his loyal followers accidentally set the school on fire, causing the dance to end prematurely and the entire school to go up in flames. Unfortunately, however, Amerie and Harper (Asher Yasbincek) are trapped inside with Bird Psycho, who is none other than Rowan himself.

Why did Rowan become “Bird Psycho”?

Rowan locks Harper and Amerie inside the AV Club and forces them to watch his animated feature, which explains his relationship history with Amerie.

Once upon a time, long before Harper and Amerie drew the “Incest Map” at Hartley High, Amerie and Rowan were friends—sort of. Amerie and Harper would hang out at a skate park close to the beach, and Rowan hung out there, too, hoping to get closer to Amerie but never finding the courage to do so. One day, they bonded over a wounded bird, organizing a funeral for it when it finally died. Unfortunately, kids will be kids, and when the pair were laughed at for taking care of the creature, Amerie threw Rowan under the bus, telling the others it was his idea and his alone. Rowan was bullied and humiliated and lost control of his anger, and everything went downhill from there.

Once home, he began wrecking his room, scaring his little brother. Hoping to help Rowan calm down, his younger brother ran across the street to find their parents, who were at someone else’s party, only to get hit by a car and killed in the middle of the street. Overwhelmed by his grief, Rowan needed someone to blame for his sibling’s death, and he convinced himself that it was Amerie’s fault, bullying and traumatizing her as a way to get revenge and force her to confess that she caused his brother’s accident.

Now, Amerie has done her fair share of unfortunate things, like ignoring Harper when she needed her the most, drawing the Incest Map, and bullying others, but on the whole, Amerie isn’t a bad person. She’s just a teenager who made a lot of mistakes, and humiliating Rowan when they were kids was one of them (and she apologizes for that, too). That doesn’t make her responsible for Rowan’s brother’s death, not in the slightest, and thankfully Amerie recognizes that, and in the end, Rowan recognizes that the reason he felt so angry was because, deep down, he feels like was responsible for his brother’s tragic accident.

Truthfully, Amerie’s confrontation with Rowan showed just how much she’d grown over the past two seasons. Instead of lashing out, instead of leaving Rowan to his fate, she forgave him for his anger and for making her life a living hell and saved his life by dragging him out of the burning school building. Just like she said, she recognized that they were all “a bunch of f*cked up kids trying the best [they] can.”

I doubt Rowan and Amerie will ever truly rekindle their relationship, because what he did was genuinely horrifying, but at least the truth is out there now. Rowan can finally begin to heal, and Amerie can continue being a better person while staying true to herself, as well. Whether Malakai is part of that equation remains to be seen—let’s just hope Netflix renews Heartbreak High for season 3.

(featured image: Netflix)


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El Kuiper
El (she/her) is The Mary Sue's U.K. editor and has been working as a freelance entertainment journalist for over two years, ever since she completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including British TV (she's seen every episode of Midsomer Murders ever made) and franchises like Marvel and Pokémon. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.