Previously on 13 Reasons Why
I tried to change.
Please indulge me with the Lemonade/Warsan Shire quotes. I’m writing this on the anniversary of Lemonade’s debut and this show puts me in my feelings. Now that we’ve seen what happened the night of Jessica’s party, what could Clay have done to end up on a tape? Bryce raped Jessica, Justin let it happen, and Hannah and Sheri caused Jeff’s death with their inaction. What could Clay do to top that? Giving Clay a tape was a cruel act and also a gift. Clay has spent the past few weeks unraveling, trying to figure out what he did to cause Hannah to kill herself and the truth is, despite his inaction and the moments when he could have spoken up and stood up for her, Clay didn’t do anything to be a reason. Hannah’s inability to love Clay is the reason why.
Knowing how the night ends for Hannah, it’s especially sad watching the party play out. She and Clay talk and joke, Jeff even runs interference when the jocks try to interrupt their night. By the time Clay and Hannah end up in Jessica’s room, the night has been perfect. But Hannah has experienced too much and lost too much faith to see herself as worthy or good. When she pushes Clay away, it’s visceral and gut-wrenching. And maybe Clay should have stayed, maybe he should have pushed her to tell him why. Maybe that would have made all the difference for her, for Jessica and for Jeff. But we’ll never know.
Today is the worst day of your life. What day comes to mind? What moment did it all feel like too much? Before Hannah went to Jessica’s party, she thought she was turning over a new leaf, starting a new chapter. Then the story went horribly wrong. And yet, it still wasn’t the worst day of her life. We’ve seen Hannah’s parents fight and fret over money, so when Hannah loses their deposit, it’s not a small thing and she knows it. And Mrs. Baker doesn’t know when she yells at Hannah that she just sat in a closet and watched her friend get raped. And that Hannah was silent as a classmate was branded a drunk driver because of her mistake. Mrs. Baker doesn’t know that her daughter already has the weight of the world on her shoulders.
The worst part about watching Bryce take the last bit of life Hannah has is that you don’t know if part of her feels like this is what she deserves. Like Clay taking those punches from Bryce, does part of them want to be punished for their shortcomings? When Hannah goes back and starts crafting her list, at this point, she’s made her choice. Now it’s about letting people know that what they did wasn’t ok. Their actions mattered in the worst way. I’ve seen some critiques of 13 Reasons Why being a story of revenge by suicide, but that’s not what Hannah is doing at all. It’s not about revenge. It’s about proving her worth. She mattered. Her mistakes mattered as much as her triumphs. And the same goes for every person on those tapes.
Why can’t you see me? Why can’t you see me? Why can’t you see me?
This school is filled with a lot of incompetent adults. Some of it is due to ignorance. Some of it is misunderstanding. Some of it amounts to being unprepared. That’s where Mr. Porter rests. Mr. Porter comes from a school where kids shot each other to solve conflict. This was supposed to be easy. Stressed out, privileged kids concerned about which college they’re going to. When Hannah walks in to his office, her last attempt to connect with someone, there’s really not a “right” thing he could say to change her mind but that doesn’t stop him from still saying all the wrong things. Mr. Porter has spent so much time since Hannah died covering his ass. Hiding the appointment in his planner, overcompensating with the other students like Alex. Watching him listen to Hannah’s tapes was almost cathartic. Like watching Jessica finally admit what happened to her or Tyler finally talk about the bullying he goes through in his deposition. The truth is they all killed Hannah Baker and they all must live with that.
13 Reasons Why has been accused of glorifying suicide and a big reason for that is because prevailing wisdom is that showing suicide leads to a phenomenon called suicide contagion, an increase in suicides due to popularization of it. But I also wonder if the fact that we don’t talk about suicide openly leads people to feel that it’s the only option left. I know what it’s like to be in your head. That’s what happened to Hannah, she got in her head and saw no way out. Although it’s graphic, showing Hannah’s death, the fact that it was painful, rough, slow there’s no beauty or glory in that. Yes cutting away to silhouette may have been less graphic or more poetic, but doesn’t that romanticize what Hannah did? If you ask me, everyone should be intentional and thoughtful when watching 13 Reasons, but I would encourage everyone to watch this show if they can.
13 Little Moments
- Tony is the real MVP of this series. The support Tony gave Clay while he was listening to his tape was above and beyond.
- How adorable was it when Clay showed up early for the party and tried to figure out chips? “Make a choice, Clay. Be bold”
- At the party, Alex says that he’s there to make Jessica fall in love with him again.
- After what happened in episode 10, seeing Jeff play Clay’s wingman was heartbreaking.
- Given how they both feel about Jessica, it’s ironic that Justin ends up at Alex’s house when no one will take him in. Also Justin eats that steak like he’s never eaten a real meal before.
- “Primero comemos, entonces lo demàs” Words of wisdom from Tony’s mother.
- Clay shows us that Skye is a cutter. She also has a lot of anger and resentment towards Hannah.
- Hannah’s imagined future with Clay was so beautifull. Did you cry and yell when Hannah pushed Clay away? I did.
- When Hannah is making her list, Skye and Pratters (the annoying boy from Communications class) are names written in the margins. They don’t make the cut, but I wonder what they did. Montgomery was also on the list but we all saw how horrible he was to Hannah.
- Clay’s mom keeps wanting him to share, but whenever he asks questions, she railroads him.
- Tyler has a cache of guns in a trunk. I don’t know if that was to throw the audience off or if he’s planning a Columbine. Of all the students, he’s the one that was consistently bullied.
- Justin runs away from home after the truth about Bryce comes out and Jessica rejects him.
- At the end, it’s revealed that Alex shot himself. Looking back, it feels almost inevitable. Alex wanted to be punished and he couldn’t live with what happened to Jessica and Hannah.
It’s hard to recap a show about suicide but overall the message of this show is to be kind, be aware, and stand up and speak out. The show never posits that one thing would have changed Hannah’s mind, but it does allow you see that it’s all the things, big and small, that lead to Hannah’s decision. Even when Hannah is planning her tapes, there are names that she left out. Although the show covered everything from the book it’s based on, they’ve also left lots of threads to pull if they decided to continue the story, so who knows what could happen. Ultimately, this story and these kids are just a microcosm of what happens in schools all over the country.
13 Reasons Why
"Tapes 6 & 7"
13 Reasons – S1E11-13 – Tapes 6 & 7 | Starring: Dylan Minnette, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe, Brandon Flynn, Miles Heizer, Kate Walsh. Derek Luke, Katherine Langford and Justin Prentice