’13 Reasons Why Recap and Review’: Tape 5, Side A

(via Netflix)

Recently, I’ve seen a lot of backlash concerning certain things on 13 Reasons Why. One of the things is the sexual assualt that’s shown during the ninth episode. And I completely understand where these people are coming from. It’s uncomfortable and you feel horrible afterwards and you want to cry. It’s aggressive and you are in the same position that Hannah is in–you’re a bystander.

But it’s impactful. Everything about this show hits you in the gut and hits you hard. And as the episode goes on, we see that Clay’s the only one really trying to make it right, which is what we all should try to do.

So, let’s talk about the ninth tape. This is Justin’s second tape and we learn about what happened at Jess’s party. In the present, Clay gets busted for something when he tries to do something to help Jess.

Although we don’t get a full play by play to Hannah’s summer, we do end up at the end of summer party with her–the focus for the next couple of episodes. A terrible thing happens during Jess’s party, something that Hannah witnesses and decides to talk about on her tape, yet in the present almost everyone is claiming that it didn’t happen. Including the victim, Jess. While Clay tries to find justice, the rest of the group goes to great lengths to make sure he doesn’t expose them all and release the tapes.

Hannah witnesses a traumatic event at a summertime party. Clay tries to reason with Justin and Marcus warns him the worst is yet to come.


With the end of the school year comes a chance to start over and forget about everything that happened during the school year. Hannah decides it’s time to make a change and cuts off her mermaid hair. This obviously surprises Clay, who comes back after spending a summer at his grandparents. And when asked, Hannah tells him that it’s part of her new being. She’s going to be a better student, a better person and not make the same mistakes that hurt her during sophomore year.

It’s a good plan and I felt proud of Hannah for wanting to make the change. It was a step forward instead of a step back. But of course, it was easier said than done.

Clay invites her to Jessica’s end of summer party and Hannah ultimately decides to go because she figured that starting over didn’t mean she had to be a loner. She could still have friends and be social—she just had to make the right friends. And Clay was definitely one of them.

The party starts off seemingly innocent and we see her joking and kind of flirting with Clay. It’s adorable and hopeful, but we don’t get the full story because like Hannah said in the beginning, the story of the party has three parts.

This part concerns Jess and Justin. Hannah finds out at the party that Jess and Justin are together and warns Jess to be careful with Justin. Jess, of course, brushes Hannah off and we see the two making out pretty heavily throughout the episode, following the couple into the bedroom where Hannah is. Although we don’t know why or how Hannah ended up in the bedroom, we know she saw what happened between Jess and Justin.


Jess was pretty wasted. Like passing out as she and Justin made out on the bed, wasted. For a hot second, I was for sure thinking that Justin was going to take advantage of Jess and was praying that Justin would make the right choice. And he did. Sort of.

Since Jess passed out, Justin got up off of her, placed a blanket over her and left the room. It was one of the moments that I was actually kind of proud of Justin. Until what happened next. Justin exited the room as Bryce was coming down the hallway, drunk as a skunk. He teased Justin about having Jess in there and Justin brushed it off, saying that she was sleeping. Bryce took that as an invitation to head into the bedroom and when Justin tried to stop him, Bryce reminded him that what was Justin’s was also Bryce’s. So Bryce could have Jess.

Bryce forced himself into the bedroom and over to a passed out Jess. She claims to have no memory of what happened next, but Hannah was there to see it all. Bryce took advantage and raped Jess while she was sleeping.

In a very graphic, hard scene to watch, we see Bryce rape Jess as Hannah watches from inside the closet. It’s up close and personal and forces the audience to hear every little thing. It’s uncomfortable, and it’s supposed to be. In the voiceover, Hannah says she tried to do something, but she was frozen, which is common when someone sees someone else getting raped. You feel helpless and feel like you should do something, but you can’t because you don’t know what to do. So all Hannah could do is watch. And when it was over, Hannah pukes in the corner, covers Jess with a blanket, apologizes and runs out of the room. Hannah and Justin both let Jess down that night and the worst part is that Jess is completely unaware of what happened.


After finishing Justin’s second tape, Clay believes it’s time for Bryce to own up to what he did to Jess. He goes about this a bunch of different ways and none of them truly pan out, but he tries his best. He confronts Jess about it, demanding to know if she remembers what happened at her party—she tells a different story. Then Clay goes to his mom for help, spouting a hypothetical and worrying his mom, but she ultimately tells him that Bryce can’t be prosecuted because the witness is gone. So then Clay goes to Justin, urging him to tell Jess about what really happened that night. We aren’t sure if Justin ever does tell Jess, but at the end of the episode, the two of them are seen talking.


  • The Bakers go to the school with Hannah’s poem
  • Clay gets suspended for three days because the group planted weed in his backpack so he wouldn’t go to the school about the tapes.
  • Clay’s Mom thinks the worst about her son, while his dad believes he’s good and just going through a rough time
  • Mr. Porter asks Ryan about the poem and shuts down his magazine.
  • Tony urges Clay to continue listening to the tapes before he tells anyone anything.
  • Jess slowly begins to remember the night.

Well versed in all things concerning pop culture and social media. I write recaps not tragedies.