After eleven episodes, eleven tapes, story after story, we are finally on Clay’s tape. This is what the show has been building up to, this is what we’ve been teased about. But is whatever Clay did just as bad as the others say it is, or is it something entirely different? There’s only one way to find out, and that’s to press play.
Clay and Hannah grow closer. While Clay spends a heartbreaking night listening to his tape with Tony, tensions boil over at Bryce’s house.
THIS TIME, IT’S HANNAH’S FAULT:
For the past few episodes, we’ve heard all about what’s happened at Jessica’s party. Hannah told us that there were a total of three stories that occurred during that night, and we already heard the first two. The last story seems to revolve around what happened between her and Clay.
So what did happen between her and Clay? Last we saw, the two of them were enjoying themselves and having a gr8 time making fun of people together. After ditching the living room game of Suck and Blow, the pair went into the kitchen to grab a drink.
It’s here that Clay answers Hannah’s question about having the superpower to pause time, and it’s sweet because he means that he wants to pause the time their in currently so he can be with her. But alas, the two are in the middle of a very crowded kitchen so they decide to escape to the outside to get some air.
Outside, Clay admits that Jeff had been giving him advice about girls, more specifically, one girl. It doesn’t take a genius to know that Clay is talking about Hannah and Hannah quickly connects the dots. It’s a cute moment between the two of them that is ultimately ruined by a drunk jock because of course. But don’t worry!!! Jeff once again saves the day. (Jeff deserves better and honestly, I’m bitter.)
Hannah and Clay head back inside, walking upstairs together and joking around with each other. Hannah then admits that she’s quitting the Cresmont because of her parents and she goes even further to admit that she likes working with Clay. And Clay, ever the social awkward person, doesn’t get it.
But then the bedroom door opens, and Hannah invites him to talk in the bedroom so they can be even more alone. I’m feeling sexual tones and I’m excited/nervous for how this is going to turn out.
The conversation is light and easy and everything about these two seems incredibly natural. It’s beautiful to see and I wish we could’ve gotten more out of it. The conversation slowly trails off and the two of them are left staring at each other for a split second before Clay kisses her, leading them to taking off clothes and laying on the bed.
In her tape, Hannah mentions that in that moment, everything was perfect.
But all of that quickly changes when Hannah begins to have a panic attack. She starts freaking out because even though Clay asks her if everything’s going okay, her mind begins thinking about all the horrible things that had happened to her with guys previous. So she pushes him off of her and an obviously confused Clay is left wondering what he did wrong.
Hannah begs him to leave him alone, so he does. He leaves her there just like she asked.
At this point, I’m torn because while I understand why Hannah did what she did and I respect Clay for respecting her wishes, I kind of hate how it all played out. Especially when Hannah admits on her tape that she wanted for him to stay. I wish that Hannah said what she meant instead of putting up that wall and I wish Clay had stayed with her even despite her asking him not to.
THE WHAT-IFS ARE ALWAYS BETTER THAN THE HERE AND NOWS:
During the episode we see little imagines of what could have been between Hannah and Clay. We see them walking down the hall, hand in hand as they laugh with each other, ignoring everyone else around them. We see the two of them talking to Hannah’s mom, looking lovingly at each other and oh my god, it makes us long for those moments to be real and not a figment of anyone’s imagination.
We even see Clay thinking back to that night in the bedroom and changing the narrative. Instead of leaving, he stays. He stays and he talks Hannah through it, spilling out all of his emotions in the process. And all Hannah can do is answer with “How come you didn’t say this when I was alive.” bringing us right back to reality. Hannah is dead. And it’s tragic to remember after seeing the what ifs, the could have beens of Hannah and Clay’s relationship. It’s a reminder to cherish what you have and work for you what you want because one day, it might not be there anymore.
JUSTIN IS STRAIGHT UP STRUGGLING
Meanwhile, Justin is dealing with some serious shit. He’s got an abusive home, he can’t get in contact with Jess, none of his friends are answering him or helping him so he turns to Alex for help.
It’s striking to see how different the family dynamics in this show; we’ve got Clay with his two parents, Alex with his cop father, Jess with her army dad, Zach with his seemingly perfect home life and then Justin, who’s mom chose her drug addled boyfriend over him. These teens all come from different homes, being affected by different things and overall it’s interesting to see.
So Justin ends up at Alex’s for a short while before he finds out that Jess is at Bryce’s. Angry, Justin storms over there, Alex trailing behind as he goes to confront Bryce. There’s a tense moment between Jess and Justin that ends with Justin screaming out that Bryce raped Jess.
A fight between Justin and Bryce occurs and Jess is left looking like her world is crashing down around her. The rest of the gang tries to break it up and Zach drags Justin away from Bryce only to have Justin come face to face with Jess. She reacts quite violently, punching him before stomping away from everyone. Justin is left to face Bryce and the choice he made to expose the secret he had been keeping from Jess for such a long time.
WHAT ELSE YOU MISSED:
- Rachel reading Clay’s cards and them lining up perfectly with what was going on in his life
- Mr. Porter has some family issues to deal with
- The Bakers refuse the money and want to move forward with the trial
- The Comm teacher and Mr. Porter discuss the what-ifs of dealing with Hannah.
- Mama Baker finds a shoebox with a piece of paper that Hannah drew on, connecting everything and figuring out all the people who completely fucked her over