There is a lot to be said for 13 Reasons Why and no matter if you love or hate it, one can’t deny just how powerful of a performance that Katherine Langford and Dylan Minnette give some very powerful performances throughout the series. They keep you glued to the screen, hanging on every word and wondering what is going to happen next.
We’re on Tape 4, Side B. It’s Ryan Shavers tape.
Hannah is touched by poetry recited by fellow student Ryan Shaver and pours her heart out after encouragement from his side. Ryan betrays her by publishing the poem against her will in his school magazine. In the present day, Tony confides to Clay about the night of Hannah’s death.
Let’s break it down.
ALEX STANDS UP
One thing that has always amazed me about 13 Reasons Why is how all these kids are in a rush to protect themselves and don’t feel bad about what they are doing. It’s heartbreaking to me that they just don’t want to give people closure and instead trash a dead girl. They let a rapist go free. They do everything but the right thing.
The truth always comes out.
So the group has met to talk about Clay and getting him under control? Why? Because Clay is the only one with a heart who seems to realize that no matter what they did, they need to fix it the best that they can. If that’s telling Hannah’s parents, so be it. It angers me that people think that Hannah’s suicide was about revenge. It’s not. It’s about a girl that felt so desperately alone that she had no options. That nothing would make her whole again. I think it’s okay that people may not understand that – because that means that they haven’t experienced the pain that Hannah has.
But that being said, it doesn’t excuse the group for trying to disguise and bend the truth to fit their will. Justin says that he’s going to take care of it, implying that if they have to kill Clay it’s okay. Then he flat out says it and says something so disgusting, the hate grew strong – that they could make it look like a suicide. Um, asshole, you have learned nothing. You make me physically ill.
After the group leaves, Jessica comes to talk to Alex to see if he’s okay. He’s not, but he’s deflecting. Justin chimes in and repeats again that they shouldn’t believe Hannah and her lies. What Alex does next made me see the depths to which he was hurting – he confronted them and said that what if they weren’t lies. What Hannah said about him wasn’t.
It’s interesting to see the dynamic – half these people hurting and half of them not. All afraid to say the truth.
I would hope that anyone who knew something about a persons suicide, knew something that could help people understand, that they would be honest and just tell someone. A person died – they took their life and having heard the tapes, knowing what happened to Hannah – it disgusts me that they could let this all just keep going on and not say a word. That says more about them than it says about Hannah.
We have to do something to teach the kids out there that being honest is not a horrible thing, that they need to admit to the things they know, the things that they have done, and at the end of the day accept the consequences if there are any.
SOMETHINGS ARE BETTER LEFT UNWRITTEN
The future. We all live through it and have to ask ourselves everyday, what we are going to do with the rest of our lives. It’s not something that we can avoid. I remember the college fair in high school, it was an intimidating place, but it was also the place that snapped me into place for my future.
Hannah heads into the college fair and feels a little overwhelmed talking to people. She then see’s a table with books, and it’s a man who is a librarian. Long story short, their conversation leads to her going to the library for a poetry night.
The room is filled with people older than her. Not a friendly face – until it’s one that she recognizes. But Ryan is not a friendly face. Ryan published the list – Alex’s list – and we all know that was part of the catalyst that got Hannah to where she is now. Her spirit breaking, an outcast. She doesn’t know what is really going to be a positive thing in her life.
What’s always funny to me is that relationships change quickly. They are always evolving, never the same. And Hannah’s and Ryan’s change, when he offers her a token of peace. A journal. A place to write down her deepest feelings. Who would have known that would be the journal that changes everything.
Remember when you were in high school and you had to read a piece of work out loud in front of the class? Well, Hannah decided after some time to read her poem in front of the group. It’s a powerful poem and one that will shake you once you really listen to the words.
The thing is – her poem is personal. It’s not the type of poem that you share in class. But Ryan (who runs the ‘zine) tells her that she needs to share it with everyone. But she declines. She doesn’t want to share that. She’s not ready.
Here’s the thing in life that I learned a long time ago. Even when you don’t want things to be told that doesn’t mean that someone out there isn’t thinking that they are doing something right by sharing it. Ryan stole her poem and published it. He took what was safe for Hannah and again, she was left with the pain of that.
She told him off and he told her that one day she would thank him. One day… that’s living in the maybe’s and she’s living in the now.
SOMETIMES YOU GOTTA CLIMB ROCKS, NOT KICK THEM
With every episode, I grow to love Tony more and more. He takes Clay out into the wilderness to a rock. A rock they are going to have to climb, with the promise that Clay will learn more about Hannah when they get to the top.
But what we learn is about them both – Hannah and Tony. See, Tony knew that Hannah was drama. So on the day of her suicide, she heads to Tony’s – doesn’t knock, doesn’t ring the bell – just leaves a box at the door. Tony saw her. Tony let it just go for about 45 minutes before he got up and went to the door. He picked up the box and started listening to a tape.
He realized what was happening and hauled ass to Hannah’s house. And that’s when he saw it. Police everywhere and though there was noise and things happening, it was silence. He didn’t get there to protect her, he didn’t get there to save her, he got there in time to see her in a body bag. She was gone.
He watched them throw her into the back of an ambulance. She was gone.
So as much guilt as everyone else lives with, Tony lives with his one. He may not be on the tapes, but his pain – his guilt, may be the deepest of all. He was the one given the clue that this is what she was going to do, and he sat there – not answering the door, not stopping her.
But he didn’t know. He can’ blame himself, though I understand why it’s a natural thing to do so.
My heart breaks again.
This show is so hard to watch, but so necessary.