When we last left Clay Jensen, he had just listened to the first of Hannah Baker’s tapes. The first was about her experience with athlete Justin Foley, who spread pictures and a rumor about her around school. Episode 1 ends with Clay turning Tape 1 to Side B and pressing play.
And now: “Tape 1, Side B”
The episode begins with Clay walking through the high school halls thinking about Hannah, which he seems to be doing every day since Hannah’s death. He hears her voice talking him through Side B, enticing him to keep listening. She says that Clay must be wondering, which he is, if he is on the tapes. He’s wondering if this is about him, and wondering what it is he had done to Hannah. She doesn’t say, but hints that maybe he didn’t do anything. Maybe he just sat back when everyone else did something, and didn’t bother to stop it.
Hannah introduces the second tape by stating that “friendship is complicated.” And here we have it, the subject for Tape 1 Side B: Hannah’s former best friend, Jessica Davis.
Jessica Davis: Side B
– Jessica is a cheerleader
– Dating football player Juston Foley (subject of tape 1 side 1)
– Pretty and popular
– Confident, but also self-conscious
– Very direct- if she has a problem with you, you’ll know it
Hannah meets Jessica Davis in the guidance consoler’s office. They have been been called in because they are both new students, and the guidance counselor wants them to be friends. They think it sounds ridiculous; the two girls begin to mock the guidance counselor, and each other. But low and behold, the two soon begin talking to each other, and soon enough become friends. Jessica invites Hannah to get hot chocolate with her after school at a cafe called Monet’s, and it soon becomes a daily tradition for the two girls.
One day at Monet’s, Hannah and Jessica notice a boy at another table staring at them. Wanting to find out which one he’s staring at, they approach him. That’s where they meet Alex Strandall.
– Thin and blonde
– Shy and quiet
– New kid, doesn’t have friends or know anyone
– Wants to try as many items on the Monet’s menu as possible
Alex tells Hannah and Jessica that he is new and doesn’t know anyone. Soon enough, the three of them become best friends. They hang out at school, meet everyday at Monet’s, and talk about how much they hate high school and everyone in it. They bond over how much they hate their high school lives and most of the people in it. In a way, it’s cathartic for all three of them. Hannah says that the three friends were, “what each other needed at that moment in time.” She describes their daily talks at Monet’s as, “three drinks against the world.” The three best friend seem attached at the hip, but of course nothing can stay perfect forever. Hannah foreshadows by saying, “1+1+1 is not a simple equation.”
Hannah talks about how after a while, and Alex began to find another group of friends. Eventually, Jessica stopped going to Monet’s too, leaving Hannah all alone. As if Hannah isn’t feeling lonely enough, Hannah realizes that Alex and Jessica have begun dating, to Hannah’s dismay.
At the movie theater, Hannah asks Clay if he think she can be prettier than Jessica. Clay doesn’t know how to answer, and Hannah takes his silence as an insult. Eventually, Clay says that Hannah is special, but that’s not the answer she wants to hear. Hannah storms off, and Clay is left confused.
Later, Jessica comes to the movie theater. Hannah knows it is awkward between them, but seems happy to see her. The two have some friendly conversation, and Hannah gives her a ticket free of charge. Things seems to be getting better, when Alex shows up behind Jessica. The two are clearly going to see the movie together. Hannah tries to play it cool, but she is clearly upset, and makes Alex pay for his ticket.
Weeks later, Alex breaks up with Jessica. Jessica is furious, and blames Hannah for the break-up. She commands Hannah to meet her at Monet’s. Jessica presents Hannah with a letter she found, that she believes is written by Alex, saying that Hannah has the “best ass” and Jessica, “worst.” Hannah assures Jessica that she had nothing to do with it, but Jessica doesn’t believe her. Jessica calls Hannah a slut, Hannah curses her out, and Jessica slaps her. Friendship: over. And no chance of getting it back.
Now Clay knows their story. Back in the present day, Clay tries to approach Jessica to talk about her friendship with Hannah. Not surprisingly, she doesn’t want to talk about Hannah. She’s more distracted by the absence of her boyfriend, Justin Foley (from side 1, remember him?) Justin hasn’t been in school for a few days, and both Clay and Jessica want to know why and where he is.
Clay confronts Jessica one more time and demands an answer. But Jessica still doesn’t want to talk. She’s still thinking about Justin, but offers Clay some information. Jessica says that Hannah was the one that stopped coming to Monet’s, not her. She tells Clay that “Hannah’s a user and a liar.”
That afternoon, Clay goes to ride his bike home from school. Suddenly, popular jock and friend of Justin, Zack, offers Clay a ride. Clay is visibly confused, has no idea why Zack would offer him a ride when Zack is usually tripping him in the halls. As Clay ponders whether he should go with Zack or not, his friend Tony shows up. (You remember Tony- the one that has been watching Clay as he listens to the tapes). Tony subtlety tells Zack and his friends to back off, and to leave Clay alone.
We find out later that Zack and his friends are actually going to see Justin, who has been hiding out and avoiding school, mostly by playing video games by himself away from the outside world. Justin says he needs a break, and plays off his problems like he doesn’t really care. Suddenly, Jessica comes to the door, screaming at Justin for avoiding her for days. She tells him that Clay has the tapes, and Justin starts to panic. Jessica is worried that Clay might say something, but Justin says that he will make sure Clay doesn’t say anything. He asks Jessica what tape Clay is currently on, and she assures him it’s not the one that he’s thinking of…but what tape is he worried about, and why?
That night, Hannah’s mom is going through Hannah’s old books that they found in her locker. She finds a piece of paper in one of the books, and starts to read it. It turns out that the paper is the list that Alex made. She panics and believes it is more proof that Hannah was bullied by her classmates, and she wants answers. She calls a mysterious number and asks for help, hoping that the unnamed person can help her figure out what the paper is and what it means. We find out in the final seconds of the show that the person Hannah’s mom called was: Tony. Tony goes to Hannah’s parent’s house to comfort them, but it’s obvious that he’s more than just a former friend of Hannah. He’s involved somehow, deeply. After all, he’s the one that has been watching Clay as he listens to the tapes. Tony is involved somehow, and Clay is determined to find out how.
– Early in the episode, we see a flash forward of Hannah quitting her job at the movie theater. What could have caused this? And when does it happen?
– Clay’s mom is making an effort to get close to him. We find out that he used to take medication years ago, but hasn’t taken it in two years. His mom tells him that his doctor agreed to let him take the medication again, and his mom gets him a new prescription. Clay refuses to take it, saying he doesn’t need it. But what were the pills for? And does he really not need them?
If you or anyone you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicicde Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.