13 Reasons Why: Tape 2 Side A Alex Standall (S01E03)

Fans of “13 Reasons Why” are rejoicing, as it was just announced yesterday that the show has been picked up by Netflix for a second season! But before Season 2 goes into production, let’s take a look at the show’s third episode- Reason 3 of 13 Reasons.

The episode begins with Hannah’s narration as she talks about the butterfly effect. (No, not the psycho thriller starring Ashton Kutcher). The butterfly effect is a theory meaning that the smallest of actions can cause huge effects. And in Hannah Baker’s case, what started out as a small prank quickly escalated into a huge plot point that no one could have expected. As Hannah puts it, a hurricane was caused.

The episode starts where a lot of the characters left off in Episode 2. Students are putting inspirational posters up at school. Justin Foley is hiding out at the home of his friend, Bryce. Hannah’s mom is visiting the school guidance counselor for some answers. And Clay is still trying to make his way through the tapes.

Hannah’s mom makes a visit to school to speak with the guidance counselor. However, because of her lawsuit, the guidance counselor can not disclose much to her. Heartbroken, Mrs. Baker runs to the bathroom to have a moment to herself. In the bathroom stall, she sees the walls covered in words about other students, and not all of them are very flattering. She takes a picture of the walls with her phone, hoping that it can be used as evidence in court. Mrs. Baker walks by Hannah’s locker and sees it has been decorated with cards and flowers. She sees the locker is decorated with sappy cards and Hannah’s least favorite flowers, and she realizes that the people at school who claimed to be close to Hannah, were never really her friends to begin with.

Elsewhere, we see Justin Foley, still hiding out and avoiding school. It’s found out that Justin doesn’t have the best family life. His mom has drug problems and is constantly bringing new potential step-fathers into the house. Justin’s step-father threatens him, and Justin’s faces abuse at his home. As he stays at Bryce’s, Justin looks around at the life that Bryce lives. Great accomplishments, prefect family- it’s too much for Justin to handle. Jessica arrives and finds him in the middle of a break down.

Back at school, Clay is trying to get information from Hannah’s former friend, Alex Standall. But Hannah is the last thing that Alex wants to talk about. In the middle of the day, Clay walks into the hall and sees Alex tearing down all the inspirational posters surrounding the school. It’s obvious that Hannah’s suicide has been on his mind, but he refuses to talk about it with Clay.

Flashback to Hannah and Clay at the movie theater. Clay is excited about a lunar eclipse happening that night, and invited Hannah to join him. They are cleaning up after a movie, and Alex walks out of the theater, alone and looking troubled. After his break-up with Jessica, Alex and Hannah have not been on good terms. After Alex leaves, Hannah and Clay go up to the roof of the movie theater to watch the lunar eclipse. Hannah says that it’s kind of scary, but Clay is exited by it. So instead of Helmet, Hannah begins to call Clay “Astronomy Boy.”

The next day in school takes a turn for the worst. A list has circulated around school ranking who has the best and worst physical features. (The list was highlighted in episode 2- Jessica’s tape). Rumor has it that Alex made the list himself. He listed Hannah under “best ass” and his girlfriend, Jessica, under worst. As the list makes the rounds in school, Hannah gets stares and harassment from boys in the hallway, all gawking and grabbing at her.

At lunch, Clay sits down with Hannah. Hannah is stressed over the list and its effects, proclaiming, “high school is bullshit.” Hannah tells Clay about how she imagines life after high school. She plans to go to college in New York, where she can be whomever she wants. Clay tells Hannah that she should be happy with who she is now, but she has trouble finding the silver lining with the list going around school. She asks Clay how he would feel if girls made a list and he was on it. “Girls wouldn’t make a list,” he says. “Precisely,” Hannah replies.

Later, Hannah bursts into the boy’s locker room looking for Alex. She knows he made the list and wants to know why. As she yells at Alex, guys in the locker room say that she can’t be in there. She bites back at them saying that she has the right to be there since most of the guys in the locker room have been staring at her body all day in the hall. She leaves the locker room, telling Alex that she’s not done talking to him about the list.

After a stressful day, Hannah goes to a nearby drug store to pick up some much needed stress-relieving chocolate. There, she runs into Bryce who is (not so cunningly) buying beer underaged. His confidence and smile is his biggest weapon, as he pleases both the employees and Hannah. Bryce offers to pay for Hannah’s candy bar, but uses it as a chance to feel her up. Hannah runs out of the drug store crying. “When you put my name on that list,” she says in the tape to Alex, “you put a target on me. You made it open season for Hannah Baker.”

In the present day, Clay is making his way through the tape. He approaches Alex, who continues to be unresponsive. Alex tells Clay not to trust Tony. Clay responds by saying that Tony is his friend. “Not now he’s not,” replies Alex. Finally, Alex admits to Clay that he made the list because Jessica wouldn’t sleep with him. He used the list as a way to break up with Jessica, but it backfired since Jessica took out her anger on Hannah, leading to the end of their friendship. Just then, Zack invites Alex to hang with him and the rest of the jocks (that includes Bryce and Justin). It’s no surprise that Alex isn’t quite a part of the jock’s group, but he goes with them anyway.

It turns out that Alex and the jocks have been hanging out for a while, playing video games together and drinking beer at every turn. They come across Clay (as he is revisiting the drug store Hannah spoke about), and use it as an opportunity to keep Clay quiet about the tapes. They invite Clay to drink with them, and won’t take no for an answer. They give Clay a malt beer and make him chug the whole thing. Clay reluctantly agrees, and no surprise- Tony is watching as it happens. Clay tries yet again to approach Tony, who gives him no answers. But Tony does say, “If you can’t trust me Clay, I can’t help you.” Wanting to know more, Clay follows Tony on his bike. He follows him to a random abandoned area, and sees Tony beating up someone. Clay returns home, drunk, and not well. His parents realize that he is drunk, send him to his room, and ground him.

And thus ends reason 3, Hannah’s butterfly effect. She ends the tape by reminding listeners that “everything effects everything.” Clay turns the tape over to Side B. Hannah begins the next tape by saying, “for this next tape, you have to be very quiet. Because you’re about to do something very wrong.” Clay sneaks out of his room through his bedroom window. “Be careful,” Hannah tells him, “and don’t get caught.”

Something extra
-We see the characters in school activities and in daily encounters with teachers. So many of the teachers and coaches notice that the students aren’t as focused as usual, and yell at them to get their head back in the game. (Umm…one of their classmates just killed themselves. Maybe they’re allowed to be a bit distracted?)
-Tony has the most memorable quote in the entire episode. “You really don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life.” This quote could easily be the mantra of the entire series. But just because Tony speaks the truth, that may not mean we can trust him. Alex tells Clay that Tony isn’t even on Hannah’s tapes, so how is he involved in all of this?

-Meet Skye, Clay’s former friend from years ago.
– She has tattoos, lots of them
– She’s blonde and dresses edgy
– She wears dark clothes and choker necklaces
– She works at the coffee shop
– Her and Clay haven’t spoken in years, but they used to be close. When he sees her at the coffee shop, the two have a little heart-to-heart.