Once again Clay is at a breaking point as Bryce takes the stand and remixes what happened between him and Hannah.
|Writer(s)||Marissa Jo Cerer, Thomas Higgins|
|Coach Rick||Ben Lawson|
Trigger Warnings: Bits and Pieces of Hannah’s Rape Scene Are In The Episode. As well as her describing what happened.
The Struggle To Move On: Jessica, Nina, Zach
With Jessica learning of Nina’s time in the clubhouse, despite their confrontation just an episode ago, she tries to talk to her about it. Which leads to her opening up, revealing she cheated on her boyfriend, and also noting the photo we saw, that was before something happened. Alongside that, she apologizes for in her mind she thought she was strong enough to be there for Jessica when she wasn’t.
As for Zach, Coach Rick tries to use being there after Zach’s dad died to keep him in the ranks. Not just in terms of baseball but keeping his mouth shut. After all, Zach was a quiet observer and, as noted before, Coach Rick has a lot riding on the team doing well. Especially since, as Bryce notes when he is being questioned, the football team isn’t that good. So the baseball team remaining the shining star of Liberty is of the utmost importance.
With the case against the school slowly derailing and being about Bryce, it makes you wonder if Nina may tell her story to seal the fate of not just Bryce, perhaps, but the school as well. For we still don’t know who assaulted her and while they may have graduated, she can establish a pattern. One which goes beyond Bryce.
But, as Jessica has noted, and we’ve seen through Nina, knowing what happened is one thing, owning it another, and then saying it to another person? Much less strangers? That is a completely different thing.
And before we move on, I increasingly feel Coach Rick might have done something or seen something. For while I can get championships mean job security, with Zach calling him out on letting this toxic culture continue, it makes you wonder who knows what about him. Because, surely, having someone accused of rape on your team, and all that drama, how does that help things? How does that make your team better, easier to recruit people and be successes?
Especially since, based off what we see, those who play football also play baseball which means if they get injured doing one sport, you’re down a player. You need backups. But, the man clearly has something he is hiding if he needs to blackmail Mr. Porter and pull out how he was there when Zach’s dad died.
Strike Three: Bryce, Hannah, Alex
In this full-on view of Hannah, one thing that really gets pushed is how she gave everyone a chance and tried to make up for the person she was. To the point, even with Bryce, she was nice to him, listened to him talk about his loneliness, and what might have been a form of depression. However, for whatever reason, and really the reason doesn’t matter, she wasn’t into him. There was absolutely no kissing and Bryce got rejected twice.
However, while on the stand, his ego re-writes things and makes it sound like Hannah was good for hanging out and sex but not girlfriend material. Truth was, while Hannah was willing and able to be friends with anyone, she knew better about Bryce.
But, as noted by Sheri, guys know how to make an easy going situation bad. Yes, Hannah got into the hot tub and wasn’t wearing much, but she didn’t asked to be raped. Yet, it seems her trying to reject Bryce a third time made something snap. Something that Alex and Montgomery heard in the pool clubhouse, Montgomery even watched, but they didn’t say anything. Which, with Alex remembering the situation, now haunts him.
While I get that there is perhaps no human being who is an absolute monster, I must say it is always uncomfortable when a show tries to soften up a villain. For it makes you wonder if now you are supposed to feel bad for them, if what we see is supposed to inform what led to their bad decisions, and things like that. Like, am I supposed to feel bad for Bryce because he was rich and lonely? Much less, everyone was probably only his friend because of his wealth?
Take away the rapes and if he was just a bully who was well protected, maybe he’d get the Courtney treatment. However, you can’t explain a rape away. You can’t show how a pattern of abandonment made him this monster who can lie about raping someone and be smug about it. Never mind date a girl he raped like nothing ever happened.
Yet, maybe the whole idea here was showing toxic masculinity and how people enforce it? Alongside showing how twisted male sense of entitlement is. As shown by fans and reporters, doctors as well, you can take whatever perspective you want from 13 Reasons Why and easily be able to present a strong argument for either side. However, there is one thing I’m sure many will agree on: I felt such a great cathartic release when Nora smacked the mess out of her smug son when he went over what he did to Hannah.
When Nearly All Hopes Are Dashed: Tyler, Chloe, Jessica, Justin, Clay, Hannah, Dennis
Jessica finds a way to convince Chloe to testify but while she can speak the truth to Dennis behind closed doors, with Bryce in the courtroom starring her down? She backs down. She presents the idea there was consent and that pretty much kills one of Clay’s last hopes. Well, that is until Tyler decides to take him shooting.
With that, alongside Hannah whispering into Clay’s ear, he finds this to be quite the outlet. However, with Clay taking note of Tyler’s method of naming the objects being shot, combined with Hannah deciding to recount the night Bryce raped her, he goes off the deep end. I’m talking about thinking about shooting Bryce but, luckily, in a moment of clarity, he had Justin meet him at Bryce’s house and Justin is able to talk him out of it. If just by noting, after his talk with Jessica, he’ll testify.
Now, I don’t know much about the legal process but considering the way Sonya is, does anyone really believe she’d just let any and every kid just get on the stand? Granted, Justin was subpoenaed, and technically is in contempt right now, but Chloe getting to suddenly testify seemed strange. Though, that paled in comparison to Tyler saying he names the things he shoots. Making you wonder what were the names he has used in the past. Would it be Cyrus now? Maybe Mackenzie for telling a friend about what happened at the movies? Perhaps Clay back when he put his picture out there?
Which does make you wonder, how desperate is Tyler for a connection to be willing to forgive Clay, and others, just for some company? Should we look at him as a sort of Hannah in the way? More than willing to give people chances just to feel a little less alone? Even if disappointment has been pretty consistent in his life?
Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments
- There is a huge fight which only gets broken up when Courtney pulls the fire alarm.
- Chloe admits she put the slut pictures on the whiteboard. As for who is doing everything else, like breaking into Clay’s car to take the Polaroids or dropping off a gun for Alex to kill himself? That hasn’t been revealed yet.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Did Justin hear Clay talking to Hannah?
Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs
You say you love me, but you’re always willing to believe the worst of me.
- All the call outs of the episode. Hannah calling out Clay for always thinking the worse is true about her; Dennis – finally – showing he can take someone on when they are on the stand, after Sonya whooping his behind the whole trial, and Zach calling out his former coach who dared brought up his sister and father, and what him trying to be there for him, to emotionally manipulate him.
- Olivia calling Bryce a man instead of a boy. Because nothing Bryce has done should allow him any connotation with the innocence of a child.
- Nora smacking Bryce!
- Nina noting how fragile she is, yet still wanting to have been strong enough to support Jessica.
- Alex finally getting his memories back. Well, a few important ones.
- Showing how difficult it is to tell your story, in terms of Chloe.
- Tyler still being an ass to Mackenzie.
- How uncomfortable it was watching this attempt to humanize Bryce.
On The Fence
- No one noticing Clay is seriously in need of help.