Jessica reclaims her pleasure, and we see everyone scramble as Bryce’s body being discovered causes issues.
|Introduced This Episode|
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Bryce, Jessica, Casey, Principal Bolan, Nora, Ani, Clay, Justin | The Rise Of Jessica & Fall of Bryce
Jessica has won the presidency, but unfortunately experiences quite a bit of push back. Not just from the jocks but Principal Bolan. Leading to Jessica quickly gaining an ally in Casey who seems radical enough, and anti-Bryce enough, to be worth suspecting. Yet, like with the main cast, we don’t have anything concrete to say this for sure.
Speaking of Bryce, with his body found, so comes the question of what happened? Unfortunately, based on initial evidence, the answer isn’t cut and dry. One says it might have been suicide, yet Nora thinks it might be murder. Which, of course, thanks to Clay and Ani, spreads like wildfire before an official statement can be put out.
This leads to varying results. Some, like Jessica, are in shock but more so worried about people thinking they did something. Others, like Justin, are distraught. Don’t get it twisted, he hasn’t forgotten what Bryce did to Jessica or him. However, lest we forget, stability in Justin’s life didn’t begin until Bryce took him in when he was 8 and afforded him not just his lifestyle, but a sense of family. So while Bryce did the unthinkable, multiple times, there is this long-held love that lasted for nearly a decade which is tainted thanks to the events of one night which personally affected Justin.
It’s a very weird thing watching how this season is trying to humanize people who were monsters and try to show them as complicated figures. Something that, as noted for Tyler, isn’t working out that much. It has in other media, Rudderless being an example which comes to mind, but that would require Tyler getting the same kind of attention Bryce is getting and be connected to everyone on a deeper level. Not this strange thing they are doing of making it seem like keeping Tyler from going to jail, maybe out of fear of him telling their secrets, makes him someone worth noting.
But, getting back to Bryce, I must admit that the push to remind us that, to men, Justin in particular, he wasn’t a bad person all the time is jarring. Mind you, in a good way, since the show does balance the narrative of reminding you Bryce is a rapist, who assaulted multiple people. Yet, between what he was to Justin and his relationship with Ani, there is this idea pushed that maybe he wanted to atone.
Bryce, Ani, Justin, Alex, Jess, Clay | Reclaiming My Body & Sexuality
Which is one of Bryce’s main struggles right now. If you recall, while Bryce has done horrible things, as shown with Justin, and continued on with Ani, we are given this idea that he is capable of being someone who isn’t a sociopath. One could even submit, while his privilege has gotten him out of being punished, a part of him wanted back in people’s good graces. For while he is willing to be hated, even fight if you have a problem, Bryce is slowly morphing into the type who seemingly wants people to air things out, maybe fight if they need to, and move on. And, really thinking about it, that might have been his MO all this time.
Yet, while that works with boys and his platonic relationship with girls, it is when Bryce is in a sexual situation that things go wrong. Bringing us to Jessica who confronted Bryce before he died, and the ever nosey Ani listened to it all. The gist of said conversation? Pretty much Jessica seemingly wanted to note Bryce didn’t break her as a whole and what he did break is stronger than ever. All of which didn’t get some sobbing reaction from Bryce. But, he didn’t try to antagonize her either.
However, with Bryce speaking to Jessica, and Justin hearing about it, so comes Justin presenting a death threat. One that Bryce tells Jessica about, since he is trying to atone the best he can, but is struggling to do. Mostly since he is expecting that sort of instant change, like when guys fight and make up. So having to regain trust, tolerance even, and nothing he is saying working, it makes him mad.
Though, when it comes to Ani, so comes one reason to continue. While she does note their friendship, if you want to call it that, is partly based on her mother working for his grandfather, there seems to be more than a sense of obligation there. Plus, with making a female friend, there seems to be hope.
Bringing us to how Alex fits into all this. Unfortunately for him, for reasons Jessica makes seem to be all on her, he just doesn’t get her off. Justin, on the other hand, especially after hearing how he confronted Bryce, that shifts something. So after breaking up with Alex, Jessica approaches Justin, and since he is a bit more laid back, she takes control and finds herself liking it. Mind you, she goes beyond just cowgirl and all that. For between Ani introducing her to sex toys, to Jessica realizing she likes to play a dom, she has the time of her life.
Making her feel a little guilt, hence why she has hidden it thus far. After all, how can she be so anti-jock yet is sleeping with one? Especially considering a jock has done so much to her, and people like Tyler, among many others.
What’s important about this whole topic is Jessica reclaiming her body and learning what pleasures her. That and Ani letting us know that the child-like haircut and soft voice shouldn’t fool you into thinking of her the same way Clay did Hannah. She may not talk about sex and all that, but it doesn’t mean she is unaware either.
But, getting back to Jess, what you have to appreciate is that her arc has touched upon the immediate aftermath of being raped, recovering in terms of being touched, as well as dating again, and now her figuring out how to gain pleasure again. In most shows, movies even, this is either rushed, or we only get the first two parts. So to see it all and go step by step brings yet another means to argue that 13 Reasons Why doesn’t do what it does to be sensational. Yes, if you don’t really watch the show and just get the headlines, you may think this show is all shock value. However, like how other shows start off with a murder and then unfurl, so does 13 Reasons Why handle many of its storylines. It’s just, unfortunately, most of its major moments happen towards the end of the season and unfurl in the following seasons.
Justin, Clay, Ani, Tyler | So, If That’s The Truth You Claim, Who Killed Bryce?
With Justin revealing his situation with Jessica, so comes the question of who could have killed Bryce? Mind you, no one has presented an airtight alibi yet. However, despite Ani and Clay playing amateur detectives, they have yet to uncover the truth. Though, let’s be real, considering Clay can’t even figure out if there is something between him and Ani, what is the likelihood he can find a killer? Never mind Ani seems to love inserting herself into drama, possibly adding her flare to it. So, in the long run, will she be an aid or liability? Not just to Clay, but the cops we assume she’s speaking to as well?
We have to note this person, maybe Justin’s father or someone else, who seemingly played a part in what may have happened to Bryce. He makes a claim they killed Bryce, but who knows really? Plus, when you add in the images Tyler had of someone who looked like they had their head bashed in, and him asking Tony to get rid of a gun for him, anything is possible. I can’t say the whodunit angle is necessarily getting me hyped, but I will admit the build to the homecoming game is definitely of interest.
Characters Introduced This Episode & Noteworthy Information
Casey (Bex Taylor-Klaus)
All we know about Casey is that she supports Jessica, especially in taking down the jocks. However, whether or not she should be seen as a suspect in Bryce’s murder? That’s hard to say. It is also hard to say whether her hatred for jocks comes from something done to her, her friends, or just generally hating what they do without being punished.
- Ani is Kenyan and Amara took her to the UK when she was 4, and to the US around the time she was 14.
- While from Kenya, Ani says the way her mother cooks is actually Ugandan.