“You never really know who you can trust, or who you can’t, so keep your wits about you,” warns Hannah Baker as we return for episode two of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why.
It’s clear we need to heed her warning because her story is about to become as complicated as the friendship that’s the subject of a brutal b-side track.
“Tape one, side B. Step up Jessica Davis, you’re next,” our netherworld narrator says, introducing us to the best friend she loved and lost on the long and lonely path that led to her tragic end.
13 Reasons Why recaps
Just like Hannah, Jessica Davis is “so that girl” – ever so slightly on the outsider looking in thanks to her Army Dad’s necessity to move his family around every two years. The pair bond instantly and even welcome fellow newbie Alex into their magic circle. But “one plus one plus one is not a simple equation”: Hannah feels the bitter sting of betrayal as her friends hook up, leaving her alone in their regular haunt Monet’s.
When Alex pens a note claiming Hannah’s got the better ass, recently dumped girlfriend Jessica is furious and immediately pins the blame on her former best friend. She jumps to conclusions suggesting Hannah’s been having it off with her boyfriend “because that’s what sluts do”, slapping her across the face and cementing Hannah’s status.
At least that’s what Hannah says anyway. Jess, however, tells Clay it’s a pack of lies.
And as if wondering whether or not the girl of his dreams is lying wasn’t enough for Clay to deal with, there’s also the discovery of Tony’s deception to deal with too. It seems our custodian of the tapes is in league with Hannah’s parents – but how does he know them? And how much do they know?
Before you hit fast forward, let’s take some time to mull a few things over.
Who’s telling the truth? Hannah Baker or Jessica Davis?
It’s clear from the off that Hannah and Jessica’s friendship, like all friendships, is complicated. Their blissful bond was broken when two became three, and as their relationship disintegrated things got messy.
But which girl is offering us the most accurate version of events? Wounded Hannah would have every reason to snipe about her former best friend, while Jessica, who’s clearly being eaten up by something she’s heard, could be shifting the blame away from herself and her boyfriend – who just so happens to be the subject of episode one.
We’re guessing the truth lies somewhere in the middle, but we’re leaning more towards Hannah’s version of events for one simple reason: Jessica’s far too frantic. Something has the schoolgirl utterly spooked.
“Boys talk, girls listen and everything gets messed up,” says Hannah. In Jessica’s case that statement rings true, on more than one occasion.
What’s Justin hiding from?
The basketball player is holed up in Bryce’s palatial pad, feeling very sorry for himself. It’s clear he’s not eager to head back to school after his chat with Mr Porter, but why? Is it something to do with the photos he took on the rocket slide? Or could it be connected to what’s still to come on the tapes?
Hannah says she’s “not done” with Justin at the end of her recording in episode one. Could the worst be yet to come for Liberty High’s young star?
Why is everyone so worried about Clay talking to Mr Porter?
Clay is usually something of a loner in high school so he’s been rather surprised to discover his classmates are suddenly oh-so-eager to hang out with him.
In fact, they all suddenly seem obsessed with his wellbeing and each others’ whereabouts, especially when the mysterious Mr Porter pops up. Justin disappeared after his chat with the guidance counsellor, while Jessica’s frantic at the thought of being sent to his office.
“What did you say?” she screams when she finally tracks down her boyfriend, who’s already been told to keep an eye on his other half. “Tell her to get her shit together, she’s drawing attention to herself… and you,” Marcus and Zach warn him, before he promises Jessica she need not worry about Clay confessing anything.
“We’ll deal with it,” the still strung-out Justin promises.
What’s ‘THERE’ on the tapes?
Jessica seems entirely sure Hannah is a liar when she’s talking to Clay, but seeks reassurance about it from Justin when she comes around to visit him at Bryce’s house. We get the feeling she’s not talking about his tale of heading to third base with Hannah on the rocket slide, not least because she’s convinced Clay isn’t “THERE” on the tapes yet.
“THERE” must refer to the thing she believes Hannah lied about. But what could it be? And why does Justin seem to go cold at the mere mention of it?
Is Mr Porter somehow connected to the tapes?
Hannah makes a comment about guidance counsellor Mrs Antilly’s departure to a new school district, and Mr Poter’s subsequent replacement of her, having “unfortunate” consequences. “But that’s for another tape,” she explains.
Could Mr Porter have had something to do with Hannah’s death? And is that why he’s so eager to talk to the students about her? He certainly seems as on-edge and shifty as some of Liberty’s most jittery youngsters.
How heartbreaking is it to watch Hannah’s mum scramble for answers?
We have to hand it to Kate Walsh because she’s breaking our hearts as the desperate Mrs Baker. She’s struggling to come to terms with her daughter’s death, and clutching at straws to find clues as to what might have broken her little girl down.
“Do you remember what we saw on her Facebook, the texts? She was bullied. This was bullying,” she screams at husband Andy when she finds Alex’s list among Hannah’s belongings.
Her determination to get justice for her daughter is absolutely heartbreaking, and her despair is made all the more difficult to stomach by the knowledge that all the answers lie on those cassette tapes.
Can Clay trust Tony?
We know Hannah trusted Tony with the story of her life and death, but now we’ve learned Tony’s in league with Hannah’s parents too – though he clearly hasn’t let them in on their daughter’s last request.
Tony seems to have Clay’s back when it comes to his shifty classmates, but can our leading man truly rely on him? We’ll have to wait and see.