EPISODE 7: “Tape 4, Side A”
1. We finally learn how Hannah died.
Mr. and Mrs. Jensen are talking about Clay — how he might need to go back on his meds, how his nightmares have returned. Mrs. Jensen mentions that Hannah “slit her wrists and bled out in a bathtub.” We saw her with the slit wrists at prom but didn’t have the bathtub detail until now. It’s a gutting, devastating thing to visualize — and of course Clay overhears the conversation.
2. A new girl at school takes Hannah’s locker.
As she struggles to open the locker, Clay rushes over — not to help, but to figure out why someone is in Hannah’s space. He thinks she asks him, “Why did you do it? What you did to Hannah?” But then he snaps out of it, realizes she’s a new student, and helps her open the locker.
3. Clay thinks he’s finally gotten to his tape… but we’re actually listening to Zach’s.
4. Zach was nice to Hannah after the disastrous, humiliating date with Marcus.
He sat with her, letting her ignore him, and then offered to pay for her milkshakes. But when he tries to be nice to her at school, she freaks out. This is one of the first times it seems like Hannah is in the wrong — I really don’t think Zach had an ulterior motive.
5. The compliment bags in communications class were a big deal to Hannah, and then Zach starts stealing Hannah’s compliments.
So she eventually tries to make things better by writing him a letter and leaves it in her bag, telling him about how she feels so unbearably lonely and how hard everything is. Hannah tells us in the tapes that Zach reads it and throws it on the ground.
Also, Clay leaves Hannah cute little bunny cartoons, but they don’t seem to mean as much to her as they should. How can she not see that she does have a friend in him?
6. Clay is losing it — and has disturbing visions at the basketball game.
Is he depressed, too? He hears people saying things to him that aren’t true — people telling him his own secrets. It’s a tough episode to watch as a viewer, because we don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. Did Clay really throw a basketball in Zach’s face? No… but he does key Zach’s Audi in the parking lot. He writes “Why me?” — the question Hannah yelled to Zach in the hallway after he read her letter and did nothing.
7. Skye and Clay bond in the parking lot.
She sees him keying Zach’s car but says she won’t tell. She says she likes this new, angry Clay — and can’t believe he didn’t know what a terrible place this school was before.
8. Hannah does lie in the tapes, whether she meant to or not.
Jessica kept saying it, but I don’t know if I trust Jessica yet. Either way, that part is true: Hannah lied, because, as Zach shows Clay, he still has the letter. He keeps it folded in his wallet and explains that he just didn’t know what to do when he read it. It was too heavy. “I’m sorry, Clay,” he says. “I’ll always be sorry.” But when he asks Clay if he wants to read it, Clay shakes his head. “I don’t think I could. I don’t think I ever could.”
9. Clay returns the tapes to Tony, once and for all.
I think it’s partly because of Hannah’s lie, and partly because of how uncomfortable he was when confronted with Hannah’s letter. “I can’t listen,” he tells Tony. “I can’t hear it in her voice… It’s starting to make sense to me why she did what she did.” He asks Tony once again if he can just tell him why he’s on the tapes. Of course, Tony says no, but that he can help Clay through it. That’s not what Clay wants, though.
10. At school, Clay is acting strange. He’s either gotten a weight off his shoulders with the tapes being gone, or… he’s getting worse.
He starts saying hi to everyone — “Hey, Justin, good!” “Hey Sheri, how was the rest of your weekend?” It seems like everything might be okay for a bit, until Hannah’s tapes start playing over the loudspeaker. Is this Tony’s way of making sure everyone hears what Hannah wanted to say? Nope… just another of Clay’s hallucinations.
11. Jessica and Justin are having issues.
After she gets suspended from the basketball game for being late, Jessica starts drinking with Bryce and his friends, and heads to Bryce’s house after. Justin asks why she didn’t text him, and she says Bryce did. It’s true — but Bryce didn’t tell Justin that his girlfriend was there. Jessica tells Justin he’s not really one to get mad at her about not answering texts or being at Bryce’s, since he’s the one who was hiding out there in the first place.
12. Clay calls Mrs. Bradley out in class after he hallucinates on a questionnaire.
“How important is it to you to help Hannah Baker?” he sees — before the real words on the questionnaire materialize and it really says “others” where it said “Hannah Baker.” Still, he takes this as an opportunity to confront Mrs. Bradley, another person who may have known Hannah was hurting and couldn’t do anything. “How important was it to you to help Hannah Baker?” he asks. She replies that it was extremely important — why does he ask? “Remember that note you got in your bag last year? About not feeling anything anymore? It was from Hannah.” His boldness is shocking — but before it can go much further, Mr. Porter comes to pull Clay out of class. Is he finally getting in trouble for his strange outbursts, or for keying Zach’s car? Nope — turns out he forgot he signed up to show a group of international exchange students around with Courtney. And show them around he does.
13. Clay has a complete meltdown on the tour.
Probably one of the best scenes in the series so far: I think I watched the entire thing with my jaw hanging open. Clay hijacks the tour and uses it as an opportunity to explain to the international students all the truths of the school, like who runs it (Justin and Zach), how the librarians aren’t very smart, and most importantly, why there are so many “Don’t Kill Yourself posters” on the walls. “Everyone is just so nice until they drive you to kill yourself,” he explains. “Sooner or later, the truth with come out. It’s going to come out.” As everyone gathers around in a shocked stupor, Mr. Porter finally bursts through the crowd and tells Clay to come with him — right now. Clay has finally, 100 percent cracked.
Episode grade: A-
Click ahead for episode 8.