Summary: In flashbacks, Alex creates his list to get back at Jessica for not having sex with him and Hannah is bullied about having the "best ass". In the present, Clay speaks with Alex who is feeling extremely guilty about Hannah's suicide. Clay is forced by Bryce and friends to buy a bottle of liquor and chug it.
The Good: Alex's character was really good in this episode. Though we don't know much about how he was before (see: The Bad), we can very clearly see how Alex has changed for the worse after Hannah's suicide. This episode does a great job of exploring how depressed he has become in a bunch of effective scenes like his talk with Clay, the ending where he emptily plays video games before jumping into a pool and when he quits the jazz band because it's "pointless". So far the show hasn't really examined the guilt of the people who Hannah believes to be responsible since both Jessica and Justin have been very unlikable about the whole situation, so that makes it feel very refreshing to see Alex act like a decent human being who feels bad about what happened.
Clay and Hannah's relationship remains one of the best parts of the show. They have good chemistry together and are pretty fun to watch, so I think their scenes work pretty nicely together. I'm definitely very interested to see what happens between them.
The store scene where Bryce gropes Hannah was done pretty well I thought. While it feels like it was overdramatized (see: The Bad), it serves as a very effective way to continue Hannah's downfall which is bound to only get worse after each episode.
It was good to get some basic backstory on Justin as well. He was pretty shallow so far, so it's nice to get a hint that there is more to him than what meets the eye. It seems that his parents are utter garbage, which does help humanize him a bit. As a side note, I really like that the Coach is looking out for Justin and seems to genuinely care about him. In a show about suicide, it's important to establish that there are lots of decent people who care about the main characters' well-being.
The Bad: I'm starting to have a bit of a problem with Clay as the series moves on. Apparently he was much closer to Hannah than it initially seems, so in that regard it's pretty weak that he doesn't have more struggles trying to move on like Alex does.
Hannah's narration is really hurting the show more than it's helping. It leaves no room for subtlety and it feels so dramatic that it honestly completely ruins the emotional resonance of smaller moments. Hannah crying while leaving the store could have been powerful, but instead it felt completely empty to me due to Hannah's over-dramatic narration. Having Hannah narrate while sounding completely unlikable and overdramatic really only serves to make me dislike her character which is absolutely not what I should be feeling for a girl who committed suicide.
Hannah's paranoid trip through the school with Alex's list flying around was really poorly done. The show could have gotten creative with its cinematography to heighten Hannah's paranoia, but nope, instead it relies on Hannah's crappy narration once more to weaken the impact of a scene. I also found it pretty ridiculous that the students were passing around Alex's list in paper. Seriously? Nobody does that anymore (they use phones) and teachers would stop it from continuing anyways.
I wish that the character focus was better in each episode. I feel like too much time is spent on rather unimportant stuff, like Clay drinking, when it really shouldn't be. I would find these episodes more compelling if they focused on a specific character and actually explored that character. Like this episode was fixed around Alex, yet I don't know a whole lot about him. I would have loved to get a better idea of his story so I could at least sympathize with him a little more and understand why he did what he did. But instead we get nothing about who Alex was and we need to care about who he is in the present. This works somewhat for Alex since his guilt makes me sympathize with him, but it's completely failed with both Jess and Justin who are almost insufferable to me at this point.
Alex making his list was dumb as well. We get a half-baked explanation on why he did it which isn't good enough. To add to my last point, we really needed to see what drove Alex to making that list so we could sympathize with him more for making the mistake he did. But we don't get to see what was going through his head, so it leaves us to dislike him a little bit as well which isn't good. Apparently he loved Jessica, so he broke up with her because she didn't want to have sex yet?? Seriously?! That is an awful thing to do which doesn't fit Alex's character at all, so we desperately needed some more insight on why he did that, but we just don't get it.
The Unknown: From the look of things, Bryce and Tyler both never got the tapes, since they don't seem aware of their existence. Interesting.
Where are Tony's allegiances? Whose side is he on? Why was he beating somebody up in an abandoned location? What was that for? Why does Alex not trust Tony?
Why do Justin and all the others seem to be after Clay? What is their purpose? Why? What is Clay going to do?
What happened at Jessica's party which was very important?
What is Clay doing now which is illegal?
Best Moment: Alex's outburst at Monet's was excellent. It felt like an earned moment which really highlighted Alex's guilt and how he feels that if people had been better, including himself, Hannah could have been saved. It felt like a very real outburst from a troubled teenager who had recently lost a friend. This was my favourite scene in the show so far.
Character of the Episode: Alex.
Conclusion: This episode was another solid instalment, though it was more uneven than the others. It had the best and the worst of the show, which makes it a bit of a mixed bag.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.