Summary: In Flashbacks, Zach comforts Hannah after what happened with Marcus. the next day he wants to go out with her but she shoves him away. Zach gets upset and starts stealing compliments from Hannah's compliment bag. In the present, Clay struggles with hallucinations during the day and has an outburst during a basketball game. Clay scratches "Why Me?" onto Zach's car. Clay returns the tapes to Tony. While giving a tour to foreign exchange students, Clay has an outburst and rants about the state of the school.
The Good: Clay's storyline was excellent in this episode. The hallucinations were fantastic and helped put us into Clay's mind, which he is quickly losing control over. It adds some tension to the scenes since we know we can't even be sure if what we are seeing is actually happening while also making us question Clay's reliability of a protagonist and if he is going to remain trustworthy throughout the series. Dylan Minnette stood out in his episode after not really making a mark in previous episodes. He played the depressed and bitter Clay really well and conveyed the change in his character very well. I also like the little detail of Clay's scar getting worse to reflect his mental state, even if the makeup does look like crap.
The ending of the episode was great. I was surprised by Clay giving up the tapes, but it makes a lot of sense for him to do that, seeing how they are quickly ruining his life. I'm sure the tapes will find their way back to him very soon, but I'm glad that the writers took the effort to show that Clay will do anything to try to escape how he is feeling right now. The ending scenes with Clay were excellent as he attempted a new positive outlook on everything now that he is free of the tapes, but he was unable to escape and ended up making a big scene with a powerful outburst.
Hannah's story has really lacked for me so far (see: The Bad), but I still felt like there were some nice improvements here. I really liked the scene where she left a note in the class compliments bag but was forced to hear practically nobody really care about the message. This kind of scene was really needed from the show to emphasize Hannah's loneliness and how she felt like she had nothing and nobody. I suspect the rest of the seasons will have more scenes like this. At least I hope there are more.
I am able to buy into Hannah's deteriorating state a little bit more in this episode due to Katherine Langford's great performance. We haven't seen Hannah on her own nearly enough in this show, so it's really up to the acting in these short scenes to make me care and for the most part, she did a great job.
Zach was pretty good in this episode. I was more than pleased to see a character get more development and be likeable overall for once. I was glad that Zach always behaved kindly towards Hannah, and that the whole reasons he was on the tapes was just because Hannah was going through a really tough time and accidentally made an enemy. Zach keeping the note was a great touch to really emphasize that he is a good person and has some regrets about what happened. I also like that the show touched on Zach's loneliness as well, which I would have loved to see explored in more detail.
The Bad: Once more, I feel like the person who hurt Hannah went out of character to do something. Zach stealing the compliments from Clay was just stupid and petty and felt like something from grade 5, not high school. It was seriously dumb and didn't fit the story at all. Zach logically should have just stopped talking to Hannah, but then she wouldn't have a reason to make a tape, so the writers had to put in something dumb to make up for it.
Speaking of grade 3, the whole concept of a compliment bag in high school is ridiculous. Nobody would do that in real life. It's worse than the dollar valentines in the last episode.
I feel like the whole conflict between Zach and Hannah was dumb. They know they both made some mistakes (Hannah especially), so why did they not just talk it out like sane people? Like seriously, why would Hannah make some stupid note instead of just confronting Zach and talking to him to tell him to stop? Also why did she lie about him crumpling up the note and throwing it to the ground? Are we supposed to somehow believe that she thought he did that but he didn't? If it's not that, then the show is having Hannah lie to get revenge on Zach which is EXACTLY what I said the show should be avoiding.
Hannah as a whole is sort of failing as a character at the moment. Katherine Langford's performance is currently the only thing that is making me feel some sympathy for her. This entire situation was totally brought on by her. I could understand if she had just felt bad about this and blamed herself which led into her depression, but instead she blames Zach for literally getting mad because Hannah was mean to him when he tried to be nice and she embarrassed him in front of his friends. Why should we feel bad for Hannah here when she did something cruel and clearly doesn't own up to it? Hannah cannot be portrayed as unlikable in a show like this, yet that is exactly what happened here. We desperately need to see more about how Hannah feels on her own and how the situations around her drove her to take her own life. I had expected each tape to get worse and worse, but so far they have just been petty things which I can hardly buy brought her to this level of sadness.
Of course the dialogue is still fairly poor. So is the relationship between Justin and Jessica which continues to make me question why they are even together anyways.
The Unknown: What is Skye's role in the story? Is she on the tapes too? That doesn't make much sense seeing how she isn't communicating with anybody else, but she still needs some kind of purpose to be a part of the story.
What is Mr. Porter going to tell Clay? Will Clay spill the beans on the tapes now? Will he get them back? How? Will Tony give them back or will something else happen?
So could Hannah really be lying about what happened at Jessica's party? Since she lied here, it may be possible that she lied about other things.
Best Moment: Clay's outburst at the end was gripping and powerful and it felt extremely real. Clay has been pushed to a breaking point here and it's been fascinating to see him slowly lose connection with himself and start doing irrational things. This was no exception and it provided what I think was the best scene in the show so far.
Character of the Episode: Clay.
Conclusion: This episode was powerful and had a great story revolving around Clay and even did a good job of developing a side character. Yet the show still keeps stumbling on stupid things and it's quite frustrating to see the potential for a great show being wasted through bad characterization of Hannah, poor dialogue and idiotic character decisions. This was still good, but by all means it should have been much better.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.