Summary: In flashbacks, Hannah joins the poetry club and writes a poem which is then published by Ryan, humiliating Hannah. In the present, Tony takes Clay on a walk and reveals that he was there when Hannah died. Clay gets the tapes back and gives Hannah's poem to Olivia.
The Good: We have finally seen Hannah with her parents. It's really bad that the show took 8 episodes to show an example of what Hannah's life at home is like. You would think that would be one of the first things the show touches on. Better late than never though, and what we got was pretty good. We are clearly shown that while Hannah's parents were loving, they may not have ever given her the attention she looked for and were too busy arguing or dealing with their business to show much care for Hannah's life. Seeing Hannah come home clearly upset after deciding not to do poetry anymore, only for her parents to ignore it was pretty telling.
I did like the Tony is gay reveal. It's nice to see diversity like that in the show. I was also amused that Clay was completely oblivious, which is one of his defining traits at this point. It made for a nice laugh and it was the most organic scene that Clay and Tony had this episode.
This episode was very repetitive (see: The Bad), and I think it only really benefitted one scene. The show seems to show Clay come so close to making Hannah feel good over and over again, only for him to unintentionally mess it up at the very end every single time. I wonder if that's why he is on the tapes? That seems really harsh, but I'm sure that something major happened for Clay's tape, whenever it is.
The Bad: The repetition was a huge problem for this episode, and it made so much of it feel like filler. It has been present in previous episodes, but those have usually had enough going on for me to not really be bothered by it. Furthermore I could always believe that things would be explored more in the next episode. But now we are 8 episodes in and there should not be any more filler. Yet this whole episode was pretty much filler. For the Hannah story we once more got to see a nice guy who wasn't actually so nice storyline which has gotten so bland over the past few episodes. We also saw Mr. Porter talking to somebody about Hannah for hat feels like the 100th time with no actual payoff. The group of kids met up again to say that Clay was a problem for what felt like the 1000th time and they still haven't done anything. And once more the Bakers came into a completely filler conflict which had no impact on their character arcs or the overall story and served to waste our time. Let's add in Justin and Jess being dislikeable with a stupid relationship which is impossible to carer about and we have a completely generic episode from the show which has everything I hate about it.
The biggest problem I have with the filler is that it's wasting time the show could be spending trying to flesh out its characters. I've said the characters are extremely shallow and that still remains true, so the show chooses to just waste time instead of making me care. That's really annoying to see and is one of the biggest things preventing the show from being as good as I think it has potential to be. I would much rather take actual character development over a scene of Alex deciding to go to the Bakers store and doing absolutely nothing.
The rock climbing story was dumb. It had no tension whatsoever and didn't really serve to make Tony and Clay bond more as friends so I'm left questioning its purpose. I also found it hard to buy into Clay's excitement after finishing the climb, and I honestly thought he was being sarcastic at first.
Hannah's storyline had some big flaws as well. They completely reused the idea of having people laugh at Hannah after something was spread around the school from the first episode. I also found it ridiculous that everyone was reading the poem. Like seriously, who in the school actually reads things like that? Definitely not everybody. And nobody makes fun of poems like that. They would just gloss over it and move on, not actively laugh at the writer. The show continues to make everyone aside from Hannah seem like unrealistic assholes to make us sympathize with Hannah and it is getting more and more frustrating.
It was hard to buy into Tony's sadness surrounding Hannah's death since we have seen them interact like maybe twice in the whole show. We can't just be told they are friends, it needs to be shown to us.
The Unknown: What will the Bakers do with the poem from Clay?
Best Moment: I'll pick Tony describing the day Hannah died because the sheer tragedy of the event made me feel some emotion for Tony having to see all of that. I just wish we knew more about his relationship with Hannah so that the scene would have had more emotion so I could consider it one of the best in the show.
Character of the Episode: Tony.
Conclusion: This was a poor episode. The show is treading water to make it to 13 episodes at this point and it's frustrating to get an episode where nothing is accomplished at all. The show has at least been decently entertaining in previous episodes which were weaker, but this episode did absolutely nothing for me. The show needs to get moving again so maybe it can end on a high note.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.