What Did The Tapes Say On '13 Reasons Why'? The Content Of Hannah's Cassettes Is Pivotal In Season 2
13 Reasons Why takes its title from the final statements of Hannah Baker. Prior to her death, Hannah Baker sent out 13 pre-recorded messages, detailing the 13 reasons why she chose to commit suicide. Season 1 of the series goes through all of these tapes, but Season 2 leaves them behind to investigate other troubling aspects of high school life. While the tapes are in the past, Hannah Baker's final message will likely loom large over Season 2, so audiences should recap what was on the 13 Reasons Why tapes.
One of the many interesting things about 13 Reasons Why Season 2 is that the show will be approaching the subject matter of the tapes from a perspective other than Hannah's. In an Entertainment Weekly interview with show creator Brian Yorkey, it was revealed that "Season 2 is very much more about everyone else’s perspective on [Hannah's] story."
While the novel that the series is based on was limited almost exclusively limited to Hannah's point of view, and the first season expanded somewhat to show other character's points of view — especially Clay's. Season 2 offers an additional opportunity for the other characters points of view to be explored. In Season 1, Hannah spoke for them, and, in Season 2, they all have a chance to speak for themselves. But, until that happens — here's what you need to know about Hannah's side of the story.
Tape 1, Side A — Justin Foley
Justin Foley is the subject of Hannah's first tape. After sharing Hannah's first kiss, Justin attempted to increase his social status by starting rumors about Hannah, and sharing an explicit photograph of Hannah taken without her knowledge. Justin may have enjoyed a nice social boost, but when Justin's friend Bryce Walker grabbed his phone and sent the picture of Hannah to the entire school, her reputation plummeted.
Tape 1, Side B — Jessica Davis
The second tape is dedicated to Hannah's former best friend, Jessica Davis. Hannah and Jessica had a falling out after Jessica accused Hannah of hooking up with her boyfriend, Alex Standall. Their explosive argument led to a slap in Hannah's face and the end of their friendship, which Hannah stated was a contributing factor to her death.
Tape 2, Side A — Alex Standall
The third tape is dedicated to Alex Standall, whom Hannah believed contributed to her and Jessica's falling out, as well as her objectification within the school. After Jessica informed Alex that she didn't want to have sex with him, Alex wrote a list ranking the girls in school by "best ass" at the behest of Bryce Walker and some of the other school jocks. This informed Jessica's anger at Hannah, and opened Hannah up to harassment in school.
Tape 2, Side B — Tyler Down
Hannah's fourth tape was addressed to Tyler Down, a local photographer who focused his energies on stalking Hannah and photographing her. Tyler eventually got a picture of Hannah sharing a kiss with Courtney Crimson, which he spread to the school. While no one was able to tell that it was Hannah in the picture, the spreading of the picture influenced the actions of the subject of tape five.
Tape 3, Side A — Courtney Crimson
Prior to her death, Hannah and Courtney had managed to form a strong friendship — but that also led to Courtney being the subject of tape five. After a drunken kiss between the two was caught on camera, Courtney became fearful that the photo of her and Hannah would out her as a lesbian. To get attention off of herself, Courtney told others that Hannah was promiscuous and "confirmed" the false rumors spread by Justin, further isolating Hannah.
Tape 3, Side B — Marcus Cole
After the rumours inspired by Justin and Courtney begin to take hold, Marcus acted on those rumours and ended up as the subject of tape six. Pretending to be nice to Hannah and asking her out on a date, Marcus spent the date making aggressive advances as his friends watched from a nearby diner booth. The message to Hannah was clear — she was now defined by her false reputation.
Tape 4, Side A — Zach Dempsey
Zach happened to be in the same diner that Hannah's date with Marcus was in, and attempted to check in with her after Marcus left. They seemed to form a genuine friendship, but Hannah got the feeling that while Zach was being empathetic, he may have actually believed the rumors about her. She rejected his friendship, pushing Zach to sabotage a class project. The Liberty High School project encouraged students to leave anonymous friendly comments in each other's bag, but Zach would steal the comments from Hannah's bag — ripping away one of the few resources she had for emotional support.
Tape 4, Side B — Ryan Shaver
The subject of Hannah's eighth tape was Ryan Shaver, and a writer for the school paper, The Lost and Found Gazette. Ryan published a poem that Hannah wrote, despite the fact that she specifically asked him not to. Although the poem was published anonymously, its publishing made her words and emotions the subject of school-wide scrutiny.
Tape 5, Side A — Justin Foley
The only encore appearance in Hannah's tapes, Justin's second tape is dedicated to the fact that he didn't stop Bryce Walker from sexually assaulting Jessica at a party at her house, which Hannah witnessed while hiding in a closet. While Justin attempted to intervene, he was overpowered by Bryce — both physically and financially, as Justin lived with Bryce and Justin was scared to live in his own home, and therefore likely scared to stand up to his friend.
Tape 5, Side B — Sheri Holland
Tape 10 is dedicated to another death that affected Liberty High School, placing the blame on Sheri Holland. While driving Hannah home from a party, Sheri knocked over a stop sign and did not report it. This downed stop sign later lead to the car accident-related death of Jeff Atkins — a student so friendly that he avoids condemnation in any of Hannah's tapes. Sheri initially refused to believe that she had any part in Jeff's death, but Hannah was unable to shake the guilt.
Tape 6, Side A — Clay Jensen
Clay had to get through 10 tapes to find out that Hannah didn't blame him for her death. On tape 11, Hannah stated that she believed Clay was only loosely responsible for her death. At Jessica's party (which Clay invited her to), the two almost hooked up, but Hannah changed her mind and demanded that he leave. Clay respected her request, leaving her be — which inadvertently led to Hannah witnessing Jessica's assault, and Sheri taking Hannah home which contributed to Jeff's death. While Hannah doesn't blame Clay, Clay still blames himself for not staying with Hannah. (Even though she explicitly told him to go.)
Tape 6, Side B — Bryce Walker
After having a difficult day, Hannah wandered the streets and came across a party at Bryce's luxurious house. Bryce welcomed her to the party, and she and a few other people (Jessica, Justin, Zach) hung out in Bryce's hot tub. However, after the others left, Bryce sexually assaulted Hannah. She attributed Bryce's attack as the final straw, pushing her to begin planning her own death.
Tape 7, Side A — Kevin Porter
While Bryce's attack pushed Hannah to begin making a plan for suicide, she placed blame on Liberty High School counselor Kevin Porter for not listening to her cries for help. Originally, Hannah planned to only make 12 tapes before committing suicide — but reached out to her counselor for guidance. Hannah opened up about her abuse, but Kevin gave all the wrong advice. He questioned whether or not she was sober, suggested she consented to the assault but later regretted it, and said she should simply "move on" since her assaulter was a senior and would be leaving the next year. Feeling ignored by Kevin's misguided attempts to help, she went home and committed suicide.
One of the central parts of Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why will be a trial, where the subjects of Hannah's tapes will be serving as witnesses. While the accusations of Hannah's tapes range from the relatively minor (Zach Dempsey stealing compliments) to the horrific (Bryce Walker's multiple assaults), everyone will be forced to own up to their role in Hannah's life and death. The tapes may be over, but their effects are only beginning.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.