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This article is about the Netflix Series character. You may be looking for the book character.

             

It has to get better. The way we treat each other and look out for each other. It has to get better somehow.
— to Mr. Porter on the bullying of kids in the school, in "Tape 7, Side A"


Clay Jensen is one of the main characters in 13 Reasons Why. He is portayed by Dylan Minnette.

Clay is a junior at Liberty High and was a close friend of his recently deceased classmate and friend, Hannah Baker. Before committing suicide, Hannah Baker recorded several cassette tapes about why she felt a hand full of people contributed to her death. Clay Jensen is the recipient of these tapes. The series is told from his perspective, as he spends the next few months listening to them, trying to piece together Hannah's story.

The first season follows Clay Jensen during his time with Hannah Baker's Tapes and his time with Hannah when she was alive.

Clay is the subject of Tape 6, Side A, although not as a reason for Hannah's suicide, unlike all the other people featured in the rest of the tapes. At the end of his tape, she explains that Clay's name didn't belong on the list, but that she felt he needed to know the reasons behind her ultimate decision.

Early Life

Little is known about Clay's early life. On his first shift at The Crestmont, he tells Hannah that he has lived in the town of Crestmont for his entire life when she asks him how he feels about the town. Clay was previously rumored to be gay by other classmates at Liberty High School but these rumors appear to have died down before the events of "13 Reasons Why". Due to Clay's introverted character, he is known to not attend parties. At Hannah's House party, Kat tells Hannah that the last time she saw Clay at a party was at her birthday party in the 4th grade, actually betting against Clay attending the party.

Clay may also have a history of depression or anxiety as his parents offer him Duloxetine in Tape 1, Side B which he has taken before for an unknown reason. Duloxetine is an antidepressant used to treat people who suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder which suggests Clay may have been in a bad state previously, potentially down to previous rumors of him being gay.

Throughout the Series

Season 1

After the death of Hannah Baker, a classmate of Clay's that he had a crush on, Clay started to hallucinate Hannah in the halls and classrooms of Liberty High School, the school that both Clay and Hannah attended. He first saw a hallucination of Hannah looking at him in the halls. Clay looked across the hall towards Hannah's locker, now adorned with letters and flowers, as two girls took a selfie. As the bell rang, signaling the beginning of class, he walked towards the locker. Justin Foley came up to Clay confronting him. "You're not as innocent as she says", he commented, but Clay had no idea what he meant.

Later, in Communications Class as he stared across the room to Hannah's old seat, the scene changed into a flashback of the same class but Hannah was sitting in her seat. The bell rang, and as everyone started rushing out of the class, Clay complimented Hannah on her new hairstyle after seemingly struggling to do so.

Upon arriving home, Clay found a package addressed to him on his doorstep. Clay opened the package to find seven tapes and a map of Crestmont Town. After Clay borrowed his father's boombox, he found that those tapes were from Hannah. Clay was visibly upset by this and was shocked when he heard that he was one of the reasons of why Hannah killed herself. Clay's mother appeared behind him, causing him to jump in surprise as he paused the tape he was listening to. In a hurry to get to his room, Clay grabbed the boombox before unplugging, thus causing it to fall on the ground. Since the boombox was now broke, Clay cycled over to Tony's house to borrow his one. However, as Tony and his dad were distracted by Tony's car they were fixing, Clay stole a Walkman from his friend Tony Padilla to listen to the first tape. After riding home from Tony's, Clay got into an accident that left him with a scar on his forehead.

Clay used the cassette tapes along with the map Hannah provided to visit all locations mentioned by Hannah in her tapes. Clay had flashbacks of Hannah's interactions at each location. When he arrived at the park, Clay pictured Hannah and Justin kissing on the slide.

With each episode, Clay begins to interact with the person currently talked about in the tapes. For example, Clay only began to talk to Jessica after listening to her tape.Clay is seen to have breakdowns that become more frequent as the show progresses, due to this he has to take frequent breaks which Tony finds unusual. Tony tells Clay that he is the slowest by far to listen to the tapes as many of the previous listeners have finished it within a night.

Clay begins to become a vigilante for Hannah by attempting to harm the others mentioned in the tapes. He takes pictures of Tyler Down's body and sends it around the school to make him suffer for what he did and takes Courtney Crimsen to Hannah's grave to make her feel guilt. Many of the others in the tapes become increasingly aware of this fact and try to stop Clay from attacking the others and make plans to try to stop him, such as having Alex Standall speed through traffic with Clay in the car to scare him.

Throughout the series, we begin to see the development of Clay's relationship with Hannah in flashbacks which start with Clay's first day at the Crestmont Theatre with Hannah, from there we see their relationship form into something much more that as they develop feelings for each other. Clay's tape is Tape 6, Side A. This tape is incredibly hard for Clay to hear and Tony offers support throughout the listening session to prevent him from harming himself. At one point, Clay cannot listen further and so is taken to Monet's for a break. After hearing the full tape, Clay is distraught and actually considers suicide. Tony prevents this and Clay carries on with the tapes.

Upon listening to "Tape 6, Side B", Clay goes to Bryce's home to get a confession out of him. He originally enters his home under the premise of him buying weed from him, where he has a flashback of Hannah's rape. Clay accuses Bryce of raping Hannah which results in him getting violently physically abused. Eventually, Clay talks Bryce into confessing he raped Hannah without knowing it and Clay rides out of Bryce's neighborhood incredibly happy. Clay was recording his confession on the last unused side of Hannah's tapes, which would be Tape 7, Side B, he plays the audio only for Tony. This is incredibly important as it shows evidence of Bryce saying he raped Hannah, which would give Hannah justice.

Clay visits Mr. Porter and tells him about the last day of Hannah's life and her meeting with him. When asked about how he knows this, Clay produces the tapes and gives them to Mr. Porter who is the thirteenth reason on Hannah's list because he didn't help Hannah after she told him about her being sexually assaulted and suicidal. After leaving the tapes with Porter, Clay reaches out to Skye Miller, a girl that Clay has interacted with throughout the show who is seen to be in a similar situation as Hannah due to the slits on her wrist. Clay asks if she would want to skip school with him in an attempt to help her like he should've helped Hannah. He takes a ride with Skye, Tony and his boyfriend Brad to somewhere.

Clay, Tony, Justin, Bryce, Sheri, Alex, and Ryan are the only ones who didn't attend their deposition. However, he mentions to Tony that both he and Tony have their depositions the day after.[1]

Season 2

At the beginning of Season 2, Clay is dating Skye Miller. Their relationship becomes rocky as Clay is still thinking about Hannah. When he learns that the Bakers are refusing to settle and the trial is going ahead, Hannah appears to him in visions and continues to do so throughout the season. The apparitions of Hannah serve as a motivator for Clay to bring Bryce and the jocks to justice, despite the fact that even after Clay received Bryce's confession of Hannah's rape, he got off scott free thanks to his lawyer. Clay has little motivation to follow up on this until he receives an anonymous Polaroid in his locker of sordid acts by the jocks.


Personality

Clay, Helmet, your name does not belong on this list. But you need to be here if I'm going to tell my story. If I'm going to explain why I did what I did. Because you aren't every other guy. You're different. You're good and kind and decent. And I didn't deserve to be with someone like you.
— Hannah describing Clay on her tape about him.[src]
Clay is shown to be a somewhat socially awkward person, however he is an overall very caring, intelligent and honest person who is a good friend to those around him and a decent person. He was shown to have had a crush on Hannah Baker though was never able to tell her directly that he loved her. While he treated Hannah well and had a good friendship with her, he himself mistreated her on a few occasions such as hurting her feelings after seeing the photograph that Justin took of her that was spread around the school and coldly telling her off after she tried talking to him about Jeff's death. Clay's eventual coldness towards her was apparently so great that during her meeting with Mr. Porter, Hannah claimed that she thought Clay hated her.

In spite of this, Clay is shown to be utterly devastated by Hannah's death and when he is given her tapes, he is shown to be completely horrified upon learning of the reasons why she killed herself. He becomes disgusted at the actions of the people on her list, and develops a strong hatred for some of them, notably Justin, Tyler and Bryce. He slowly begins to become more and more "unstable", hallucinating things such as punching Zach or Hannah's dead body covered in blood in the middle of the basketball court. Clay's hallucinations also show events that haven't actually happened, such as in Tape 1, Side A, in which Clay hallucinates the kiss between Hannah and Justin turn into something more based on the rumor that Hannah is a "Slut" and in Tape 3, Side A, in which Clay hallucinates a scenario in which he dances with Hannah at the Winter Formal but is stopped once Hannah's wrist begin to bleed which is a symbol of her suicide.

Throughout listening to the tapes, Clay becomes notably colder and also becomes angered at any sign of disrespect towards Hannah, notably seen when he gets angered at his old friend Skye for calling Hannah a coward. Clay even becomes a bully to a degree upon learning of the reasons for Hannah's suicide as he deliberately takes a picture of Tyler naked and spreads it around the school for revenge of what he did to Hannah and Courtney and brings Courtney to Hannah's grave in an attempt to hurt her for her actions against Hannah and also keying Zach's car. He does however appreciate those who actually feel remorse for their actions towards Hannah, notably Alex and Tony and later Jessica and Sheri when she takes responsibly for her actions. However he is strongly disgusted that a majority of the people on Hannah's list choose to hide Bryce's crimes and Jessica's rape, and even becomes aggressive towards his best friend Tony. At one point (after he and Zach catch Hannah in a brief lie on the tapes) he briefly even considers abandoning the tapes and going about things normally however he completely snaps in front of new foreign exchange students and shows his disgust at the people who treated Hannah like shit and the school itself for trying to remove responsibly from itself and vows that no matter what, the truth about Hannah's death and all those responsible will come out. Even though the others on Hannah's list attempt to sabotage him and try and intimidate him into keeping quiet, Clay refuses to give up showing his determination of avenging Hannah's death.

After listening to his tape, Clay is shown to be even more devastated even though Hannah firmly states that his name does not belong on her list and claims that he in fact left Hannah the night of Jessica's party (in which they almost had sex) because he was scared and as a result claims this was the beginning of the events that led to Hannah's death such as Jessica being raped and Hannah witnessing it and Sheri knocking down the stop sign that ultimately led to Jeff's death and declares that he killed Hannah and even contemplates suicide for a moment by jumping off a cliff. His guilt is exemplified later when he declares himself to be "Number 11" after confronting Mr. Porter. He is shown to be saddened that he cost a girl her life because he was afraid too love her and his hallucination depicting what he wanted to say to Hannah that night further shows how badly he wants to correct his mistake.

Clay is now shown to be strongly determined to get justice for Hannah's death and Jessica's rape as he personally coerces Bryce to confess to the deed after he provokes him into assaulting him in an attempt to get him punished for his actions and openly says that he wants him to pay for what he did. He tells Tony that it is better to pursue what Hannah and Jessica need, which is justice against Bryce rather than following her wishes of sending the tapes to all those on her list, showing his care for both of them. He has developed an even kinder side as he reaches out to Skye again in an attempt to not repeat the mistake of not being there for someone who needs help and friendship like Hannah was.

Clay's Mistake (Reason #11)

13 Reasons Why
Hannah's Reasons Navigation
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"Bryce Walker #12"

Clay is the subject of Tape 6, Side A, however Hannah makes it clear that he is not one of the reasons for why she killed herself. He was the only one she was actually fond of, and while everyone else was on her hit list, she just wanted him to be on the tape because he was/is a part of her story.

Clay spends the night with Tony, listening to his tape. On the night of Jessica's party, Clay and Hannah were about to have sex before Hannah starts remembering all the guys that did her wrong, and suddenly she can't escape from thinking everyone is against her. She has a mental breakdown and then tells him to stop, which he does before asking what's wrong. She yells at him to go away, which he does. On the tape, Hannah says a part of her was begging him to stay while she was yelling at him to leave. Clay is the only person on the tapes who did nothing wrong but he was included as a part of her story. In the beginning, ("Tape 1, Side A") Justin tells him he isn't as innocent as she says he is. He would be talking about the fact that Hannah says he shouldn't be on the tapes, but in her eyes, he just should've stayed, though it is possible that Justin is simply angry that Clay is not guilty of doing horrible things like he and the others on Hannah's list are and potentially cannot be punished or arrested for any part in Hannah's death.

In spite of Hannah telling him that he is not a part of her list, Clay is devastated by the fact that he left Hannah when she desperately needed him, claiming he did it because he was scared, not because Hannah told him to go and claims that this was the beginning of the chain of unfortunate events that followed such as Jessica's rape and Jeff's death as a result of Sheri and claims that he is responsible for Hannah's death and breaks down over the fact that he never told Hannah that he loved her. He later declares himself to be "Number 11" when confronting Mr. Porter.

Physical Appearance

Clay is tall and skinny, with short dark brown hair and blue-grey eyes. He has a scar on his temple from a biking accident early on in the series while listening to the tapes, which is how the audience can tell past from present, and he is rather anemic. He is often shown wearing jeans and a hoodie, and he wears button-up shirts with pants to parties and a suit to the dance. Clay carries his grey backpack around with him a lot.

Relationships

Clay and Hannah

Clay and Hannah worked at the same movie theater, with Hannah initially training him. The two became acquainted over the summer after Hannah moved to Clay's town. Hannah threw a party at her house, which her friend Kat explain the first party that Clay has attended since the fourth grade. Clay was one of the only people Hannah could really be friends with despite the rumors, although Clay did mess up a few times, once by telling her that sometimes it's better to wait, believing into the rumors of her having sex with Justin for a minute, which hurt Hannah's feelings. He also mentioned that she made it to the "hot or not" list, which upset her. However, in the tapes, Hannah explained that Clay didn't do anything to Hannah, he was on the tapes because he was such a huge part of her life. Clay often sees hallucinations of Hannah as he's listening to the tapes. After listening to the tape dedicated to him, Clay became heartbroken after realizing Hannah's true feelings during the night of Jessica's party. Realizing his feelings for her were mutual, he wanted to die as well, but Tony's encouragement helped him get out of it.

Clay and Tony are close friends, who sometimes push each other to the edge, but remain tight friends throughout. Tony guides Clay whilst he listens to his tape and stops him from wanting to throw himself off of the edge of a cliff after what he hears Hannah saying in the tapes. Tony is the only person who really tries to help Clay make smart decisions without breaking Hannah's rules, he also the only one who offers emotional support.

Clay and Kat have a distant friendship, before Kat moves away, he goes to Kat's going away party with Hannah, Kat mentions that the last party she saw Clay at was her birthday when she was in 4th grade (Year 5, 9-10 years old). Kat seems to be back on track with Clay and it seems like no time has passed, although they both point out that a lot of time has passed. Kat offers Hannah and Clay drinks.

Bryce and Clay

Bryce and Clay are not close friends, but merely acquaintances. Bryce persuades Clay to make bad decisions, one example being that he made him buy beer instead of drinking soft drinks and fizzy drinks. Under pressure, Clay did so and Bryce vouched for him, buying his and Clay's drink with his I.D. Outside the liquor store, Clay was then invited to a drinking contest with Alex, in which he got drunk afterward when trying to prove a point. Bryce and Clay don't always seem to be that friendly and it's more like a pressured relationship with them, if Clay had the choice of not knowing Bryce, it's a certainty that he wouldn't. However, the tapes cause a serious degradation in this relationship, as Clay later finds out that Bryce raped Jessica, one of Hannah's best friends and later, one of his. Clay also finds out that Bryce also raped Hannah, who he loves and cares about, but was too afraid to love her because he didn't really get her. Upon listening to his tape, Clay got Bryce to confess on a cassette tape and gave it to Mr. Porter as evidence, this obviously really sealed the fact that Clay hated Bryce.

Justin and Clay

Justin confronting Clay

Justin and Clay, aren't ever actually friends but friends who don't class each other as friends. They don't hate each other, but they don't really like each other, but they are seen talking and interacting. Justin tells Clay that he isn't an innocent person, but Clay later finds out that he is more innocent that Justin is in the suicide of Hannah Baker, Justin is who first marks Hannah's downward spiral into suicide, Clay makes it clear to every person on the tape that they will pay for what they do. Justin being number one doesn't have a friendly relationship with Clay, at the end of the series, Clay tells Justin that he needs to tell Jessica what actually happened to her that night and stop doing what he thinks is "protecting" her, when really he is causing her pain.

Clay and Jessica

Clay and Jessica talking at Monet's

When we first see Clay and Jess interact it is because Clay is wondering why Justin isn't in school and why Jessica is such a mess over things, Clay doesn't actually know about the tapes at this point although it seems that most of them do. Towards the end of the series, we see Jessica and Clay form a friendship, Clay wants to get justice for Jessica and makes it her decision whether or not to burn the tapes, Clay also provides a sort of comfort for Jessica and is the only person who tries to tell her what happened that night but gets interrupted by everyone who doesn't want her to know.

Clay and Alex have an unstable relationship, Alex is the only person that Clay actually tries to form a relationship with but the thought of Clay deepening his bond with Alex is hindered by the way Alex treated Hannah.

Courtney and Clay had a close relationship. She shows concern for Clay and wants to help him through things. He also showed to be very caring of her until he listened to her tape and understood what she did, he took her to the grave of where Hannah lies and made her feel like crap for what she did and then listened to why she did it, she doesn't seem to be forgiven, but Clay partially understand why she did what she did.

Tyler and Clay's relationship is rocky throughout the series, Clay listens to Tyler's tape and takes a photo of him, naked, and shares it to the school, making him feel the same way he made Courtney and Hannah feel, which led to the downfall of Hannah's relationship with Courtney and the rise of the sexual rumors of Hannah.

In Season 2, after Tyler was sexually assaulted by Montgomery, he attempted to shoot up the school at the school dance. But Clay successfully stopped him from doing this after apologizing to him for his part in pushing him to do this. To prove his friendship to Tyler, Clay has Tony take him away as the police arrived at the school to avoid Tyler getting arrested.

Skye and Clay were close friends in Junior High. Clay was taken aback by her radical change in appearance at the start of high school, however, and couldn't bring himself to approach her, which Skye took to mean an end to their friendship. Clay is generally tentative around Skye, while Skye acts defensive around him. He lashed out at her, when she insulted Hannah after her suicide, but later reached out to her.

In the beginning of Season Two, Clay and Skye are dating. Things don't last though as Clay still has Hannah on his mind, which ends up bringing turbulence to their relationship.

Jeff and Clay were good friends, with Clay being Jeff's tutor. Where Clay would mentor Jeff on his studies, Jeff would mentor Clay on approaching girls, particularly Hannah. Jeff took an active interest in Clay's progress in his relationship with Hannah, encouraging Clay to dance with her at the Winter Formal and to spend time with her at Jessica's party. Jeff's death had a profound effect on Clay, who was the first passerby to find his body at the scene of the car accident. He was initially angry as he believed Jeff was drink-driving, but still mourned his loss.

Family

Clay and Lainie

Clay and his mother get along, but she tends to invade his privacy and he tends to lie to her and try to hide things from her, he seems quite irritated when his Mother tries to get involved with what's going on with him, not knowing how to tell them what's happening, but also trying to understand it, before he can tell them. Clay's Mom later finds out at Tyler's deposition, that Clay currently has tapes of Hannah's reasons why she killed herself, which she is obviously shocked to find out. We don't know how their relationship continues after this.

Matt Jensen

Clay and his father get along, but it's the same relationship he has with his mother, slightly distant and less invasive of his privacy, they talk but he never pushes his son away or asks too many questions unless he demands them because he cares. When Matt wants to know what's going on, Clay seems less irritated wit his Father asking than his Mother asking, possibly because Clay sees his Mother as interfering and his Father doesn't bother him as much.

Appearances

Season 1

Season 2

Quotes

You see all these "don't kill yourself" posters up on the wall? They weren't up before. They put them up because she killed herself. And why did she do it? Because the kids here treated her like shit! (...). But no one wants to admit it, so they paint over the bathrooms and put up a memorial, because that's the kind of school that this is. Everyone is just so nice until they drive you to kill yourself. And sooner or later, the truth will come out. It's gonna come out.
— Clay lashing out in the hallway about Hannah and against the school.[src]
Clay, Helmet ,your name does not belong on this list. But you need to be here if I'm going to tell my story. If I'm going to explain why I did what I did. Because you aren't every other guy. You're different. You're good and kind and decent. And I didn't deserve to be with someone like you. (...). I never would. I would have ruined you. It wasn't you. It was me and everything that's happened to me.
— Hannah describing Clay in her tape about him.[src]
I left! I knew I shouldn't have left. And then Bryce raped Jessica. Hannah saw, then Sheri knocked down the stop sign, then Jeff died, and it all started with me!
— Clay blaming himself for leaving Hannah.[src]
I was angry for a minute because because I was jealous of Justin. And I was mad at you for wanting him and not me. And I was an asshole, and I'm sorry. And I can never make it right, I can never say all this to you, but I love you. And I will never hurt you.
— Clay hallucinating what he should have said to Hannah at Jessica's party.[src]
I couldn't I couldn't tell her. I couldn't hold her. I killed Hannah Baker. Like you said.
— Clay claiming he did kill Hannah due to leaving her.[src]
She went into the bathroom filled the tub opened the box of razor blades she took from her parents' store that morning She got into the tub still with her clothes on slit her wrists and bled to death. And she died alone. (...). And you could have stopped it. And I could have. Justin Foley could have. And a dozen other people, at least. But we didn't.
— Clay confronting Mr. Porter over Hannah's death.[src]
I cost a girl her life because I was afraid to love her.
— Clay about Hannah.[src]
You're a good person, Clay. And you can help people. Just maybe not how you think they need to be helped.
— Skye about Clay[src]

Trivia

  • His favorite kind of music are obscure indie bands.
  • His favorite reading materials are fantasy and sci-fi.
  • Tyler is the only person who Clay publicly humiliates after learning he did the same to Courtney and Hannah.
  • Clay loved Hannah and still does.
  • Clay and Hannah were extremely close, to the point of nearly having sex at one point.
  • Similarly to Hannah, Clay also nearly had sex with Sheri while they were in his room working on an assignment together.
  • Clay has a scar on his forehead from an accident early in the show, this was done so that fans could easily distinguish between Clay in the present day and Clay during the flashbacks that happen frequently in the show.
  • He is the first person to find Jeff in the car accident that killed him.
  • Clay is the only person on Hannah's tapes who is not considered one of the reasons for why she killed herself. He is a tape subject because he is part of Hannah's story and that he needed to hear it.

Gallery

See also: Category:Images of Clay Jensen

References

  1. Yorkey, Brian (writer) & McCarthy, Tom (director) (March 31, 2017). "Tape 7, Side A". 13 Reasons Why. Season 1. Episode 13. Netflix.