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Hey, it's Hannah. Hannah Baker. That's right. Don't adjust your...whatever device you're hearing this on. It's me, live and in stereo. No return engagements, no encore, and this time, absolutely no requests. Get a snack. Settle in. Because I'm about to tell you the story of my life. More specifically, why my life ended. And if you're listening to this tape you're one of the reasons why. I'm not saying which tape brings you into the story. But fear not, if you received this lovely little box, your name will pop up. I promise.

–   Hannah Baker


Tape 1, Side A is the first episode of the first season of 13 Reasons Why.

The Subject of this tape is Justin Foley.

Synopsis

As the school mourns the death of Hannah Baker, her friend Clay receives a box of tapes with messages she recorded before she committed suicide. [1]

Plot

SPOILERS AHEAD


Clay Jensen walks through the halls of Liberty High, depressed that his friend has committed suicide. As he looks across the hall, he sees a hallucination of Hannah Baker, who smiles while waving at him. The next moment, she disappears. Clay looks across the hall and sees two girls stop in front of Hannah's locker and take selfies before posting it on social media with the hashtag #NeverForget. He walks towards Hannah's locker and stares. The second bell rings, as Justin Foley appears beside him. Justin confronts him and tells him that he isn't as innocent as "she" says he is before counselor Kevin Porter interrupts them and ushers them to the next class.

It is peer communications class, when Mrs. Bradley starts telling the class about ways to get the help one needs. She informs everyone that the information is provided outside her room, or outside of the main office, as well as Liberty High's homepage. As she rambles on about how to get help, Pratters aks Mrs. Bradely if it's possible to move on. He complains that it has been over a week, so isn't it healthy to finally move on? The whole class begins murmuring, shocked that he'd even say that at such a vulnerable time. He explains that, yes it may be tragic, but he doesn't want to keep being reminded all the time, as it is depressing. Mrs. Bradely replies that they'll never be done with it, and that's why it's important to know the signs that someone you care for, might need help.

As she continues her lecture, Clay tunes her out as he glances over to the seat that had once been occupied by Hannah. He has a flashback of one of Mrs. Bradley's usual peer communications classes, where Hannah was alive. As Mrs. Bradley informed the class of the group collaboration project, the bell rang signaling the end of the session. Clay kept nervously glancing at Hannah while packing up his books, as if he wanted to tell her something. He finally leaned over and told her that he liked her short hairstyle. He continued rambling, to which Hannah just smiled and thanked him. She then took her bag and left the classroom. 

In the background, Mrs. Bradley's voice draws him back to reality as she keeps calling his name. His gaze finally leaves the empty chair across the room to stare at her. After reassuring Mrs. Bradley that he's paying attention, he looks out towards the open door, seeing Mr. Porter rushing through the hallway, accompanied by Mr. and Mrs. Baker. They all stop in front of Hannah's locker, as Mr. Porter tries to open the locker. He explains that the decorations on her locker were done by the students, and the staff thought it'd be best to leave it. As he unlocks the locker, Mrs. Baker is shocked at the lack of decoration inside. Hannah didn't have any pictures or stickers inside. She is confused as she stares at Mr. Porter. Mr. Baker reassures her that it's just a locker, but she says it's Hannah's locker. Clay leaves the classroom and looks at them from a distance. When Mrs. Baker looks at him, he turns to leave in the opposite direction. 

Clay goes to the bathroom to find a Tyler Down perched on the window, taking pictures. They both greet each other, then Clay goes to a bathroom stall. Just then, Bryce Walker walks inside the toilet and tells Tyler to get out. He continues talking to his mother on the phone.

After school finishes, Clay meets Courtney Crimsen outside the school building. She embraces him in a hug and starts comforting him about Hannah's death, and that Hannah killing herself didn't make sense. Clay agrees. She hugs him a goodbye before departing in a rush. Tony Padilla calls Clay over and asks him if he'd like a ride home. Clay accepts the offer and gets inside the car. Tony plays a cassette as they ride in silence throughout the neighborhood.

As they pass The Crestmont, Clay has a flashback of his first day working at The Crestmont. Hannah was teaching Clay how to serve popcorn to customers. She told him that she'd been working 3 weeks prior to Clay, even though she moved to the town two months ago. She then asked him how the town was, to which he answered that he wouldn't know what to compare it to since he'd been living there all his life. He continued saying that it would be like asking Han Solo "How is space?", to which she replied "Wow! You're an actual nerd, aren't you?" But she admired that about him because there was actual courage with admitting being a nerd.

The flashback ends, as Clay is drawn back into reality again, looking ahead as they continue driving through the town. They arrive at Clay's house, as Clay and Tony part ways, Clay making his way toward his house. In the doorstep, Clay finds a package with his name written on it at the top. He enters his house and opens the package to find a box of cassette tapes. Curious, he asks his dad where the boombox is, to which his dad replies that it is in the workshop.

He finds the boombox and plays the first tape. As he's listening to Hannah's recorded voice, he's shocked as he mutters "holy shit". His mother appears behind him as she asks "Watcha doing?" and he gets freaked out and tries to pause the tape. When his mother inquires about what he's listening to, he tells her it's a project. As he's leaving, the eject button gets broken at his sudden movement. Because of this, Clay cycles over to Tony's house to borrow a cassette player so he could listen to the tapes after his one got broken back home. Tony and his dad are preoccupied with fixing Tony's old Mustang, so Clay steals the Walkman and makes an excuse that his mother is cooking dinner and that he needs to be home.

That same day, Clay doesn't return home. He goes to the hill overlooking the Carquinez Bridge, to listen to Hannah's first tape. As Hannah is going on about the rules and the map, Clay notices that the map may be of importance. He quickly grabs his bike and cycles home to get the map. As he is on his way home, he gets into an accident and cuts his head badly. He finally reaches home, frantically searching for the map, as his mother comes in. She notices the cut on Clay's forehead and insists on cleaning it with ointment. Clay shrugs it off and tells her that it's okay as he quickly rushes out of the door after his mother hands him his helmet.

As he's going down the steps of his front porch, strapping his helmet on, he goes into another flashback. In this flashback, he just arrived at the Crestmont and began unbuckling his helmet as Hannah approached him. She greeted him and commented that she loved the helmet. She began asking if he isn't afraid of helmet hair to which he replied that his hair did the same thing no matter what. She touched his hair and said that all he needed was just some product and gave him some hair tips. After more teasing, they made it inside the theater, where Hannah invited him to a party at her place that night. 

In the present time, Clay is still cycling in the night as Hannah informs him of the first red star of the map, meaning the first location of the map. He pedals through the neighborhood, when he sees that same car following him again. He begins pedaling faster in attempt to get away from the mysterious follower. The driver finally leaves him be, as Clay cycles through the park.

The Flashback version of Clay makes it to the first location, where Hannah threw her "first and only party", the party Hannah had invited him to that afternoon at the Crestmont. This is where Hannah and Justin meet. She explains that  Kat threw that party as her going-away party before she moved away. The first moment Hannah saw Justin, she was clearly attracted to him. However, she couldn't have him because he was Kat's boyfriend. Kat said she could have Zach Dempsey.

Kat gave her the go-ahead to date him since she was leaving and the two begin their flirtation on the first day of school. After exchanging numbers, they decided to meet at a nearby park. There they played on the playground and Hannah received her first kiss from Justin.

The next day, Justin was showing his friends a photograph of Hannah in a compromising position with the flash on, Bryce Walker snatched Justin's phone from him and mass texts the upskirt picture of Hannah to everyone in the entire school. Hannah was heartbroken. Clay even shunned her when she asked to sit with him in the cafeteria. He was jealous of Justin and made Hannah cry before she ran away.

After listening to the first tape, Clay sits on a bench by the playground when Tony arrives. Tony notices that Clay has his walkman and comments that he must be ready to listen to Side B. Clay is shocked that he'd know about the tapes. At school, Clay asks Tony why he can't just tell him about the tapes and if he helped Hannah commit suicide. Tony says no he didn't and just tells him to continue to listen to the tapes. Alluding to the fact that Hannah will reveal all in due time.

Quotes

"Eisenhower Park. That must mean you're about ready for side two. Night, Clay. Take care of yourself."
―  Tony to Clay

"See, I've heard so many stories about me now, that I don't know which one is the most popular. But I do know which is the least popular. The Truth. See, the truth isn't always the most exciting version of things, or the best or the worst. It's somewhere in between. But it deserves to be heard and remembered. The truth will out, like someone said once. It remains."
―  Hannah

"The rules here are pretty simple. There are only two. Rule number one: you listen. Number two: you pass it on. Hopefully, neither one will be easy. It's not supposed to be easy, or I would have emailed you an MP3. When you're done listening to all 13 sides, because there are 13 sides to every story rewind the tapes, put them back in the box, and pass them on to the next person. Oh, and the box of tapes should have included a map. I'll be mentioning several spots around our beloved city. I can't force you to visit them, but if you'd like a little more insight, head for the stars. Or, you know, just throw the map away and I'll never know or will I? You see, in case you're tempted to break the rules, understand I did make a copy of these tapes, and I left them with a trusted individual who, if this package doesn't make it through all of you, will release those copies in a very public manner. This was not a spur of the moment decision. Do not take me for granted. Not again."
―  Hannah

Trivia

  • This episode's tape is about Justin Foley.
  • In this episode, it's revealed that Justin and Tony Padilla both know about the tapes.
  • This episode shows the first present-day appearances of Clay Jensen, Tony Padilla, Olivia Baker and Andrew Baker, and Justin Foley.

Multimedia

Soundtrack

Song Title
Album
Artist
Purchase
Love Will Tear Us Apart The Peel Sessions Joy Division Purchase
Mess is Mine Dream You Life Away Vance Joy Purchase
Cool Blue Clean - EP The Japanese House Purchase
Young & Unafraid Young & Afraid The Moth & The Flame Purchase
You, Me, Cellphones Husbands Husbands Purchase
More Than Gravity More Than Gravity Colin & Caroline Purchase
Riding 13 Reasons Why Eskmo Purchase
Magic Episode III Olympic Ayres Purchase
High High Sir Sly Purchase

Images

References

  1. Official Netflix Synopsis of Tape 1, Side A