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Fridge Brilliance

  • It appears on surface level that Tony is lurking around at night to look out for Clay. Only later is it realized that he is most likely the person Hannah warns the listeners about at the beginning tapes. He has to monitor if the tapes are being passed on or not. If they aren't he is supposed to release them in a "very public manner".
  • As noted on the main page it would be pretty easy to prove that Jeff wasn't driving drunk when he died. But a case of beer was found, and that was enough to have him Convicted by Public Opinion. This is Liberty High - where Hannah has an Urban Legend Love Life based off rumors and misunderstandings. Even if he were found innocent, the students would still believe he was guilty anyway.

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  • A small, "Hey, they did their homework" example: Courtney is said in the final episode to be 18, and the story takes place in late 2017, meaning she was born in 1999. She says to Clay that she has had two dads "since pre-school," implying that she was adopted around the age of three or four, not at birth. First of all, although it's never been stated that Courtney was adopted from China, it would make sense, since most Chinese adoptions happen around the age of three; few happen at or shortly after birth. Additionally, by adding that line, the writers covered for the fact that prior to 2003, Courtney couldn't have been adopted by two men in the state of California.
  • Some have criticized Hannah for her meeting with Mr. Porter, arguing that she set him up to fail, and that this made Hannah less sympathetic. In the Netflix 30-minute special "Behind the Reasons," the creators and a number of the psychologists who were consulted on the show argue that she may have, subconsciously, set him up to fail, but this doesn't necessarily mean either of them are more or less sympathetic than the other. Hannah doesn't necessarily have the mental capacity or the life experience to fully recognize, let alone communicate that she was definitely raped, and she's become so despondent that she isn't willing to push herself to talk to Mr. Porter about it. She's already mostly decided that she's going to kill herself, so yes, she is somewhat setting him up to fail. But that's often something that suicidal people go through: they reach out to someone, but only half-heartedly, so they can tell themselves that they tried before killing themselves and that no one actually cares about them. It's not conniving, it's a trauma thing. At the same time, Mr. Porter is not good enough at his job to recognize what is before him: trauma. Like many in his profession, he's expected to handle certain issues he's not qualified or equipped for, and he's trying to help Hannah on good intentions alone. While the scene may have been frustrating for some people – those who felt Hannah wasn't telling Mr. Porter enough, and those who felt Mr. Porter wasn't doing enough for his part – it was meant to be frustrating, to show that neither knew how to react in that situation.
  • Frankly, the characterization of Bryce in general. Too often, rapists are portrayed as sneaky bad guys, obviously sketchy dudes and outwardly evil. Bryce is definitely a bit of a jerk jock and a party guy, but he's considered well-liked among his peers, a hard worker, a "friend to all," he's charming enough with faculty to be honored with a leadership award, and he presents an overall affable persona. He's not an outward bully with a hot temper like Montgomery, he doesn't speak roughly like Justin does, he's not a sneaky snake like Marcus. He likes to uphold a "clean" reputation and, from the brief mention of his family as being "not really a 'gun family,'" there's even indications that he's not from some sort of far-right conservative upbringing. And while that might sound like it's excusing Bryce's behavior, it's actually the most terrifying thing about him: Bryce doesn't think he's a rapist. Bryce believes that everything he did was okay, because it's normal to him. Rape is about control and entitlement, and Bryce has that in spades, but viewers might miss that at first because he doesn't come across like a total monster. How many men (and women) have dodged suspicion of assault because they just seem like such nice, normal people? There are people like Bryce all around, and that's the horrifying thing.
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    • The scene in which young!Bryce and young!Justin become friends adds hidden depth to Bryce’s character. Bryce steals Twinkies from another child and shares them with Justin. He is entitled and takes what he wants - as a child it’s candy, as a teenager it’s sex. He also tells Justin that he “just wanted a Twinkie” rather than simply wanting to share with Justin. He knows how to project a good image to avoid repercussions for his actions.
  • The indications of Alex's eventual suicide attempt begin from the very episode he is introduced. He's the most visibly affected by Hannah's death, even more so than Clay at first. He's very open about his belief in his guilt, and expresses frustration multiple times that no one is taking responsibility or being properly "punished." He also expresses a dislike for overly pleasant music and wants the band to play something more depressing and haunting because he thinks it's a better reflection of reality. In the second episode in which he's featured, he quits an activity he used to love (jazz band) and is shown to engage in more risky behavior (binge drinking). From then, he makes various flippant remarks about killing himself or dying that are so quick and subtle they're easy to miss. There are numerous indications that he can't open up to his father, which the show creators and the various psychologists who consulted on it have said is a major factor in why so many teens fail to address their problems. The day he shoots himself, he cleans his room, which his Dad notes out loud — something Hannah and many people who die by suicide do before they make the attempt — they get their house in order. And what is one of the very first in-class discussions we hear on the show in Mrs. Bradley's class? That community groups often influence one another. Research shows that suicide, particularly among young people, has a ripple effect within communities and groups.
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  • Hannah makes it seem that she used tapes and a map to eschew current cyber culture. When really the map is included so the listeners likely travel to where Tony can see them. Also if this did not occur, Tony would ask them in a subtle way. To prevent a character from corrupting the process by warning about Tony: "Tony will ask you if you listened to some tapes. Say yeah." It would be too hard for a character not to listen after seeing the tapes. Tony would also be able to ask for their description if he had any suspicion someone did not receive them. Remember he doesn't want to just ask them point blank because he wants to honor Hannah's wishes to reveal them in order.
  • In episode one Mrs. Baker takes Hannah's phone to ask Justin what homework they were working on. While Hannah told her mom math earlier, Justin had no way of knowing yet he still said math as well. They most likely said it as what first came to mind based on their quick response times. Earlier in the episode however, Hannah is seen working as an office assistant. She uses this to determine Justin's schedule and uses it as an opportunity to wait outside his math class to bump into him. She explains she has the same math teacher, but Justin later discovers she's lying about this. It then makes sense how they both guessed correctly as that was the only school subject of any significance to their relationship.
  • The fact that the flashbacks may not be entirely accurate. The audience assumes they are, because we see them. But the entirety of the flashbacks come from Hannah's recorded recollections of her memories. Which means she could have misinterpreted things like Zach supposedly throwing away her letter to him. However, her more serious accusations are true.
  • Some detractors of the show state that the reasons for Hannah to complete suicide were not very believable. That is exactly the point of this show! Her reasons were meant to be unjustifiable. It would be very disturbing if the show was able to demonstrate that in some cases suicide is the best and/or only option. Instead, this show tries to demonstrate that committing suicide only hurts the people who care about you and leaves a lot of questions unanswered.
  • The number 13 is a baker's dozen.
  • Jessica, while high with Bryce, describes her dad's gun as perfect for self-defense in what seems like a playful, flirtatious manner. But Jessica knows in the back of her mind that something is not right and the seed has already been planted in her head that Bryce assaulted her (from the tapes). She has been having nightmares about it, and her friends' gas lighting of her is what's driving such erratic behavior. So when she shows off that the gun is perfect for self-defense, she's not just flirting with Bryce, she's taunting him.
  • More in part for the TV adaptation than the book, but the fact how the characters have listened to the tapes reflects their character. Those that didn't care about Hannah apparently are able to sit through the cassettes in one sitting and then pass them on. Clay, the only person who actually cared about her, has more difficulty in listening to them.
    • Upon rewatching the first episode, notice how each of the characters are introduced to Clay are very telling of their tapes and personal involvement with Hannah. Justin immediately gets in his face "I don't care what she said, you're not so innocent" foreshadowing his indignation, Courtney gives Clay a very fake hug and tries to pretend to be his friend foreshadowing her fake persona, Tyler gives him a sheepish half smile in the bathroom and tells him to get lost while taking hidden "year book photos"). This also foreshadows Clay's initial obliviousness to the world around him including Hannah's misery.
  • One of the biggest complaints leveled against both the book and the series is that the story never mentions mental illness as a factor in suicides. But then, why would it? In the book at least, we're strictly limited to both Clay and Hannah's point of view. It's entirely possible (and in fact, for a typical "normal" middle-class family like Hannah's, highly probable) that she was never even tested for any kind of mental illness - or never told if she was when she was younger. If you examine Hannah's behavior, especially as the tapes go on, there's a lot that points to her suffering from chronic depression at the very least. It's likely that it never even occurred to either her or Clay that some form of mental illness was playing a part as well. They wouldn't know, so why would we?
  • Alex being the only person to say that Tyler didn't kill Bryce whereas everyone considers the possibility or outright thinks he did it. Alex is the one who killed Bryce so he knows Tyler didn't kill Bryce.
    • Similarly Zach wanting to call the cops on Tyler for the murder. Zach knew he gave Bryce major injuries and wanted to scapegoat Tyler
  • In season 2, Justin is shown to be one of the more empathetic and understanding guys when it comes to the girls' feelings about sexual harassment and assault. He immediately says he gets it when Sherri doesn't want to go back to the Clubhouse because she felt unsafe, and never pushes Jessica to talk about what happened before she was ready. Come season 3, we find out he was sexually assaulted while living on the streets, which only happened a few weeks before these scenes in season 2.

Fridge Horror

  • When Hannah expresses an interest in Bryce, Kat warns her off by saying that he is "jock kryptonite", implying that either Kat herself or someone Kat knows has been mistreated by Bryce. Typical Jerk Jock mistreatment or — as Jessica and Hannah suffered — rape?
    • Most rape survivors aren't as flippantly jokey-jokey about their experiences. Though everyone deals with rape and assault and trauma in general different ways, it's safe to say that one probably wouldn't warn someone away from a known rapist with a laughing, "He's like a frat boy Darth Vader." Bryce was known for being a bit of a jerk, even among those who had no idea he was a rapist. Hence, Hannah was horrified when she got matched with him on Dollar Valentine's, and Jess rebuffed his flirtations at the Winter Formal. Considering how Hannah's death hit Kat, how visibly different she is in her testimony from how she was when she was first introduced, how angry she is, it's safe to say if she'd known something that dark about Bryce, her description of how much of a jerk he was would have been a lot less playful.
      • Actually, Kat looks pretty freaked out when she warns Hannah off from Bryce, not at all playful or laughing. As well, people respond to things in different ways, and most rape survivors also wouldn't want to reveal that very private and painful history in a crowded party (or have their friend do that), so the "Darth Vader" quip could be safe way of warning Hannah without exposing someone's or Kat's own trauma.
  • In the season two finale, as Jessica testifies about her rape, we hear stories of assault survival, sexual trauma and harassment from the following women: Hannah, Sheri, Courtney, Olivia Baker, Lainey Jensen, Nina Jones, Jessica's mother, Mackenzie and an unnamed cheerleader at Liberty High. Knowing that Chloe was also raped by Bryce, this means that essentially every female character in the series (besides a few lesser-developed characters) have experienced assault in some form.
    • The sequence also shows the various different forms assault can take. For some, it was a full-on, pinned-down rape, but for others, it was from a trusting adult figure in their life like a pastor or a relative. For some, it was an abuse of institutional power like an employer, a superior or a guard. It's a stark reminder that not all rapes look like Hannah and Jessica's, but the lasting effects are just as bad.

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