13 Reasons Why- Season 2 Episode 1- The First Polaroid
On Friday May 18th, 2018, we were plunged back to Liberty High School. Five months have passed since the horrible death of Hannah Baker. As we all know, season one moved through a series of tapes that Hannah had made for her accusers. The title in the episode tells us that this year it’s all about Polaroids. The writers are continuing with a throwback version to tell the story; we can only wonder if season 3 will be betamax!? I digress.
Season one was narrated by Clay. We followed him as he struggled through the clues left behind. We, the audience, had a front row seat and were able to uncover the mysteries as Clay did, but this season we deviate from season one.
The first change is that Tyler the narrator of this episode. The episode starts with Tyler on the stand and the entire episode moves through his testimony. Another change is that the story line is more fragmented and we are no longer discovering the plot along with the narrator, but we are playing catch up and trying to gather as many facts. Here’s a quick recap as to the rest of the episode:
I’m starting with Tyler, since this episode is coming from his point of view. He begins the episode on the stand. We later find out that the trial was cancelled, but at the last minute, Hannah’s mom, Olivia, decided to pursue a lawsuit.
I find starting the episode with Tyler is appropriate since the new vehicle moving the series is photographs; which is Tyler’s world.
Tyler hasn’t changed much in the episode. He’s still being bullied but he has more courage than he did in season one. His parents tried to convince him not to take the stand, but he said he had to (a theme most of the kids in this episode echo). In the beginning of the episode, he heads to the dark room at the school (somehow he has keys to the school) and as he enters someone has been there before him and has strung up various pictures that say, “You ain’t seen shit.” The rest of the episode he accuses Bryce and Clay with trying to scare him, but both deny it.
Tyler testifies that he saw Hannah sexting while he was being a creapy little bastard and taking pictures of her. Clay get’s pissed and says it’s not true, so we are left wondering if Tyler is a reliable narrator or not. Tyler repeats this saying a couple of times during the episode, “Just because you have the picture, doesn’t mean you have the truth.” We can assume this will be echoed throughout the season.
Alex has been home from school for months and we eventually find out that he tried to kill himself via gun. This is believable, since last season he was extremely emotional.
He finally decides that he is ready to go back to school and as he’s preparing, he asks his mom if he left a suicide note (he lost his memory due to the gunshot to the head). She reluctantly gives it to him. When he reads it, he notices a phrase that doesn’t sit well with him, “I couldn’t stop it.” Clay and his mom point to the death of Hannah, but he questions it and create some mystery and intrigue for the rest of the season.
Skye and Clay
Clay moves quick and has sparked up a romantic relationship with Skye over the last five months. He swears that he doesn’t think about Hannah anymore and that he loves Skye. At the beginning of the episode, the two are about to go all the way, when Clay reaches under the sheets and feels cut marks. The passion dies and Clay starts a codependent rant about how she needs to call him.
When Clay get’s home his mom tells him the trial is back on. He’s concerned since he wasn’t called to testify. He later goes up to his room and looks out to see Hannah staring at him from the street. The next scene with Skye, he sees Hannah again while the two are getting physical and he freaks out (definitely an awkward predicament). Skye is obviously troubled that Clay is acting so weird and she feels that he doesn’t want to have sex with her.
The episode closes with one last appearance of Hannah but for the first time she talks to Clay.
Clay finds the first Polaroid in his locker. On it is a picture that says, “She wasn’t the only one.” Who is it talking about and who left the Polaroid for him?
Every good show needs to have a strong antagonist, and Bryce is that bad guy for Liberty High.
He’s a jock.
He’s a bully.
He’s a rapist.
Not a great resume builder, but he continues his path of destruction in this episode. Jessica comes back to school and he sees her while pitching during baseball practice. He’s thrown off his game. After practice, she is leaving the field and he stops her and invites her out to a drink. She fakes being nice and leaves. She looks back and he is kissing his “girlfriend” who is also the captain of the cheer squad (which she is a member). There is definitely something shady going on here.
Thankfully, Mr. Porter has Bryce’s number and stalks him throughout the episode, keeping his damage to a minimum.
Olivia Baker- Hannah’s Mom
Mrs. Baker has decided to pursue the lawsuit. During the negotiations with the school, the asked her to sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement) to keep her mouth shut on what happened to Hannah, which is the final straw. She needs Hannah’s story told and the NDA is completely unacceptable to her, hence the lawsuit.
She spirals out of control during the episode. Her husband is nowhere to be scene, she’s getting support from her counselor (at least that’s what I think she is) and is being steered by the counselor to act a certain way. The trial is underway but the defense will be focused on painting her daughter in a bad light. Can she withstand the constant barrage of negativity aimed at her dead daughter?
The beloved Tony makes his appearance, but he might not be as lovable as we thought. His ex-boyfriend comes and tells him that he is going to protect him. He hands Tony a note that “details everything that happened on that day.” It appears to be an entry from Hannah’s journal, but we don’t know for sure. Tony destroys the evidence and we are all wondering what the note said.
Overall, this first episode accomplished what a good first episode should do—raise questions.
- Who is on the Polaroid?
- Who left the Polaroid?
- What will happen with Jessica and Bryce?
- What will happen to Olivia as she spirals?
- What did Tony’s paper say?
- Is Tyler telling the truth?
- What about Alex’s note, what did he mean?
So many questions that will slowly get resolved throughout the following episodes.
With the new point of view, I wonder how the audience will be left feeling? Will this new angle create more engagement or did the writers make too many changes that the series won’t have the same feel that it had before?
Until next week. Cheers.