Years spent in high School is problematic for many teens; myself included. As a person, you are going through a myriad of changes. You fight to figure out who you are as a person. Your body goes through the dreaded “awkward phase.” And to top it off, peer pressure is real.
Even though this episode villainized the narrator, Marcus, I felt for him. He’s caught between the person he wants to be and the person he thinks that others want him to be. This struggle isn’t new, and his reputation is at risk.
So let’s dig right in. Marcus is on the stand and they’ve built up the internal struggle that he’s been facing up to this point. Prior to going on the stand, he asks his father what he should do and he’s given the advice to take care of himself. The first time I watched this I thought it meant that he should tell the truth and protect himself, but after thinking about it the converse could easily be right. To protect yourself is vague and could be misinterpreted.
Marcus does everything he can to protect himself and quickly becomes an unreliable narrator. He lies on the stand about what happened. The writers did a great job by countering his statement by showing the actual acts as they happened:
- Testified he reached out to Hannah to be nice, but it showed him reaching out because Bryce bets him that he couldn’t even get his fingers on her.
- Testifies that she freaked out when he went to hold her hand. The truth was that he was trying to touch her vagina in a booth at a diner.
- Testifies that Hannah wanted Bryce. The truth was that she never wanted Bryce. Marcus tells Bryce what he did to “give him an out,” in case he’s called to testify. Bryce can tell the court that it was Hannah who approached him.
Marcus is plagued with the need to keep his reputation intact. He placates to Bryce who has all the power at the school. Tyler found out what Marcus said and got pissed off. Tyler and Cyrus set out to use the detonator that they made in the last episode to punk Marcus. Marcus went to his car and looked in a bag sitting next to his car when they pushed the button for slime to explode in his face. They ran away laughing while Marcus went to talk with Mr. Porter.
Mr. Porter isn’t a friendly ear and basically tells Marcus that he’s only there to help those that need to be helped, implying that Marcus isn’t on that list.
Clay is hell-bent on getting Bryce. The best path he has at this point is Justin. After housing Justin, he washes Justin’s clothes and finds a pipe along with some heroin. Clay throws away his stash and the rest of the episode Justin is detoxing with the help of Sheri. Tony is now out of the picture due to fears of his probation.
Clay approaches Jess in hopes that she will be excited that he found Justin, but she wants nothing to do with Justin. He’s all alone, trying to find out what to do. He opens his locker and the second Polaroid falls out. It’s a picture of Bryce having sex with the same girl in the first Polaroid. She is obviously unconscious and the writing on the back says, “He won’t stop.”
This continues to fuel Clay in his search for justice.
Minor Storylines for this episode
- Jess and Alex ditch school for a day of fun. They hit the movies and their attraction is rekindled. They eventually find themselves at the bay and as they are making out Jess struggles to stay present and pulls back, but is careful to let Alex know it’s not him.
- Alex has large memory gaps and wants to listen to the tapes. In a desperate plea, he asks Clay to send them to him. Clay gets them from his mom’s computer and sends them to Alex, who immediately starts listening to them in the middle of the night. Will he get his answers and be able to testify, or will it screw him up even more and cause him to spiral out of control?
- After the prank against Marcus, Tyler and Cyrus take some pistols and go shooting in the woods. An old man sees them and scuttles away.
- Bryce continues to be… Bryce. Chloe (his girlfriend) and he are at his house making out. He starts pushing her to go further and she resists. The tension is strong as she tries to get out, but he doesn’t let her and eventually, they have sex. She does appear to enjoy it, but she definitely said no multiple times. This further substantiates that Bryce has a problem.
- Olivia is set on getting justice for her daughter. We finally see her husband, the first time all season. He is seeing someone else and their marriage is basically over.