The Devastating Stories Behind Each Of Hannah Baker's 13 Tapes

Photo: Beth Dubber/Netflix.
At the start of 13 Reasons Why, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) receives a mysterious package of 13 tapes at his doorstep. After he pops the first tape into his dad's old boombox, Clay’s shocked to hear the voice of Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), his friend who recently died by suicide. And he’s even more shocked to find that each tape incriminates a different individual who contributed to her decision. If you’re receiving a tape, then you’re on at least one of them.
With such a wrenching, compelling start, how could we not binge-watch 13 Reasons Why? With each episode, Hannah Baker reveals another motivation in her backstory.
While piecing together the mystery of Hannah's past drew us all the way in, we have more than 13 reasons why 13 Reasons Why has kept us glued to our TV screens. Showing the real consequences of bullying and assault, the dark, deeply empathetic Netflix show goes where high school dramas rarely do.
For those of you hungry for spoilers, or just eager to unpack the main events of the drama, here’s everyone who received a tape in 13 Reasons Why — and why, of course.
If you are thinking about suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the Suicide Crisis Line at 1-800-784-2433.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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Beth Dubber/Netflix

Even before Clay receives the package, a strung-out Justin (Brandon Flynn) confronts him in the hallway. He accuses a bewildered Clay of being “not so innocent.”

Why would Justin go around yelling at people in the hallway? Because he’s the first on Hannah Baker’s list, of course, and guilt can be a pretty nasty watchdog.

Justin first meets Hannah when he’s still dating Hannah’s best friend, Kat (Giorgia Whigham). After Kat moves away, Hannah becomes smitten with the tattooed bad boy, and even gets express permission from Kat to go for it. After a flirtatious game of cat-and-mouse, Hannah eventually meets up with Justin in the park. Their sweet date in the playground ends in a kiss, and Hannah’s over the moon.

That is, until Justin reveals himself to be a total street rat. Justin shows a photo of Hannah's crotch he'd covertly taken during their date to all his friends. Bryce, aka the school’s Resident Evil, forwards said photo to the entire school. Not a good way to kick off the school year.
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With Kat gone, Hannah’s in desperate need of a best friend. She thinks she’s found her match in Jessica (Alisha Boe), who shares her dark and edgy sense of humor.

After many afternoons spent drinking hot cocoa the local coffee shop, Jessica and Hannah incorporate another misfit, Alex (Miles Heizer), into their friend group. Hannah’s saddened after Jessica and Alex start dating, leaving Hannah just as friendless as she started.

But it’s Alex’s “hot list” that really kills Hannah and Jessica’s friendship. Alex's handwritten note categorizes girls under different physical attributes. Hannah’s listed as “best ass,” and Jessica “worst.”

Later that day, at the coffee shop where their friendship began, Jessica slaps Hannah and accuses her of seducing Alex. Bye-bye, buddy.
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Beth Dubber/Netflix

At first, Clay struggles to understand why Hannah was so hurt by her inclusion on Alex's hit list. But as Hannah explains on the tape, the list “declared open season” on her body. After the list circulated, Hannah was plagued by unwanted attention from men — especially from Bryce, who grabs her ass and tells her Alex was right.

Turns out Alex included Hannah on the list out of spite after Jessica wouldn’t sleep with him. He knew it would ruin their friendship. He was spot-on.
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As if Hannah is not being targeted enough, it turns out she has her own personal stalker. Tyler (Devin Druid), the school yearbook photographer, uses his camera for deviously “extracurricular” purposes. Hannah catches the mousy outcast taking photos of her while she’s changing in her ground-floor bedroom.

It’s only a matter of time before Tyler catches something especially private on camera.

Hannah invites a classmate, Courtney (Michele Selene Ang), to come over and catch Hannah’s stalker in the act. Instead, they get distracted by the liquor cabinet and win up playing truth or dare. Courtney dares Hannah to kiss her, and while they’re making out, Hannah sees Tyler’s tell-tale flash.

Tyler would’ve kept the photo of the girls kissing secret — had Hannah said yes when he asked her out. As retribution, he forwards half the school the blurry photo of Hannah and Courtney kissing on the bed. While no one can tell who the girls are, Courtney still ends her budding friendship with Hannah as a result.
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Beth Dubber/Netflix

While the photo of Courtney and Hannah kissing is pretty blurry, some sleuths figure out their identities.

Trying to shrug off attention, Courtney lies and says that Hannah’s actually making out with “her girlfriend Laura,” and that they asked her for a threeway. Courtney also embellishes details regarding Hannah’s night with Justin in the playground — remember, the one where they only kissed?

Not only does Courtney throw Hannah under the bus, she perpetuates a destructive reputation.
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Justin, Tyler, Bryce, Alex — so far, Hannah’s tapes are marked by encounters with predatory men.

When Marcus (Steven Silver), the school’s student body president, asks her on a date, she hopes he'll be less disappointing than the others. Don't get your hopes too high, Han. Breaching every dating code in the book, Marcus shows up an hour late — and is accompanied by the entire basketball team.

Sliding next to her in the booth, Marcus tries to feel up Hannah’s skirt. Rightfully horrified, Hannah pushes him off. At that, Marcus ditches the date, saying that he “thought [she] was easy.” Alas, another man just going after Hannah for her unwarranted reputation.
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Beth Dubber/Netflix

And yet another courter gets a spot on the list.

After Marcus’ freak-out in the diner, his seemingly kindhearted friend Zach (Ross Butler) returns to make sure Hannah’s okay. Then, Zach tells Hannah he likes her for her personality, not for her “great ass.” By this point, Hannah’s fed up with all this “hit list” business. She rejects him, and Zach’s fragile ego withers.

He takes revenge in a particularly cruel way. In the communications class they take together, their teacher has set up a system in which students can leave heartfelt, anonymous notes for each other in “compliments baskets.” Taking revenge, Zach empties Hannah’s basket regularly.

Hannah writes Zach a long note explaining why she relies on these encouraging notes so heavily. She sees him read the note, crush it, and throw it away. Ouch.
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Beth Dubber/Netflix

One recurring plot of 13 Reasons Why? Photos and rumors being spread without Hannah’s consent. But by publishing her innermost thoughts, Ryan (Tommy Dorfman) breaches the ultimate privacy threshold.

How did this go down? Well, feeling particularly lost in the world, Hannah finds solace in a poetry group that Ryan invites her to. Hannah is touched by Ryan’s poetry, and wants to express herself the same way. Ryan encourages Hannah to start writing down her thoughts, even gifting her a journal.

But Ryan takes this intimacy too far. Ryan tears out a poem from her journal and anonymously publishes it in his magazine. The next day, Hannah sees her racy poem being read aloud and mocked throughout the hallways. Now, even her private life isn’t hers.
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Beth Dubber/Netflix

Though by this point Hannah and Jessica have long since fallen out, Hannah agrees to go to a party at Jessica's house.

At the end of the party, Hannah winds up tipsy and alone. Sheri (Ajiona Alexus), a cheerleader, offers to drive her home. While searching for a phone charger in her purse, Sheri crashes into a stop sign. While Hannah begs her to call the police, Sheri refuses, convinced her strict dad will kill her.

Hannah runs off to a convenience store to call the police while Sheri drives away. Hannah’s heroic actions come a beat too late, though. Another classmate, Jeff (Clay’s best friend), is killed at the intersection because of the missing stop sign.
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Clay gets a tape, but not because he did anything wrong. As Hannah says, Clay was an “innocent.” Rather that incriminating our trusty pal, Hannah thinks he deserves an explanation.

After months working together in the movie theater and striking up a good rapport, something blossoms between them. Hannah and Clay spend Jessica's party together, and wind up in Jessica's bedroom hooking up. But Hannah suddenly pushes him away, yelling at him to “get out.” Clay is confused, but agrees to go after she continues to insist. On the tape, she reveals that in reality, she wanted him to stay. But while they're hooking up, Hannah is plagued by thoughts of the false reputation foisted on her, and the slut-shaming that came with it.
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Justin, Part Two

First, Justin lands on a tape for what he did. Now, he's receiving a tape for what he didn’t do.

After Clay leaves, Hannah is left alone in the bedroom. When Justin and Jessica bust in and start hooking up, Hannah hides in the closet. After a beat, Justin leaves Jessica to sleep off her drunkenness.

On his way out, Justin runs into Bryce, and they speak outside the bedroom door. Justin resists when Bryce pushes his way into the bedroom, but only briefly. Justin barges in shortly afterward, but Bryce shoves him down and locks the door. Standing outside her bedroom, Justin is unable to stop what Bryce is about to do to Justin's girlfriend. Hannah watches as Bryce rapes an unconscious Jessica.
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Beth Dubber/Netflix

Ever since Bryce predatorily felt up Hannah in the convenience store, we saw their paths colliding. The situation reaches its grim, devastating climax when, out for a nighttime walk, Hannah stumbles upon a party Bryce is throwing in his backyard.

A drunk Jessica invites Hannah to join her and a few others in the hot tub. Stripped down to her bra and underwear, Hannah looks at the stars and starts to feel okay.

After Justin, Jessica, and the others leave, Hannah is left vulnerable to Bryce. Bryce climbs in the tub and rapes her. On the tape, Hannah says Bryce is the one who broke her soul.
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Mr. Porter

At last, adult incompetence in 13 Reasons Why comes to a head. Following the rape, Hannah perceives a real shift toward suicidal thoughts. Realizing she needs to get help, Hannah seeks out the school’s counselor, Mr. Porter (Derek Luke).

The conversation doesn’t go as Hannah had hoped. Mr. Porter says that if Hannah won’t say her rapist’s name, essentially she’ll have to “move on.”

Hannah records the incriminating conversation for her final tape.

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