Need a refresher? Check out what happens in season one and season two.
This first episode familiarizes the audience with a new character, Ani. It reveals what happened the night of the dance and sets up the plotline for the new season by switching between the past and the present.
What Happens in Episode One
The episode starts with the cast warning viewers and prompting viewers to talk about their feelings with a trusted source like a friend or therapist. It’s refreshing.
We see Clay being escorted out of the high school. He makes eye contact with Ani and they cut to a scene where Clay runs off with Tyler’s gun. Zach is shown on crutches, though we don’t know why yet, and is very hostile to Jessica.
Ani’s narration replaces Hannah’s voice.
Justin talks to Tony. Everyone is concerned about Clay being detained.
The scene cuts back to April during the dance. Tony talks to Tyler, his attempt to get him to stay in the moment is helpful. His way of talking is methodical and calm.
The scene cuts back to the present where Clay is being interviewed by the cops. It is revealed that Bryce disappeared after the homecoming game. Clay is presented with evidence against him, his bike lock and a verbal threat to kill Bryce. He is visited by Bryce’s mother at the station and she begs him to give her information. Clay claims he knows nothing.
Ani appears to be very nosy and not always welcome, but the characters tolerate her. Throughout the episode, we see that Ani is very good at analyzing people, Clay, especially. “I spend more time in my own head than anywhere else,” Clay tells her.
Justin and Zach seem concerned about Bryce but no one else does. Disappearing is not unusual for him.
Jessica and the crew are threatened with suspension. Bryce plays for Hillcrest and they played Liberty. Hillcrest apparently started a fight on the field.
Tony isn’t concerned about Bryce (shocker…who would be?) and he has bruised knuckles. Suspicious?
Related: Help! I’m Having an Existential Crisis!
The episode then cuts back to the past. Tyler comes home with Tony and Clay. His mom was worried because there was a text about a shooter. Tyler left a note and a USB for his parents, probably about his plan to shoot his classmates and maybe himself. He has a powerful exchange with Clay. “I never thought I’d see my mom again,” he says.
Tony and Clay want to get him help, which is a step in the right direction. Cut to Justin, Jessica, and Clay after the dance at Monet’s. Clay explains everything that happened that night to the group. Zach is persistent about getting Tyler help. Clay has a good point that if he’s treated as a criminal, he won’t get the help he needs. It is a difficult decision for sure. Clay obviously has a lot of compassion.
Cut back to Monet’s in the present with Justin and Ani and Clay. Justin seems a little freaked out. We finally see Tyler in the present. He seems okay and is working in the darkroom. Alex is kind and compassionate towards him. Tyler pulls out the USB from his backpack. What’s on the flash drive?
Justin now lives with Clay. He comes in and Clay needs to get some air. He is obviously very anxious at this point. Clay sits suspiciously and cuts back to the past. Clay’s parents file for custody of Justin. They propose to clear the warehouse for the boys, however, Clay seems very distracted.
Clay, Tony, and Justin walk with Tyler. Tyler has a flashback that threatens to turn into a panic attack. Tony works with him to calm his breathing and go to class with Alex. They don’t know what happened to him. Tony handles Tyler with compassion and coolness.
Clay gets called to the principal’s office, naturally, but it turns out that Courtney called him to give him a new student tour. Ironically, the instrumental of Paper Planes by MIA plays in the background. Clay breaks up a fight. He’s obviously more confident in himself. There is a connection between Ani and Clay during the tour.
We see Jessica advocating for change at Liberty to the student council. She blames athletes. Courtney makes the point that SGA is a joke and yields no actual power. This is true for most high schools and is a criticism of them. Hopefully, they will continue to poke at the systemic flaws of the public high school.
Ani sees power in Jessica. When Jessica asks what Ani means by “girls like me,” she responds with “they’ve got power they’re finally ready to use.” It is a refreshing and powerful moment in the episode. Jessica’s character development has come a long way.
We see Ani meeting Bryce. He’s crying in his dining room. Bryce seems upset about his mom. Bryce and his mom talk about moving. We see the softer side of Bryce when he asks about his grandfather. Despite the moment, it is still hard to feel much compassion for him.
Bryce’s mom asks Ani’s mom if Ani was at homecoming. She says no, but Ani’s face says otherwise. Ani sits by the pool, obviously reflecting on something. It cuts to a flashback of Bryce watching her swim.
Clay and Justin look at the pictures of the homecoming game from Tyler. They figure out Zach lied about who tackled him.
The last scene cuts to multiple characters. We see Zach limping near the docks calling Bryce asking him where he is. Tyler receives a voicemail from Bryce, but we don’t know how recent it is. Jessica has a cassette tape covered in blood. Tyler is seen taking a photo of himself, it appears to be an “after” photo in comparison to the spring. Alex lifts weights. Ani looks nostalgically at a bed, hopefully, nothing bad happened with her and Bryce. Montgomery is taken into questioning by the police. Finally, we see a text exchange between Clay and Bryce that said “I’m fu**ing going to kill you,” followed by, “Buddy. Let’s talk.” Clay responds with “I don’t want to talk. I want you dead.” It isn’t looking good for any of our characters.
At first glance, It seems like the show has gotten a bit more knowledgeable about mental health. There are more conversations about finding professional help and more honest conversations. Tony continues to be a shining example of how to help someone in a panic. His cool and collected demeanor constantly helps Tyler throughout this episode. They include grounding and breathing techniques to help him stay in the moment. Hopefully, viewers will recognize this and use some of these techniques during their own conversations.
It is still troubling that Clay has not gotten professional help. He has been through a lot and constantly puts others’ needs before his. It is obvious that he struggles with guilt and anxiety. It is a lot for him to handle on his own. Time will tell, but Ani may be one who will help Clay address his own issues.
- Why is Ani washing blood out of her shirt?
- What do you think the crew should do about Tyler?
Let us know your answers in the comments below or by posting a thought on The Mighty using #13ReasonsWhy.