If you're watching the second season of 13 Reasons Why, brace yourself, because the series has a ton of surprises in store for the seventh episode. The first one is the long-awaited return of Jeff Atkins! Granted, his appearance is in a flashback as Clay Jensen gives testimony on the witness stand, but the role Jeff plays is significant.
During Clay's testimony, he's asked about a night he and Hannah Baker spend together. No, the two don't have sex. However, they do embark on something that's just as shocking — they take the drug molly. The whole scenario is Jeff's idea. He thinks the mood-altering drug will loosen up Clay enough to connect with Hannah. For those of you keeping track, this interaction takes place at some point in the late Spring of sophomore year, so that's after the events of the Winter formal but before Jessica's back-to-school party junior year.
But why is this event important?
Well, the next morning, as the group comes down from their high, Hannah says something that sounds eerily similar to the concerns she anonymously expresses in speech class (episode seven of the first season) and later to Mr. Porter: "What's the point, right? . . . No, but, like, really, what's the point of anything? . . . Do you ever think, 'I can't do it anymore? Like, I wanna die?' . . . Like everything's black."
Alex Standall, who is also at the molly party along with Sheri Holland and Jeff's girlfriend, agrees with Hannah. Jeff dismisses the statement saying that it's the molly talking, that they're just coming down from the high, and that it is all normal. Clay, however, stares at the others with a look of uncertainty. Meanwhile, in the present, Clay grapples with the memory and his inability to help.
The whole episode leaves us with a ton of questions about molly and the role it may have played in Hannah's decision-making, so we did some research.
What Is Molly?
The name is short for "molecule," selected for the innocent girl-next-door appeal that such an innocuous name brings. The main ingredient is MDMA, a synthetic chemical stimulant and psychedelic that brings euphoria to the user by flooding the brain with neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. But once the user reaches the high and the effects of the drug wear away, the body's neurotransmitters become depleted, which can lead to depression.
Why Is Molly Dangerous?
Molly's crystalline powder, the MDMA, is contained in a gel capsule and is meant as a pure alternative to ecstasy. However, molly poses a danger to users because the powder is prone to dilution with a various mix of toxic chemicals — anything from bath salts to amphetamines — that can range widely from dose to dose.
How Does This Affect What Hannah Said?
While Hannah is certainly struggling with a myriad of tough issues, her statement in that moment may have been a response to coming down from a synthetic serotonin high, leaving her brain depleted of happiness. Real-life molly users have expressed a similar feeling, saying that during the high everything, feels amplified — or as Hannah says in the episode, "tremendous" — but the aftermath leaves them disappointed once life sets in again.
Either way, our hearts go out to Hannah Baker.