When TV characters refer to "the clubhouse" and the show isn't a cartoon, you know something is up and there are some dangerous things going on at said clubhouse. When the phrase appeared on Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why, it was clear that the mystery behind the polaroids and certain characters' threatening messages was deepening. What is the clubhouse on 13 Reasons Why and how does it relate to the blackmail some students are getting? This post contains spoilers for 13 Reasons Why Season 2.
The first mention of the clubhouse comes in Episode 5, when the word is discovered in one of Hannah's poems during Ryan's court testimony. He's asked to read several of her poems aloud to the rest of the courtroom, which prompts the defense lawyer to pressure him in saying that the poems are about Justin, who Hannah had some kind of relationship with after their date seen in Season 1. Later, when Ryan visits Mrs. Baker to apologize for not being a good friend to Hannah, she tells him about her daughter's mentions of "the clubhouse" in three different poems. One reads, "Something changed after the clubhouse," while another says, "I imagined myself for a moment one of the elite, but I never should have gone to the clubhouse." The poems also mention a letter jacket, which connects the clubhouse to an athlete and presumably Justin.
Ryan doesn't remember anything related to a clubhouse from his writing sessions with Hannah, and he also draws a blank when Olivia asks about a poem Hannah wrote about an intruder. Olivia equates "the intruder" to the bullying at Liberty High and wonders about the missing pages from Hannah's journal, but Ryan doesn't tell her that he ripped out the pages before Hannah's death.
In the next episode, Ryan asks Sheri about the clubhouse, wondering if there's any particular place where athletes hang out. She's clueless, and she and Clay are also puzzled about the setting in the haunting polaroids he received in his locker. As she's a former cheerleader, it's definitely odd that Sheri wouldn't know about an elite jocks' hangout spot, so it's safe to assume that the clubhouse is even more prestigious and/or dangerous than anyone initially thinks.
However, the next time we see Sheri, she has put those hints together and tells Clay that the place in the polaroids is the clubhouse. Clay, frustrated by Zach's court confession about his relationship with Hannah, doesn't register her info, and the mystery is left unsolved for a bit longer. It isn't until Episode 9 that Clay finds the clubhouse when drawing graffiti on the baseball field with Cyrus and Tyler late at night. After spotting athletes sneaking into a school shed nearby, it's clear to Clay that he's found where those polaroids were taken.
Working to help Clay and Justin, Sheri finds her way into the clubhouse alongside some athletes, including Bryce and Scott Reed. There, the boys convince her to take drugs before revealing that they won't take any in preparation for their baseball game, suggesting that they've put other girls in similar vulnerable positions. They then force her to pose for a polaroid photo with them, saying that all visitors do so, and Bryce adds the new snapshot to a drawer full of pictures, solidifying the athletes as the greater source of Clay's polaroid messages.
Who knows how long this man cave of drugs and debauchery has existed? As we later learn, Jessica's friend Nina was raped there, and Clay's first polaroid showed students who were seniors when he and his classmates were freshmen, so the clubhouse has been a site for this extreme activity for quite awhile. As a result, the athletes are using the photographic proof of clubhouse visits to blackmail those deeply involved in Hannah's case. Just when we thought that Liberty High couldn't be more screwed up, right?
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.