’13 Reasons Why’ Fan Theory: Jeff And The Butterfly Effect

Already the internet is going crazy with fan theories in regard to Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. The latest theory involves Jeff and how his actions at Jessica’s party could have prevented a death.

SPOILER ALERT: This article discusses Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why. Please proceed with caution if you have not yet viewed all the episodes and would like to avoid spoilers.

In Episode 3 (titled “Tape 2, Side A”) of 13 Reasons Why, Hannah Baker (Katherine Longford) ends up discussing the butterfly theory and how it relates back to how she is feeling. However, it is not until Episode 10 (titled “Tape 5, Side B”) that the butterfly effect theory is fully explored via the events at Jessica’s party according to Reddit user, Kylix_.

Netflix's '13 Reasons Why,' Fan theory, Jeff Atkins, Clay and Hannah
[Image by Beth Dubber/Netflix]

According to the theory, if Jeff Atkins (Brandon Larracuente) had let Clay (Dylan Minnette) leave the party in Episode 10 of 13 Reasons Why when he wanted to, Jeff would still be alive, hence the reference to the butterfly effect.

Kylix_ lays out events of that party and why Jeff should have let Clay leave to prevent his own death.

-“Clay gets extremely nervous and decides to leave the party
-Jeff intercepts Clay on his way out and convinces him to stay
-Clay ends up making out in the rape room with Hannah, which results in him getting thrown out and her being trapped there
-After she witnesses Jessica’s rape, she’s distraught and leaves with Sheri
-Hannah distracts Sheri during the ride which results in her hitting the stop sign that causes Jeff’s car accident”

As Kylix_ points out, Jeff would still be alive if he had let Clay leave the party when he wanted to.

But, this 13 Reasons Why theory can be expanded on as well. Likewise, if Clay had left when he did, he would have never wound up in the room making out with Hannah. As a result of this, Hannah would not have refused his advances and wound up in the room while Jessica (Alisha Boe) was being raped by Bryce (Justin Prentice). Although, based on this theory, Jessica would have still been raped by Bryce, which would have likely led to all the events involving her still unfolding.

Netflix's '13 Reasons Why,' Fan theories, Jeff Atkins and Clay Jensen
[Image by Beth Dubber/Netflix]

Then, afterwards, Hannah would not have left with Sheri (Ajiona Alexus), who, in turn, would not have been distracted by Hannah wanting a phone charger and the stop sign never would never have gotten knocked over. All of these events would not have occurred for Hannah, thus she might not have committed suicide when she did. And this is when the audience sees the butterfly effect displayed fully.

As other Reddit users point out, while these events might not have unfolded if Jeff had let Clay leave the party when he initially wanted to, it is a slippery slope when using the butterfly effect in regard to events such as those in 13 Reasons Why. AbnormalSkittle, who is not a fan of the butterfly effect, points out what “if Hannah decided not to date Justin. Or if Hannah decided not to wear a dress to the date,” as a way of explaining how the butterfly theory can often become nothing more than a “what if” game.

Do you have any other theories about 13 Reasons Why? Let us know by commenting below.

The official synopsis for 13 Reasons Why is below.

“Based on the best-selling books by Jay Asher, 13 Reasons Why follows teenager Clay Jensen as he returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker — his classmate and crush — who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Will Clay be one of them? If he listens, he’ll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay’s dual narratives, 13 Reasons Why weaves an intricate and heart wrenching story of teenage life that will deeply affect viewers.”

The show 13 Reasons Why is currently streaming on Netflix.

For those who may be affected by the content of 13 Reasons Why, worldwide help can be found via this website.

[Featured Image by Netflix]