Some ships are epic love stories that span seasons. Some are shorter or never even come to fruition. Then, there are the tragic ships. Whether one party is dead or we were told from the start things take a sour turn, these are the ships we know are going to end badly from the get-go. Yet, as we watch them unfold, we can’t help but root for the happy ending we know is never going to come.
Take Hannah Baker and Clay Jensen from the Netflix series 13 Reasons Why for example. (Actually, this could be applied to pretty much every ship on the show.)
Even though we learn Hannah took her own life in the first minutes of the pilot episode, it is nearly impossible to not want her to end up with her crush Clay as he listens to the cassette tapes she left behind. It is clear from every flashback that these two both felt the exact same way about each other. They share inside jokes and the same sarcastic sense humor, give each other silly nicknames, and spend countless hours together at their movie theater jobs. Yet, neither one is ever fully able to put their feelings on the line. Clay feels like Hannah is way out of his league, and Hannah, traumatized from past experiences, is terrified to even let a good guy like Clay anywhere near her heart. They both continue to pine away completely unaware of the other’s true feelings until the night puts Hannah on a full downward spiral, sealing her fate.
As his listens and relives his almost night with her, he is overcome with an unbearable sense of guilt, knowing that he may have been able to help Hannah if he hadn’t let her push him out the door. With each tape, he becomes more and more determined to get justice for her. He refuses to let her death be in vain, and he takes it upon himself to right the wrongs she wasn’t strong enough to right herself. While the rest of the people want to do whatever it takes to discredit her, Clay fights for Hannah’s story to be heard. His final act of love is simply believing her. Even in her death, these two star-crossed lovers remain forever intertwined.
Sure, Clay and Hannah may not get their happy ending, but is that any reason not to feel the feels?