And why he’s not so bad.
Note that analysis is used lightly here. By analysis o mean a messy train of thought as to why I sympathize with Nathan
Warning: spoilers ahead. Read at your own risk.
Nathan Prescott. Douche bag? Yep. Mentally ill? Definitely. Abused? Oho yeah. Manipulated? You got it. Did some horrible shit? Hell yeah. Still deserves to be forgiven? You guessed it.
Nathan is taking a shit load of prescription meds, of which all correspond to one of 3 illnesses. This indicates that not only is Nathan bipolar (and you can definitely pick out his manic and depressive episodes), but he also has anxiety and schizophrenia, both of which cause extreme paranoia.
Throw the kids constant partying and drugs and drinking and you’re gonna have one fucked up kid.
Meaning: Nathan is paranoid; he is scared out of his fucking mind, he can’t control his emotions, and everything gets processed into rage. Or something rage like. This gives us the base for his twitchy, irritable, yet somehow still lovable character.
But what lies underneath the surface of his paranoia?
Lots of complex shit.
First, let us observe some of his behavior, starting with comments he makes in regards to control. He doesn’t like being told what to do, he doesn’t like being threatened, he doesn’t like being manipulated. When he is or when he feels out of control of his life, this ups his paranoia and causes a lot of lashing out. This is pretty easy to spot and catch on to. What not many people will catch on to, though, is the subtext of these actions and words. Nathan has, and most likely still is, being emotionally absurd by his family, especially his father. We see a lot of evidence for this, especially in episode four. The boy craves for his approval but just doesn’t get it. His dad is constantly manipulating him, as seen through emails and notes and Nathan’s general behavior towards him. In episode four, you can find a world’s best son certificate from when Nathan would’ve been about 10 (I believe). He holds onto that and a single picture of his dad and him, which he is bawling in. I think this speaks a lot to their relationship. This need for acceptance and vulnerability coupled with his untreated (because of his father) illnesses makes him the perfect target for Jefferson. Just like his dad, it’s exposed that Jefferson manipulates Nathan, and the methods he she’s mirrors his dads. There’s some interesting theories that Jefferson is Nathan’s dad but the picture in his dorm easily disapproves that. But whatever: point being, Nathan is such an easy target for Jefferson because Jefferson acts like his dad and stands in as a father figure.
Remember when Nathan did some fucked up shit and drugged Chloe, taking her picture and shit?. (Let’s be clear, he didn’t Rape her or anyone. I’m sick of those theories. Thanks) we know now he attempting to imitate jefferson’s/ work in the black room. And we all know what they say, imitation is the highest form of flattery. Texts between the two show that Nathan was trying to make Jefferson proud, but he failed terribly. This really fucks with his mind further. Now he has two dads that really don’t treat him well or approve of him, no matter what he does.
But let’s diverge from the obvious a moment and look at some more parts of Nathan that are hidden.
Nathan is the only person on campus that locks his dorm. You could argue it’s because he does fucked up shit and drugs but the lrescott’s own the school and the town, so he really wouldn’t be worried about that. No, Nathan locks his door because he’s scared, of Jefferson most likely. If you get David suspended from campus, he sends him an anonymous email talking about how he doesn’t feel safe on campus anymore. It’s known David does work for the prescott’s on the side. Nathan is literally scared for his life at Blackwell. He’s scared of Jefferson. He’s being manipulated and abused and he’s scared. This is why he has the gun. It’s his way of protecting himself, whether it be from scumbag Jefferson or the emotional abuse and paranoia he faces daily.
But again, this is the obvious bits.
Beyond this, we get remorse.
Nathan is remorseful about all that he does.
When he shoots Chloe in the bathroom, you can stick around and watch him literally stumble to her body and sob a bunch of oh nos and oh shits and oh gods. He’s terrified. He didn’t mean to shoot her, and he definitely mean to kill her. All he tried to do was gain some control in the situation and his life.
The kid is fascinated by the morbid, but he has no wishes to be a killer. He’s not psychopathic. He’s mentally ill, and while they can overlap there is a difference between the monster tumblr wants him to be and who he really is.
If Kate dies, he takes her cross necklace and a sunflower from her memorial. To me this is not a trophy, it is, again, a sign of remorse. She wasn’t supposed to die.
If you ask me, the video exists purely so Jefferson can wash his hands of any evidence that he ever kidnapped Kate. He wanted her to die. But Nathan? I doubt it.
He is in this situation against what he wants. Maybe he entered it because Jefferson’s as supposed to replace his dad but he sure as hell doesn’t want to be in it anymore. This much is clear.
After Kate’s death, he even goes to comfort a crying Victoria. This, again, shows regret but it also shows that he has the capacity to care and empathize (things not characteristic of what y'all accuse him to be. Thanks) he truly cares for Victoria.
Let’s go to another point though.
Rachel in the dark room. That cute (not) little drawing he did of her. Pair that with the photo of her and Nathan drugged out of their minds together tells me that he doesn’t know exactly what happened to Rachel. He’s trying to cope but, as his psychiatrist puts it, he loses his grip on reality even further (to paraphrase). Not only is Nathan confused about the Rachel situation but he’s scared. He doesn’t know what happened to her or if he does its fragmented and weird because he was drugged to. I promise you he didn’t kill Rachel. His entire reality has been messed with and this I creases not only his paranoia, but his anxiety (which I think may be a form of ptsd) and schizophrenia as well. (Note schizophrenia is characterized by loss of reality and delusions). You can bet your ass Jefferson is manipulating this new state too. The scumbag is playing on his lack of knowing what’s real and what isn’t to further torment him.
The last thing I want to touch on is his reactions to being beaten by warren. If you let warren continue, Nathan stops trying to resist. His facial expression shows distance. He just takes it. It isn’t until after warren beats the shit out of him that he curls into a ball and starts crying, chanting that everybody hates him. This is characteristic of someone who has and is being physically abused. Honestly, enough said.
Edit: on Nathan and eating disorders. I do think Nathan has an ED. I understand diet pills will give a hell of high but Nathan gets plenty of drugs elsewhere. There’s no real reason for him to spend that much on diet pills just for the high. No, I think he really does have an ED. His clothes are baggy, the kid is a literal stick and has no meat on his bones. He looks pale and worn down (which could be attributed to other things to, I know) but don'tnod doesn’t just put things in like that for nothing. They’re very careful with the information they give us. Nah, we already knew Nathan was doing drugs. The diet pills were unnecessary; he has an ED.
What does all this mean? It means his behavior, however bad it can be, is understandable. He’s a victim of years of abuse, his being manipulated into doing things he doesn’t want, his reality is being altered before his eyes and he believes his life is in constant danger.
Does that mean we should forgive everytjing? No. What he did to Chloe was fucked up. What he caused Kate was fucked up. What he was forced to do the girls though? Nah. That’s not him and there’s plenty of proof that it isn’t. The kid deserves some forgiveness. He deserves empathy. And he certainly doesn’t deserve what tumblr wishes on him.
That is all.
Sorry for my lack of eloquence and messy thought train I was mostly doing this for myself. 👌🏻