Clay starts out as an easy-going, not particularly hardworking college professor who sees himself as a traditional patriarch, but he ends up ceding that role quickly as he realizes how dependent he is on technology. Clay is motivated to care for his family and takes on the more physical tasks in his marriage, such as driving, unclogging sinks, and replacing lightbulbs with a certain enjoyment. Ironically for an English professor, he likes to think of himself as still being in touch with his primitive side.   

Despite his sense of himself as manly and skilled at physical tasks and cooking, Clay is more dependent than the others on his smartphone and cannot offer any helpful information or take any meaningful action without it. When Clay hears the terrible noise for the first time, alone on a self-appointed hero’s mission to find out what is going on, he cries, something he considers feminine. In that moment, Clay has an epiphany, realizing that masculine responsibility is a social construct. Knowing he has failed to protect his family, Clay willingly cedes his role as patriarch to G. H.