Screens: MTV

Craig's List Of Things About Zoe That Seem Sketchy

Item 1: She made him give her his Facebook password??? But there's more.

The Client

Craig, of the greater Pittsburgh area.

The Beloved

Zoe, of Jacksonville.

The Clues

On four different occasions, Zoe and Craig made arrangements to meet in person and then she didn't show. They never videochatted. Whenever he asked her for a new photo of herself, "she acted like [he] was asking for a bag of gold." He met Zoe through his sister Miriah, who also lives in Jacksonville, and yet has never met Zoe in person and only knows her through other IRL friends who also only know Zoe from Facebook. But the biggest clue of all is...okay, jesus, this is so complicated. So as a proof of love and fidelity, Zoe demanded that Craig give her his Facebook password, and for some reason, he did. And they both had some extension or app or something that automatically uploaded ALL their photos to their Facebook profiles, which, why would anyone ever want this "functionality"? Anyway, I guess at some point Zoe was logged in as Craig and dumped a bunch of her photos, and even though he knew her to look like this...

Catfish

...there was a selfie of this girl.

Catfish

And thus was planted the most fertile seed of doubt.

The Excuses

All four times she blew off their in-person meetings, it was due to four different family emergencies. The chubbier girl in that selfie was Zoe's "friend Cassandra."

The Investigation

I'm going to try to keep it brief because everyone who ever met Miriah apparently wants to get on TV and flood us with extraneous information. Max and Nev switch it up and start by flying to Jacksonville with Craig, because even though Zoe's current claims (and Facebook info) have her living in North Carolina, all her FB friends are in Florida. Miriah first became acquainted with Zoe through this girl Kayla, who's "known" Zoe online since they were in the eighth grade but, like everyone else in this story, never met her in real life. Zoe's already caused a rift between former best friends Kayla and Kayln (sic, and...I know); also, some Kayln (I know) noodz somehow found their way to Zoe, who caused mayhem by threatening to post them online. It KIND OF seems like Kayln (I know) sent these nude photos to Craig and that either he sent them to Zoe to make Kayln (guys, I know) look like an asshole or else it was another Facebook photo sync misfire, but all of this is extremely sketchy and since the show just glosses over that part of it, so will I. And Zoe did end up posting some nudes of Kayln (I KNOW) and also some other girls, tagging them with their full names and the schools they go to. WHOOPS. This is the sort of behaviour that leads Max to dub Zoe a "Catfish terrorist."

Anyway: back to Craig and his problems. After calling attention to the fact that Max's job could be done by a Pogo tripod...

Catfish

...he and Nev get down to their usual sleuthing. A Spokeo reverse trace on Zoe's phone turns up a middle-aged lady named Mary Ann Rozmus. From there, it's a short hop to Mary Ann's daughter Cassandra -- who, guess what, is "Zoe's friend" with the suspect selfie. And apparently she's blocked Craig. Considering that Cassandra apparently has zero privacy settings turned on, my first thought is that it's a pretty bad idea for her to post a photo of her house in Shelby, North Carolina, but then, I guess she might as well, since Spokeo has her whole address including zip code.

Oh! And Cassandra also has a YouTube channel. So Nev and Max will be able to play videos for him and see if Cassandra's voice is the same as the one he's heard on the phone. "I'm dying to meet this girl," says Nev. BUT NEV, WHAT ABOUT BELIEVING IN LOVE???

The Presentation Of Findings

Neither Miriah nor Craig has heard of any of the Rozmuses, but Craig agrees that the shots of Cassandra they've found look like the girl in the selfie. He also confirms that the voice coming out of Cassandra in her YouTube video sounds like Zoe. "This is Zoe," Nev confidently declares. Craig is sad to have given "this person everything [he] had." Miriah feels "a little bit sick to [her] stomach." Nev goes on to say, "This may be the most destructive, hurtful we've seen someone act through a fake profile," which I don't actually think is true but I guess he has to say something to justify why this episode is the season premiere. Anyway, he wants to make her face the people she's hurt and apologize, because if he's learned anything doing this show, it's that the real dicks are usually extremely repentant.

Nev leaves Zoessandra a message about the show and Craig and whatever, and then Max is like, we could just go there, and Nev is like, great spontaneous idea, friend for life! So: everyone's going to North Carolina for a good old-fashioned ambush.

The Confrontation

Cassandra comes home to find Craig, Miriah, and the two Catfish idiots standing in the driveway. As any of us could have predicted, she is completely unapologetic; she fucked with all these strangers on Facebook for fun. And she didn't know any of them, so it's not even revenge. Did she have feelings for Craig?

Catfish

That's IT? THIS is what kicks off the season? Christ.

(But also, sidebar: who are these people just becoming Facebook friends with strangers? People they've never met and that no one they know has ever met and for whom they have no other context? Why? Is this a generational divide? I have blood relatives I've hidden from my feed, and there are people out there collecting randoms? I DON'T GET IT.)

This ambush has been brought to you by Spokeo! Spokeo: by publishing your full street address for the entire internet to find, we bring good things to life, and boners with cameras to your actual home.

The Post-Confrontation Confrontation

Craig tells Cassandra that she needs help. He apparently then finds her amused reaction to his diagnosis of what she needs so insulting that he decides they're done forever, and leaves. Once he's gone, Cassandra cries that she has been bullied all her life, just like all these fuckers do. Yes, she also says (when prompted) that she has thought about harming herself in the past, but I think this is a thing the grifters sometimes say because it absolves them from further blame or reprisal -- much in the way they'll claim to have a life-threatening disease or dead relative or catastrophic accident or something. If it's true in this case, I guess I'm sorry? But I don't believe it is.

Needless to say: there is no hug.

The Aftermath

Six weeks later, Cassandra is basically an addict who has to decide every day not to reactivate the Zoe profile. Craig has had no further contact with Cassandra, but he did get a job at The Olive Garden! Look, I understand that Nev and Max really want us to be offended on Craig's behalf, but given that one person in this transaction was a pathological liar and the other intentionally shaves lines into his eyebrows, it's frankly impossible to know whose side to take.

The Life Lessons Learned

Don't try to find love from random strangers on Facebook. Put privacy settings on your profile. Don't take nudes, but if you do, don't send them to Craig. And please, for me: PLEASE opt out of Spokeo.

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