Screens: MTV

Has Blaire Found True Love, Or Is Markie Giving Her The Biz?

Blaire's Instagram girlfriend seemed perfect. Then she got kidnapped. ...What?

The Client

Blaire, who's unemployed and basically homeless, currently in San Antonio but until recently of New York.

The Beloved

Markie, a high school student in Clovis, California.

The Clues

They've never videochatted. The arranged to meet in person once -- in fact, Blaire, who at the time had been living in a friend's car, had been motivated to get a job so that she could buy Markie a plane ticket to New York -- but it didn't happen.

The Excuses

WELL, the reason Markie didn't make it to New York that time is that, a week before her appointed departure date, she got kidnapped. Yep, seems legit! She called Blaire from a mental hospital a week later to break things off, explaining that "she still had feelings for her ex." Less an excuse than a complicating factor: Blaire recently posted a photo on Facebook of her new girlfriend, and Markie got irate, ordered Blaire to call her, and told her not to date anyone else, even though, according to Blaire, Markie doesn't want to date her either. Blaire partly wants to move on, but is partly still attached to Markie because of all the times Blaire had been just about to commit suicide out of despondency over the state of her life (the reason she became homeless in the first place is that she got kicked out of her house for being gay and apparently hasn't had contact with her family since), but Markie's encouragement pulled her back from the brink.

The Investigation

"It seems like Markie might be exactly who she says she is," says Max when the first couple of photos Nev searches don't return any other results, "but when the story checks out, then there's generally a much more sinister reason why they're not meeting." Or it's the completely banal story of a bored teenager creating her own drama and you're trying to make her into the fucking Joker to justify the episode storyline? As we'll see, though, for a supervillain, Markie sure leaves a lot of clues, starting with her home address, which seems to be searchable on Spokeo or whatever they're using via her phone number; that it's in Clovis, as Markie had told Blaire was her location, Nev deems "promising."

Next, they scroll back on her Facebook wall to July, when she was supposedly kidnapped. Sure enough, there are a couple of posts from someone unidentified (her sister, I guess) asking Markie's friends to report in if they knew where she was because she hadn't come home. Within a few days of the initial post is one expressing gratitude that she's made it home safely, and then one from Blaire three days after that asking that someone call her and tell her what's going on, since at that point Markie's supposed to be on her way to see Blaire in New York. Also suspect: three days after that, Markie changes her Facebook profile photo...at a time when, she had told Blaire, she was in the crazy house. HMMMMM.

And then? "I guess this thread is for telling lies," someone posts, which Max and Nev react to with shock that seems slightly excessive given that THEY STAR ON A SHOW ABOUT LIARS.

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That said, Markie Liked that comment. "That's pretty weird," says Nev. I tend to agree. They message a couple of dudes who appear to know Markie for real -- Christopher, who went to high school with her; and Alex (a boy), with whom she was "In A Relationship" as of December -- and then rock on over to Markie's Instagram.

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

Having the presence of mind to tag an update "#terrifying" and "#troubled" seems to me like proof that there's actually nothing #terrifying or particularly #troubled about you, other than feeling troubled that you're not getting as much attention as you want, but Max and Nev have, I guess, never spent any time with melodramatic teenaged girls because they take it completely at face value. "We could be dealing with a very troubled individual," says Nev dutifully as we see Instagram photos of Markie's totally predictable cosplay.

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And a "Mission Accomplished" banner unfurls in Markie's mind: normals thinking they're scary for real is all try-hard suburban teens yearn for when they go goth, so way to go, Nev. (Hey, Markie, you forgot #basic.)

Max and Nev are trying to recover from how unsettled they are by this photo's chalky makeup and fake blood spatter when they get a call from Alex, who confirms that he's Markie's ex. Asked how he'd describe Markie "as a person," the editing makes it appear as though the very first thing Alex says is that she lied to him all the time. "Would you say she's a compulsive liar?" Max witness-leads. Alex would! Nev asks about the alleged kidnapping and whether Alex thinks that's something she might have lied about, and what do you know, the craziest of Markie's stories turns out to be one Alex has tried to confirm, only to be stymied by her refusal to talk about it. When they hang up, Nev expresses his concern that Blaire says she wants the truth from Markie so she can move on, but that she seems like she's still into Markie, who "could be playing a very dark, twisted game." I bet you a dollar that, one second after hearing Nev say that last night, Markie made that her IG bio.

The next morning, that dude Chris texts, to add very little to what Nev and Max already know. He reports that she hasn't been in school lately because she got into a fight at school and was found to have a switchblade in her backpack (not sure I even believe that). When Nev hints around about the kidnapping, Chris says she told him that she just ran away from home for a day but that it wasn't a big deal. Asked whether she's dating anyone, Chris says that she's "majorly Skyping" with some girl Markie's referred to as her "bae" (ugh), so: not Blaire, who's never videochatted with her. This obviously mentally ill girl is "cheating" on another girl who was trying to get with someone else anyway? OH NO, BUT WHAT ABOUT THEIR TWOO WUV?!

The Presentation Of Findings

After meeting Blaire's motel-room roommate Terah and Terah's nephew, Ja'Kayden -- who I wish I could say Terah had taken from her sister's custody so that she could give him a human name, but apparently that's not the case -- and after Nev determines that even though Blaire and Terah are both into ladies, they're not into each other ("Dear Diary, TIL that lesbians can be platonic friends!" - Nev), Max and Nev recap their investigation for Blaire, including Nev adding his editorial comment on Markie's "very dark, troubling demons." Of course, Blaire still wants to meet her, and of course, Markie dodges for a minute before agreeing.

The Confrontation

Apparently as soon as everyone lands in California, Markie starts dicking them around: she isn't answering Nev's texts about where and when they should meet, and her outgoing voicemail -- which their phone calls bounce to -- instructs callers not to bother leaving voicemail because she probably won't listen to it. Max gets so disgusted by this known liar's discourteous behaviour that he proposes they quit waiting around and, instead, go for a drive to stake out her house. But remember how they found her address on Spokeo (or whatever)? When they drive to it, it turns out to be a strip mall. This liar lied to the internet about her address? HOW DARE SHE. But then Nev gets an idea: they can look up the geotags on her photo uploads and, between that and Blaire's memories of past photos of Markie's house exterior and the truck her dad drives, figure out where her house is from those, and what do you know, it actually works!

Photo: Fox

Photo: Fox

Not to say that people who live in the suburbs aren't capable of all manner of depravity -- I've seen Blue Velvet, guys, nbd -- but Markie's large, comfortable home...

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

...and well-manicured block...

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...really underscore my initial judgment of how phony her goth posturing is.

As Max is bucking up Blaire to the effect of Markie being much more nervous about meeting Blaire than Blaire is about meeting her, Markie's dad's truck rolls into the driveway and our trio approach the house. Markie's dad, Mark, opens the door, and tells Nev that she "went with some friends yesterday" and that he hasn't seen her since. Blaire turns on her heel and paces into the street, muttering about how stupid she was to let Markie get her hopes up again and so forth, while back at the house Mark tells Nev that Markie told him all about what was about to happen with the show and Blaire and everything. Nev asks Mark to tell Markie, if he hears from her, that Nev et al are waiting to make a plan with her. Mark pretends to care.

Back by the car, Max is the "He's Just Not That Into You" voice of reason, suggesting to Blaire, "I mean, if you have to chase someone this much just to meet them, they might not be worth meeting." Of course, this show wouldn't exist if not for hopeful boobs chasing people who generally aren't worth meeting, but anyway, Blaire calls Markie again and lets Nev feed her a bitter message to leave about how they were there and Markie was not and she's leaving, nyah!

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From there, Nev, Max, and Blaire head to one of Clovis's more depressing parks, and are sitting on a bench weirdly planted in the middle of a dirt meadow when Blaire tries to call Markie again, and actually gets her! Markie's heard from her dad that they were at the house; she "just got [her] phone charged" -- what, her latest kidnapper wouldn't let her unplug his rock tumbler? -- but she cheerfully offers to come meet them wherever they are.

And forty-five minutes later, she does!

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I am not qualified to diagnose Markie as a sociopath, but I will say that her completely insouciant manner in light of (a) how much she's been jerking Blaire around for the past day (and for months before that), and (b) Blaire's cold affect at seeing her after all this time is far more alarming than any of the Fangoria cover spec shots on Markie's Instagram. Her chirpy attitude is so off-putting that even Nev and Max are moved to say it's not what he was expecting from her, under the circumstances.

They all sit down at a picnic table, where Max once again recaps the official story of why Markie never came to New York. Markie's explanation is...something: "I was seventeen. And the man pretty much didn't kidnap me. I went on my own....He persuaded me to go with him, because of issues that would happen in New York that he saw." "He saw issues?" Blaire repeats, uncomprehendingly. "Is he an ex...of yours?" Nev asks.

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

Markie's condescending expression in this moment manages to be the most punchable thing in an episode that also features Nev, which is pretty impressive. "It's a very private situation," she adds. "I can't really let out names." Is that because he has a bunch of names? Like Lucifer and Beelzebub and Old Nick and Kenny and Satan? But don't worry, the story's not over: "What had happened was" -- shorthand for "what I'm about to say is a lie" -- "I had a dream that I went to New York, and I died. And I told [either "you" or "Jim," it's weirdly inaudible and not subtitled even though other perfectly comprehensible stuff she said earlier was] about the dream, and he told me that if I didn't go, and repent my sins, I guess, I don't know, he didn't make it clear, but he told me pretty much if I didn't confess everything to him, I would die in New York..." Blaire:

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"...and so that pushed me to the limit as to where I felt like I needed to go. For you, for me, for my family, so I could stay alive." Okay, now I no longer think Markie's story is a lie, per se -- I don't think it happened, but I think she thinks it did -- and that now the show is exploiting an actually mentally ill person who may be functional day-to-day now but who still isn't...quite right in the head. Nev asks whether she was "far away in the middle of nowhere," and Markie gravely confirms that she was "up the mountains." Nev asks why "the man" had so much influence over Markie, and she says he was "a close personal friend." Blaire asks why Markie couldn't have told "the man" that she had to tell Blaire she wasn't coming to New York, and Markie says, "He didn't want to talk to you. He didn't want anything to do with you." "It's a terrible story," says Max, shaking his head as if to clear it of all the nonsense he's just heard, but that he doesn't get it -- which Markie understands, so at least she's not so far gone that she doesn't recognize how the story may sound to people outside of it, which I guess is a plus? Of sorts?

Nev changes the subject (kind of) to Markie's reputation as a liar, and Markie confirms that she's heard that accusation from people in the past: "But I do try my best not to lie to Blaire." GREAT, "TRYING" IS REALLY ALL ANYONE CAN ASK! "You still do it," Blaire points out. "I try not to," Markie shrugs, like Blaire should appreciate the effort a lot more than she does.

Nev then changes the subject for real to say that Blaire needs to know something real about Markie now, so that she can move on with her life. In a very rehearsed and artificial way, Markie reaches out to shake Blaire's hand and introduces herself, adding, "I'm a psychotic crazy person [MAYBE NOT A JOKE, BLAIRE], I have a semi-lying problem [PROBABLY DROP "SEMI" FROM THAT CLAUSE], and I'm absolutely in love with you. I want to be a part of your life. I want to be there for you. I want to be the person you can cry on. I want to be the girl you come home to, and I want to be the girl wearing your ring." WHAT?! WHAT ABOUT YOUR BAE YOU'RE SKYPING ALL THE TIME?! Fortunately, Blaire isn't won over by any of this, or...

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

...shit, she totally is. Which I guess is why Nev -- normally a cheerleader for love no matter how absurd the situation -- decides he can't take anymore and declares, "I'm going to interrupt. I feel like you're unbelievably smooth. A week ago, you told her not to keep dating the girl she's dating because you didn't want her to. You know exactly what to say. I feel like I'm listening to a script for, like, the perfect scene out of the perfect movie, from the perfect guy who says exactly the right thing to the girl and they walk off happily into the sunset. That's not how this is gonna go. 'Cause that's the worst thing you can do for her. The worst thing you can do for her right now is that. If you care about someone, be real with them!" Kind of a heteronormative analogy, but otherwise, he's not wrong. He folds his hands in triumph -- actually earned, for once -- and Markie starts to mumble, "If she doesn't want to be with me--" "She does want to be with you!" yelps Nev. "That's the problem. Because she's not good at recognizing things that are bad for her." While I also think Nev's right about this, Blaire is sitting right there and is an adult capable of speaking for herself, so he's kind of on the line of "protective" and "patronizing." Then again, she also doesn't stop or correct him so I guess she figures she can use the help. He knows that Markie was very supportive to Blaire during a period when she needed it, so he's pretty sure she still legitimately cares about Blaire in some fashion, but warns, "You need to be much more careful with the words you choose. It's really dangerous to say 'I love you' to someone, 'I want to spend my life with you, even though we just met ten minutes ago,' and not have them go into a tailspin! You're just lying without intentionally doing it, and giving the wrong signals to the wrong person and just hurting both of you." Markie actually is chastened by this lecture, or does a passable job of acting like it, whereupon Nev decides his work here is done...

...and he leaves Markie and Blaire (and a camera) to talk things through on their own. Blaire asks Markie how she really feels, and Markie scowls as she says Blaire knows, and that Markie wouldn't be sitting there if she didn't care about Blaire. For her part, Blaire wishes Markie had just admitted that she was too scared to come to New York rather than come up with a whole cockamamie kidnapping tale. "I was scared," whines Markie, "but that doesn't mean I wasn't going to bail out on you." Accidentally Accurate Double Negative Freudian Slip Alert! Blaire tells Markie she spent her "last penny" to get Markie to New York, and that Markie owed her the truth. Pouting down at the table, Markie says she doesn't want Blaire to leave, and Blaire says she should tell her the truth, then. But she...is leaving either way, is she not? Blaire wants to trust Markie "so bad. But how?" Markie doesn't have an answer, because there isn't one. Markie, per Nev's advice, backs off the "I love you," but repeats that she wants to be part of Blaire's life -- which really could mean anything from "Facebook friends" to "married" and hence means nothing. Blaire finally sacks up and says she needs stability in her life, which means she can't "deal with liars anymore." Markie nods. Blaire orders her to stop lying entirely if she wants to be in Blaire's life, "as a new friendship." Markie nods some more. Blaire says she's cold, and Markie smiles her agreement.

Oh God, so then Nev completely negates how right he was earlier by very formally shaking Markie's hand in the parking lot and telling her, "Take it as a sign of endearment that I see a lot of me in you." BARRRRRRRRRF. "I think I can do better for role models than a guy who got kicked out of Sarah Lawrence for punching a woman," Markie does not reply.

Hugs?

There is a hug.

The Aftermath

Three months later, Markie and Blaire talk -- as friends -- almost every day. Markie is proud of herself for being honest with Blaire. The Black Screen Of Updates tells us that Markie is in therapy. I hope that includes a prescription for thorazine. What's she doing after high school?

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That's a pretty rigorous application process, so I'm glad her dad's cheque cleared.

As for Blaire: she's no longer into Markie romantically. Also, she and Terah "kind of parted ways," so Blaire is moving to Florida, where she has an apartment she plans to live in with her girlfriend, Katerina, who's coming down from New York to live with her. She also claims she's going to become Ja'Kayden's legal guardian. When she isn't related to him biologically nor attached to anyone who is? When she may not have finished high school and if she has a job we don't know what it is? GREAT IDEA, BLAIRE. Ugh.

The Life Lessons Learned

If someone won't videochat with you, she is definitely hiding something. Your online girlfriend who flaked on your first in-person visit never got kidnapped. "The man" doesn't actually have foreknowledge of Markie's fate. If you name your child Ja'Kayden, a stranger may try to take him away from you permanently.

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