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Will Catfish Bring The Story Of Traves And Candy To A Sweet Conclusion?

Traves is pretty sure he's destined for his online girlfriend Candy, and he only gave her money to help her get set up in her career as a model! Will Nev and Max corroborate her story?

The Client

Traves, a twenty-five-year-old mechanic in Los Angeles.

The Beloved

Candy Red, age and current occupation unknown, of Las Vegas. Nev rolls his eyes at this extremely fake-sounding name, but Max suggests, "That could be just her stage name." For her stage career as a sensitive interpreter of the autoharp?

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I mean, maybe.

The Clues

Since finding her two years ago -- on a dating site they were apparently not able to clear because THIS is not real...

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...they've been texting to the tune of "thousands" of messages a week. They have talked on the phone, but when it happens, "it's very brief" -- less than five minutes. Nevertheless, Traves has been thinking about asking her to move in with him in L.A. so that she can pursue her dream of being [spins Wheel Of Obvious Lies and lands on] a model.

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Candy refuses to videochat, and when he went to Las Vegas to try to meet her for the first time and bring her to his cousin's wedding, she initially agreed with excitement, and then stopped texting him. He's also given her money for rent and bills.

The Excuses

This is not an excuse but a potential explanation: one of their topics of text conversation -- frequent enough for Traves to bring it up in his first video call with Nev and Max -- is conspiracy theories! Candy "feel like all water is, like, being like-- It's not good for us? They put, like, different chemicals in our water?" Somehow I don't think Candy's talking about, like, Flint. Traves may not share this conviction, however: he mentions it as something they "debate about" -- but he likes that too, explaining, "She challenges me." In other words: Traves might let a lot of this slide because Candy is hot, but it also may be that he is not smart. Or, at least, not worldly.

The Investigation

It's so very, very obvious that Candy is fake that Nev and Max skip the charade of going off to do their Googling and instead just set up in the office at the garage where Traves works. Before they've even busted out the computer, though, Nev pulls up her dating site profile on Traves's phone, at which point Nev immediately notices something Traves didn't: the URL for her profile includes the name "tianna1." "Never looked at it," says Traves, whose skepticism about the world apparently extends no further than his doubts about Candy's aqueous convictions. Candy/Tianna has 8000 friends on this dating site (SEEMS HIGH???), and 27 photos, a few of which Nev drags and drops and searches. On the third, they get a match.

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A porn star would be unattainable enough, but this one's also married? It's a real one-two punch of bad news for Traves. "So," he says mournfully, "this whole time, it's-- It's been a porn star." Uh. NO, DUDE. Nev then has to explain the situation to Traves like he's in kindergarten: "You've been talking to someone who's been using her pictures. Someone took her pictures, made a new fake profile, and started talking to you." So: Traves definitely did not contact the show, because if he needed this spelled out for him, he's never seen it even one single time.

A sad piano kicks in on the score as Traves lets the "devastating" reality of his situation sink in...maybe kind of still not really getting it: "It just seemed so legit." Nev can't keep the exasperated edge out of his voice as he snaps, "What seemed legit?" "Just the conversations we've had," says Traves lamely. Because only an aspiring model could have conversed at his elevated level?

Anyway, Traves (is prodded by a producer and) asks what they do now, and Max suggests that they could search the custom URL on Candy's dating profile and see where else she used it online. Turns out: Facebook, where it belongs to a profile for someone going by "Bahama Breez," who made a post the day before about making "bomb tostadas" that tagged a Veronica; naturally, they message her.

Next, they run her phone number. It comes up as name unknown, but registered in Gardena, where Traves apparently lives, which (reasonably) makes them think Candy could be someone Traves knows. Before they can start guessing, though, Veronica calls. Veronica doesn't know any Candy Red, but when Nev says they think Candy's connected to Tianna/Bahama Breez. Stupid Veronica doesn't have enough sense not to try telling them she doesn't know any Bahama Breez when, like, how does she think they even found her? Nev explains the tostada connection, and Veronica lamely claims she's "been getting random postings": "I don't even be on Facebook the majority of the time." I don't either but I do know when I get tagged in shit? Nev lets out a guttural grunt of suspicion, and Veronica, apparently realizing she's gotten in over her head, quickly gets off the call; Max pronounces the end of the call "sketchy," and it's hard to disagree.

At this point they decide to split up while they wait to hear back from more people we didn't see them find or contact, whereupon Nev goes home to set up our contractually obligated Mrs. Nev time -- which is, as always, totally pointless and stupid and noteworthy only because while Nev is talking, either his or Mrs. Nev's phone is out and Cleo -- who is, at the point this was filmed, probably around a year old -- opens and starts recording them in Snapchat. "Girl knows how to use Snapchat!" crows Mrs. Nev. "She sees me use Snapchat all the time!" Yeah, I'm sure. Apparently Mrs. Nev would like to be associated with such initiatives as ending parenting stigmas I'm not sure showing the world that her infant, who still can't walk, has this much competence using an internet-connected device, is going to contribute to this effort. "Don't judge a mother!" I wouldn't have the opportunity IF SHE WERE NOT BADLY PARENTING ON TV.

Sometime after Mrs. Nev's latest waste of the only life I will ever have, Nev gets a call from Veronica, who wants to meet up with him and Max in person. "This is starting to get fun!" claims Nev after he hangs up. Fact check: false.

The Pre-Confrontation Confrontation

Veronica directs Max and Nev into some random alley -- congratulations to parks, no longer the creepiest place to set a meeting on this show -- to tell them that, actually, she does know Candy: "She's my sister." Nev and Max both suspect this announcement, shooting questions at her including "Are you your sister?" and "Are you just saying that she's your sister today but tomorrow it'll be you?" and "Is she your twin sister?," to all of which she says no. Like, she told you to come here and talk to her, so she probably has something to get off her chest, is (a); (b) if she is Candy, then the entire reason you're talking to her is that she is a liar who's been getting away with this for two years with one guy that you know of and probably many more if you're right, so what would possibly make you think you're going to catch her with this cross-examination?

Whatever: they decide to proceed as though they believe Veronica and start asking about Candy. Veronica doesn't know that name, nor that her sister (whose name she still hasn't supplied) has been talking to Traves. "She's have been catfish people for a very, very long time," she says. (She has a pretty tight grip on grammar the rest of the time, but watching this back, Veronica cannot be proud of that tangle of verbs.) Veronica goes on to say she's getting tired of it, and so is their family; Unnamed Sister had told their grandmother she was going to stop, but now that Nev and Max are sniffing around, Veronica knows she didn't; she wants her to quit for good, and she volunteers to arrange a meeting between Unnamed Sister and Team Catfish.

While they wait for Veronica to text with details, they head over to "Traves's," forgetting to make sure to tell the editor to take out the shot where you can see the key box that gives it away as an Airbnb.

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After they recap their conversation with Veronica (leave it to the professionals), Traves admits that there were red flags with Candy that he ignored because he was comfortable with the way things were. He goes on to say he hopes he and "Candy," whoever she is, can still be friends, and even Nev the old softy practically yells back, "Why are you even still interested in being friends with this girl? As far as we know right now, she's a scam artist, and you're just one of her potential victims. You don't owe her, you don't have to be nice to her, you don't have to make her feel better: that's not your problem! Come on, man! She lied, that's fucked up, but like...you've got to wake up! This is about you now!" You know how they basically ALL lie, and Nev always holds out hope that a relationship can continue after the cameras leave? All that goes out the window whenever anyone manages to coerce money out of a mark. It's like Nev's one and only red line.

Traves ignores this filibuster from Nev and says he doubts himself and doesn't always believe he deserves love. "So does everybody," says Nev. "You're a catch!" Max cheerleads. Pep talk over, Nev gets back to making sure that, when Traves meets Veronica's sister, he unleashes hell. (I'm paraphrasing.)

The Confrontation

Veronica tells her sister they're going shopping but covertly texts Nev the address where he, Max, and Traves can intercept them, so they're all in a parking garage when we hear a female voice -- not Veronica's -- asking "What the fuck is this?"

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If one suspected that "Candy" actually called the show on herself, one might think that she was overacting just a tad, and that Veronica's not doing as well keeping her face neutral, and might further observe that she's pretty dressed up for a spur-of-the-moment trip to the mall. Nev wearily says she knows why they're there, pointing to Traves, who watches sadly. Max asks her name, and she says it's Candy.

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Veronica does not seem to agree. Nev tries to get "Candy" to admit that she's been talking to Traves under false pretenses, and Candy lets him list all her crimes before nodding that, yes, she did all that stuff. "I'm sorry, okay?" she sputters, in what I think we can all agree is the sincerest way a person can apologize. Traves tries asking why she did it, even though he can probably make an educated guess, as can we all.

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"Candy" confirms that she has used that profile to talk to various guys over the years, but when Nev witness-leads, "You're not scamming lots of guys pretending to be this girl, are you?" "No," says "Candy" immediately, but she does confirm, when Nev asks, that she did ask for money from Traves, "one time." Max also has questions about the money, so this line of inquiry continues for a while without any satisfactory resolution...

...but Traves doesn't seem to care about the theft at all: when he finally says more than a few words to "Candy," it's to tell her how he "put [his] life on pause" for her. When he trails off, Nev takes over to tell "Candy" he and Max already gave Traves a bunch of shit earlier, because he should have known better. (So, if you're keeping track, Nev just has straight contempt for everyone in this story.) Nev thinks it's a shame if Traves has been wasting his time on someone who didn't also have feelings for him, and "Candy" claims that she really does, and that she didn't keep talking to him just to get money out of him: "I really like Traves, like, I just-- I feel some type of way about myself." See, now: she has seen the show before. Nev asks how they know she's telling the truth, and "Candy" chokes up as she says she can't do this for the rest of her life. Veronica:

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Nev follows, and Veronica tearfully tells him she can't watch "Candy" while she's doing this; she doesn't buy this profession of remorse, probably because it reminds her of the last time she did it, promising their grandma she was going to stop.

Back with Max and Traves, neither of whom is looking at her, "Candy" repeats that she can't continue faking for the rest of her life, and that she does it because she's not comfortable being herself and that she gets a rush from the attention. By this point, Nev has returned with Veronica, who starts haranguing her to agree to quit, but like, if "Candy" couldn't keep this pledge to her grandma, I doubt she cares about letting down fucking Nev. Then Veronica starts crying that it hurts her to see "Candy" pretending to be someone else, like, not to deny Veronica her pain, but (a) do we really care? and (b) is this what's supplying the "double the reveals" we've been told would characterize this season? Weak.

Anyway, because no one knows when to WRAP SHIT UP, this isn't over yet: Traves tells "Candy" he would have accepted her if she'd told him about the fake profile because of all the great conversations they've had about chemtrails or whatever the fuck, and "Candy" repeats that she's sorry, and Max says one way she could prove that would be to tell him the truth about who she is, and "Candy" says her name is Brianna, and she's twenty-eight. She says she's on social media as herself, but also that the profiles they found, like Bahama Breez, have her name as Tianna? I don't know and I really don't care; how this story snuck into the All Out War on internet liars is beyond me.

Back to the scene that won't end: some more bullshit about hurt feelings and regret and Nev telling Brianna that she's beautiful as if that's all it takes to erase twenty-eight years of her low self-esteem, like, not the way it works. But! Nev also gives her his benediction and tells Traves he believes her before they blessedly, mercifully, end the segment, five minutes too late.

The Post-Confrontation Confrontation

Max and Nev bring Traves to Brianna and/or Veronica's house, where Brianna starts to go into her phony apologies again, and before Traves can even respond, Veronica says she doesn't buy it given prior occasions when Brianna told Veronica she'd stop. Anyway: Traves regrets the time he spent waiting for "Candy" to be with him for real, and now he has to move on. Brianna insists for the 500th time that she really wants to quit. Nev breaks in at this point to say it's hard to quit something like this cold turkey, but of course he has no ideas as to how to step her down or whatever so he just asks if she thinks she can? Brianna babbles some more about not wanting to hurt anyone else. Max would like to see proof that she has (you...can't prove a negative? also the likelihood that you're going to follow up with her in any real way is zero?), and charges Veronica to hold her accountable. Veronica hasn't done that thus far, but sure. Brianna apologizes one last time, and Traves accepts her apology.

Hugs?

Brianna hugs everyone, including Traves.

The Aftermath

Three months later: Traves is doing better, feeling better about himself, and has been going on dates. He won't let anything hold him back anymore!

Brianna says she's not, as Max puts it, "doing the internet profiles anymore," and if she says it I guess we have to believe it. Veronica's been motivating her to believe she can look for love as herself. She doesn't think about Traves anymore because she's in a relationship with a new guy named Fondell -- who happens to be right there!

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Aw, he's cute. Good luck to them both?

The Life Lessons Learned

Real aspiring models aren't looking for random dudes online. Look at URLs. Don't spend too much time dreaming about your fantasy life cohabitating with a woman who won't even meet you in person. "Double the reveals" is not a meaningless phrase -- just one that most decidedly does not apply to this episode. And when an episode is essentially identical to, like, fifty other ones in your series run, it's okay not to air it.

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