Will Catfish Help Candic And Titus Sort Out Their Relationship Without Shutting Out Her Husband?
Candic found friendship through an online retail site. Is she actually shopping for a new man?
Candic -- which is pronounced "Candice," so I don't know why it's not just spelled that way AND NEITHER DOES APPLE AUTOCORRECT -- of McConnellsburg, PA.
Titus, also of Pennsylvania. He's not Candic's "beloved," since they've only talked online as friends. However, since Candic has talked to Titus about some very personal issues -- according to Candic, her army-veteran husband Jamie is hard to talk to -- she's starting to feel guilty that she's been emotionally intimate with someone other than Jamie. Those issues, btw? Her hemophiliac father was infected with HIV via tainted blood transfusion, and infected her mother before he'd been diagnosed. Candic's mother died young, and the guilt drove Candic's father to abuse alcohol. Candic engaged in some self-destructive behaviours in her youth too, but tried to change her life by enlisting in the Army, and met Jamie in training. Candic had, for years, acted as though she had gotten over her mother's death, but lately her emotions around this loss have felt a lot more raw. However, she says that talking to Jamie about this, or about anything emotional, is "like talking to a brick wall," since he has "his own issues from fighting overseas."
Candic wants to tell Jamie about her relationship with Titus, but first she wants to meet Titus and find out...what his deal is? Because she's told him all her secrets but she doesn't know anything about him? This is not really explained well -- except by Max, who explains perfectly how confused this episode actually is: "She hasn't talked to [Titus] on the phone, she hasn't met him, she hasn't kissed him, she hasn't slept with him -- she's done nothing wrong....She should just drop Titus, not write in to the show, and live the rest of her life as if this thing didn't happen!" Nev counters, "I think what she's going through right now is, she clearly wasn't able to fix things with her husband the way they were going--" "So she wanted someone to be intimate with," Max finishes. "She feels like she's maybe emotionally cheated a little bit on her husband; she wants to come clean." "She doesn't know how to get out of this situation and she needs help," says Nev. It's definitely either that, or else: Titus was the one who actually contacted the show, and all these contortions aren't making it less obvious.
Since Candic and Titus connected via an (unnamed) online shopping site -- Candic has a business reselling stuff -- an indeterminate length of time ago, they've never met, even though Titus lives in Chambersburg, PA, close enough to McConnellsburg that it's actually where Nev and Max are staying. In fact, Candic and Titus have never so much as talked on the phone. He's only sent her one photo of himself. He doesn't use any social media except the shopping app where he and Candic met.
Titus has apparently offered no reasons for his refusals to meet Candic in person or talk on the phone, or for the fact that he's twenty-five and doesn't use social media AT ALL yet has no compunction about making friends via LetGo or whatever the fuck shopping app he found Candic on.
Nev and Max are pretty sure even before they begin that they've cracked it, since -- as Max has already told Candic -- when an online contact lives nearby and won't meet, or (regardless of alleged location) won't ever talk on the phone, it's because his or her voice will reveal his identity either as someone the client already knows, or because the person's actual sex is the opposite of the one he or she is using online. But since y'all aren't new, you can probably guess that Nev and Max's certainty about this means they're totally wrong. (Spoiler?)
Candic has given them very little to go on: his full name (Titus Duncan); his phone number; his profile from the retail app where they met; the one and only photo of himself he's sent her; his age (twenty-five); and his current location (Chambersburg, PA, where he lives with his parents).
They start with the phone number, which tells them it's actually VoIP, meaning not a cell phone at all. Titus is texting Candic from some kind of go-between-y service called Pinger, which: sketchy, since the reason he'd do this would seem to be that Titus doesn't want her to know his real cell phone number.
On to the photo, which takes them straight to someone who's not Titus at all.
This Steven Vennum (terrible first-last combo, Mr. and Mrs. Vennum) doesn't live in Chambersburg; according to their findings, he's in Sacramento, so they're pretty sure he has nothing to do with Candic.
Back to the little Candic has told them about Titus -- like his profile on this shopping site, where the discrepancy between his display name and username apparently raised no alarms with Candic.
Nev has a suspiciously astute hunch that his name might actually be Spencer Duncan, so they look up that name and find that it does belong to someone from the area...or rather, it did, because Spencer Duncan, a military serviceman, died in 2011. Based on the shared hometown and the military connection, Max and Nev decide that Candic probably knew the deceased Spencer, and that's a wrap on the investigation. They've Googled, like, four things and then decided to return to Candic with this dead person's name. Guys? It's not Frankie.
Well, lucky for Nev and Max -- since they have nothing else -- Candic did know Spencer Duncan. Of Candic and Jamie's "training buddies" in Pennsylvania who'd know that Candic knew him, only one -- Slinger -- is still around, but he's in Philadelphia, which she says is "not super far, but not real close either." (I was about to get snotty about that as someone who has to drive an hour to the nearest Target, but Google says it's about a three-hour drive from McConnellsburg to Philadelphia, so that's actually a fair assessment.) Max asks whether this Slinger had a crush on her, and she says she doesn't think so, but she's starting to get upset.
Asked who among her acquaintance knows she was on that shopping app, she shrugs, "My sister." Candic's sister never met the late Spencer, but she knew of him. Hmmmm. Nev asks whether Candic and her sister get along, and Candic admits that they do fight sometimes -- like, earlier this very day. Candic has also told Candic about Titus. HMMMMMMMMM. Max and Nev try to make something of these two possible new suspects, but honestly, they still don't know a goddamn thing, so it falls to Candic to call Titus, tell his voicemail she's with Catfish, and request a meeting again.
The next day, Titus texts Candic and says he's willing to meet...Nev. And even then he won't promise to meet Candic after that. Max and Nev must think Nev's about to unmask, like, Slenderman! Or Godzilla!
I'm not sure what could be less suspenseful than Nev's journey to meet Titus in a park -- normally a place where nothing good happens, but this time merely a place where something totally predictable happens, because who is Titus, really? Not a ghost!
ZOMG!!!!! I'm the polar opposite of shocked!
It's even more obvious that Jamie is the one who wrote in to the show when he -- a person already described as uncommunicative -- starts smoothly telling his well-structured story: he could tell that something was troubling Candic, and he thought maybe she wanted to break up with him, so he created the Titus account to test what Candic would do in response. He readily admits that this was "stupid," particularly since he tried to entrap Candic and she immediately shut him down.
Jamie was going to end things there, but a couple of days later he came home to find Candic very upset by an old photo of her late mother. He had to go back out to pick up their daughter, and apparently as son as he left the house, Candic texted "Titus" to tell him what was bothering her -- specifically, anxiety that Candic herself is going to die and leave her daughter motherless, which Jamie says Candic had never told him. "What you discovered was that it's not that she's looking for someone else," says Nev. "She's just looking for more of you." Also a suspiciously concise and elegant line, no?
Nev goes against his natural instinct by not letting Jamie off the hook, saying that this whole escapade is "kind of fucked up"; Jamie agrees without hesitation. Once that's out of the way, Nev gets into logistics: Jamie says he had the VoIP app on his phone; since he and Candic are "usually always on [their] phones," neither of them suspected anything even when, from the sounds of things, they were texting each other in the same room. (Cool marriage?) Where did he get the name Titus? From a show that was on when he was younger.
Jamie originally started the fake profile in Spencer's name because the late Spencer Duncan had been his best friend in Afghanistan. (And he thought using Spencer's name to deceive his wife would be a beautiful tribute to his memory?) It seems like it was just dumb luck that Candic never noticed the Titus/Spencer username clash.
The conversation ends as Jamie reiterates how much he wants to come clean to Candic, so Nev says he's ready to introduce Jamie to his wife (har).
I guess Titus must be WAY more open and emotional than Jamie is, because when Jamie gets out of the car, nothing in Candic's manner suggests that she had the slightest idea they could be the same person. "I'm sorry," he says quietly, which is a good way to start. She asks why he did it, and he pretty much repeats what he told Nev. Candic is insulted that he could think she would do anything inappropriate with a stranger online, and asks what he would have done if he'd been right about her. Jamie mumbles that he doesn't know, so I guess it's a good thing he wasn't; he says he was just panicking and didn't mean to hurt her. He takes full responsibility for everything he did wrong, but adds that he kept the ruse going because it seemed like Candic needed the outlet: "The more I kept being Titus, the more I felt like I was helping you, learning how and what you were looking for." That line also feels a bit polished, but I believe that if he was the one to have written in to the show (and we agree that he probably was, right?), he might have taken advantage of the lead time to work on his speeches and get them just right. He seems sincere and contrite, so I'll allow it.
Candic and Jamie agree that they want to have those kinds of conversations as themselves. And Candic is relieved that she doesn't have to tell Jamie about Titus in a way that would make Jamie believe she hadn't crossed any lines with Titus; she didn't know how she was going to do that (possibly because even though she never sent Titus any nude photos or whatever, she was also treating him as her Vice-Husband, basically). She's also still slightly that this all happened in the first place, but glad to know Jamie is capable of communicating with her that openly, because that's all she's wanted anyway: "I don't want to talk to Titus. I want to talk to you." These two are dopes, but at least they found each other, so this is a little touching. A LITTLE.
Like the rest of the episode, this segment is a little boring. The most important new information we get is that Jamie was trained in the military not to dwell on unpleasant emotions: when your buddy gets killed in front of you, your response is supposed to be "Drink water, drive on." Yeesh. So that explains somewhat why Jamie didn't seem like he was volunteering to dig into Candic's feelings with her, nor offer his own. But Jamie needs to figure out that there's no more mission for him to keep his mind on: "She's my mission." That's kind of a weird way to put it, but...sweet. This experience has made them confront the trust issues in their relationship, and they're talking about seeking counselling together. For the moment, they say they both feel good about where things are for them. Which is good, because neither of them should probably be with anyone else given what a snarl this became.
Duh, of course. Candic and Jamie hug at the end of The Confrontation and stay close and affectionate from that point on.
Two months later, Candic and Jamie do their Skype check-in call together. They're still fine. As a fellow human, I'm happy for them. As a Catfish viewer? Zzzzzzzzz.
Every twenty-five-year-old American is on social media. Don't trust an online "friend" you made through some weird online flea market. Maybe if you're in a relationship, you might both consider putting your phones away sometimes and talking to each other.