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Will Catfish Help Mary And Adam Eventually Know Each Other In The Biblical Sense?

Catfish busted Mary as an internet liar last season; now she's back to seek their help allaying her suspicions about her online boyfriend Adam.

The Client

They dick around for a while trying to build suspense after getting an email from "Anonymous" who says they've already been on the show before on the "Beloved" side, but: it's Mary, f.k.a. Ally, from Season 6. Mary's also, apparently, from the "Still Hooked" special that aired May 24 last year but which I didn't watch because I have to draw the line somewhere; we see footage of her from that episode with both Dylan and some other guy named Darion whom she'd also victimized with her fake profiles. Anyway, Mary's in her early twenties and still lives in Oklahoma.

The Beloved

Adam, age 20, of Alabama.

The Clues

Mary is in a unique position here in that she recognizes in Adam's dodges some of the things she used to do (or perhaps "used to do") when she was running fake accounts: he refuses to meet. He won't videochat. He knows Mary was on Catfish and was very understanding about it -- suspiciously understanding, you might say. When Mary (as herself) first friended Adam on Facebook when he popped up among the "People You May Know," it was as "Cameron"; she says that Adam is "his old account," which he stopped using because it's known to his mother, from whom he's estranged. (His mother "has issues," and Adam has joint custody, with his grandparents, of a younger sister.) Also: Adam has claimed to have mouth cancer, which is a very common lie that these liars tell, and which Max and Nev both seem to think is proof enough that he's lying about everything.

The Excuses

It sounds like Mary has given Adam a lot of leeway in their relationship: when Nev and Max notice that the three years she's been talking to Adam overlaps with the time she was posing as Ally with Dylan, Mary says she and Adam were on and off, and that whenever he'd dump her because he'd started seeing someone IRL, she'd just go back to her fakes.

Also a factor here is that, back in "Dylan & Ally," Mary said in so many words that she was "addicted" to running fake profiles online and would probably never quit; maybe, therefore, she's more inclined to let Adam slide on all his bullshit because (a) she's not that attached and will be fine just resuming her online mendacity if he turns out not to be who he seems (which Max tells her is a possibility that worries him), and (b) she's not trying to take a hard line on any possible lying he's been doing given that she can't possibly claim the moral high ground here.

To that point: Mary also reveals the due diligence she's done on her own. She's Google Image-searched the Adam pics she has, finding no results. Searching his phone number on Facebook also failed to turn up anything worrisome. And he's given her his username and password for "certain social media" (youngs: stop doing this) to let her see all his activity, and nothing she's found has caused her any alarm.

The Investigation

Just in case Mary was lying -- AFTER ALL IT'S NOT LIKE THERE ISN'T PRECEDENT -- they search the two Adam pics she sent and don't find any other copies online. There's no information about who owns his phone number, however.

Then they remember that Adam has another Facebook profile he no longer uses because of the falling-out with his mother, so they head there and immediately see a lot of recent interactions with a woman named Skyler -- including this Wall post.

Oh no, is Adam wasting his time on someone this illiterate?! Nev and Max message her making it clear that they're investigating whether Adam is fake, so that ought to save some time when they hear back from her.

They then move on to the Cameron profile, which makes a big statement.

In addition to the cover photo of Mary, this profile says that Cameron is in a relationship with her...but when you look at Adam's Wall, there's a bunch of thirst traps like "Show love to my profile pic" and "heart react if you ever had/have a crush on me & i'll message you." Not, in and of themselves, proof that he's a tramp, but not the kind of affirmation people in relationships tend to seek, either.

Since they're still waiting for Skyler to get back to them and need to eat up some screen time -- I assume -- they decide to search Adam on Lexis Nexis, so shout-out MTV for finally buying the show a membership in Season 7. It's too bad the one thing Mary told them would be a dealbreaker is if Adam's forty or older, because the first two Alabama results for Adam's full name are one person who's forty-three and another one who's forty. Except: this is the first screen shot we see...

...and this is the second.

This piece of data goes unremarked upon here and never comes up again, which is curious; given how often Max thinks a liar's scam is to pose as a member of the opposite sex, I'm shocked that he doesn't seize on this now.

Then Skyler (age 17, of North Carolina) calls them, and guess what: according to her, she and Adam are dating!

LOL OKAY THIS MAY BE THE MOST UNCALLED-FOR INSTANCE OF THIS GRAPHIC TREATMENT YET. Max and Nev are like, well, there it is -- the big thing Adam was trying to hide from Mary. Skyler hasn't met Adam in person, but as her Wall post indicated, the plan is for Adam to come to North Carolina December 11 to meet her (and yes, her parents know about him -- or so she tells Nev, anyway, which is as good as an affidavit). Skyler seems pretty confident about Adam's identity even though they've only videochatted once, and "it was really late at night." And as we all know, electrification still hasn't made its way to Alabama. Max tells Skyler they "have reason to believe" that Adam isn't who he says he is. Skyler asks why he would lie, to which Max enumerates the little evidence he's provided of who he is (though that may only be true of what he's shared with Mary), and that "he seems to want to talk to a lot of girls (okay, fair). Skyler laughs that they're making her very nervous, and since she's still technically a child, I definitely won't call her an idiot for taking her relationship with Adam at face value -- particularly since all his fuckboi posts are on the Cameron profile, and we haven't seen whether Skyler is connected to that one too. Nev says they're on the case and will let her know what they find out.

They've already said both to her face and behind her back that they're not totally sure Mary's being straight with them, so this big reaction seems like it's more on poor dumb (whoops) teenaged Skyler's behalf than Mary's.

The Presentation Of Findings

Here's where I must tell you that even though Adam, as far as they know, does not live in Los Angeles, the show has flown Mary to Los Angeles for this phase of the process; I have a suspicion as to why, which I will get to. Anyway, when Nev and Max call Mary to say it's time for...this, she just happens to be in a park, so they head over there to catch up.

In a park, where nothing good ever happens, Max and Nev sit Mary down at a picnic table. Mary starts by saying that she "want[s] to marry this kid," and Nev rolls his eyes, and Max says that if you're in a real relationship with someone, it's not this hard to pin him down. Mary is accidentally extra-truthful as she says, "I just want it to be true so much that I just believe him. Like, I trust him." Yikes. Then then give her one last chance to tell them anything about this story she hasn't already, even though as far as we saw, nothing they uncovered suggested that she'd lied about anything she'd told them to this point or that she and Adam were somehow in cahoots. She claims to have told them everything, and they have to take her word for it because, as we know, they're not good enough sleuths to have already confirmed on their own whether that's true.

They start by showing Mary the Nexis Lexis results -- with "Gender: Female" showing on the first result, which again isn't noted at all. When they go on to show her the Skyler activity on Adam's Adam profile, Mary says, "I don't see her comments," and they surmise that Skyler has blocked Mary, and though you might therefore wonder if there was any previous interaction between them that led to Skyler's blocking her, Nev and Max don't ask, so we'll never know. If anything, that makes it seem like Adam's in cahoots with Skyler, to keep Mary in the dark. (It's at this point that I notice Max and Nev didn't ask Skyler whether she knows about Mary back when they were FaceTiming, which is also suspect and backs up my point.) Anyway, they then tell Mary everything they heard from Skyler, and when Mary hears about Adam's planned trip to North Carolina, she starts crying, even though, let's be real, the odds of Adam bailing on that shit December 10 are pretty good, so this probably doesn't affect whatever nothing Mary has with Adam either way.

Nev then calls Adam. "I know Mary's not a catfish," Adam volunteers right away, and as Mary cracks up, Nev's like, yeah, she's not the one on trial here. Adam's confused: "She knows I'm not catfishing," he says, offering as proof that they've talked on the phone and that Mary's friends with him on Facebook, so I guess Adam's only ever seen Mary's episode? Nev essentially says that neither of those facts is proof of Adam's identity, and that Mary wants to meet him. Adam?

...Okay, so Adam's seen enough episodes to know what a trope "I have a lot going on" has become. But he says that if they come to him, he'll meet Mary.

AND THEN THE FUCKING REASON MARY CAME TO LOS ANGELES AT ALL: the editing makes it seem as though the second Nev's hung up with Adam, fucking Mrs. Nev rolls up to the park to pick him up. "Oh my gosh, I'm gonna frickin' fangirl this," says Mary, patting her chest like she's going to have a heart attack. "What, you know Laura?" asks Nev, as if this isn't all an extremely obvious setup and an escalation of the show's attempts to onboard Mrs. Nev as a cast member. "Yeah, she tweeted at me!" squeals Mary.

Mrs. Nev has obviously been prepped and claims to totally remember Mary, giving her a huge hug. After hearing the latest, here's Mrs. Nev's take: "Regardless of who this person is, if you've been talking for that long, there's no way they're just going to be able to drop the relationship like that." Let's see how true that turns out to be!

Addition to episode by Mrs. Nev: none. This must end.

The Confrontation

After blowing them off the first day, Adam agrees to one the day after, and they all head over to the address he supplies. Does he emerge from the house?

Mary beams her relief. Max tells Adam they've come because something about his story "isn't lining up": "We don't know what that is. But you know what that is." Based on this phrasing, it KIND OF seems like Max knows what it is, and when Adam confirms with Mary that she loves him, he says, "I am a female-to-male transgender." "...'Kay," says Mary, her grin still in place. Adam says he was scared to tell Mary because Mary posts everything on Facebook: "I don't really want to broadcast it like you do everything else." HARSH and yet, spoiler alert, a real sign of things to come. Given that when Mary arrived here she was under the impression that Adam was in love with her, "You have such a big mouth online that I don't trust you" is kind of a rough thing to say four seconds into their first in-person meeting. Mary rightly points out that Adam could have just told her with the caveat that he's not out to everyone in his life, but I can see Mary being the kind of person who likes to vaguebook and would do so in a way that someone would be able to figure out who and what she was talking about. Anyway, Mary goes on to say Adam's transition is not an issue for her, and Adam smiles. Max asks if he's out to his family, and he says he is, "but I don't exactly get respect for it." Mary tries to make an ill-advised analogy, saying she knows what it's like to be embarrassed about who you are, but Adam says embarrassment isn't the issue: "This is Alabama. People don't take that stuff lightly." Mary continues smiling idiotically as she says she understands that, which I doubt she does. Nev comments that Adam's coming on the show and making his gender identity public is a big deal. To Max's question, he says he plans to leave Alabama "eventually," but doesn't have a specific destination in mind other than somewhere trans people are more "socially acceptable." I'm going to guess neither Oklahoma nor North Carolina made his shortlist, so...sorry, ladies.

What about the mouth cancer? That is actually true, and Adam developed it thanks to his (disgusting) use of chewing tobacco -- which he has not quit, by the way. Brilliant.

What about Skyler? Adam claims they're just "close friends," and that it's not very serious. Nev says that Skyler thinks it is, and Mary pipes up to say that whole thing makes her feel less important than Adam's previous statements. Max asks the big question, which is whether Adam wants to be in a relationship with Mary, and Adam hedges, "I do want to be in a relationship with you, but I live here, you live there. Is there really any future to it if we're not moving from it?" Mary points out that Adam just said he wanted to move out of the state, and I guess because she knows Oklahoma isn't exactly a bastion of LGBT acceptance, she says she'd move anywhere for Adam. His bluff called, Adam mumbles that he has a lot of stuff to take care of before he could think about moving -- and in the meantime, he feels that if he wants to date someone locally, he should be able to -- and would be okay with Mary doing that, too. Oh boy. Mary gets the picture and quietly asks Max if they can go now. "You want to go to the car?" Max asks, and like, I think she'd like to go back to Oklahoma to fire up all her fake profiles, actually, but sure, let's start with the car...

...in which Mary cries that it hurts.

Outside, Adam tells Nev that he cares about Mary, but that she needs to slow things down: basically, he's happy with things exactly the way they are, with Mary far away and their contact occurring mostly via text. Nev gently accuses Adam of manipulating people's feelings online, which Adam doesn't deny. Nev tells Adam to be honest with Mary so that she can make a decision about her future.

In the car, Mary sheepishly laughs that she still wants to go on a date. "I don't blame you," says Max. "I don't see it happening," he does not add. Nev retrieves Mary to see if she wants to go inside and talk with Adam; she's down.

The Post-Confrontation Confrontation

A little sooner than usual -- because Adam told Nev offscreen that he wants to get this over with as soon as possible, I'm guessing -- Adam brings Mary inside, where they sit in awkward silence for a while before Adam asks how she feels about this relationship. Mary was under the impression that it was real and they were dating. Adam:

To me, this look is, "Oh word, you bought all that shit?" Because it kind of seems like Adam might, in his way, be just as addicted to online attention as Mary was/is -- he just did it using his real face -- and maybe he kind of thought, knowing Mary's history having been twice unmasked by Catfish, that she wouldn't take all his professions of love at face value. OR, he thought, knowing Mary's history having been twice unmasked by Catfish, she wouldn't have the balls to call the show on him, and isn't really sure what to do now. What Adam says is pretty much the latter: he feels bad about leading her on, but they're not even kind of on the same page: "This relationship, on my end, is, like, more of a friendship." Mary blinks, and then smiles again and says, "I just want to go on a date with you," and apparently Adam doesn't even really want to be friends because he's like, "I can't exactly be seen in public with you." Mary:

Adam explains that he recently got back together with an ex who lives around there, and then says nothing more, and Mary doesn't poke any of the million possible holes in this explanation, like: is this ex/current partner so jealous that Adam can't have dinner one-on-one with anyone? Or: Adam's not out to the community and yet eating in a restaurant opposite Mary would attract suspicion? I don't want to feel bad for Mary, because she's really screwed some people over, but her ready acceptance of Adam's rejection just makes me think she's used to rejection and hates herself for getting her hopes up that this time might be different, and that sucks.

Mary comes out alone, and Max correctly guesses that it "didn't go." Adam comes trudging out after her saying he cares for Mary "a lot," but that he "fucked up trying to make it something it wasn't," and he's sorry. I sort of hear that as him saying Mary was the one who fucked it up trying to make it something it wasn't, but okay. Mary says she appreciates the apology and knows from experience that it's hard to be honest. And then...she would like to go.

Then we have to see Max and Nev being Mary's consolation prize, dinner-wise, because Mrs. Nev calls in the middle of it to waste some more time saying nothing. I cannot stress enough how done I am with her.

Hugs?

No one hugs here. At least Mary got that hug in the park from Mrs. Nev.

The Aftermath

Two months later, Mary has new teeth, which look great.

Any contact with Adam? No, because when they left, he "blocked [her] on everything." SO HARSH. But also I kind of get it -- better the not-so-clean break than when they pretend they're going to be friends but then might as well have blocked them for the amount of contact they end up having. Anyway: Adam's out, but Mary did connect on Facebook with Skyler, Adam's alleged girlfriend. We find out that Adam did end up meeting Skyler in person (so, tough luck to whomever Adam was seeing locally, I guess). They ask if Mary's catfishing anyone now, and she says she isn't so I guess we have to believe her!

When Max and Nev call Adam, they don't bother pretending not to know that Mary and Adam have had no contact since filming wrapped, and instead ask whether Adam has any regrets about how things went with her. Adam says that seeing her helped him "find peace with it." I don't know what that means and they don't ask. Max comments that Adam was kind of cold, and Adam doesn't disagree. Adam confirms he went to North Carolina to see Skyler, that she was cool, and that he told her everything because he didn't want to keep any secrets from her. Lucky her? And her only?

The Life Lessons Learned

Don't bother maintaining on-again, off-again status with someone whose face you've never seen. Definitely don't do that for a period of multiple years. Confine your pointless online flirtation to one person, particularly if you're also seeing someone IRL. Don't suggest a date to someone who hasn't so much as hugged you. Limit your appearances on this show to a maximum of one.

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