Will Catfish Prove That Lawrence And Cierra Have Always Been Chesapeake Baes?
Cierra helped her online boyfriend, nineteen-year-old Lawrence, through a heart attack -- yes, his own; yes, really. But is she who she seems?
Lawrence, a nineteen-year-old college student from Upper Marlboro, Maryland.
Cierra, also nineteen, from Hampton, Virginia.
In the two and a half years since Cierra first made contact with Lawrence in the form of flirty comments on his Periscope (was a more two-and-a-half-years-ago sentence e'er written?), Cierra and Lawrence have talked on the phone but never videochatted -- which, given that they met via Periscope, is kind of curious in itself. He also notes that, on the phone, she has "an older woman voice." Cierra and Lawrence have never met, even though she only lives about a three-hour drive away from him; planned in-person meetings have all been cancelled by her -- which is suspect in itself...
...because Lawrence is pretty cute -- and Cierra would be in little doubt about that, since: Periscope.
Based on alleged texts we see, Cierra's mother is the reason she's had to cancel plans to meet Lawrence. Mrs. Nev also theorizes that Lawrence never suspected Cierra's identity on the grounds that he's so hot, it could never happen to him. Maybe? He's also had some experiences that sound like textbook online liar: "around January 2016" -- probably around a year and a half or so before this was filmed, so when Lawrence was around seventeen and had been talking to Cierra for about a year -- he had a mild heart attack (tachycardia, to be precise), and then, on his way out of the hospital, got into a car accident. But Cierra apparently didn't doubt any of Lawrence's story, and listened to him through a period of anxiety that followed his health crises.
Going into the investigation, Max is bearish on Cierra's identity; Nev thinks Cierra really could be what she seems.
It's hard not to agree with Max. She's TOO pretty.
Max and Nev start by searching a few recent pics from Cierra's Instagram that Lawrence has sent, since her Instagram is private; no other copies come up. They move on to searching her phone number -- Lawrence provides two different ones she's used to contact him of late -- and the first comes up attached to a Facebook profile for Cierra Edwards, with the face they know as its lead pic. "We found her!" crows Nev. "But is he talking to her?" Max asks. Then they search the other phone number, which Facebook says belongs to a Clifton [Redacted], who seems to have gone to high school with Cierra, and who is friends with Cierra...
...AND with Cierra! Who's this "Cierra Miracle"?! And is it just a coincidence that her Facebook URL name is "ccmiraclexoxo" whereas Clifton's is "cliffmiraclexoxo"??? They find that the Miracles have eight mutual friends, though only one of them -- Ieshia [Redacted] -- has given no thought to her privacy because all the rest are inaccessible to Max and Nev. Ieshia responds to their message right away and confirms that she, Clifton, and Cierra went to school together and "have been friends for a really long time." She doesn't sound at all surprised that Catfish is looking into Clifton, and volunteers that while he's her best friend, he's "a drama queen" who "likes to stir things up sometimes." To Max's questions, she says that Clifton is gay; and also that he sometimes makes his voice sound feminine on the phone; and ALSO that she can imagine him creating a fake profile using Cierra's photos because HE DID IT TO IESHIA ONCE. This is pretty damning testimony.
Just so you can get an idea of how little Mrs. Nev adds to this show, here's what she has to say about this story when Nev checks in:
"It sounds like a good, sort of, theory? But I don't think you're there yet." Could apply to literally any episode of this show at the 17-minute mark.
"Whatever it ends up being, you should be really careful with how you break the news to Lawrence." She means that, because of Lawrence's heart condition, Nev should try to minimize the amount of stress this process will subject him to, but again: true of every client; shut up, Laura, and Catfish, stop trying to make Mrs. Nev a personality in her own right.
Lawrence has never heard of Clifton, but Nev takes him to Clifton's Facebook page anyway, describing him as "a very outgoing young man" and showing him photos in which Clifton seems to be presenting a more feminine look, clearly trying to steer Lawrence toward a classically Max conclusion. Unsurprisingly, Lawrence hopes Clifton is not the person he's been talking to. They then show him the two "miracle" Facebook URLs side by side, Max opining, "This is like when the serial killer likes to leave something at the scene to indicate that they did it." Lawrence is still not ready to hear this theory, and doesn't like it any better when they bring up Ieshia and her tale of having had her photos stolen for a previous Clifton fake. Maybe Lawrence is talking to Clifton. Maybe it's Ieshia. Maybe it's all three of them! Nev calls this an "interesting situation."
Lawrence does not appear to agree. But he still wants to find out whom he has been talking to, so they call the number Facebook says is Cierra's. Nev leaves a message, and they call the number Facebook says is Clifton's (but which, as we'll recall, Cierra has used to contact Lawrence lately). Someone picks up, and Nev asks if it's Cierra. It's not: it's Clifton. We go to commercial on Lawrence hanging his head so that we think he's recognizing the voice as belonging to the Cierra he knows, but when we come back, that doesn't seem to be the case. Clifton confirms that he is friends with Cierra, but says he hasn't heard her mention Lawrence. Nev comes straight out and asks what the deal is with the two phone numbers and whether Lawrence has, in fact, ever been talking to Clifton, to which Clifton says, "with all due respect," he doesn't want any drama, and would like to know what Nev is implying. REPLACE MRS. NEV WITH CLIFTON, PLEASE. Nev says he's not implying -- which, fair; he's actually not, for once. Clifton says he doesn't even know why Nev is contacting him and what he might have to do with Cierra's whole situation, and Nev immediately backs off, saying maybe nothing. And as Nev babbles on speaker, Max mouths to Lawrence to ask when Lawrence last texted that number. Lawrence:
HMMMMM. Nev wraps up by saying he doesn't get why Lawrence would have Clifton's number, and Clifton saltily replies that maybe they should ask Cierra that. He concludes by saying they're making him uncomfortable: he doesn't want any drama and he doesn't want to talk anymore. Clifton doesn't have time for Nev's shit! God bless Clifton.
"That's the guy," drawls Max confidently after Clifton's told them not to call him again and hung up in high dudgeon. Nev agrees that Clifton does seem to be involved, but says they still don't know how much Cierra knows, whether she cares about Lawrence, and whether they can go meet her. Nev says they know what city she lives in so they can just drive there, adding that Ieshia will probably give them her address, which...seems true. Lawrence is more animated than he has been throughout this segment as he says they need to go meet her now.
In the car, this text is either sent or received.
Based on the direction of the arrow, I assume we're supposed to think Cierra is the sender even though (a) Lawrence's reaction seems to me like he's seeking Max and Nev's approval for his tough talk, and (b) the next thing that happens is that Lawrence gets a text from Cierra saying she'll be at work all night but will see them the next day, which to me seems like the answer to the previous text. Right? Bad editing.
In a park, where nothing good ever happens, someone shows up to meet Lawrence. Who is it?
It's actually Cierra! Max suspiciously asks whether anyone else is showing up, clearly meaning Clifton, but Cierra says she's the only one who ever talked to or texted Lawrence: Clifton let her use his phone to keep in touch with Lawrence after hers broke, and the second Facebook account is for her hair styling business. Nev asks if there's anything about her that they should know -- is she married? does she have kids? -- but she laughs that there isn't. Max then tests her by asking if Cierra corresponded with Lawrence "during a traumatic time in his life," and she says she was. "It's her, it's been her the whole time!" yelps Nev. Max clearly doesn't have anything against these two finding happiness together but is also so pissed to be wrong, and I have never felt closer to him. Nev, meanwhile, makes a beeline for Cierra to hug this "lovely young lady"...
...before he and Max leave Lawrence and Cierra to chat in private, whereupon Cierra grins that she's nervous and didn't know what to expect. She flirtily asks if he was nervous, which he denies through a smile, but he apparently doesn't have much else to say, and then Max and Nev and the crew are upon them again, suggesting that Lawrence and Cierra have lunch with Nev and Max. It seems suspect that this is the offer when past meetings that have turned out not to involve any liars end with the client and beloved going out on their own, but: Cierra and Lawrence agree, and off they all go...
...but giddy Nev once again has his arm around Cierra walking her in whereas Lawrence hasn't even left the parking lot before the ominous soundtrack warns us that this isn't all headed toward the happy ending we might think. Max hangs back, asking if he's this taciturn because he's in shock, and Lawrence -- still smiling, if more faintly -- mumbles that he is: "I'm just trying to see how I, like, feel, stuff like that, so I'm thinking about a lot of different things at once." HMMMMMMMMMM. Max advises Lawrence to take it easy, but when Max and Nev are alone at their table, Max tells Nev he thinks Lawrence is going to "bungle" this interaction with his intense nerves. Cierra then joins them, and Nev asks what she thinks of Lawrence. Her face leaves little doubt:
Cierra cracks up as she opines that Lawrence is "fiiiiiiine"; he's everything she thought he would be. Cierra doesn't get a chance to answer Max's question about what took her so long to meet Lawrence because Lawrence himself then comes to the table, sits, and makes shit awkward. Max and Nev keep prompting Cierra and Lawrence to thank them for their part in arranging this in-person meeting, at last; Cierra beams while Lawrence just nods and chews. Nev asks what they're going to do tonight; she's "down to hang," but Lawrence sits in silence, failing to commit to spend time with Cierra at all...which is right when he starts getting a bunch of texts. Cierra:
Nev can tell Cierra is starting to cool on Lawrence -- as, given his obvious lack of interest, anyone would -- so Nev decides to play Cruise Director, noting that if Cierra and Lawrence's IRL relationship is going to work, they'll have to put in some effort. He observes that they have school breaks coming up, so maybe they can make a plan to get together then? Cierra says she'd be interested in meeting up. Lawrence says...nothing. Max declares that if they don't see each other in person, "Uncle Nev and Uncle Max are going to be reeeeeeally unhappy," which, who gives a shit. Lawrence is looking down throughout this part of the conversation, though whether it's at his phone or just not to make eye contact is not clear. "I can tell Cierra doesn't mess around," Nev comments. "It's not Cierra I'm worried about," Max replies.
"All right, I'm over this lunch," announces Lawrence. I have a feeling Uncle Max and Uncle Nev are about to get unhappy, you guys. But at first, everyone seems like they're deciding to interpret this remark in the least troubling way -- namely, acting like Lawrence is talking not about this social engagement but about his actual food, which everyone else apparently likes. "This corn is terrible," mutters Lawrence. "You could've had nothing," says Cierra. "You could have eaten MY WHOLE ASS, DIIIIIIIICK," she does not add, though she could.
That's when Lawrence gets a phone call and unceremoniously leaves the table to take it. Nev asks Cierra if Lawrence is acting weird, and she's basically like, I've never met him before, the hell do I know? Max and Nev anxiously ask if they are what's ruining their chemistry, but Cierra doesn't think so: she just expected that he'd be more interested in her, the way she's interested in him -- or, perhaps, the way she was interested in him in the first few minutes she spent with him, before he started sucking so hard.
So Nev takes off to go talk to Lawrence, and finally the truth comes out: "Basically, I am engaged," Lawrence admits.
Okay, this is actually pretty shocking, but lol at this graphic treatment! Again! That said, note the total lack of remorse on Lawrence's face as he makes this confession, which is matched by Nev's bro-ish kinship with a fellow cocksman as he asks Lawrence what the fuck he's even talking about.
Basically: Lawrence has been engaged for a couple of months. He goes on: "I thought I would, like, like, meet her, but like, change, I don't know, the way, like, the way I feel, like I would just be feeling her, but like, I can't. Like, I'm actually, like, I guess, in love with my fiancée." Lucky fiancée! Anyway, is it any wonder this smooth talker hooked two different women? Nev translates: meeting Cierra confirmed his feelings for this other woman -- which would make Lawrence Dorion II, assuming the fiancée knew about any of this. "She needs to know what's up, because she-- she thinks you're acting kind of cold and that you're not into her," says Nev of Cierra, "which isn't really what's going on here." I mean, it is; it's just not the whole story. Lawrence: "I mean, we still could, I don't know--" "No," says Nev, decisively cutting off whatever horseshit that was about to be. He says that Lawrence fucked up, and that he has to be honest about it. Lawrence reluctantly agrees.
When Lawrence has sat back down, Nev heartily tells Max they should let Cierra and Lawrence talk, and they step away so Nev can catch Max up on this idiot's fuckery. Back at the table, Lawrence manages to remember some semblance of manners, asking if Cierra's all right; she warmly smiles that she is. He then licks his lips and says he's about to get serious, which she says she was waiting for. Lawrence: "Aight, so, basically, like..................All right. You ready? You good?...So don't be mad at me or nothing like that. Basically, like, I am technically, like, engaged or whatever." LOL. Dear reader, AREN'T YOU GLAD YOU'RE NOT NINETEEN?! (If you are nineteen: don't do what Lawrence Don't does.) "...Okay," says Cierra, clearly not believing what she's hearing. "That's it," says Lawrence. Cierra stares at him uncomprehendingly for a few seconds, then asks, "What was the point?" "So I could, like, meet you," says Lawrence, "and like, I guess, like, see, like, what I wanted or whatever, like. So, yeah." Cierra: "Okay, so now that you met me...?" I love that she's not letting him off the hook. "Why do you have to see me to my face, sit down, eat lunch--" "I didn't know how I would feel until I'm here, and it's like, seeing you physically is just different," says Lawrence, stupidly. Cierra:
She is the best. Cierra points out that he hasn't actually talked to her this whole time, and asks again what was the point of arranging this meeting, making her think he wanted to get together and then just telling her he has a fiancée, ending with a hilarious "what the fuck?" face that makes me realize she reminds me of Keke Palmer.
I mean, exactly. What's he going to say? "I was expecting a different body"? I have no idea WHAT kind of different he was expecting or hoping for, but that seems like the only explanation, and he has exactly enough sense not to say that in so many words. It also seems like he thinks acting cute and sheepish is going to get him out of this situation, so if you are a person in Lawrence's life who's let him get away with this shit: you are complicit and knock it off.
At this point, Nev and Max come back to make sure Cierra understands that they didn't know Lawrence's whole deal coming into this and that they feel bad about it. "I'm mad as hell," says Cierra, laughing a little at how mad she actually is. "It's embarrassing." "You have no reason to be embarrassed," no one tells her, SO I WILL. She turns her attention back to reading Lawrence for filth: "If I was dating somebody, and I'd made the decision to get on my knee, as a man, and propose to her, it's no doubt in my mind that that is the one for me. It's no doubt! It's no reason to meet another chick, 'cause she don't even matter! If you're having questions in your mind, that's something that you have to think to yourself, now, are you wasting her time?" Lawrence, rubbing his eyes, claims to understand.
Nev decides it's time to wrap things up, saying that Lawrence has some thinking to do. Cierra says she doesn't have anything else to say, so they all make an uncomfortable trip back to the parking lot. Nev and Max walk Cierra to her car, insisting that they didn't know what they were bringing her into -- and they are right to do so; I wouldn't want her mad at me either.
There's a shy half-hug when Cierra first meets Lawrence in the park, and she hugs Nev and Max goodbye, but that's it. And lest you think Nev or Max has a hug for Lawrence: they don't, and though now they have to drive his trifling ass back to Maryland, they make him sit in the back AND Max apparently spends the drive lecturing him about not being ready to get married. hee hee hee.
Two months later, Lawrence agrees that his time with Cierra "ended pretty bad"; he's reached out to her to "try to explain everything," but "Cierra's really mad at" him. Hm, maybe because when you contacted her it wasn't to apologize?! Idiot. He's also not engaged anymore; Max guesses that Lawrence broke it off, and he confirms that he did, adding that Nev and Max taught him a lot. Ugh, don't make them feel important.
Cierra feels better than she did that day, but she's still dismayed that she and Lawrence no longer talk. Nev asks if she thinks they could still be friends. Cierra:
FUCKIN' A RIGHT THAT'S A "NO." Nev and Max are then almost as delighted to tell Cierra that Lawrence is no longer engaged as Cierra is delighted to hear it.
Don't invest too much in a Periscoper. Don't make your online girlfriend convince you that you should pick her instead of your real-life fiancée. Don't give Nev the task of shaming a two-timer when we all know he's your resident fuckboi. Don't borrow Clifton's phone.