Screens: MTV

Will Miracle's Story End In A Manner That Befits Her Name?

Miracle has suspicions about her online boyfriend Javonni, so she's called in Nev and the first of several Max replacements to help her find out the truth. Whether they even do that is an open question.

The Client

Miracle, occupation unknown, in Milwaukee, WI.

The Beloved

Javonni, a music producer in Atlanta.

The Clues

Despite being an up-and-coming music producer, Javonni's never sent Miracle any of his tracks. Though she describes him as the man she wants to marry and spend her life with, they've only spoken on the phone three times. There was an incident once where some other girl took his phone and threatened Miracle if she didn't stop texting Javonni. And as in all these fucking cases -- and yes, we are FOUR SEASONS DEEP on this shit -- Miracle and Javonni have never videochatted, and he's dodged her suggestions that they meet in person.

The Excuses

The girl who texted Miracle on Javonni's phone was his crazy ex. He could never videochat with her because he forgot all his logins; from what we see of his texts, he begged off seeing her in person by claiming to be busy with work.

The Investigation

So because Max is directing his first feature film, he's not going to be in the first bunch of episodes this season, and his replacement in the premiere is this guy Charlamagne, who Nev says has been tweeting about the show as long as it's been on -- UH, SO HAVE A LOT OF PEOPLE, HELLO -- but who seems to be shocked and mystified by every aspect of the show's production for someone who's supposedly seen an episode, never mind most or all of them. Once they journey to Miracle's apartment in Milwaukee, we learn more about her very sad story: her name is Miracle because her mother didn't know she was pregnant until the day Miracle was born; she thought she had a tumour. I don't want to be rude, but maybe let's consider this evidence that the women in this family could stand to be a little more proactive in terms of looking into troubling aspects of their lives. (Shorter: they are dumb.) Miracle says that she and her sister were "exchanges," and when neither Nev nor Charlamagne seems to know what that means, she explains that her mother was a crack addict, and got pregnant with both girls in exchange for fixes. YIKES. Miracle herself only stopped using drugs when she found out she was pregnant, and the first thing about her that actually speaks well of her is the fact that all we see of her daughter is one still photo, and a shitload of shoes in her cute bedroom.

Everyone goes to Miracle's computer to get some background on Javonni, starting with his photo.

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"I have to say, he looks much more like a regular guy than I thought he would," says Nev. "He looks attainable," Charlamagne agrees. Yeah...no. This is definitely a hot enough guy to warrant suspicion, and if Nev truly doesn't think so, then his hiatus has been too long.

Miracle then pulls out her phone, and Charlamagne suggests that he and Miracle do a dramatic reading, and I think we can all agree this is a trope that doesn't need to become part of the Catfish show format, particularly when Charlamagne gets to an "LOL" on Javonni's side of the (rather banal) correspondence and reads it "Laugh out loud." "He's giving me attention," says Miracle, summing up what their texting has meant to her. "I don't really feel like I've met anyone worthy enough for me to say I'm ready to settle down." You're right: YOU HAVEN'T.

Nev and Charlamagne repair to a coffee shop with free wifi and put Javonni phone number into Spokeo, which claims it belongs to a man, "address unknown." Charlamagne:

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Amused, Nev asks if Charlamagne thought they wouldn't actually have to figure anything out and find Javonni, and Charlamagne says, "I thought he was already in on the act!" "No, man," says Nev smugly. Except, probably, yes.

They try a couple of Javonni photos, and when no matches come up on Google Image search, they do this fake thing where they call Max for fake help, as though Nev legitimately forgot one of the four online resources they use every single time -- in this case, PeopleSmart (since we're here, you can remove yourself from it, although it requires you to create an account to do so, which seems sketchy) -- and when they put Javonni number in there, it comes up as belonging to a Rickie Witherspoon. Googling that name shows that he lives in Milwaukee; he's also (barely) on Twitter.

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Rickie's profile brings them to links to his music streaming online, and to a music video. They want to play this video for Miracle and see if the voice is the same one she's heard those three magical times she talked to Javonni on the phone.

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Jesus, if Charlamagne really thinks that was "amazing to watch," no one better ever take him to a Penn & Teller show or he will STROKE THE FUCK OUT.

Nev: "The good news is that, he is a guy...." Is that really all it takes for these results to count as "good news"? Is Miracle really that hard up? "Good news: he's not a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl!" Anyway, Nev pretends that Rickie's being a human male who lives in her town and produces music might be enough to make Miracle overlook the attractiveness gap between Rickie and Javonni.

The next day, before Nev and Charlamagne go back to Miracle, Nev decides to make Charlamagne somewhat useful by suggesting that he take a shot of "Javonni," post it on his various social media feeds, and see if anyone recognizes his face and knows whom it legitimately belongs to. Six minutes later, according to the chyron, someone responds with the dude's Instagram, so Nev messages him to find out what his deal is.

The Presentation Of Findings
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Despite Nev's theory that Rickie might be someone who's already in Miracle's life based on the fact that he lives in Milwaukee, when he shows her Rickie's picture on his Twitter account, she doesn't seem to recognize him at all. Nev goes on to play the Rickie video, and Miracle immediately and with some disgust insists that Rickie's is NOT the voice she heard coming out of "Javonni."

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Look who's getting all probing over here! Miracle:

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

Nev then reports on the findings from Charlamagne Nation, and how turning up the accounts belonging to the face of "Javonni" showed evidence that he already has a girlfriend, and though Miracle says "That sucks...bad," she still seems like she might think that face created another account to cheat on his girlfriend with Miracle with? Charlamagne spins that Miracle's so real, it's easy for her to believe other people are real. That's a very kind way of saying that Miracle is dangerously credulous. She adds that someone should tell the guy whose face she's thought she was talking to that someone stole his photos, and Nev's like, surprise, we did, and he wants to talk! Miracle:

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

Somehow this instant teenagery shyness and embarrassment is the most heartbreaking moment in the episode so far because it proves that Miracle really doesn't understand that the face and whatever entity's been texting her ARE COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO ONE ANOTHER, so that when Nev says they're going to FaceTime this guy, she gets all bashful in anticipation. Honey, this is not your meet-cute.

The face of "Javonni" is named Jonathan in real life, and he seems nice and empathetic to Miracle's situation. When he greets her with a "Hey, babe," she is amazed!

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If that's all it takes for Miracle to get blown away by a dude's thoughtfulness and attention, I think we're starting to get a picture of how it was so easy for the actual liar to fool her. But she starts crying before long as it dawns on her, FINALLY, that her Javonni dream has died. Nev follows her outside as she collects herself, and she tells him that she wants to meet whomever she HAS been talking to all this time. Back at the hotel, Nev calls the number Miracle gave him. "Javelin" -- who neither confirms nor denies that he has any relation to someone in Milwaukee named Rickie -- says he'll text an address where they can meet because he's ready for this to be over, and hangs up.

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IS THERE NO END TO CHARLAMAGNE'S WISDOM?!

The Confrontation

The address "Javonni" sends them turns out to be the one they saw on PeopleSmart, so as they drive there, Miracle is even more hot to find out who the real Javonni actually is. "I just feel real dumb," she says. Again: I don't want to be rude. But you should.

As Miracle and Charlamagne hang back, Nev knocks, and out comes this guy.

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"Oh, hell no," says Miracle when she sees him, which is a reasonable and appropriate response to that STUDDED ACID-WASHED JEAN VEST. Nev says he presumes he's standing before "Rickie, a.k.a. Javonni," to which this guy chuckles Craig Robinsonly in reply before non-explaining, "It's a whole lot." Well, it always is. "The best thing that you can do, you know, is follow me inside," adds our mysterious host. An anxious chord strikes on the soundtrack, as everyone seems to agree that going into this stranger's lair is not a great idea. Nev says that what he'd like to do is introduce the still-unnamed guy to Miracle, and he starts to take a couple of steps to follow, and then...stops. Nev's like, "You don't want to come down here?" The guy parks it on a low wall on the porch, saying he'd rather Miracle came to him. Nev asks why, and he just says again that they should come inside with him: "It's hard to explain right now," he says, going inside and closing the door. "Don't you follow no angry black man into they house!" warns Charlamagne, although I would hardly describe the guy as angry -- pharmaceutically placid is what I might say -- but they all agree to follow the dude up, Charlamagne very reluctantly.

Once they've gotten upstairs to the dude's living room, Miracle asks whether he knows her, or has seen her someplace. He has not. "So why me?" she asks. In response, he turns around and wanders down the hall, so if, at this point, you thought, "Well, now we're just watching a mentally ill person," you are not alone! Nev follows the guy to the end of the hall, quietly asking him to come out and explain what's happening, and has he does so, Charlamagne draws Miracle's attention to a nearby shelf.

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Everyone waits in the living room, and after a long moment, the guy comes back out with a woman, who introduces herself as Kara and then makes an announcement.

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

Finally, a chyron confirms that Denim Vest is Rickie. It would also appear as though Charlamagne was right when he said that Miracle just didn't want Rickie's voice in the video to be the one she heard talking to her as Javonni, because...it totally was him. But when Nev starts to fill in that Kara and Rickie created Javonni together, they both deny it: Kara acted alone, but didn't have another guy to offer up for Miracle to talk to, other than her husband -- our Rickie. Originally, Kara created Javonni as part of a sting operation on behalf of a friend whose boyfriend was cheating on her: Javonni was intended as a trap to trick the girl who was cheating with the friend's boyfriend to give up her information. "Javonni" friended a bunch of people so that the profile would look real; one of those random friended strangers happened to be Miracle.

How did Kara have time to do all this? Well, just like "Javonni"'s "sister," she has lupus. So she doesn't work and spends a lot of time in bed feeling crappy; Miracle's interest in Javonni offered a diversion.

Charlamagne decides to ask Rickie, "How you didn't check your wife, bro?" because that's an appropriate question in 2015, and furthermore, who's to say Rickie's a better person than Kara is? Miracle joins Charlamagne in accusing Rickie of complicity, and Rickie responds that he's not there much because he's working, and he didn't understand the extent to which the relationship had grown. Voice breaking, Kara adds that as she got to know Miracle, she thought she was "a really sweet girl," and she insists that all the feelings she expressed, as "Javonni," in their texts were "genuine." Nev's like, some of that was, you know....

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Kara:

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

Seriously, that's how long a pause she takes before saying, "Some of it was pretend, and some of it was real." Rickie sadly shakes his head but doesn't really seem especially surprised, and when Kara says she didn't want to have an actual relationship with Miracle, Rickie says that as far as he's concerned, it was a relationship. Miracle's like, "Noooo, it wasn't." After Miracle unleashes her ire Kara for having let it go on so long that now they're all on national television looking stupid, and Kara claims that she tried several times to break things off, Miracle gets fed up.

Gif: Previously.TV

Gif: Previously.TV

This kicks Kara into a rage so fast that I am PRETTY SURE Miracle just hit the nail on the head and that the lupus story is bullshit. They all say they're sick, going all the way back to Angela in the movie, and lupus is the kind of amorphous diagnosis that can encompass all kinds of different symptoms. I'm just saying. Anyway, once Miracle's dropped the "P" word, things aren't really going to get better, and Nev suggests that they end things there for today. Miracle tells Kara, "You see me? Don't speak to me." Kara: "Trust me, there ain't no reason to! Sweetie, you basic!" This marks an historic moment, dear readers, for it is the first time Dave heard the word "basic" used as an insult, and he LOVED IT. "Is that a word people use?" "Yes, Dave." "It's great!" "I know."

As Miracle and Nev go back to the car, Charlamagne decides to get in one more sexist remark, telling Rickie not to "let [his] wife" do something like this again. I'm not here to stick up for Kara, but she is a grown woman/sociopath and it's not up to Rickie to monitor her for the safety of the community just because he's a man.

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The Post-Confrontation Confrontation

Nev goes back to Kara and Rickie's to talk to Kara alone and let her give him her sob story without interruption, which is when we see one photo of her looking morose in a hospital bed as she tells us that sometimes Rickie has to carry her to the toilet, undress her, and clean her up. I'm sorry, I still don't buy it, you guys!

But Nev does, and moves on to his favourite thing: the secret-lesbian angle. He gets her to admit, "I was kind of curious, as far as women," but that she never "experimented with it" because her parents were preachers and she didn't want to go to Hell. She started telling Miracle the things she wished she could hear from Rickie; her lupus has changed their marriage because he has to work around the clock and they don't get much time together, other than when he's carrying her to the bathroom, I guess. I do believe that Kara is dissatisfied and lonely and found her opposite number in Miracle. Nev thinks that if they could just talk to each other, there could be a genuine friendship between them, and after a commercial break, he's in the car with Miracle recapping their conversation and talking Miracle into giving Kara another chance. Why? They don't have to be friends!

But Miracle agrees, and they have a cordial conversation in which Miracle says she's decided not to be negative, and Kara apologizes for leading her on. She didn't have malicious intent; she was attracted to Miracle's sincerity, and believed that Miracle really cared about her, and on days when she didn't get a "good morning" text from Miracle, she'd be dismayed. The tiny scraps of attention that both these women were thrilled to have gotten from each other are really bumming me out. "I don't have many friends," says Kara, and like...I think I might know why? Because you're on a TV show that's all about what a huge liar you are? Maybe put it together?

Hugs?

There is a hug. Even Nev and Charlamagne hug Kara, who has to be thinking she really found a winner the day she googled "mysterious symptoms" and picked the first result to diagnose herself with.

The Aftermath

Two months later...

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LAUGH OUT LOUD, I fucking hope so! She says she tried to friend Kara on Facebook (why) but never heard back. She's also continued to try to find love in the real world, so far without success. "We hope you get laid," says Charlamagne. Charming!

Kara shut down the Javonni profile after filming and has cut down on her social media use in general, which has resulted in an improved relationship with Rickie. She tells Nev and Charlamagne that her health is getting better -- IMAGINE THAT. She denies having blown off Miracle's Facebook friend request, and (sigh) on Chatfish, they both said that they've become friends. This can't possibly end well, but maybe they can at least share clothes.

The Life Lessons Learned

A green-eyed music producer who lives in Atlanta doesn't need to start up an online relationship with a girl in Milwaukee. If he won't videochat, it's definitely not because he forgot his logins. If you say you have lupus, people will let you get away with literally anything.

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