Last night’s Catfish was, hands down, the most shocking episode to date.
Co-hosts Nev and Max ended up the ones betrayed.
There was a point there where you could see it in their faces; looks that read, “Why would you waste our time the same way you claimed she wasted yours?” And over what? Ramon, a guy who refused to believe that the woman he was supposedly in love with did not look like a model, despite the fact that he had been told directly by said woman, Paola/Loyda, on three separate occasions, that she had lied to him. In fact, she previously showed him what she actually looked like.
Ramon’s delusion was so strong, he claimed to have blocked out the memory, instead contacting Nev and Max to help him discover the truth. But the reality of the situation seemed to be that Ramon was looking for anything but the truth; maybe he wanted justice against Loyda in the form of embarrassment on national TV, or an avenue for getting his money back, or hell, even a free trip to her Florida home (dat MTV money). Because it's hard to believe that delusion could barrel down so ferociously on someone’s perception of reality, like a Mack Truck of defense mechanisms.
Backing that particular truck up, the episode started off with Ramon, 19, explaining that he met a gorgeous girl, Paola Rodriguez, on Facebook via a mutual friend and that they’d been together for eight months. Ramon’s selective memory revealed itself ever so slightly in his sitdown with Nev and Max, when he explains the Skype Ordeal. He video-chatted with Paola just once, at which point she supposedly showed her face and body below the eyes just for a second. It was not the girl whose pictures he’d seen; she later told him it was her cousin Loyda, that it was all a test to see if he loved her for her. As Ramon continued talking, it became more and more apparent that he was of an emotionally desperate lot: hates his job working the midnight shift in a casino kitchen, not to mention where he lives, but the biggest red flag of all had to be the money stuff. A Wii, a new phone (plus its bill), a couple Gs in prepaid money cards — just a few of the things Ramon bought Paola, in addition to sharing his bank information with her. This is the epitome of stupid love; Nev and Max told him as much with their looks and their general “DUDE”-ing. As Max noted, it was a “classic case of people projecting their fantasies on someone they don’t know.”
The Batman and Robin of online romance whipped out their utility belts, only to be outsmarted at their initial turn. Loyda most likely had seen Catfish — a recurring theme throughout season two — and was trying to cover her tracks. However, without being in control of the Instagram account she used to pad her well-curated identity, she faced certain limitations. The reverse image search returned no results, but a-ha — the Instagram username, hola_paola, linked up to the Facebook profile of the real Paola. Even Nev and Max had to give Loyda props for a “really good job” of “using elements of real Paola’s life in order to take on her persona.” This is some next-level catfishing, and one has to wonder if this is the future of this increasingly meta series, assuming it continues past this season. Maybe Nev and Max will have to do some actual sleuthing beyond basic searches, imagine that.
The guys eventually found the actual Paola, who kept it real in a video to Ramon. He was near tears or, in hindsight, gunning for an Oscar with his talk of selfishness. He wonders aloud, “Why would she let it go past a couple weeks?” Of course, this is revealed when they get to Loyda’s house and she makes little attempt at hiding her self-esteem issues with regards to her appearance. The Actual Truth begins to reveal itself slowly, as Loyda counters Ramon’s accusation of complete blame with her own accusations. When he initially called, Loyda tried to evade Nev, who put on his best bad cop (an increasing occurrence) and insisted, “This is a big deal, clear your schedule.” At her house, things turned increasingly ugly, between Ramon’s palpable resentment over money and Loyda’s admittance of sheer boredom as her inspiration. Loyda seemed pretty evil in the moment, but as soon as she piped up about trying to reveal her true identity to Ramon three different times to no avail, the finger-pointing became a little less clear cut. “You know that I tried to come clean before,” Loyda said. “He knows my full name, saw my license. We Facetimed, Skyped.” To which Ramon, the portrait of nonchalance, responded: “Yeah, that did happen, I barely remember it.” Nev and Max ‘bout to go full-on Rambo on this fool, who later admitted that he “didn’t want to believe it” and that he “didn’t want to lose her.” No, actually, he didn’t want to lose the idea of her — and her beautiful outside, specifically.
The whole thing kind of spun out of control from there. Everybody was utterly butthurt including Loyda’s mother, who ended up in a screaming match with Max (“not whatever!” is a funny comeback). There was a Maury-esque sitdown with Loyda’s family, at which point an even bigger bomb was dropped: She used the money Ramon gave her to buy herself an engagement ring, which she announced to be a gift from him. This girl sent herself a fake package to make it look like her online boyfriend proposed before they had even met IRL. And thus the episode’s crazy award shifted back to Loyda. She claimed that grief over her deceased father and grandfather led her to that point — an explanation that seemed to satisfy Ramon, who suddenly wanted to stay and hang out with Loyda. But love didn’t blossom after all, even between two people who appeared equally desperate for distraction in the form of romance. He friend-zoned her and, in the two-month follow-up, scoffed at the notion that he even blinked an eye when she started dating someone new; like, “I don’t sweat no crazy chicks.” Ramon and his defense mechanisms, man.
Ramon’s Delusion Score (out of 10): 26
Outcome: Better get some new fishin’ poles — two massive catfish just done wrecked ‘em.