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Catfish Recap: A Facebook Spy, a Veteran … and Vanessa Hudgens?

There was a point in last night’s episode where the catfish’s identity was a toss-up between three different women. Between the name in her Facebook URL being different from the one on her page and her online pics showing three different women (plus Vanessa Hudgens?!), no one was quite sure what to think. Nev wasn’t his usual smug self about the catfish’s identity, besides the fact that it was clearly fake. The catfishee, however, was gutted over it, despite the obvious signs.

Detroit native Derek seems like a Nice Guy. A veteran, he claims to have been cheated on by both of his baby mamas (married to one, engaged to the other) while serving his country. So on top of the whole “23-year-old daddy” thing, he’s got trust issues like his name’s Drake. Still, for a guy who’s had his heart ripped out and stomped on by the mothers of his children, Derek is awfully trusting of Kristen. He loves love, this guy, and he’s found it again. He just wants to know if it’s real. “Even the elation I felt when I got married is nothing compared to this,” he says, grinning. A day later, Max will ask him how he’s feeling. Derek will say, “Like it’s all getting ready to fall apart again.”

Right around the time Derek returned home from service, Kristen added him on Facebook. A 23-year-old babysitter from Tampa, Kristen just so happened to have a Michigan area code – which Derek never noticed until this episode. It’s situations like these in which I feel like some aspect of the show has to be staged or reverse engineered. How does someone go through a casting process for a reality show before exhausting all his snooping options? Did you Google her phone number and see that it’s listed under the named “Chasity Noneya”? I get him not knowing who Vanessa Hudgens is because he was in the military for almost the entirety of the time she’s been C-list famous, so I’m not surprised that he didn’t recognize that Kristen was using the actress’s photo on her Facebook. But you’d think it would not be difficult to see that the pictures on her page show different women. Love is pure and total blindness. You want to root for a guy like Derek to find love, but c’mon, dude, open your eyes.

Basic searching and a quick chat with Kristen’s Facebook friend City Lightz (the names on this episode, damn) led Nev and Max to their crossroads: this woman, whoever she is, is certainly not Kristen Whoo. The name her Facebook URL displays is Tricia Waurd; a quick search shows that Tricia Waurd, whoever she is, is a married woman with two kids. That seems to be the one piece of information that sticks in Derek’s mind when they bring it back to him: “Kristen” is probably married. That’s what he leads with when he finally meets Kristen, a.k.a. Tricia, a.k.a. Chasity. As it turns out, she is not, though she has two daughters of her own and lives an hour away from Derek. Oh, and those pics? Yeah, she claimed to not notice they were three different women; she ripped ‘em straight from another girl’s page.

Backing up a second, Chasity alluded to something big while on the phone with Nev, amid reasons why she was not ready to meet Derek. The thing, it seems, is her reason for making and maintaining the page: The father of her daughters is in prison, and she’s trying to be preemptive about keeping him away from them when he gets out. She created the page in order to gather evidence of any shady behavior on his part, eventually using it against him if he tries to get visitation rights. Nev, Max and Derek don’t question it for a second; I would offer up that I’m not sure how much access inmates have to social networks while in prison, but my experience is pretty limited to binge-watching Orange Is the New Black, so I’ll shut the hell up and get back to it. Derek doesn’t immediately forgive her, though it’s clear she fully expects him to. “This is the biggest lie anyone’s ever really told me,” he tells her, and that’s coming from a guy who’s been thoroughly broken by women. But she doesn’t get it; she wants a hug and for them “to grow together.”

“Even if everything I know about her is true, I’m gonna have to relearn it all trying to see her as an entirely different person,” he tells Max in the car, and it’s a point that’s never actually been made on the show. Connecting the personality to the person is a common struggle among people who fall in love online. They need a little time to associate the IRL face with the emotions they’ve built up. Factor in a brand-new face and — regardless of attraction — the association is even more difficult. “We’re gonna have to re-talk about everything,” he later tells her. It’s too much to process at one time, which is why I was frankly shocked that by the end of day two of their visit, Derek and Chasity were hugging and making plans. She’s even feeling bold enough to play coy with him, asking, “Do you think I’m pretty?” (his response: yes, very) and “What do you like about me?” After the feat of forgiveness Derek just pulled, it does not come across cute. But it’s moot anyway, it seems: Two days after filming, Derek and Chasity went on a date, after which he decided they weren’t right for each other. And to think, just two days earlier, Chasity was asking him if he would accept her children as his own!

Derek’s Delusion Score (out of 10): 9.9 – Despite all the glaring online clues, Derek wanted to believe something, so he did.

Kristen/Chasity’s Delusion Score (out of 10): 5.8 – She expected to be fully forgiven by Derek and move forward with their relationship. The former happened; the latter didn’t work out.

Outcome: Catfish with a twist, served up with a side of sadness.

Photo: MTV