‘Catfish’ Season Finale Recap – “Dylan & Savenia”
This week’s Catfish is actually the season finale, and I had no idea that was the case going into it so I’m more than a little sad this will be my last Catfish recap for you for the next several months. That being said, buckle in, because I know from past experience that a season finale is going to be doozy!
The episode begins with Max and Nev at Catfish Headquarters, where Nev is wearing a pair of glasses with googly eyes on them, as you do whine you’re at work. Once they get down to business, we see the Catfish Inbox with three emails in it instead of the usual one. Nev and Max have an email from Catfish Casting explaining that they chose Dylan for this episode, who’s talking about a girl named Savenia, which is a fairly uncommon name. One of their producers remembered getting an email a couple of months ago from somebody named Savenia, but when they contacted her to respond to that email, the email bounced back. So they have forwarded both of those messages to Nev and Max this week.
Right off the bat, this episode is different from any other Catfish episode (or at least any episode that I can remember!) and I’m already really into it.
The first email from Savenia says that she is seventeen years old and lives in Rochester, New York. She explains she’s been talking to a guy online for the last five years. He’s been trying to get her on video chat all this time, but she’s not ready to let him see her for real – coming right out and saying, “I’m not the person he thinks I am. I guess this makes me a Catfish, but I do really care about him.” Savenia ends her email by saying, “Is there a way for us to meet where neither of us gets hurt?”
I mean, I’m going to have to say no, since she’s admittedly been lying to this guy for five years, but still, this is interesting! We hardly ever hear from the catfish when they’re admitting to be the catfish, it’s almost always the person getting catfished! Even more interesting is that I’m intrigued by why she doesn’t want him to see her and she’s managed to come across as being likeable even though we know she’s the catfish in this story.
The next email is from Dylan, 19, who lives in Roanoke, Virginia. He starts his email by saying he met the love of his life five years ago.
I just need to interject here for a quick sidebar to say how adorable it is that we could potentially have a first love/growing up and falling in love together situation here, because if this works out it’s going to be one hell of a meet cute!
Back to the email, Dylan tells Nev and Max he and Savenia met on Facebook when she messaged him and said he was cute. When he asked how they know each other she said he came up on her suggested friends list. He says she is beautiful and awesome so he never really questioned it, but he has his doubts. She always refuses to video chat, but a part of him doesn’t care because she’s the best thing in his life, and he feels like he needs to be with her. He explains that she’s been there for him during some really bad times in his life, that they talk every day, and she always makes him smile.
Nev and Max decide to video call Dylan.
They ask him about himself, and he tells them he was in culinary school and wants to be a wedding cake designer. Max makes him laugh with a very Max-like joke, “Bake it ‘til you make it,” which only made me like Dylan a little bit more. When Nev asks him about where he grew up, we get a sad back story about Dylan and how he never had a steady home life. He says he moved around a lot. He first met his mom when he was 14, and because she’s an addict, she isn’t in his life anymore. It was right around the time when he met his mother – between ages 14-16 – which he describes as the two hardest years of his life, when he met Savenia. She was one of the few people who was willing to listen to him, console him, and tell him everything is going to be okay.
Max and Nev start asking him some questions about his and Sevnia’s relationship, finding out they’ve spoken on the phone but that she doesn’t send him photos other than what she posts on Facebook… and that they’re all modelling photos.
Right now is where I’d usually be pointing out that modelling is a red flag in Catfish, except this time around we already know that Savenia is a catfish. So that kind of takes the fun out of it for me!
Nev and Max tell Dylan about the email they got from Savenia, which obviously throws Dylan for a loop based on the shock written all over his face. They also drop the bomb that she already told them she’s not the person she’s said she is, which makes Dylan’s face fall before he utters an awkward sounding, “Oh.”
Max and Nev ask Dylan to fly to California to meet up with them, explaining Nev has his family here and Max has his wife here as well, and Dylan is very enthusiastic about the chance to go to California for the first time. I can’t say I blame him!
Once they end the video call, Max is clearly in distress, exclaiming, “Oh man! This poor, poor kid. He just wants to believe this. He’s about to get his ass handed to him.”
Eek. No thank you! Dylan seemed like such a sweet kid! Happy ending please!
The next day, Nev and Max head out to the place they’ve rented for Dylan to stay at which has a pool… and a giant giraffe statue in the yard. Nobody has mentioned anything about the giraffe yet, but I’m really hoping it comes up because it’s all I can look at while Max and Nev start questioning Dylan.
Dylan explains a little bit more about his childhood. He says what he’s been told is that his mom had his brother, then him shortly after, and took off with both of them without telling anybody. When his dad finally found him, he said the story is that he was in a car seat, sitting in a diaper that hadn’t been changed for days with a bottle filled with curdled milk. His dad got full custody and brought them back home and he didn’t see his mom again until he was fourteen. He gave her a second chance, but she got back into drugs and went to jail, and he’s never had a relationship with her.
Max says, “And that’s right around the time you met Savenia.”
That coincidence wasn’t lost on me either.
Dylan says he’s known Savenia longer than he’s known his mother, and after Max checks that there’s no chance that his mom is actually Savenia, Dylan is visibly confused, as if he’s never even considered the possibility, and then vehemently denies that his mom would ever go that much trouble to have a relationship with him.
Catfish obviously wants us to think that she will though, because so far there’s been a lot of emphasis on his mom. Keep that in mind as we keep going, because I know I am.
Nev asks Dylan to tell them about Savenia.
“She loves animals. She works at a pizza place…”
“But she’s a model?” Nev asks, which makes Max burst out laughing, since he apparently forget all about the modeling part.
Dylan says they speak on the phone every other day for long periods of time, even falling asleep on the phone together. (Awww!) She says she has family where Dylan lives – “What a coincidence!” Max exclaims sarcastically – but every time they’re supposed to meet up, it never happens. When Max asks if he’s ever Googled her and Dylan says no, he admits that at first it was because he was fourteen and didn’t know any better, but now he just really wants to believe that she is who she says she is.
Even though we know she’s not.
Nev and Max take off to get down to work. Point to note: nobody mentioned the giraffe yet. I’m still holding out hope, though. It’s too much of a conversation piece for nobody to say anything about it!
We see Max and Nev at some sort of cafe where their work station is set up for them. Unfortunately for productivity, there’s also a dart board, and that’s what Nev gets drawn to. Nev throws a decent couple of darts, but it’s actually Max who gets it right in the bullseye, seemingly surprising himself more than anybody with his skill before they get down to work.
They open the email from Dylan and decide to start with Savenia’s Facebook page so they can take some photos and do an image search. They take three pictures and search them, but nothing comes up, so they start an actual Google search to see what they get. They find a Twitter page – which has no Tweets, but does have Rochester listed as her location – and a YouTube channel which has one Subscriber. After scrolling through her pages, both Nev and Max agree they look like legit social media pages, and can’t understand what the problem is.
They decide to go back and run the phone number, which comes up totally blank. They go back to Facebook and start reaching out to some people who seem like they know her in real life. They send a message to Colleen, who calls back almost immediately.
Nev asks her about Savenia, and Colleen tells him they went to middle school and high school together. Colleen says she isn’t currently in a relationship, and hasn’t heard anything about a guy named Dylan, except to maybe mention that her sister Riley may be dating a guy named Dylan, but she doesn’t know much more than that.
They find out Riley is 23, which isn’t terribly icky when it comes to a 19-year-old… but so much worse when you go back five years when Dylan would have been 14 and Riley would have been 18 or 19. Nev and Max hang up with Colleen and agree with me – 14 and 19 is weird.
They check out Riley’s Facebook page next. Riley is obviously into animals – talks about her dog and cat in her info, and has a picture of a horse as her profile picture. In fact, all of her pictures on Facebook are of animals and there isn’t a single one of her face. The next thing they realize is that the phone number listed on her Facebook page is in fact the number Dylan gave them that belongs to “Savenia.”
It certainly seems like Dylan has been talking to Riley, and Max and Nev feel like they have enough information to go break the news to Dylan now. They meet up the next day at another cafe – a fancy one with a display case of desserts that’s making me drool a little – and break down everything they’ve done so far to figure out who Savenia really is. The more Dylan learns, the more red his cheeks become, and by the time he realizes he’s probably been talking to Riley this whole time, the poor kid looks like he’s about to have a heart attack.
Nev decides they have enough and they should just call her and see what she says.
“Hi, is this Savenia?” Nev asks.
“Who’s this?” she responds – which, yeah, is sketchy.
“This is Nev from Catfish. Is this Savenia?”
“Oh… yeah,” she responds. (Totally convincing.)
Nev explains the situation and he’s mostly just getting replies of, “Uh huh,” from Savenia/Riley before she starts getting really sketchy, saying that she wasn’t prepared for this phone call at all and that this is really out of the blue.
Nev says, “I’m not calling that out of the blue. You emailed us.”
“I just don’t think that I’m, like, ready to meet him like right now in my life.”
Sassy Nev comes out and replies, “What do you need, another five years or…?”
“I’m not really who I say I am,” she says.
Nev interrupts to say whatever she has to tell Dylan would really be best if she could do it in person, and she reluctantly agrees. Nev tells her they’ll make arrangements for her to get on a flight in the morning and they’ll meet up tomorrow. They take Dylan home after that, and they all discuss how skeptical they are that she’ll even get on a plane. Max tries to comfort Dylan by telling him to just try to keep an open mind and be ready for anything.
The next shot we see is of baby Cleo with her hair in some absolutely adorable little pigtails, playing with the cameras with both Nev and Laura laughing at how adorable she is. They go to put her down for bed, and Nev explains what’s happened so far to Laura.
Laura thinks it’s too weird for somebody to pretend to be their sister, and wonders if maybe the photos of her online are doctored in some way, or maybe it’s just a young girl freaked out.
Then we see Nev and Max showing up at Dylan’s house again, sitting inside this time and dramatically reducing the chance of the giraffe coming up in conversation (yes, I’m still going on about the giraffe), where they explain Savenia did in fact get on a plane last night and she’s in California as they speak. The crew is going to pick her up and bring her to them at the house.
Nev gets a text from his producer that says, “Hey Nev, just got them. Be there in fifteen.”
“Them?” Dylan repeats. Here comes the twist!
It could be both sisters. It could be Savenia and a friend. It could be Savenia and child! Nev and Max have no idea. They go to wait outside in the yard while dramatic music plays in the background until their producer pulls up in a SUV on the side of the road. Nev comments that it looks like there’s only one person in the car.
Dylan is obviously stressed to the max while they see a girl – one girl – get out of the SUV and starts walks across the street towards them. The shocker?
It is the Savenia from the pictures!
Dylan covers his face in utter shock before they both start moving towards each other and meet half-way in what looks like a bone crunching hug, where Savenia starts bawling happily. Savenia says hi a couple of times where Dylan just stands there, obviously rendered speechless.
Max talks for him, saying, “His brain’s just exploded. There’s like nothing in there right now.”
Dylan finally finds his voice to ask, “So what’s the big secret?”
Savenia stutters her way through the explanation, saying, “The big secret is that I posted a lot of photos of me looking really good. Photoshopped. And I’m not like that. As you can see, I don’t look like that.”
Score one for Laura! She was totally right!
Dylan barely gets out, “Shut up, you’re beautiful,” before he pulls her into another hug.
Max is making the biggest heart eyes at both of them and the turn of events, and I probably look exactly like him even as I’m typing this! It’s just so cute!
Max asks if this whole thing has really just been about that she might look a little different in person than in the photos, and Savenia launches into an explanation that makes me fall a little bit in love with her.
“I am really self-conscious. A lot of my photos are super Photoshopped. I feel like I was catfishing him. My boobs are Photoshopped, my butt’s Photoshopped, my face looks flawless. I don’t look human, I look like a supermodel, and I’m not! I’m really lanky and dorky and awkward and I just didn’t want him to see that side of me.”
“Why does your sister’s Facebook page have your phone number on it?” Max asks.
“Because a year ago I needed a new phone. I just took her phone and we never realized it was on her Facebook until right now.”
“And your feelings for Dylan are…?” Nev prompts.
“Extremely strong,” she finishes.
Dylan is still totally freaking out and is barely able to form sentences, and it’s pretty much the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. They move things inside and talk things out a bit. Savenia says that she’s been thinking about moving to closer to Dylan to go to community college, though she has never mentioned this to Dylan until now, but he is absolutely on board with the idea, saying it would be his ideal situation.
Nev and Max decide to give them some time alone to chat, telling them to take their time and have fun.
“What are you thinking?” Savenia asks him.
“You’re gorgeous and I’m… me,” Dylan answers.
“Stop. You’re very attractive,” she responds.
Nev and Max come back in, telling them they’re going to let them have the day together, and Dylan and Savenia get into a SUV and are whisked away together. We get some footage of Savenia licking Dylan’s face as a joke before they’re brought into a dog cafe, which pretty much makes Savenia lose her mind. They also go paddle boating where we see them share their first kiss.
Three months later pops up on the screen…
And we see Dylan and Savenia still together and in Virginia, boyfriend and girlfriend! Savenia has plans to move there to live with Dylan permanently. We get lots of footage of them together with Dylan’s family, another smooch, and they honestly look super, super happy together.
I’ve mentioned before how much I live for the happy ending episodes, and I was very pleased with this one as a season finale! Actually, this season as a whole was definitely my favorite season. I love how much Laura and Cleo were in the episodes, and I loved how every episode had a different twist to it than the one before.
I don’t know how Catfish is possibly going to top season seven, but I do know I’ll be tuning in to find out!