This week’s episode of Catfish opened up with Max and his wife Priscilla entering Catfish Headquarters. We’ve seen glimpses of Priscilla in the past, but I don’t recall ever seeing her talk quite this much. I was surprised when Max explained it was weird for him to be talking to Priscilla in English because they always speak to each other in Portuguese! I didn’t even know Max knew Portuguese, and it was very cool to hear him speak it.
I was already laughing out loud within the first two minutes of the episode. Max admitted that Priscilla helped him pick out his clothes for today, and then Nev breaks into a story about how when they travel for Catfish, Max will open his suitcase and his clothes are packed in outfits. There’s a shirt rolled into a pair of pants which are both rolled into a sweater. Max is adorably embarrassed by the confession and both he and Nev were laughing at his dramatic insistence of, “I’m a big boy and I can pick out my own clothes!” because he obviously can’t (or at least chooses not to).
The Catfish portion of the show starts off with an email from Zak, describing his online relationship with Garrett. “He makes me smile every time e lights up my screen, but I wish his face would light up my screen and not just his name.” He describes how they video chat, but the room is almost always pitch black and he can never make out anything other than the shape of his head.
Us Catfish veterans already hear those alarm bells ringing!
Max and Nev video chat with Zak, and Zak explains how he and Garrett originally met on Facebook. Zak has a Facebook account for his over-the-top gay persona (Zak Awry), and managed to build a large following based on that. Zak got a comment from Garrett on one of his photos, thought he was gorgeous, and they built a friendship based on Facebook comments. Zak is the one who took the first step towards taking things further, and messaged him privately to tell him he thought he was cute! From there, they got to know each other better, and started falling for one another.
… right up until things got weird.
It is Catfish after all!
Not surprisingly, Zak continues his story to say that he offered to fly to Kansas to meet up with Garrett but Garrett declined his offer. The surprising part, though, is that after that… Garrett kinda fell off the map for weeks where they had no contact whatsoever! Apparently, he changed his number, changed his job, and didn’t tell Zack about any of it until afterwards. Sounds pretty sketchy, doesn’t it? Nev and Max invite Zak to fly out to meet them in L.A. so they can get to the bottom of it.
After they end the video call, we see Nev and Laura do a video chat, since Laura is away for work for the first time since they had Cleo. Any parent who has children remembers that first night away, and I was totally impressed by how well Laura seemed to be handling it and how reassuring Nev was about the whole thing.
Seriously, every clip they show of Nev and Laura has me thinking hashtag relationship goals. For real.
Nev and Max pick up Zak at the airport the next day, and Max pretty much dives right in with the hard questions, asking him if his family knows he’s gay. I liked Zak so much more when he made a joke in response saying, “Yeah. I mean, come on, look at the hair! It’s not that hard to tell!” He’s referring to the asymmetrical, long-ish, wavy hair he’s got going on – which he’s totally killing, by the way!
They check out the house they rented for Zak and crack a couple of beers before they sit down and go through what Zak knows about Garrett and get more details about their relationship. Zak explains they’ve exchanged I love yous, Garrett has referred to Zak as his future husband, and they’ve talked about moving somewhere new together some day. The little smile on Zak’s face while Nev reads through some of Garrett’s sappier messages to him had me saying, “Awww!” out loud to the television.
It’s kind of funny, because even after all of these seasons of Catfish where we see people get lied to and hurt over and over, I’m still always secretly hoping that the “Catfish” turns out to be the real version of themselves and there’s a happily ever after at the end of the episode. It hardly ever happens, but I always want it, and I was definitely feeling that hope for Zak at this point in the episode.
Nev and Max sit down the next day to do their detective work with the information provided to them by Zak. They come up with nothing on the reverse image search, nothing for the phone number, but get a couple of hits on his name on Google. The Google search leads to a Facebook account, which has been taken down. After some more clicking around, it turns out his Instagram is shut down as well.
Nev and Max call Zak to see if he can see the pages, and Zak tells them that he can’t, and explains it’s probably because he talked to Garrett last night on the phone and Garrett found out he’s shooting an episode of Catfish. That isn’t suspicious at all!
They do a search of his Facebook URL in Google which brings up some photos of Garrett they haven’t seen before. They do an image search of a new picture of Garrett with another guy, and get a hit on another Facebook page for the second guy whose name is Alexander. They send a message to Alexander, and Alexander tells them the guy in the picture with him is Gary not Garrett!
Ding ding ding!
They do a search for Gary and find him on Facebook in a bunch of pictures with a girl named Katie. They explain the situation to Katie on the phone and she says that she’s sure if Gary was talking to somebody for the last four months and was in love with him, she would know about it because they’re best friends. She mentions that four months ago some stuff went down with Gary’s ex, and he hacked into his Facebook account and was taking pictures of him and posting them online… which doesn’t sound very good for Zak. Has he actually been talking to Gary’s ex-boyfriend this time?
We don’t know yet, but it’s pretty clear at this point that whoever Zak has been talking to isn’t Gary, which obviously raises the question, who has he been talking to, and what does he look like? If he’s even a he!
They call Zak and meet up with him at a Pilate studio. As you can imagine, hilarity ensues when Nev decides he wants to try the stretches Zak is making look so effortless. I’m sure you’re not surprised to read that Nev doesn’t quite pull it off as well as Zak, though Max did make sure to get the requested crotch shot with his camera. We’ll file that under things we didn’t need to see and move right along! Nev and Max go through the spiel of what they found during their search with Zak, and you can actually see poor Zak’s heart breaking with each piece of information they reveal.
Nev leaves the room to give Garrett a call to see if he’s interested in meeting up with Zak. He cuts through the crap and asks, “Do people call you Garrett or Gary?”
There’s a long pause before Garrett/Gary responds, “I, uh, just have a lot of stuff I need to explain to Zak.”
Cue the dramatic cut to commercial! When they come back, Garrett/Gary agrees to fly to L.A. to meet up with Zak, Nev, and Max the next day.
We get a heartbreaking video clip of Zak all alone saying, “Everybody’s kinda been asking me how I’m doing. I keep lying to them and saying I’m doing great, when in the reality of it all, I’m terrified. I can’t lose another person from my life.” It was surprisingly sad to watch, because up until now, Zak had been doing a really great job of acting very upbeat and he came across like he was handling everything so well. I had no idea he was actually hurting so much, and it was hard to see him looking so sad, especially since he comes across as such a nice guy.
The next day we get another quick recap in the form of a video call between Nev and Laura, featuring an absolutely adorable dancing Cleo in the background. Afterwards, Nev and Max meet up with Zak at the house they rented him and wait for Gary/Garrett to show up. They get a call from their producer who explains she was supposed to pick up Gary/Garrett at the airport twenty minutes ago but he isn’t there, she can’t get a hold of him, and she doesn’t even know if he got on the flight or not.
The next thing we know, there’s a voice calling out from off screen, “Hello?”
Max and Nev go running over and open up a gate to reveal… It’s Garrett!
Nev, as always, puts it so eloquently for us and exclaims, “What!?”
It’s actually the Garrett from Facebook who looks exactly like all of his photos, who everybody had completely ruled out as being who Zak was really talking to. So what’s the deal? Why wouldn’t he FaceTime with Zak, and why doesn’t his best friend Katie know anything about Zak?
They ask him all the hard questions, and honestly to me, it felt like he was being completely disingenuous the entire time. He doesn’t give any details to really explain anything about why he wouldn’t FaceTime other than he was trying to keep his guard up, and he says that Katie did know who Zak was but she was being cautious in case he didn’t want her to say anything.
Nev must have been feeling how I was feeling, because he says, “So hang on a second. Three’s no big, crazy thing that you’ve been hiding?”
Garrett answers, “It’s basically that I just didn’t want to be vulnerable to another person. Falling for somebody online is kind of nerve wracking.”
Zak speaks up asking him why he didn’t want to meet up with him in Kansas, and Garrett tells him how his parents aren’t supportive of him being gay and he didn’t want to meet this great guy who he’s super into when he had to try and pretend to be somebody he’s not.
And wow, the cute little smile from Zak after that totally had me making heart eyes at the screen! My hopelessly romantic heart was pitter-patting so hard at the idea that this might actually work out between them! Max and Nev decide to give them some time to talk alone, and we even get a blurry shot through the window of Zak and Garrett holding hands across the picnic table!
I was giggling at Max spying at them. “Wait, are they holding hands? Oh my god!”
We see Zak ask Garrett, “How are we going to move forwards after this?”
I was starting to sweat, still pessimistically waiting for it to go all wrong, when finally, Garrett said all the right things! “Now that I know that things are real the hesitation is kinda gone for me. I want to be about you. I want to be in your life. I want to know your friends. I want your family to meet me one time.”
And then I actually squeed when Zak said, “I don’t know if we’re still being filmed or not… but can I kiss you?”
AND THEY DID!
Nev and Max were channeling the inner me when they were spying through the window and fist pumping in excitement!
We get a few cute scenes of Zak and Garrett on their first date, and we hear them declare themselves officially boyfriends at the end of the episode.
We skip forward to the video call one month later… and Zak and Garrett are still together and absolutely adorable!
This episode left me with a great big smile on my face, my hopelessly romantic heart bursting with all the feels, and reminded me why I’ve kept watching this show over the last several years. It doesn’t always work out like like it did between Zak and Garrett – actually, very rarely – but the few times it does work out gives me enough hope to get me through to the next true love connection, no matter how many episodes are in between.