Season 3 of Catfish began with attention-grabbing friends, family, and bona fide con artists messing with America’s Most Gullible, seemingly only for a chance at fame or to rob them blind. But this week's Catfish, " Jeff & Megan," is more like Season 1, an innocent time when people hid behind profiles out of insecurity or embarrassment. Much like last week’s Miranda, our sweet, shy military man Jeff has actually gone as far as setting up a meeting in his “girlfriend” Megan’s native Texas, only to be stood up for a “family emergency.” He also fell victim to some cringeworthy mistakes, like sending naked pictures and never asking to video chat.
So it seems like a pretty cut and dry case of fake photos, where “Megan” is actually “Brandy,” who might not be exactly what Jeff was expecting, but still loves dogs and cares about Jeff. And though Jeff knew more than the average catfishee, as he had Megan’s actual address, videos of her hanging out with her dog, and the help of MTV on his side, the soldier was in a predicament we’ve never seen on Catfish before — he couldn’t travel! That added an extra wrinkle into the proceedings that left Nev and Max wondering if they were going to be able to convince Megan to not only meet up with Jeff, but also to come all the way to his hometown in Jacksonville, Fla.
So instead of the whole crew heading down to Texas, Max takes the trip alone (!!!) while Nev stays in Florida. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, as Max and Nev spend most of the remaining time more worried about splitting up than about playing mind games with Brandy. However Brandy's initial flakiness is still explained by the end of the episode, when she admits that she lied to keep her emotional distance after a bad breakup, but learned from Jeff that she could open up again. It’s been nice for the past few weeks to see how Catfish can help bring people together, rather than just tear them apart. Jeff is taken aback at the start, but both he and Brandy tentatively agree to move forward with their relationship. While it’s cathartic to see Nev hurl a manipulative loser’s cellphone into the ocean, the back half of this season seems designed to give both catfishers and catfishees hope that it's worth coming clean—and to totally flip the usual formula.
Of course, this episode is an even more important reminder of the show's most powerful relationship. Nev and Max: Catfish’s OTP.