Netflix’s Clickbait explores the disappearance of a loving father and adoring husband, Nick Brewer. But after a video goes viral in which Nick holds a sign saying he’s an abuser and a murderer, his family learns he may not have been the man they thought he was. Throughout the eight-episode season, viewers are introduced to the various women who claimed to have been in a relationship with him, but the most enigmatic is Emma Beesley, a woman from Los Angeles, who claimed Nick was her fiancé. But does her story hold up? Let’s unpack exactly what happened between Emma and Nick on Clickbait.
Spoiler alert: This post includes major spoilers from Season 1 of Clickbait. Emma first made an appearance in Episode 3, when she joined a sea of reporters outside Nick’s home. When she later followed Nick’s widow, Sophie, around town, it became obvious something was up. Episode 4 revolved entirely around Emma’s perspective. Fans learned she’s in love with Nick, who she knew as “Danny.” Viewers saw what appeared to be a flashback scene of the two in bed; he made her coffee and they got intimate. Emma also spoke to her best friend about how happy she was with Nick. And when she booked her flight to visit Nick’s hometown after his death, she told the airline employee her fiancé had died.
After Emma arrived in Oakland, she told Sophie, “I was in a relationship with your husband. We were in love.” She then told Detective Amir she was Nick’s girlfriend and defended him against the allegations that he was abusive. But by the end of the episode — after learning she apparently wasn’t Nick’s only mistress — Emma had a change of heart. She gave an interview to a popular news program and said Nick was emotionally abusive and implied the accusations against him were true.
Then, things got even more muddled. As the investigation continued, it was revealed that Nick only had online relationships with most of the women he was connected to and he never met any of them in person. This opened up the possibility that he was never the person behind the screen in the first place. In Episode 8, viewers saw a flashback of Nick hours before his death, when he claimed someone was catfishing as him, and that he had no relationship — IRL or virtual — with any woman except for his wife, Sophie.
But Emma was the exception, right? After all, she had a physical relationship with Nick, proven by her memories of him as well as that framed photo of the two of them at the beach. She knew insider information about him, too, like his family dynamics. And, she lived in L.A., a place Sophie said Nick often traveled to. Plus, the timeline of their relationship meant they started dating right after Nick found out Sophie cheated on him, providing a motive for him to get back at her with another woman. The fact that Emma went to the Bay Area and voluntarily admitted to being Nick’s mistress must have meant their relationship was super serious, too.
Except... it turns out Emma was not as reliable as viewers were led to believe. After Nick’s son, Ethan, did some digging of his own, he confronted Emma and asked if she actually met his dad IRL. She hesitated before admitting she had never once met Nick in person — their whole relationship happened online. Even more damning, she revealed the voice she’d been speaking to all throughout their relationship was def not the voice of Ethan’s father.
Unfortunately, Clickbait never provides any satisfying answers as to why Emma would carry on with such a huge lie — except for the fact that she greatly romanticized her online relationship. Emma was basically living in a fantasy world, which could explain the flashback of her and Nick at the beginning of Episode 4 as simply a daydream. And the photo at the beach? Turns out, the real catfish photoshopped the original picture — which was of Nick and Sophie — to put Emma’s body next to Nick’s. And believe it or not, this bizarre and unsettling twist isn’t even the wildest thing that happens in the show.
Clickbait is currently streaming on Netflix.