Camaron Engels as Ethan Brewer in Netflix's 'Clickbait'

Let's Talk About Ethan’s Mystery Texter In Clickbait On Netflix

I did not see this coming.


In Netflix’s Clickbait, no one can be trusted. The limited series revolves around a family mourning the death of their father, son, husband, and brother, Nick Brewer. But a viral video claiming Nick was a serial cheater, abuser, and murderer propels the family into the spotlight. Everyone tries to figure out who killed Nick and whether he really had a double life, including Nick’s eldest son, Ethan. Instead of discussing his father’s case with the police or his family, however, Ethan begins communicating with a mystery person who goes by the screenname “Al_2005.” But who exactly is Ethan texting? Because on Clickbait, it seems no one can be trusted.

Spoiler alert: This post includes spoilers from Season 1 of Clickbait. After Nick’s death, Sophie tried to stop Ethan and his younger brother, Kai, from using their electronic devices as a way to prevent her sons from reading the horrible things that were being said about their father. However, Ethan secretly continued to be online, and in Episode 1, it was revealed he was texting someone named Al_2005 all about his dad’s case. The mystery person asked Ethan if there was “any news,” about Nick and told him to “make sure to tell me!” about any updates about the case. It’s never revealed exactly how the two connected, so the conversation immediately feels suspicious, especially considering all of the revelations that were pouring out about Nick. Could this person be someone from Nick’s secret life? Or perhaps someone connected with his disappearance?


Throughout the series, Ethan continued to message his online pen pal and provided them with updates about the case that only his family and the police knew about. In Episode 7, the teen finally exchanged photos with Al_2005, who send pics of a cute teenage girl. But when Ethan opened up to his aunt Pia about his blossoming new relationship, she asked whether they’ve met IRL, prompting him to question who the person on the other end of the phone really was. When his suspicions grew and he demanded to meet up with Al_2005 later in the episode, she declined and said she has social anxiety.

By that point, it seemed all but confirmed that Al_2005 was not who they said they were and def had ulterior motives other than helping Ethan. However, after Ethan accused them of being “some pedo in a basement somewhere,” the mystery texter invited Ethan over to their place to meet in person. When Ethan arrived at the doorstep of AL_2005’s house, the tension was thick. It felt like he was walking right into a trap or some sick prank, especially when the door opened and an old man greeted him. But! Seconds later, a teenage girl appeared and introduced herself as Alison, and she looked just like the girl in the picture AL_2005 sent.

Talk about a red herring! Not only was Alison genuinely concerned for Ethan, but she told him she could relate to his pain because she recently lost her mom too. Alison proved to be super helpful as well. With her assistance, Ethan got the truth out of Emma Beasley, one of Nick’s alleged mistresses, and pinpointed the location of the real killer.

Considering everything Ethan lost throughout the season, it’s fitting the teen’s story ended on at least one happy note, as it’s clear there were sparks between him and AL_2005 — or, I should say, a nice girl named Alison.

Clickbait is streaming on Netflix.