Inventing Anna‘s first episode is fun, fresh, and the first shot of an addictive ride.
This recap of Netflix’s Inventing Anna season 1, episode 1, “Life of a VIP,” contains spoilers.
The whole story is entirely true, except for the parts they made up is a line that pops up on the screen a few minutes into Shonda Rhimes’s first Netflix stream dream, Inventing Anna. The limited series is based on a woman pretending to be a German Heiress who conned New York City’s elite, named Anna Delvey (Ozark’s Julia Garner). Her real name was Anna Sorokin, and we all know if you con rich people, not the poor, but the uber-rich, that’s when the Manhattan District Attorney steps in.
Inventing Anna season 1, episode 1 recap
Vivian (Anna Chlumsky) walks into her Manhattan magazine writers’ room with three seasoned and weathered colleagues (played by Jeff Perry, Anna Deavere Smith. and Terry Kinney), establishing her as the real go-getter, ambitious writer of the group. She pitches a story to her boss about the Instagram con artist big banks, philanthropists, financial advisors, hedge funds, law firms, real-estate advisors, art gallery owners, and even crucial players at fashion week. Everything is photographed or talked about in New York City except the Yankees. Even more impressive that she not only cracks New York City’s exclusive but found herself landing a job in “The Fortress,” a private and elite financial equity firm.
But she was told to drop it. Yeah right.
“Vivian, are you pregnant or so very, very fat?” That’s what Anna asks her when she visits her in prison. She is dressed in perfectly pressed prison garb, while wearing stylish oversized glassed that always need to be straightened. Even fake jailed socialites shouldn’t have to be around hideous hippos—even the pregnant ones. (Frankly, even if Chlumsky’s character is pregnant, she doesn’t even look overweight). While Vivian attempts to comfort and upset Anna for being in prison, it seems like Anna is continuing her confidence game to the viewer. She tells the reporter that the District Attorney has it wrong, and it is just a big misunderstanding.
Vivian then manages to grab a two-week reprieve when her editor finds she pursued the story without permission. She interviews her associates off her Instagram page. The stories range from Russian royalty, who inherited a 42 million dollar painting, to many shocked she was a fake. Anna has had a new look with every Instagram picture for the past five years. And each image, Anna has a different backstory told by the person she took the selfie with.
However, Anna wouldn’t answer Vivian’s questions. All she wanted to talk about was why Vivian wouldn’t ride the “VIP” media transportation and why she dressed like a poor slob. She also goats Vivian into hinting at something from her past that has ruined her reputation. Anna leaves the room and tells the Manhattan magazine reporter to get the media pass credential. The “Scriberia” members tell Vivian that the story is dead if Anna takes the plea deal on the table. And even if she doesn’t, Vivian is having a baby soon.
After Vivian finds out from Anna’s lawyer, Todd (Succession‘s Arian Moayed), that she takes the plea deal, she takes a final stab at her research. As dawn breaks, she finds an Instagram photo with that hotel concierge that showed her the room Anna was renting for 1,700 dollars a night. Her name is Neff (The Bold Type’s Alexis Floyd), and she is drinking a martini and partying with Anna under the New York City lights.
When Vivian confronts her, Neff rejects her for being inauthentic. Finally, Vivian comes clean. She wants the story to restore her reputation and not to save the women of #MeToo. Neff lets her know what her friend wants. She wants to be famous. That’s what Vivian wants. It is the only thing she cares about. She rejects the plea deal in open court. While the final scene shows a mother and son at a bar, lying to each other that they didn’t talk to Vivian and noticeably upset Anna didn’t take the plea deal.
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