Life of a VIP
Episode 1 of Inventing Anna begins with an introduction to the con artist we’ll be following across the season. That woman happens to be Anna Delvey; strap yourselves in, this one’s going to be a wild ride.
We begin our tale with Anna’s arrest, and that’s big news, causing ripples across the social stratosphere. A whole host of characters begin to squirm and try to navigate this bombshell, grappling with the gravitas of this revelation.
One person trying to take advantage of this is a reporter called Vivian Kent who tries to talk her bosses into changing her allotted story. Despite being given a riveting and provocative article to write about, it’s not enough. In fact she wants to bag an interview with Anna. She’s rejected though, with an off-hand “metoo” comment from her editor Paul. Vivian ends up defying her editor anyway, showing up at court to watch Anna get sent to Riker’s Island.
Vivian’s eagerness in getting a story (and stone-wall “no comments” from her lawyer) causes her to run late to see her partner Jack. You see, Vivian is heavily pregnant but she sees it as one big inconvenience, leaving Jack high and dry at the doctors for a scan she hasn’t bothered to show up for.
Vivian brushes this aside though and writes a letter to Anna personally, asking to meet as she believes there’s a bigger story and wants her side of it all. So naturally, Anna gets in touch and agrees to meet.
At Rikers, Vivian meets Anna who claims she’s not superficial and is trying to build a business. Delvey isn’t an alias either, it’s her Mum’s maiden name. Vivian wants to dig deeper and as she listens, Anna clearly manipulates her and claims she didn’t do anything wrong.
Meanwhile, Anna’s lawyer Todd arrives before the prosecutor, Catherine, and urges her not to pursue this. Todd tries to play up that Anna is a nice, sweet woman and misunderstood but that’s not going to fly. Instead, Catherine suggests a plea deal, given she has 11000 papers to go through and this could get very ugly, very quickly. Back home, Todd deliberates over the deal and eventually talks to his partner, Mags, about this.
Over at the Manhattan, with Paul watching on, Anna organizes her little team to find someone to talk about Anna and what happened. Only, she’s constantly put on hold and gets nowhere.She’s eventually called out by Paul, especially when Fatima shows up with a message from the DA’s case. Naturally, this gets Vivian into hot water as she’s clearly defied her editor.
Eventually Vivian gets the room with Landon, her boss, and refuses to do her “MeToo” story, grumbling that Paul “never gives her anything decent.” When Landon learns she managed to talk to Anna in Rikers, it does pique his interest. Eventually he agrees to give her two weeks. If she can get an exclusive interview and a well-sourced documentation of this, she’ll have a pass. If not, then Paul will reassign her.
So Vivian gets to work, scouring through social media and chatting to hotel staff, where she was prolific for leaving hundred dollar bills as tips. Anna is not budging and she keeps pedaling the media visit and the perks that come with it. During another visit at Rikers, Anna fires a question back about Vivian and her attire. Specifically how she looks poor. Anna encourages her to splash out and get some designer gear, refusing to answer her questions. Instead, she brings up the plea deal on the table and considers going for that instead. As Vivian walks away, Anna tells her to work harder. Only then she might actually speak up.
Vivian is stressed and feels the weight of the world on her shoulders, especially when she believes Anna is going to take the plea deal. Between her pregnancy and career, Vivian doubles-down on trying to find information to use. Specifically, she finds a woman named Neff, who happened to work at the hotel at the time. Neff refuses to be interviewed, claiming she doesn’t want to sell out her friend.
When Vivian mentions the plea deal, Neff sees straight through her facade and her hustle, eventually seeing Vivian open up and admit she wants what’s best for her career – and for Anna. So naturally, Vivian organizes the VIP treatment for Anna at Rikers
Vivian manages to convince Anna and she decides to go to trial and fight back instead. Why? Well, Anna Delvey wants to be famous and Vivian’s story can make that happen. News of the trial echoes over to our rich socialites who realize Anna isn’t taking the deal and contemplate what this means.
The Episode Review
Anna’s accent is going to be a point of contention here and I have to admit, after this episode I went and did some research and… it’s pretty close in truth to her actual voice! Anna is pretending to be German with a hint of Russian and to be honest, I think Julia Garner does a pretty decent job of it.
This first episode works well to set the scene and the story to come, and what a story this is. For those unaware, I won’t spoil that here but suffice to say, it’s a really intriguing and fascinating tale but one that hopefully this show can do justice to. Vivian is already a point of contention though and the way she just left her partner at the doctor’s and sees pregnancy as one big burden, makes one wonder why she even bothered to get knocked up in the first place.
However, the acting in general and the storytelling is pretty good, and it’ll be interesting to see if this show includes flashbacks to show what Anna did. Either way though, Inventing Anna gets off to decent start and serves as a tantalizing glimpse for what could be coming next!