Check Out Time
Episode 5 of Inventing Anna starts with us shifting perspective over to Neff as she goes about her day at the hotel. She certainly knows her stuff and Vivian is keen to probe her and learn everything she does about Anna. Neff doesn’t give up much, given she’s fiercely loyal to Anna, and beyond telling Vivian she stayed with them for 3-4 months, she doesn’t reveal much else.
Back at work, there’s a big problem abound. There’s a brand new episode of America Investigated about to launch and the hot topic is that of fake news. So how does that concern Viv? Well, one of the people scheduled to appear happens to be Donovan Lamb, and he’s going to talk about bad journalism – and Vivian.
This links back to something from her past, a case we’ve been hearing snippets of but the full clarity of which has been left unknown for now. Paul even arranges a full interview for her to open up and discuss what actually happened. Paul believes it’s a good opportunity for her to speak her truth and unveil what really happened.
For now, it’s kept sidelined in favour of a very impatient Vivian trying to learn why Anna stayed so long in the hotel.
Some of that stems from Neff, and specifically on her vouching for Anna’s credibility. After comping off a $400 bottle of wine (which Neff claims to her boss will pay dividends unto itself) she notices the proposals printed regarding Anna’s building and believes she’s in the money.
So naturally, Neff bends over backwards to please her, given the heft amount of tips she leaves on the table in hundred dollar bills. Essentially she was buying Neff’s secretarial services, making sure she’s put onto VIP lists. As Vivian puts it, Neff was the power behind the throne. Neff’s partner worries that this is a scam for her to look the other way (which it clearly is.)
After saving Anna from a handsy guy called Conrad at the hotel, Anna invites Neff along to her party and she sees first-hand how crazy rich these guys are. She also meets Rachel here too, someone who’s already close to Anna. She’s unaware of how they met but Neff is convinced that Rachel was only interested in the money. Now, these three end up meeting Kacy at the gym together, turning this trio into a quartet. Anna even paid Kacy $4000 a month to be her personal trainer.
So naturally, the four drink and spend time together with Neff taken aback by Anna’s generous nature. Of course, it’s worth bearing in mind that this money she’s giving away so freely is the same that she’s fraudulently gained. Anyway, she and Anna discuss their current circumstances, at least until Anna just falls asleep midway through talking.
Everything is good for a while, until Neff finds out that Anna has been lying. At the hotel, Neff is reprimanded by her boss over the credit cards failing so, because she’s so close to her, Neff is tasked with getting a card on record. She sees firsthand how dire her situation is and during an awkward lunch at a cafe, Neff decides to pay for her. This is the turning point, with Neff’s partner urging her to open her eyes and realize she’s being played.
At the hotel, Neff realizes Anna’s card isn’t working and her bill is over $34k. So Neff confronts Anna later that afternoon and tells her to handle her business and work out paying back her bills.
Through all of this scamming and fraudulent behaviour, Vivian still pedals the idea that Anna was scared and misunderstood, believing the foundation money would go through to pay for her bill. But yet, Vivian refuses to acknowledge that she obtained that money originally in a fraudulent way. Maybe she is a bad journalist after all?
Well, soon we find out what’s going on with this Donovan Lamb situation. Apparently, this kid made 80 million on the stock market before he was able to even drive. Vivian verified all of this but she believed there was something funny going on. Paul jazzed up the headline and unfortunately the kid rescinded his statement, claiming he was pressured into lying.
Vivian lost her job and she ended up under pressure and desperate to claw her way back up to the top. And the Anna project is obviously her way of doing that. So Viv makes a decision and confronts Paul, telling him he needs to do the interview himself tell everyone he’s to blame.
Meanwhile, Anna leaves the hotel but does so by paying up all of her bills, everything she owes and handing back the money to Neff. It turns out she’s the only person Anna actually paid back in full, which goes some way to explain why Neff looks on her so favourable. She eventually shows up at Rikers to see her friend, where the pair get along well and talk like old times.
The Episode Review
Episode 5 turns the attention to Neff and her ties to Anna. Did this episode really need to be 75 minutes to tell that story though? Absolutely not. This was a long, drawn-out chapter that doesn’t really add very much to the story beyond the context behind Anna buying out the building and establishing her friendships with the four ladies in her life.
However e do see more context surrounding Vivian’s history and specifically how it was Paul that was responsible for her woes and not actually her. That’s perhaps surprising, given how biased Vivian has been in this case, but beyond seeing how this has played out, there’s really not a lot else to this chapter. We could have easily cut out 30 minutes and had the same story told!
Hopefully the next episode justifies its hour long run-time.