If nothing else, you have to give Anna Delvey one thing: whenever she did anything, she went all in and committed to her course of action. In the last episode of Inventing Anna, she proclaimed a vision of creating an art mecca for the super elite. Had that actually been her goal all along, or was it something she came up with on the fly in order to distract Chase and forestall him from outing her? It’s hard to say. However, whether she’d been nurturing that plan for thirty seconds or three years, she went all in on it in “Two Birds, One Throne.” The fact that she succeeded as much as she did was as much kismet as talent.
Polishing The Image
Anna previously proclaimed that she had fully formed and polished her persona from the start. And while that does seem to be largely true in many ways, this episode suggests that was one of her many lies. It wasn’t fully formed, even from the time she came to New York. At least not entirely. As Val said, it’s all in the details.
Although she’s very, very good, at points in this episode, it seems like Anna isn’t quite nailing the details. It’s suggested she isn’t wearing quite the correct outfit to meet with her ideal “dream team.” She isn’t quite as good at manipulating Nora as she has been of others. She can’t quite become one of the “insiders,” even once she manages to get her foot in the door.
These are just tiny little slips, like not knowing rudimentary Russian. And, when you think about it, they’re rather foolish slips for someone as cunning as Anna to make. Make no mistake about it: she is cunning, but that may be as much her Achilles heel as her strength. As Vivian points out, with her eidetic memory and command of several languages (by her own admission), there are few people who could keep up with her. So the fact she doesn’t present herself as hailing from any country where she speaks the language? That’s sloppy. But maybe it’s because she assumes nobody will be able to keep up with her enough to notice.
As good as she is, it seems possible at this point that her con needs a little work. It’s even possible she’s not entirely in control – of others or of herself. Or is she?
Love’s Labors Lost
Does Anna love Chase? Did she ever really? It’s a question I suspect will be hotly debated online by fans of the series. Her unraveling at discovering his deception makes it seem like maybe she does. At least, she loves him in whatever way and to whatever extent someone like Anna can love anyone who isn’t herself. She goes through the trouble of tracking him down in Ohio and flying out to see him, when she could just as easily write him off and move on. She seems genuinely hurt by his perceived betrayal. And there’s all those voicemails.
But then again, there’s that thinly veiled suggestion she might accidentally overdose in her final voicemail to him. Clearly calculated, reminding the audience that Anna Delvey very much knows what she’s doing every time she opens her mouth. And there’s what she does to him after, taking everything he worked for and tossing him aside.
Which really seems to be her M.O., doesn’t it? For my part, I think whatever she felt or feels towards Chase, it isn’t love. It’s mercenary. When she unravels, it’s because her ego can’t stand the realization that he has – on some level – played her. And heaven knows, Anna has an ego. Her efforts to retrieve him from Ohio are more self-preservation than longing. He does know the truth – or a truth – about her, after all.
And, again, there’s that ego. That ego that’s big enough to demand high-end panties in prison. The ego that radiates from every line of her body and drips off every word that leaves her mouth. When she brings Chase back, is it really because she wants to try to salvage things so he can help her with her foundation? Or is it because she wants on some level to break him?
And she does break him. Once it’s become clear that he can no longer help her – he has neither the funds nor the cunning to serve her ends – she throws him under the bus. She becomes a gold-plated version of him. A grifter like Anna will always see people for what they can do for her. How much more they can give. And Chase? The moment he’s tapped out – and, worse, disappointed her – he’s of no use. And so, just like Val, he’s cut off and put in her rearview mirror, while she rides off into the sunset. Stronger and more polished in her con than ever.
While the slow unfurling of Anna’s persona and story is fascinating, Inventing Anna isn’t her story alone. It’s also the story of her victims. And this episode makes it clear that some of her victims live in an entirely different world than the rest of us. Not just because they know all the right people to open every door imaginable. And not only because they can drop over twenty grand on a single shopping trip without batting an eye. But because they aren’t forced to live with the consequences of their mistakes – or mistakes in judgment – as we are.
There are those for whom losing four thousand would be devastating. For even more, losing forty grand would be the kind of cataclysmic disaster from which they may never recover. With no recourse and nothing more than an object lesson for their troubles. But Anna’s victims (so far)? They can lose four hundred thousand dollars and get it all back with a single phone call. The only lingering consequence a certain level of shame.
No wonder people questioned whether anyone would really care about the people Anna Delvey defrauded with her schemes.
Inventing Anna is streaming now on Netflix.
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