We’re six episodes into Inventing Anna, and the series has painted a portrait of Anna Delvey that is always arrogant, often daring, and at times almost likable, if not sympathetic. The moments of seeing the good in her may be few and far between, but they’re there. And as for her escapades…well, if I’m honest, how many of us would do exactly the same thing, if we only had the daring, complete disregard for laws, and a single ounce of empathy. But make no mistake. Whether you watch her antics with an ounce of envy or not, Anna isn’t a likable person. We may not care that much about her defrauding banks. But what she does to others – to the everyday people who have the misfortune of being caught in her web – isn’t nice. It isn’t likable. And, in this episode, it’s downright dangerous.
A Dangerous Game
One can’t lead a life as a con artist without having a certain disregard for personal danger. Of course, the amount of arrogance to think one can get away with increasingly high-stakes crimes, as well as the charisma required to draw people in, has to help. It isn’t that Anna doesn’t care if she’s caught so much as she’s convinced she never will be. She’ll always be smarter and better than everyone else in the room.
It’s that sense of invincibility that leads her to push the envelope time and again. She’s not just increasing the stakes of her con, she’s putting herself in increasingly grave danger. And not just herself. She’s putting the people foolish enough to get caught in her web in danger, as well.
Because it’s one thing to commit fraud while in the United States. Not to say that prison is a fun time. I’m sure it’s not. But she knows the system. She knows how to work the system. And she knows how to work the people within the system.
Once Anna travels to Marrakesh, however, she’s completely out of her depth. She doesn’t know how to work the system in the same way. She doesn’t know how to work the people within the system. And while she’s been able to pick up and run when things get too hot in the past, she stands a real chance of being arrested in Morocco.
I find myself oddly tempted to Google what prisons are like in Morocco. Still, I’m perfectly happy to never find out.
With Friends Like These
But, of course, she isn’t just putting herself in danger with her “credit cards not working” scam in Marrakesh. She’s putting every one of her companions in danger, as well. In fact, they are likely in more danger than she is. They don’t have her experience at conning their way out of situations. And while she would have no compunction about throwing them to the wolves to save herself, Rachel clearly struggles with the morality of leaving Anna behind. Even though Anna is the reason she’s in danger to begin with.
Does anyone think Anna would spare a second thought to Rachel – or anyone else (other than maybe Neff) if they had to pay the price for her actions? She certainly didn’t care about any consequences Alan Reed faced. Granted, she was correct that he “failed upwards” in a sense. But even if he had faced serious consequences, I have no doubt she wouldn’t have cared.
She’s shameless. Not just in her crimes but in her ruthless manipulation of others, such as when she implied a suicide threat in a conversation with Kacy. It’s a tactic she used before, with Chase. She’s shameless in making Rachel foot the bill for the trip to Morocco – to the tune of $62,000. Unlike Nora Radford, it’s unlikely Rachel can just make a phone call and get her money back.
Still, while Anna has managed to use manipulation and deception to skate by well enough, the end of the episode leaves her in a precarious place. She won’t get the loan she’s been seeking. Fortress plans to do due diligence by flying to Germany to check out her story, and there’s no way for her to keep her house of cards from crumbling. She’s out of money. Running out of friends. And, at least at the moment, has few options.
But Anna’s wily, and there are still three episodes left to the series. So there’s no doubt she still has one or two tricks up her sleeve.
Inventing Anna is streaming now on Netflix.
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