Friday, February 11, 2022

REVIEW: 'Inventing Anna' - Vivian Unearths One of Anna's Crimes and Potential Motivation in 'Two Birds, One Throne'

Netflix's Inventing Anna - Episode 1.03 "Two Birds, One Throne"

With Anna giving her the cold shoulder, Vivian hunts down sources who can fill in the blanks: Anna's ex-boyfriend Chase and wealthy entrepreneur Nora.

"Two Birds, One Throne" was written by Jess Brownell and directed by Daisy von Scherler Mayer

Was Anna ever motivated out of love? When she hunts down Chase to his parents' house in Ohio, it certainly seems like it. In that moment, it's all about the betrayal. She is blindsided because Chase is the one who has been keeping massive secrets from her. He has gone through all the money investors gave him with no product to show for it. He can't pay his employees. He can't keep up with her lavish lifestyle. He disappears in order to avoid accountability. It's the same move he follows once Anna ultimately betrays him. She is the one dictating this narrative. She decides it's in her best interest to earn Nora's good will by exposing the truth about Chase. She can cultivate this powerful ally who can help her achieve her dream. Anna wants to create an arthouse. Of course, all of this is balanced with Vivian and the audience always being aware that Chase was a scammer. His startup didn't seem like an idea that could be produced. He still sold investors on the idea. Anna helped him too. She was a part of his scam. He didn't teach her the art of the con though. He isn't deserving of her success. He can't take credit for it. He can simply share his side of the story. It's a tale of personal destruction without dealing with any repercussions. Chase is avoiding Vivian's calls. When he does finally agree to speak with her, he feels liberated and back to selling the benefits of a great life he can offer. He can't follow through on anything he promises. He isn't deserving of Anna's love and attention. He may have been Nora's favorites at one point. Val is the only constant for her. That appreciation is genuine and runs deep. It's still high-class people dealing with high-class problems. It doesn't matter to Nora that Anna stole $400,000 from her. She can get the money back in her accounts with one call to a friend. She doesn't have to deal with the bureaucracy lined up to prevent fraud for the rest of the world. Instead, she simply fears being humiliated. She is ashamed that she allowed Anna to get so close. She was the one who introduced her to so many influential people. That allowed Anna to cultivate an image that made her worthy of being targeted for the various crimes she committed.

Nora isn't pressing charges against Anna though. She certainly could. It may be a much more concise case. That simplicity isn't the root of the story. The impulses are there to make Val and Nora come across as these influential and important players. They were the ones who were concerned when Anna was initially arrested. They want to keep their names out of this story. Their bruised egos by Anna are only the start of the story though. It's consequential and meaningful for them. They feel distraught. Their lives have changed because of their interactions with her. And yet, what she did isn't what amounted to the charges filed against her. It's all just background. Vivian uses that phrase in order to build a rapport with her potential sources. She wants them to open up to her. She needs them to tell her everything they know about Anna. She needs to know if this woman is innocent and being made an example in a society that has always appeased her sensibilities. She also fears that Anna is the ultimate con woman. Anna perceives herself as intellectually superior. She has a photographic memory and speaks seven languages. She boasts that fact in order to seem impressive. However, she is also afraid in prison. As such, she is constantly demanding things from Vivian and Todd. Their willingness to accommodate her relies entirely on how overwhelmed they feel in the moment. Vivian suggests that she could work alongside the defense team. That crosses an ethical line. She simply wants to get to the story. That's her pure drive. It compels her forward no matter what. She needs to make sense of this whole mess. Anna isn't as cooperative as she wants her to be. Vivian doesn't even believe she is pressing that hardly yet. This can be a much tougher and more grueling process. It may have to get to that point in order for some honesty to emerge. Right now, it's entirely up to the audience to understand the intent behind Anna's actions. The other writers say Vivian is starting to pick sides in this piece. That's dangerous for someone who must remain objective throughout this whole endeavor. She has the freedom to continue reporting though as she gathers enough evidence to impress her bosses. That shows she is proving her central thesis that this is a pivotal story that she must cover. That simply remains the most perfunctory aspect of the show.