The first episode briefly sheds light on all the conflicting evidence from different sources, which only makes Anna's story more confusing. One acquaintance reveals that she's part of a wealthy German family that deals with antiques. Another former BFF says that she's a Russian with a filthy-rich father. And an art dealer reveals that her family owns an impressionist painting worth $42 million. To be fair, it feels like more than enough to discredit Anna as a greedy, wannabe socialite, but it still doesn't fully address the question of why she went to such lengths to carry out this elaborate scheme. Did she have a vision that went beyond tricking New York's elite and getting thousands of likes on Instagram? Was it as simple as pretending for personal gain, or was she intentional about exposing the flaws in the system? And more importantly, did she ever intend to pay her victims back?
When Vivian asks her about her conflicting stories on the second visit, Anna masterfully deflects her questions by turning her attention to Vivian's mediocre image ("Your feet are too fat for heels...") and, once again, her casual approach to the interview ("V.I.P is always better, Vivian. You just have to be willing to do the work"). But this only adds to the complexity of her character and makes you want to really understand her. Her ability to stay poised and lie with such ease suggests that you can't really know when she's telling the truth. And the fact that she has the smarts to scam banks, private jet companies, hotels and wealthy friends at just 26 years old speaks volumes about her potential. So yes, it's easy to assume that she is driven by vanity and her hunger for fame (she admits to the latter), but somehow, this only feels like a small part of the puzzle.
Aside from Garner's spot-on portrayal of the swindler, Chlumsky also stands out as the passionate journalist (and expectant mom) who just can't resist a good scoop. Her response to her assigned Wall Street #MeToo story feels like a direct criticism of how the media has handled the #MeToo movement, since she defiantly calls her boss out for trying to use terrified victims as clickbait. So not surprisingly, she pours all of her energy into this new story that no one seems to be talking about, even with the odds stacked against her. But it's not just her treatment of this case that's intriguing, it's her refreshingly honest depiction of a frustrated journalist who has to deal with an unsupportive boss, an incredibly tight deadline, a mysterious case that breeds more questions than answers and the pressure to save her reputation—all while dealing with pregnancy hormones.
We see that frustration finally manifest when she has a breakdown during her sonogram appointment, where she repeatedly yells profanity after learning that she's having a girl. In one of her best scenes, she tells her husband, "If you tell me my joy at having a daughter is supposed to make up for the loss of my career, the loss of the thing that lights up my brain, I swear to God I will smother you in your sleep." (Major kudos to her husband for being patient with her in this scene.)
Although this only covers the first episode, it lays a pretty solid foundation and sets fans up for what will (hopefully) be a wild ride—one that we certainly intend to enjoy from start to finish.