The Italian import, Anna, premiered last week on AMC+. The series takes viewers into a post-apocalyptic world where a deadly virus has decimated the adult population and only children remain. The titular protagonist cares for her younger brother in a world where food is scarce and you have to keep a look out for roving brutal gangs of kids.
“You Gotta Make Ice Cream” begins with a flashback of a younger Anna and Astor around the time that society was falling apart. When one of their teachers comes down with the “Red Death,” the school is evacuated but no one comes to pick up the step siblings. Another instructor takes pity on them and decides to take them home. It is a bit confusing chronologically here because in the premiere, the mom was already cautious of the pandemic. Why would she have let her kids go to school if she was so protective of them?
The movement of the camera while filming combined with the cacophonous score capture the frantic and chaotic nature of what’s happening and how quickly things are devolving. In addition, the parallel storytelling between the siblings and their parents paints a not so flattering picture of the characters. We see more of Anna’s early animosity towards Astor while mom and dad seem irresponsible and oblivious at the worst possible moment. Though we do see what happened to Astor’s dad, who was absent in several of the family flashbacks in the premiere.
Fast forward to the present where we are introduced to twin brothers who run a trading post out of their father’s old store. Their story initially didn’t seem to play with the overall narrative but provided an intimate look at siblings who are old enough to remember the normal days. They search for items that can make them nostalgic even swindling their patrons in the process. However, when one of the twins becomes afflicted, there are tender and melancholy moments between them as they come to the realization of their own mortality and the dread of being alone.
When we finally catch up with Anna, a montage is played with her taking care of Astor showing how close they have become compared to pre-apocalypse. Afterwards, she sets off on another supply run but not before taking a pitstop to visit Pietro, the love interest from the first episode. Not even the end of the world can prevent teens from being teens. The pair have a day of hanging out, flirting, swimming, and dropping acid.
The episode once again effectively utilizes parallel scenes jumping back and forth between Astor and his sister. His attempt at curing his boredom attracts unwanted attention and he finds himself the target of the Blue Kids. Jumping back and forth between the siblings are sharp contrasts. Anna is out having fun while her brother his being hunted down like prey. It also draws comparisons to her mother, particularly in the opening scenes, demonstrating how they might not be too different as guardians.
After Anna returns home and discovers her brother missing, she sets out to recover him from the Blue Kids. She heads out to the twins we met earlier wanting to barter for a map. Much of the sympathy the brothers gained throughout the episode is quickly lost when the mood turns creepy. One of the twins takes advantage of Anna’s desperation and we end on a disturbing cliffhanger.
The use of parallel scenes helps to compare and contrast many of the situations and characters to augment the storylines and conflict. Some curious and complicated additions are introduced and we’re left on an ominous cliffhanger.
New episodes of Anna are released Thursdays on AMC+.
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