Episode 7 of The Dropout begins with several shots of Elizabeth Holmes living her glamorous life in 2015–sitting for interviews with presidents, doing a profile for TIME, being followed everywhere by a security detail.
But all of this prestige may be about to crumble. Wall Street Journal’s John Carreyrou is onto Theranos. He has several doctors who want to testify against false Theranos tests, in addition to his sources from the company itself. Now, he just has to give Theranos time to respond to his questions.
Mark Roessler, in fact, downloads hundreds of company emails to his personal drive. He leaves the building with Sunny yelling after him that he will sue.
Elizabeth and Sunny speak to their lawyer, David Boies. They don’t want to answer The Journal’s questions; so Boies suggests they go after Carreyrou’s sources. Sunny threatens the doctors who would testify against Theranos, convincing them to sign non-disclosure agreements.
Mark, fearful that someone is following him, deletes the company emails. Carreyrou now depends on Tyler Schultz as a source, but he can’t get hold of him.
George Schultz calls his grandson to meet with him. Tyler insists to him that he never spoke to a reporter about Theranos. Still, he refuses to sign a new NDA, and Theranos threatens to sue.
With Theranos celebrating FDA approval for Herpes tests, Elizabeth publishes an article about a new era of health care–in the Wall Street Journal. It turns out that Robert Murdoch, the owner of the newspaper, has invested millions of dollars into her company.
Carreyrou worries that Murdoch will kill his story in order to protect his investment. He wants to run the story immediately, but can’t. He’s lost nearly all his sources.
Boies shows up at Theranos to talk with Elizabeth. He says the article isn’t going away. And he can’t make it go away until he knows what the Wall Street Journal has on her. He needs to know what Elizabeth has been hiding.
Later, Boies enters the Wall Street Journal’s office with a team of lawyers. While trying to kill Carreyrou’s story, they inadvertently feed it by admitting to using third party analyzers. Boies calls Elizabeth to warn her that the Journal will be running an article that night.
Elizabeth asks for Schultz’s support. His answer is to blame everything on Sunny, but Sunny realizes that could be Elizabeth’s plan. He tells her they know all the same things; her name was on every email.
That night, Elizabeth attends a function for the Harvard Medical School Board of Fellows. There, she runs into Phyllis Garner, another board member. Phyllis says she’s looking forward to The Wall Street Journal’s article. But she scathingly asks Elizabeth what she thinks will happen to all the other women who want to start companies after her.
That night, the article drops.
The Episode Review
At this point in Hulu’s limited series, it’s almost as if The Dropout has forgotten about elaborating on character motives and is simply carrying out plot points from an instruction manual.
Although much is finally coming together and causing exciting change, the storyline in this penultimate episode still reinforces a repetitive narrative. Forces threaten Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos; Sunny claps back. It’s been a long and tedious cycle for the past seven episodes.
Fortunately, I think we are finally seeing a turning point in the story, in time for the season finale. Although it played out in what is likely the least exciting way possible, the release of Carreyrou’s article is a thrilling instigator for Elizabeth’s downfall. Here’s hoping the final episode can deliver a more in-depth analysis of Elizabeth’s character and a satisfying conclusion to the show’s interesting feminist themes. Don’t we all want to see Phyllis Gardner justified?