How does Theranos respond to John Carreyrou’s article?
Episode 8 of The Dropout begins several years in the future, with Elizabeth being interviewed about her text exchanges with Sunny following the publication of John Carreyrou’s article in The Wall Street Journal.
The scene flashes back to the direct aftermath of The Journal’s article about Theranos’ fraud. A panicked Elizabeth calls each of the board members, crying sexism and trying to convince them that the article’s claims were false.
Elizabeth overhears Sunny discussing his “options” on the phone. She thinks he’s speaking with a lawyer, planning to turn against her.
Carreryrou and the Wall Street Journal meanwhile prepare for a possible defamation lawsuit. Carreyrou knows Elizabeth is stalling so people will forget about the scandal. And they will forget unless he writes something new.
Do Tyler Schultz and George Schultz reconcile?
Tyler speaks with his grandfather to come clean about being Carreyrou’s source. He admits he’s planning to go on the record for a future article as well.
Schultz reacts in anger, and Tyler is suspicious that he may have been complicit in what Theranos is doing.
The former Theranos intern tells Schultz that the only way to repair their relationship is if he steps forward as the first board member to rebuke the company. Schultz tells him to get out.
Does Erika Cheung publicly come out against Theranos?
While Erika Cheung formerly left her name off the email she and Tyler composed in episode 6, she’s no longer content to remain anonymous.
Erika reports Theranos to CMS, a regulatory agency that has the power to shut down the Theranos labs.
Does Theranos get shut down?
When the CMS inspector arrives to check out the labs, Sunny tries but fails to put him off. CMS writes a report in February 2016, which requires all Theranos lab operations to cease for two years. Carreyrou reads the report and gets to writing another article.
Carreyrou calls Erika later to tell her the news. He says it’s happening because of her. “You saved people’s lives.”
Do Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani turn against each other?
Scared to face losing everything, Elizabeth and Sunny start thinking about pinning the company’s failures on each other. Each veil threats under claims of love and romance.
When Elizabeth finds out for sure that Sunny has been speaking to a lawyer, she puts on a persona of innocence. She asks him if he did illegal things that she didn’t know about.
He knows she’s implying that she’ll pretend ignorance of Theranos’ crimes and blame him for them. So he blows up at her, claiming six years of hard work to help her realize her dream.
She puts on a sickly sweet voice to say she’s so “grateful.” She mentions how young she was when she met him, how he taught her everything she knows.
Understanding the veiled threat, Sunny claims he’ll be by her side until the end. However, after a long pause, he questions, “But where will you live?” Their house is under his name.
Does Sunny Balwani leave Theranos?
The next morning, Sunny wakes up to discover that Elizabeth went to an early morning board meeting without telling him. She told the board of Sunny’s decision to step down from the company.
He yells at Elizabeth for not letting him leave on his own terms. She ignores him, packing up to move from his house. Her coldness makes him realize there’s nothing to her love for him and to their relationship.
“You’re not real. You don’t have feelings,” he calls after her as she leaves. He warns her of what’s coming. “Everyone will leave you.”
Does Elizabeth Holmes accept any blame for Theranos’ fraud?
Elizabeth’s parents and lawyers talk to Elizabeth before she goes on live TV for an interview. Her lawyers tell her to apologize for Sunny’s mistakes and talk about how she’s going to move forward. Linda Tanner, the legal advisor at Theranos, says people want to know that Elizabeth is truly sorry and ashamed.
Elizabeth does apologize, but the interviewer is hard on her and she stumbles. She keeps repeating that the events have been “devastating,” but states she doesn’t believe they put anyone’s health in danger.
While he watches at home, George Schultz’s face falls, as he realizes what he’s done by supporting this woman.
After the interview, Elizabeth’s mom says she is angry with her daughter. Elizabeth brings up that–after she was raped in college–her mother told her to put the incident away and forget it. “If you choose to forget certain things, do you think that’s lying?” she asks her.
Does George Schultz accept any responsibility?
Schultz talks to Carreyrou to says he was in the wrong for slandering his own grandson. He doesn’t want to be one of his sources to speak out against Theranos. But he does give the reporter a statement that publicly recognizes Tyler’s integrity.
Schultz says he chose not to see the truth. “Isn’t it amazing how far decent people will go when they’re sure they’re right?”
Who is Billy Evans to Elizabeth?
One scene displaces us from the fraught scandal. It shows Elizabeth happy and in bed with a young man. He calls her “Lizzy.”
Back in an empty Theranos office, Linda Tanner speaks to Elizabeth about how she’ll need a bankruptcy plan. Linda is angry–that she and Sunny lied to her and she didn’t know it.
But Elizabeth is happy. She tells Linda she has a boyfriend now, a younger man named Billy. She tries to defend herself against Linda, claiming she failed, but holding that such isn’t a crime.
Linda tries to tell her she hurt people. She says people have likely hurt Elizabeth too, but that doesn’t change the fact that she hurt people. “You hurt people!” she yells after Elizabeth, but the failed entrepreneur just walks away.
How does The Dropout end?
The Dropout season finale ends with Elizabeth Holmes standing outside alone after her encounter with Linda Tanner. She screams into the air.
A car comes to pick Elizabeth up, and she stops suddenly. “Are you Lizzy?” the driver asks. In a high-pitched voice, she answers with a smile, “Hi, yeah, I’m Lizzy. Hello.”
Some could interpret this scenario as Elizabeth–Lizzy–trying to finally find herself after being caught up in a corrupt system for so long. But the ease with which she puts on a smile and pleasant voice after screaming into the void just goes to show that The Dropout’s writers aren’t so willing to forgive the protagonist.
At the end of the series, Elizabeth Holmes still isn’t able to quit faking and manipulating others… and herself.
The Episode Review
“Hurt people hurt people.” Hulu’s The Dropout channels this simple phrase with regard to Elizabeth Holmes’ character, motivations, and ultimate denial of wrongdoing in the limited series’ finale.
After a few trips and stumbles throughout the show, the docudrama masterfully pulls everything together for the last episode. The writing shines brighter in this episode than in any preceding one. The dialogue in nearly every interaction (between Elizabeth and Sunny, Elizabeth and her mother, Tyler and his grandfather) is brimming with emotion and packed tight with underlying meaning.
The instalment largely focuses on the relationships that crumble as a result of the company’s exposed fraud. Volatile sparks fly between Amanda Seyfried and Naveen Andrews as Sunny and Elizabeth battle for higher ground. An entire history of a loving relationship deflates right in front of our eyes in a single interaction between Tyler and George Schultz.
But what’s so fascinating about this finale–what The Dropout achieves that many other scammer shows don’t–is how it compels viewers to gleefully watch the scammers’ downfall.
Elizabeth’s and Sunny’s struggle to put Theranos on people’s radar fascinates us. As do their personal characters and their relationship. Yet, this fascination doesn’t–it can’t–interfere with the righteous indignation we feel on the part of others who find out about the couple’s lies and fraud.
While it was a tedious process to explore the plethora of important characters involved in the Theranos scandal, the show comes together in the end to provide a well-rounded conclusion to the drama and an enthralling character study.