The Dropout Episode 7 Recap

Episode seven, Heroes, takes the audience to 2015, where Elizabeth Holmes (Amanda Seyfried), Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews), and Theranos are seemingly on top of the world. Elizabeth is showered with praise by Time Magazine, Bill Clinton, and Joe Biden. However, hot on her trail is The Wall Street Journal writer John Carreyrou (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). With testimony from ex-employees like Erika Cheung (Camryn Mi-Young Kim) and Tyler Schultz (Dylan Minnette), the end of Theranos is nigh. Most importantly, John is about to get his hands on hundreds of internal emails, thanks to Theranos employee Mark Roessler (Kevin Sussman).

“We want to sue everyone,” Elizabeth says to part of her in-house legal team, Linda Tanner (Michaela Watkins). It’s the sort of response one would expect from a petulant teenager when things aren’t going her way. It’s not the response that should be coming from a supposed healthcare genius like Elizabeth. She’s not above throwing fits and hiring people to stalk and intimidate the whistleblowers. It works, too. Mark deletes the emails and doctors from the Arizona Walgreens trials are no longer talking. John’s heavily fortified and supported article is now reliant almost entirely on Tyler’s testimony.

Tyler’s grandfather, George Schultz (Sam Waterston), entraps Tyler and tries to get him to sign a new NDA for Theranos. Despite bullying from Theranos in-house legal counselor Linda and his grandfather, Tyler holds strong and refuses to sign. Linda leaves and vows to bury Tyler and his parents in legal fees and court cases.

In an almost funny moment (if people’s health wasn’t being affected by the wanton acts of Theranos), Elizabeth and Sunny agree they can’t just keep avoiding fires by starting other fires. There’s a root cause to what’s going on and they need to do something about it. They look at each other and Sunny asks, in a genuine, honest manner, “what is the root cause?” Of course, all that introspection is overshadowed when Elizabeth is called to the stage in the Theranos lobby to announce “We have herpes!” as “2 Legit 2 Quit” by MC Hammer plays.

John is determined to run his article, despite the fact that Rupert Murdoch, Post owner, is investing $125 million in Theranos. Elizabeth’s main lawyer, David Boies (Kurtwood Smith), arrives at The Wall Street Journal offices and tries to intimidate John into not running the story. David and his team of lawyers are claiming trade secrets, stating that Theranos is not required to answer any questions posed by The Wall Street Journal that would force them to expose how the Edison machines work. Theranos is likening admitting that they run blood tests on third-party machines instead of the Edison as a trade secret on par with the formula for Coke.

Elizabeth is floundering now. She’s made a call to Murdoch and asked him to cancel the story, but he says his hands are tied. Elizabeth is shocked that he can’t kill it, and this moment exposes why she sought out so many important people to join her board. She believed that if she had enough powerful individuals behind her, Theranos would be untouchable. It’s turning out that no one can shield her from all the people she’s wronged.

As the episode ends, John’s story is about to run, and it’s a make-or-break moment for Elizabeth and Theranos. On the one hand, she could own up to her mistakes and make The Wall Street Journal article a new beginning. Instead, Elizabeth twists the narrative into an “us against them” mentality for her Theranos employees. She says that society is always initially afraid of the work of geniuses, this time is no different. Geniuses are viewed as crazy until they change the world, so the Theranos team just has to work harder. It’s an incredibly manipulative attempt to change the narrative into a rallying cry.

The Dropout concludes next week with the finale on Hulu.

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