Most of the first six episodes of Hulu’s The Dropout have shown how easily Elizabeth Holmes and her cohorts at Theranos were able to deceive the entire world, but things are really starting to unravel in the penultimate episode of the series.
Episode 7: Heroes
Our story begins as John Carreyrou (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, continues to work on his story aimed at revealing all of Theranos’ wrong-doings. He interviews a doctor willing to go on the record, but still needs more concrete sources before he can publish the article. Meanwhile, the big-wigs at Theranos discover that the article is in the works and begin pulling out all the stops to kill it.
Mark Roessler (Kevin Sussman), a lab director at Theranos, became an informant for Carreyrou and proceeds to download some emails onto a USB drive. In a tense scene, Elizabeth and Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews) discover what Roessler is doing as he’s getting ready to leave the building, and Sunny promptly and angrily chases after him. Roessler gets increasingly intimidated by threatening lawsuits and being followed, so instead of handing over the emails, he deletes them.
Meanwhile, Tyler Shultz (Dylan Minnette), the grandson of key Theranos board member, George Shultz (Sam Waterston) is invited over to his grandfather’s house. Turns out so was a Theranos lawyer, Linda Tanner (Michaela Watkins). The goal is to get Tyler to sign a new non-disclosure agreement, something he does not want to do, as he had spoken with Carreyrou. Tyler also doesn’t want to tell his grandfather that he did, but his grandmother knows better. She gets him in touch with their lawyer and George begins to somewhat come around to Tyler’s viewpoint.
Things get more complicated as Elizabeth writes an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, where the potentially scathing article is being written. Adding more complication is when famed investor Rupert Murdouch invests the most he has ever invested into a tech company into Theranos. Carreyou begins to be increasingly stressed by the challenges thrown his way, and wants the article published, but he still must be patient.
Now we have a lawyer showdown, as Theranos’ lawyers Linda Tanner and David Boies (Kurtwood Smith) come for a little chat with Carreyou and his boss. It’s a long affair, with lots of arguing and points made, but in the end Boies admits to using third party analyzers, which gives Carreyou’s boss enough to give the go-ahead for the article.
In preparation for the devastation that is about to befall Theranos, Elizabeth speaks with George Shultz to see if she still has his support. It appears Shultz is starting to have some second thoughts, as he talks about Presidents Nixon and Reagen listening to some of the wrong advisors and getting things wrong, likening that to the current situation at Theranos and the influence of Sunny Balwani.
Following an awkward interaction with Phyllis Gardner (Laurie Metcalf), Elizabeth talks to the staff at Theranos about the article, calling John Carreyou “a spiteful, sad man” which causes the staff to start chanting a profanity-filled verse, ending the episode.
The first seven episodes of The Dropout are now available to stream on Hulu, with the final episode releasing next Thursday, April 7th. Be sure to stay tuned to Laughing Place for our recap of the final episode.