The penultimate episode of Hulu’s The Dropout is in the books, and the wheels have almost come off entirely. This series has always radiated an unhinged energy, and this episode is no exception. The ending of this story (for now) is approaching, and it doesn’t get any easier to watch go completely off the rails.
This episode was one of the most dense yet in the series. Amanda Seyfried may still be leading this cast, even as the focus continues be on those around her version of disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. This pull-back in focus is still incredibly effective. In this episode in particular, the journalism that shed light on the truth is center stage.
Sunny’s (Naveen Andrews) abusiveness is incredibly triggering to watch, even as it’s an authentic portrayal by many accounts. Even an innocuous game of hide and seek becomes so clearly unhinged so fast. Sunny even leaves the bounds of Theranos and begin harassing doctors in other states when they try to point out the fact that Theranos tests are essentially non-functional. It’s a sobering reminder abusers know no boundaries, even in a “professional” context.
One of the most striking moments from this episode was the seemless transition between Elizabeth giving an interview about nothing (until it isn’t), and former employees being stalked and intimidated. It was yet another example this series has given us about what the culture of this company was, and the toxicity that was obvious from the beginning. This was another opportunity for The Dropout to shed light on the tangible impact this entire fiasco had on very real people. The entire tone is so unsettling, you’d be forgiven for looking over your own shoulder after watching.
This episode really could have been a deep meditation on media, journalism, and ethics. This was introduced when Holmes attempted to use her connection with media tycoon Rupert Murdoch to kill the Wall Street Journal story that spelled the beginning of the end of the Theranos debacle. She even implores, “I don’t understand why he can’t just make a call”. While this episode certainly didn’t go all the way, these were heavy questions to pose, and ones we’d all do well to consider.
The confrontation between the journalists at the Wall Street Journal and lawyers from Theranos is absolutely infuriating. That being said, it was ultimately instructive in how obfuscation can be used to avoid answering even the most basic questions to uncover the truth. There was no better illustration of the sheer frustration journalists face when trying to uncover the truth than John Carreyrou’s (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) visceral reactions to being blocked at every turn when trying to get an honest answer from Theranos’ lawyers.
One thing this episode didn’t have nearly enough of was Erika (Camryn Mi-Young Kim) and Tyler (Dylan Minnette). They were the stars of Episode 6, and have arguably have been among the most compelling characters of the series so far. The moments they were on screen this episode were both heart-touching and filled with anxiety. Their bond is so sweet. They were instrumental in bringing the truth about Theranos to light, and it’s too bad they weren’t given more screen-time.
Sam Waterston continued being Sam Waterston in his interpretation of George Schultz. He had his own heart-to-heart moment with Elizabeth this episode about the perils of poor decision making. A man who advised Presidents Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon should at the very least have a rudimentary idea of what bad decisions look like. Just when it looked like he was actually getting things and seeing the truth behind the lies, he immediately placed all of the blame on Sunny. Clearly, this was only part of the story.
The mic drop moment of the episode went to Dr. Phyllis Gardner (Laurie Metcalf). She so perfectly summarized the problem with Elizabeth Holmes white-womaning and girl-bossing far too close to the sun. Gardner told Elizabeth to her face that this continued charade was sure to damage generations of women trying to enter the STEM fields and make a real difference. Women know we can’t screw up. It was sobering to see a woman who defied all odds and actually put in the work say the quiet part out loud.
With one episode left, The Dropout continues to impress. With a talented cast telling a cautionary tale of hubris running wild, it’s a timely lesson in a world that prizes fame and fortune above all else. The wheels have almost completely come off at this point, and everything that viewers are about to see was always inevitable. Hopefully, The Dropout can finish strong as it chronicles the end of Theranos, and the ensuing fallout. If the series so far is any indication, The Dropout is more than up to the task.
-Vintage Joe Biden…what a throwback.
–William H. Macy screaming “The op-ed! The op-ed!” really captured the entire mood of this series.
-The shot of Elizabeth’s closet full of black outfits and jackets played like parody, and was somehow also one of the most unhinged moments in a series built on causing chaos.
What did you think of The Dropout 1×07, “Heroes”? Let us know in the comments below!
The Dropout airs Thursdays on Hulu.
Read All Of THE DROPOUT Reviews –
- ‘The Dropout’ 1×01 Review: “I’m in a Hurry”
- ‘The Dropout’ 1×02 Review: “Satori”
- ‘The Dropout’ 1×03 Review: “Green Juice”
- ‘The Dropout’ 1×04 Review: “Old White Men”
- ‘The Dropout’ 1×05 Review: “Flower of Life”
- ‘The Dropout’ 1×06 Review: “Iron Sisters”
- ‘The Dropout’ 1×07 Review: “Heroes”
- ‘The Dropout’ 1×08 Review: “Lizzy”