The Dropout is now in the books, with the airing of 1×08 “Lizzy”. This series has truly been a wild ride. It has so often succeeded in capturing the bizarre yet true story of a woman who girl-bossed far too close to the sun and left nothing but destruction in her wake. Although the series has been pulling back from focusing on Elizabeth Holmes and her perspective, the finale brought her straight back into the spotlight. Amanda Seyfried gave it her all right until the end.
The Dropout has always had a frantic, chaotic energy about it, and the finale was no exception. The damage control that had to be done internally when the truth came out about Theranos was both anxiety-producing to watch, and sweet satisfaction at the same time. Holmes dutifully did her part by pulling out sexism right away, claiming she was being targeted by virtue of being a woman in tech. The complete lack of self-awareness has been shown all through this series. There was no redemption to be had here.
The plot was completely lost when even the unhinged lawyer Linda (Michaela Watkins) acknowledged the complete anarchy that was left in Theranos’ wake. Elizabeth even stopped paying the most loyal employee, who used her unhinged energy to both rally the troops and get in everyone’s faces. You know it’s over when even your most fanatical supporter starts giving you a major side-eye. Watkins gave one of the most compelling performances in a series full to the brim with this deranged energy.
“Lizzie” also featured a tribute to government bureaucracy and how effective it can be. Although the reporting of John Carreyrou (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) certainly played an integral role in bringing Theranos down, it was the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) that drove the final nail into the company’s coffin. It was so beyond gratifying to see Sunny (Naveen Andrews) and Elizabeth fail spectacularly at charming the CMS representative with dazzling presentations and stratospheric promises.
Seriously, there’s crawling into bed after an exhausting day, and then there was that. After a series featuring many successful attempts at getting the rich and powerful to fall for every lie these two told, it was comforting to see a humble government bureaucrat be immune to the supposed charms and do some good in the process. As much as can be said about how ineffective government systems can be and how many people they leave behind when they work, they work. This was a comforting, utopian vision of a government agency actually protecting people from harm.
In a series that detailed the tumultuous relationship between Elizabeth and Sunny, everything also came to a head in the finale. The Dropout was able to balance the nuances of this undeniably hectic and damaging relationship so well. Multiple things can be true. Sunny’s abusiveness has always been portrayed throughout the series and was definitely evident in the finale. However, it’s also true that these were both deeply messed up people who never stopped trying to manipulate not only everyone around them but each other. Clearly, the toxicity was off the charts.
Right to the end, The Dropout managed to maintain its focus on the very real people who were harmed by the fallout of Theranos. In addition to the employees who lost their jobs, the show took time to mention in the end credits that in Silicon Valley, the damage remains complete. Women are now constantly compared to Holmes and are taken even less seriously than we always have been in a male-dominated field. Even though the series has talked about the patients that were harmed in this entire saga, it was no less jarring to see a fraction of an itemized list. A false indication of a miscarriage, an incorrect diagnosis of a cancer recurrence, and a false HIV positive. Alarming, to say the least.
In a year that’s been characterized by dramatizing scam artists, The Dropout was a standout. Although not perfect, it managed to mostly strike a balance between characterizing Elizabeth Holmes and making a point to shine a spotlight on a snapshot of the people she harmed. The show never attempted to justify any of Elizabeth’s or Sunny’s actions. Instead, it showed a sequence of events that would almost defy belief if they hadn’t been well-documented by top-notch journalism.
The Dropout was ultimately a chance for us all to reflect on how a conventionally attractive white woman can fail up, and the carnage this can cause. We forget this lesson at our peril.
- Would have preferred to see a lot more of Tyler and Erika. They remained among the most underrated characters in this series.
- I don’t think I would have listed the millions of dollars lost by super-wealthy investors as among even the Top 10 problems that Theranos caused.
- I have to go back to the lingering impact this whole saga has had on women entrepreneurs because…I’m all for destroying capitalism, but seriously? Being told to die your hair blonde?? Seriously??
The Dropout is now available to stream on Hulu.
What did you think of The Dropout 1×08, “Lizzy”? Let us know in the comments below!
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”