Dopesick episode 8 recap – the finale/ending explained

By Daniel Hart
Published: November 17, 2021 (Last updated: November 10, 2023)
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Hulu series Dopesick episode 8 - The People vs Purdue Pharma - the finale ending explained


This has been a daunting but brilliant series, and the finale manages to give a shimmer of hope with a resounding message for resilience.

This recap of Hulu series Dopesick episode 8, “The People vs Purdue Pharma,” — the finale/ending explained — does not contain spoilers.

Read the review of the miniseries.

Dopesick episode 8 recap – the finale and ending explained

Dopesick episode 8 opens in 2019; there’s a protest against the Sackler family — they are shaming them for the number of people they have killed. It’s mixed with real-life footage.

In 2002, Samuel has been clean from OxyContin for a while now, but he fears going off the medicine in case he relapses. He will not get a medical license without going off the medication, so he needs to think about what he wants to do next. While picking up medicine, he finds an ex-patient of his, Elizabeth. He catches up with her at a diner. He tells her about the medication he’s on and that he hasn’t relapsed in a year. Samuel offers to personally drive her to the doctor for the medicine and pay for her therapy. He delivered this girl to the world, and he wants to help her.

At work, Billy is invited for a meeting with his manager and other colleagues. They are concerned that training tapes have gone missing from the office, and they suspect him. Billy’s employment contract is terminated, but they tell him to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the offer of $75,000. They insist that Billy sign it despite his hesitancy, and they tell him signing it will stop any litigation against him for stealing the tapes. Billy is escorted out of the building in front of all his colleagues. Amber has to pretend she didn’t care about him in front of her manager, but she cries to herself privately. She knows their relationship is over — she loves the money too much.

Rick and Randy keep fighting the indictment, proving that Purdue Pharma lied to congress. They are offered a settlement of $10 million, but they raise how this issue is worth over a billion. The meeting ends abruptly.

Samuel visits the parents of Betsy; the mother does not want to talk. Samuel apologizes to the father for what happened, but the father tells him to go on and live his life, as nothing will change. The scene then flits to Samuel continuing to help Elizabeth, but he’s also assisting another ex-patient. He’s dedicating his life to helping people. The emptiness in the scene between Samuel and Betsy’s father was daunting. It was grim, depressing, and presented the horrific reality of losing a child to a preventable epidemic.

Rick and Randy finally learn about Billy and meet him. Billy tells them he didn’t sign an NDA, and he’s willing to testify. However, he claims he doesn’t have any of the training tapes. He’s scared and states if he did have the videos, they were destroyed a long time ago. His pregnant wife Caitlin comes out of her bedroom and tells them if they want to question him further, they’ll need a lawyer. We learn that Billy and his wife are at law school doing consumer protection.

Purdue Pharma lawyers meet the community that is signing a petition against them. Diane tells them her story about her daughter Betsy and how OxyContin destroyed their family. The community demand that they reformulate their drug. The lawyers put it down to drug diversion and state that they cannot reformulate it. They offer them a donation to help the community. The doctor of the community is tempted to take the money as it will help treatment. One member of the community believes they are being manipulated and are taken advantage of. And she’s right — the pigs will always try and pay you off for their own good.

Billy eventually finds his soul and secretly sends the Purdue Pharma training tapes to Rick and Randy anonymously. The tapes prove that the company lied as part of the sales strategy. The charges against Purdue Pharma are building up. Richard Sackler learns of the case building against them — he’s told that Rick and Randy cannot be bought, and they want justice. It dawns on him that their case could lead to individual prosecution and prison time.

Rick and Randy learn that they can get to Purdue Pharma but not the Sackler family. They have managed to agree on a settlement of $600m. It’s a big win for Rick and Randy. Due to the deal, their boss is fired, along with other high senior figures. It comes at a cost. It’s had a ripple effect politically and personally. Richard Sackler decides to step down as president so he can “focus on his family.” He passed the poisoned chalice to Michael Friedman — this felt cowardly; he knew exactly what he was doing.

The Pharma representatives attend court and hear testimonies from family members who have lost loved ones due to OxyContin. There’s a lot of emotional, hard-hitting accounts. The families tell the judge to reject the $600 million plea deal and to get justice. The judge believes the plea deal must be accepted as he wants to follow the law.

In a sickly and evil moment, Richard Sackler sends out the message to tell doctors that this settlement was grossly unfair. He pushes the sales team again. Nursing homes are now targeted, and other districts. Meanwhile, Rick tells Randy he cannot keep tackling this.

The ending

As the finale ends, it does bring some light at the end of the tunnel. It offers hope that greedy and evil corporations can be taken down if we have will and patience.

Bridget meets Rick and Randy and thanks them for dealing the first blow — it’s a record of criminal activity that will help in future cases. They toast to fighting battles. Bridget knows that one day the Sackler family will go down, but Rick is skeptical.

But it turns out Bridget was right. In 2019, many institutions removed the Sackler name. The family is shamed away from their home city New York. We get real-life footage of the multiple class-action suits against them. They are labeled as an evil family. The Sackler family agree to forfeit ownership, hand over 33 million documents, and payout $4.5 billion in settlements, and in return, they cannot be sued. They used bankruptcy to shield the family.

The episode flits to Samuel, who helps run a Wellness Centre to help people with addiction.

This has been a daunting but brilliant series, and the finale manages to give a shimmer of hope with a resounding message for resilience.

What did you think of Hulu’s Dopesick episode 8 (finale) and the ending? Comment below.

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