Elizabeth pitches to two major retailers in this smart and amusing fourth installment.
This recap of the Hulu series The Dropout season 1, episode 4 contains spoilers.
By 2010 Elizabeth Holmes had squandered all of Sunny Balwani’s 20 million dollar investment and the blood-testing device (now called The Edison) still wasn’t functioning correctly. To make matters worse, Elizabeth blindly moved ahead with her retail plans anyway, pitching to two large companies: Walgreens and Safeway. The fourth episode of the series, aptly titled “Old White Men”, revolves around these pitches and how Elizabeth pitted the two companies against each other.
The Dropout season 1, episode 4 recap
Fittingly, the episode introduces us to many older, white, and clearly wealthy businessmen. Firstly, Jay Rosan, played by Succession star Alan Ruck. He works for Walgreens and is smitten by Elizabeth’s first presentation. Thanks to this infatuation, heavyweights from the company join Jay at Elizabeth’s final pitch in Palo Alto. The gang gives off strong The Big Short vibes, as clueless businessmen exchange corporate banter in a witty fashion. Director Michael Showalter makes great use of their comedic, almost improvisational style, with multiple memorable scenes.
One of Jay’s colleagues, Kevin Hunter (Mad Men’s Rich Sommer) is tasked with inspecting the labs, but Elizabeth is suspiciously secretive of these rooms. Kevin spends the entire episode attempting to infiltrate the laboratory, in an effort to safeguard his own company. In the previous installment, Elizabeth had a complete mental breakdown, here she seems entirely lucid and calculated with her decisions. She tricks and manipulates Walgreens every step of the way, with her dastardly plot to gain their investment. It’s a clever if distancing move from Elizabeth, who seems adamant about achieving her goals at any cost.
The episode explores paranoia within the company, with a subplot involving our dear friend Ian Gibbons, head of chemistry. The scientist is concerned by the many changes to Theranos and goes to speak with Board member Channing Robertson. After their meeting, Elizabeth fires Ian in a gripping altercation. Any likeability Elizabeth once had is now entirely gone. Amanda Seyfried continues to kill it as the CEO, but any sympathy she earned is slowly waning from the audience.
Another solid entry from the series, this is a funnier episode, highlighting the weaknesses of the elite and how easily they can be manipulated. Holmes is devilishly cunning in her attempts to acquire both companies and plays them against one another. This is continually engrossing TV.
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