Painkiller Season 1 Episode 6 Recap and Ending Explained

By Marc Miller
Published: August 10, 2023 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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Painkiller Season 1 Episode 6 Recap and Ending Explained


“What’s In a Name?” closes out the Painkiller with an outstanding performance from Uzo Aduba.

This recap of the Netflix series Painkiller Season 1 Episode 6, “What’s In a Name,” contains spoilers, including an open discussion of the ending of Painkiller Season 1.

“What’s In a Name” opens with an adult couple reading a disclaimer about the series while holding a picture of their son, Riley. However, the father cannot finish the legal statement without his voice cracking and tears welling up. In this story, Riley died of a drug overdose at 28 years of age due to opioid addiction stemming from a back injury.

Painkiller Season 1 Episode 6 Recap

Why does Shannon turn over evidence to Edie?

Shannon confesses and provides evidence because she is remorseful and initially believed she was helping, not harming people. She acknowledges her distorted perspective on money. Shannon admits her weakness to Edie, who reminds her that she is not a psychiatrist. Subsequently, Shannon hands over a file containing emails, call notes, and everything from the beginning.

Shannon reveals that Britt guided her on what to say and how to say it. The practice of titrating up was aimed at increasing dosages to boost Purdue Pharma’s profits. Finally, she describes her meeting with Udell, where they discussed voicing concerns over the phone to avoid leaving a paper trail.

Why does Richard refuse to take any responsibility for the opioid crisis?

Richard knows that if Purdue Pharma settles, they must pay monetary damages for generations. While the Sackler family is concerned about their legacy, Richard focuses solely on winning and making money. This internal struggle has been present since the beginning of the series.

In his head, his Uncle tells him to think about the Sackler name. The other members of the Sackler family, his father, and his brothers, are only worried about their legacy because their names are in libraries, museums, schools, and other buildings. Richard doesn’t care about that because he’s playing to win and refuses to give an inch. The Sackler and Purdue names must survive.

Who does Richard hire to defend Purdue Pharma in court?

Mary Jo White (the former first female U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York), Howard Shapiro (the former general counsel for the FBI), and Rudolph William Louis Giuliani (yes, that Giuliani) were hired to defend Purdue Pharma. However, this didn’t deter Brownlee and Edie, who planned to prosecute Purdue Pharma executives for lying to Congress to the fullest extent.

But then a deal was struck with Brownlee. Purdue was charged with fraudulently misbranding OxyContin, and Udell, Friedman, and Godenheim each faced one misdemeanor misbranding. As described in Painkiller, Raymond and Mortimer contacted Giuliani, who reached out to Congress, The White House, the DOJ, and eventually Brownlee.

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This led to Purdue Pharma and the executives reaching a deal. Purdue’s lawyers framed it as a victory for patients, allowing physicians to provide care more effectively. Meanwhile, Brownlee claimed victory as Purdue agreed to market and promote its products honestly and ethically. Part of the deal involved sealing the files against Purdue.

How does Glen die in Painkiller?

Glen overdoses in a parking lot while picking up dinner for his family. He couldn’t sleep in his motel room the night before due to noise from the adjacent room. Knocking on their door, he finds three people passed out with a small pile of blue OxyContin tablets on the nightstand. The next morning, Glen arranges dinner with his wife, suggesting he didn’t take the drugs.

Despite undergoing rehab, therapy, and taking methadone, Glen relapses and starts snorting crushed-up opioids off his nightstand. The scene is a quick montage of Glen’s struggles since the series began, and it ends with Lily having dinner with their daughter while Tyler rides his bike alone.

The entire scene raises questions about whether Glen ever achieved sobriety or if these were merely fever dreams he had while high.

Why does Edie make amends with her brother?

Edie makes up with her brother because, after reading his unopened letters from prison, she has the revelation that he is a victim and nowhere near the villains of Purdue Pharma. She only read those letters because the executives played the game so well, and she was upset.

Edie finishes her story with the new prosecutors and catches them up on what she knows. They thank her for her time and information. Edie boards the plane and stops at her brother’s home, where he is now thriving after living in prison.

Painkiller Season 1 Ending Explained

When did Purdue Pharma finally pay for their crimes?

In 2019, the OxyContin kings filed for bankruptcy due to multistate lawsuits. As part of a proposed settlement, the Sackler family had to pay over four billion dollars and give up control of Purdue Pharma. Richard tells his Uncle (in his head) it will cost them nothing, which they can pay off over a decade and from interest returns. Part of the deal is that they were given immunity.

In a bloody scene, his Uncle Arthur begins to beat him and punch his face repeatedly for sullying the Sackler name. While this happens, intertitles are placed between punches, going over the Sackler family’s destruction. They conclude:

  • There have been three hundred thousand deaths from OxyContin overdoses.
  • Every day, forty people die of an opioid prescription overdose. As of 2023, Purdue Pharma’s bankruptcy is still pending.
  • The Sackler family is worth eleven billion dollars.
  • No member of the Sackler family has been criminally charged with the opioid epidemic or any individual OxyContin deaths.

What did you think of Painkiller Season 1 Episode 6? Do you have any thoughts on the ending of Painkiller Season 1? Comment below.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

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