Thursday, March 3, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Dropout' - Elizabeth Decides to Lie About the Reliability of Her Device to Lure in More Investors in 'Satori'

Hulu's The Dropout - Episode 1.02 "Satori"

In need of money, Elizabeth brings her fledgling technology to the venture capitalists of Silicon Valley. In Switzerland, she is forced to make a difficult decision.

"Satori" was written by Matt Lutsky and directed by Michael Showalter

Elizabeth Holmes lives in such absolutes. She believes she is going to change the world. That provides her life with meaning and purpose. She believes in it so fiercely that she is willing to do anything to make it a reality as soon as possible. In that context, she knows she doesn't feel things the same way others do. She doesn't understand the impulse to have time with family. She can't comprehend anything that would distract her from her mission. That's not the way she's wired. It's apparent to those around her long before she makes the declaration. It's an insightful observation. It's what her employees must handle in order to work for her. It can make it fairly arbitrary when she doesn't like something. She is hard to please. And yet, she parties hard in success. That's what this is all about. She embraces the idea of faking it until she makes it. It's not some novel idea on her part either. It's the advice she's told. She is aware of the catch-22 that prevents her from having the resources to develop the prototype. She needs money to go through the trial and error. She can only get money if investors can see a functioning device. It makes it so people are investing in her instead of the product. She is the one tasked with selling it. She isn't comfortable until she is in the lab talking with a potential investor. Even then, it's not working. However, she knows this industry is run by two outdated companies. The health care industry needs this investment. She has a noble goal. She sees something missing in the marketplace. She wants to deliver that to the masses. She doesn't quite have a plan for how to scale it up efficiently. She knows her team is going to make it work eventually. That's the only option. She dropped out of college to start this company. She is inspirational for other women. She is told to be at work instead of being with her father in the hospital. This is all she has. Even her romance with Sunny is completely dependent on her company. That's the space they can operate within. It's a bubble that has consumed her life. It makes it phenomenal when things go well. That also creates a searing depression when the fall inevitably comes. The prototype isn't reliable especially when it's taken outside of the country. Elizabeth needs this meeting to work. And so, she lies to create the illusion of greatness. It's the strategy she must embrace to continue her upward trajectory. She must do so at all costs.

Instead of graduating from college, Elizabeth Holmes is now a millionaire. That's a huge accomplishment. It keeps her on track for accomplishing her ultimate goal. She hasn't reached that yet. She requires so much of her team. Even when they're celebrating, their focus is completely on her. Part of that is the recklessness that comes from her age. However, she and Rakesh are in the room when the decision is made to lie to the investors. They call in support back at the office. Edmond is horrified to learn what they did to receive the millions. He's working on a tainted project. Everything is run with the assumption it will all come together. As such, this uncertain time will be nothing more than a fun story the engineers can remember years from now. Edmond can't operate with that certainty though. He has a family he must support. Instead, he is constantly pulled away from them. He is devoted to the project. He helps make it a reality according to Elizabeth's designs. She has the imagination for this project. She is learning about the chemistry that can make it a reality. It's annoying when she submits her own name on the patent as one of the inventors. Again, it's all about personal ownership. She is possessive over this entire company. Nothing about it can ultimately be attributed to anyone on the team. It's all about her. She embodies that selfishness. It's masked fairly well. It plays out now as the truth only through the benefit of hindsight. People don't have that ability in the moment. That leaves Edmund scared. Everyone on the team joined the company for a reason. Ian was motivated from personal experience. He had cancer and was distraught over the amount of needles inserted into him. Even then, he still has lingering side effects from the chemotherapy. Modern medicine is a miracle. But the industry is fueled by the need to do even better. That has to be the goal at all times. Elizabeth has no experience working within it. She can still motivate people. She has the vision. She can lead people into believing this will all work out. It did once. That allowed the meeting to be scheduled. The millions are being spent on the development of a known product. It will make it to the market and change the world. That's what Elizabeth grasps onto. However, she is also drinking her feelings away. She feels the turmoil this lie has caused. That's apparent. Sunny tells her to share it with no one else. She doesn't own the lie though. She wasn't the only participant. So that sets the stage for the company's inevitable downfall and her personal responsibility for it.