Thursday, April 7, 2022

REVIEW: 'The Dropout' - Elizabeth and Sunny Hope to Deflect From Any Serious Consequences for Their Actions in 'Lizzy'

Hulu's The Dropout - Episode 1.08 "Lizzy"

In the wake of the Wall Street Journal article, Elizabeth and Sunny face a reckoning.

"Lizzy" was written by Elizabeth Meriwether & Sofya Levitsky-Weitz and directed by Erica Watson

Elizabeth Holmes has to know she hurt people, right? That's the question Linda yells out as the two of them leave the abandoned Theranos offices for the last time. It's a visceral conclusion for the series. It's all built around the deception that transformed Elizabeth in her very essence. She was always determined to change the world. Her failure to do so isn't an indictment of her. Instead, the blame can casually be shifted onto an industry that refused to let her succeed. And yet, she had so many opportunities. So many people took her seriously. They believed in her. She took advantage of them knowing her product couldn't possibly deliver on all the promises she made. She believed she could fake it until she made it. She and Sunny would always be scheming to keep any potential problem at bay for as long as they could. They were actively being deceitful. That's the lesson Elizabeth took from her mother in the aftermath of her sexual assault in college. She was given the freedom to bury it deep within her no matter what the consequences would be for refusing to process that trauma. Instead, it was easier for her to inflict it onto others. That's how she chose to deflect from it all. She saw it as the reason to be as vicious and brutal as she could possibly be. She embodies that until she is forced out as the fraud she is. She believes Sunny can be blamed for the deceit that radiated from every aspect of Theranos. He was brought in to offer stability and guidance. Elizabeth didn't know how to run a multi-million dollar company that was destined to achieve a billion dollar evaluation. Her age was used as a way for others to casually believe she lacked the experience to know better. That clashed with how determined she always was. She had a goal and she was going to achieve it no matter what. Others certainly groomed her along the way. They took advantage of her because they saw opportunities themselves. However, she inflicted the most pain because she embodied the voice of women as CEOs. That destruction lingers far more broadly than she ever could have imagined. All she can say is that she's devastated. In that moment, the truth is revealed. She breaks because she can't endure it any longer. She still has the privilege to escape any true consequences. Responsible journalists and whistleblowers are trying to maintain a sense of right and wrong in this atmosphere. Elizabeth embraces the toxicity of Silicon Valley and the attitude of what needs to be done to get ahead. People question her capacity to feel empathy. They want her to be more than she actually is. So many got lost in that fantasy. The consequences are widespread.

It's miraculous Theranos was brought down as succinctly as it was. All it took was Erika being brave. She had the courage to file a complaint with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That only guaranteed a two-year shutdown of the lab. Elizabeth and Sunny still had the audacity and arrogance to believe the company could still prosper. They were doomed by more stories coming out. It was truly vicious. Tyler lost his connection with his grandfather. Even in death, George could never admit that he was wrong. He could only acknowledge that Tyler did the right thing. It was too late to see the truth. It was easier to paint Tyler as the liar. He was willing to admit that he was less than forthcoming. With Elizabeth, the deception need to be exposed in broad daylight. Only then could the investors see her true character. Again, that doesn't stop her from success. Others deal with the most prominent consequences. Linda believes she will never work again. It's all a result of her friendship with Elizabeth. That's how Elizabeth wanted to perceive their dynamic. Linda was nurturing and protective in a way. Elizabeth could transfer those emotions into meaning something much deeper. That's what makes it searing when Linda is the one voicing the final outrage to Elizabeth's behavior. Elizabeth and Sunny no longer speak. His exit from the company wasn't mutual. The end of their relationship wasn't easy. It was all a tactic for Elizabeth to protect herself. After years of putting on this persona, she embraced it fiercely. And then, she conveniently chooses to forget when it comes to testifying in a deposition. Those sequences have been seen throughout the season. She thanks the lawyers for asking their questions. It's part of her learned behavior. She tries her best to appease those around her in order to get exactly what she wants. She can't charm her way out of this situation. She can't run away and scream. She can't fall into the comforts of a new relationship. Her bond with Billy isn't any more real than what she had with Sunny. It's simply a new escape. She is convicted of several crimes. She faces up to 20 years in prison. That fate still looms on the horizon. Meanwhile, millions of tests were delivered that provided incorrect results. Treatment of people's healthcare was informed by that information. Elizabeth's vision was so destructive. Even in trying for reinvention, she can't process that. That's the most devastating piece of this whole story. It's a tale of people being unable to see another human being and relate to their existence. It's a culture of buzzwords that inform personality instead of offering true transformation for society. The consequences are profound with the lessons only barely being understood at this point. The story continues. The series concludes by pondering all these different facets of what life was like for all the people along the way.