In “The Dropout,” Episode 7, the struggle for Theranos is to save its respect and fight against a tide that is all set to blow it away. That tide was brought in by John Carreyrou. He was contacted by Richard Fuisz, and slowly, his investigation gathered momentum. Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung were almost on the verge of joining the resistance. All John needed was somebody with first-hand knowledge. He couldn’t publish an article in the Wall Street Journal based on some hearsay evidence.
Elizabeth Holmes was running most of her tests on the Siemens machine, but she was telling the public that it was her invention, the Edison machine, that was running all the tests. Richard Fuisz caught hold of Mark Roessler, who promised to provide him with some evidence, as he was the lab director at Theranos. Tyler did end up calling John Carreyrou, but was unable to tell him anything. He remembered that his grandfather, George Shultz, was one of the board of directors, and Tyler’s testimony would have serious implications on him.
So let’s analyze “The Dropout,” Episode 7, and how slowly Theranos was going into a swamp, from where it was impossible to come out.
‘The Dropout’ Episode 7: Recap
Elizabeth Holmes was riding high on her success. She had become the talk of not only the town, but the whole world. From Bill Clinton to Joe Biden, she was seen with eminent personalities on every public platform. Every talk show wanted to have an interview with her. After all, she was the youngest female self-made billionaire. But little did people know that the words spoken and the promises made by this apparently genius scientist, who had several patents under her name, were hollow from the inside. She was playing a big bluff, and people believed that the future of healthcare was in good hands. And why wouldn’t they? I mean, here was a woman who, when she was 19 years old, told her professors at Stanford that she had an idea that will bring about a revolution. They believed in her, and eventually, the world did too.
John Carreyrou went to Arizona and found some local doctors who were ready to testify against Elizabeth Holmes. Now John had multiple sources who were willing to testify. From the emails he was going to get from Richard Fuisz to the testimonies of patients and doctors, he thought he had a legit story. And of course, Tyler Shultz was his wildcard, as he was the grandson of George Shultz. Judith, who was John’s boss, tells him to send a questionnaire to Theranos, so that when the time comes, they can say that they did give an equal opportunity to the company to make its point.
Mark Roessler, the lab director at Theranos, was supposed to send the emails that were exchanged between him and the management. Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth Holmes come to know of it, and they warn Mark to not go ahead with it.
Theranos was the next big thing in the States. Everybody wanted to be a part of it. Theranos was approved by the FDA for doing Herpes tests, and Elizabeth got the news printed in the Wall Street Journal.
Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon, who in a way owed the Wall Street Journal, had invested 125 million dollars in Theranos. Richard Fuisz thought that it was the end of the game for him and everybody who opposed Theranos. The story was going to be buried as Elizabeth Holmes was going to buy out the only resistance present.
John Carreyrou is of the opinion that they should run the story right away, even if it is seemingly half-cooked. His boss, Judith, tells him a story about Sicilian fishermen. She tells him that there is a practice called “La Mattanza” in Sicily. In that practice, the fishermen go inside the Mediterranean Sea. They stand still inside the sea for hours. The fish start to gather around as they don’t realize that those men are standing there. At the opportune moment, when there are enough fish gathered, the men pierce their spears inside the fish, taking them out easily. Judith wanted John to act like those fishermen; she wanted him to gather evidence and hit Theranos when they least expected it.
Did The Wall Street Journal Publish A Story Against Theranos?
Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth realize that John Carreyrou has been contacting a lot of people to testify against them. They start threatening each and every person so that they abstain from testifying.
Elizabeth had put Tyler Shultz in a precarious situation. He had to sign a new non-disclosure agreement. If he didn’t do so, Theranos was ready to file multiple cases against him. Elizabeth sends her assistant Linda to do the needful, but somehow Tyler escapes from signing the document.
David Boies, who is the lawyer for Theranos, asks Elizabeth to tell him everything that she had been hiding until then. The lawyer, with his whole team, reaches the office of the Wall Street Journal. Judith tells John that he should be ready to let go of the story, as she knew that David Boies was a powerful man and an eminent advocate. If he had come to their office, then it meant that he wouldn’t go without making sure that their story was enshrouded forever.
But then the unexpected happens. They were able to get the better of David Boies for the simple reason that they were right, and all the facts pointed in their favor. David Boies leaves the scene and tells Elizabeth that the Wall Street Journal is going to run the story.
The media acted as a barrier and put a break on the activities of Theranos. One journalist took it upon his integrity and was not ready to compromise with the truth. His conscience was not for sale, and he made sure that everybody knew what Theranos was up to.
From the point of time when we all rooted for an ambitious young female entrepreneur, we had come to a position where we couldn’t help but despise Elizabeth Holmes. She was selfish, and healthcare was the least of her concerns. She was using her power and money to risk the lives of innocent people who trusted her brand. It was a betrayal of the highest order. With their downfall inevitable, episode 8 will focus on how a drowning Elizabeth Holmes tries to clutch at a straw, before her ship submerges completely into the water.