‘The Dropout’ Ending, Explained: What Happened To Theranos & Elizabeth Holmes?

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Previously, in “The Dropout,” we saw that John Carreyrou got the green signal from Judith to print the article in the Wall Street Journal after they had a meeting with David Boies, who was representing Elizabeth Holmes. Tyler Schultz was pestered by Linda Tanner, Elizabeth’s attorney, to sign an NDA, which abstained him from talking to John Carreyrou or leaking any information about Theranos. He was constantly being followed by men and was living in constant fear. He had stopped going out all together, and he realized that not even his grandfather, George Shultz, was ready to help him. But as soon as the article came out, all hell broke loose.

There was a rift created between Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth Holmes, and even Geroge Shultz, in a cryptic manner, advised Elizabeth to consider whether she had the right people around her. The article, though it didn’t cause much damage per se, was the first dent in a series of onslaughts that was about to follow.

The big question was how long Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth Holmes would be able to protect their Tinseltown. It was amusing to see that the couple were ready to go to any extent to save their world. The best part was that Elizabeth still thought that she was not doing anything wrong. She didn’t even flinch for a moment before sending false reports to the patients. She believed that it was all part of the game and that all they needed to do was work on their product and create a functional prototype as soon as possible. Sunny and Elizabeth had created a heap of lies that was about to be demolished by a handful of relentless people who didn’t want their conscience to be tainted with guilt.


See More: ‘The Dropout’ Episode 7: Recap & Ending – Did The Wall Street Journal Publish A Story Against Theranos?


What Did Elizabeth Do After John Carreyrou’s Article Was Published?

After the article written by John Carreyrou was published in the Wall Street Journal, Elizabeth had to make sure that the board of directors were on her side. Elizabeth had no option but to put it on John and make people question his credibility. She tells everybody how the Wall Street journalist cannot see a woman succeeding and has a prejudice not only against her but women in general. She portrayed John as a sexist, and to her relief, the board of directors bought what she said and didn’t leave Theranos.

John is appalled by her behavior. She had called him a misogynist and was now threatening to file a defamation suit. He knew that Elizabeth was thinking very strategically here. She wanted to stall everybody till the story was forgotten. She had no other option. She knew that if anybody came to her lab, then her fraud would come out in public. Judith tells John that instead of cribbing, if he tried to get Tyler Shultz on board, then the problem would be solved. Getting Tyler Shultz on record meant that Geroge Shultz would also be involved, and that had the potential to stir the whole nation. 

The article that he had written was to be corroborated with more evidence and testimonies now. The problem was that they were not getting a breakthrough. Elizabeth Holmes heard Sunny Balwani talking to a lawyer. She knew that Sunny was finding a way to escape the onus. At that moment, when she saw Sunny making such an unlikely move, she knew that this time it wouldn’t be so easy to get things straight.


Did CMS Take Action Against Theranos? Why Did Erika Cheung Want To Complain To CMS? 

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was a federal regulatory agency. Erika Cheung decided that she was going to send a formal complaint to CMS as she knew that if there was anybody who was going to stop Theranos, it would be a federal agency. It was not a believable notion, as Tyler rightly stated, that if the Wall Street Journal was unable to do anything, then how could an agency, about which nobody had heard, would be able to stop Elizabeth Holmes? But he was wrong. They were obliged to check the labs on a complaint, and they had to submit a detailed report post that. It sounded boring but in reality it had the power to stop Theranos. 

Tyler writes a letter to his grandfather. He went to George Schultz and read his letter. He told him that he had talked to John Carreyrou and also expressed his plans to go on the record soon. He tells him that he was depressed and had stopped meeting any of his friends as he was scared that the ones who were following him would hurt him. Tyler tells his grandfather that he expected him to speak against Theranos. But George Shultz is aghast at his grandson’s betrayal.

The CMS official reaches out to Theranos’ office and asks them to show the lab. In February 2016, the report came out, and to the delight of John Carreyrou and all the others who vehemently opposed Elizabeth and her means, Theranos was instructed to shut down one of its labs for 2 years. John Carreyrou is very certain that Elizabeth won’t be able to come out of this debacle.

Sunny Balwani and Elizabeth have now turned against each other, seeing their impregnable fortress slowly dissipating. Both of them started threatening each other. When together, they were infallible, but now they were at loggerheads. Elizabeth put all the blame on Sunny Balwani and told the board members that everything was his fault, and she was completely unaware of it. In his absence, she told the members that Sunny would be stepping down from his position as he too felt guilty for mismanaging the labs and putting the lives of people at stake. Sunny is stunned at this shrewd and cunning move by Elizabeth, but then he, too, was trying to escape the clutches of the law and was ready to throw Elizabeth under the bus.


‘The Dropout’ Ending Explained: What Happened To Elizabeth Holmes? 

Linda and David Boies were the last remaining soldiers in Elizabeth’s army. They had arranged for an interview where Elizabeth was to apologize for the acts of Sunny Balwani. She was advised to follow a narrative where she didn’t do any wrong and was unaware of the malpractices carried out in the lab under the supervision of Sunny Balwani. An interview that was meant to be her saving grace became the final nail in her coffin. She was zoned out and was mostly out of words in the whole interview. She was asked to be succinct, but instead, she was thrown off balance.

She comes back to the green room and looks at herself in the mirror. Who had she become? She couldn’t recognize herself. Who was this girl, wearing a turtleneck? Clearly, it was not that girl who had dropped out of Stanford to pursue her passion. Somewhere along the way, she lost herself.

In a symbolic move, she took out her turtleneck, which Sunny had told her to wear once, so that the people would take her seriously. She didn’t care about any perceptions now. She was free. She got a dog and came into a relationship with a younger guy named Billy Evans. She had closed her eyes so that the world couldn’t see her.

George Shultz met John Carreyrou and accepted that he had abandoned his own grandson. He gave a written statement to John and told him that he wanted to publicly recognize Tyler’s integrity that had been slandered by him only.

Elizabeth became this erratic person who was not living in reality. She liked being called Lizzy now, as her new boyfriend, Billy Evans, used to address her by that name. She cannot face the fact that she was responsible for the acts committed in Theranos, and there were dire consequences waiting to greet her. She makes herself believe that all of that never existed. She had dissociated herself from her own identity. She is no longer the youngest female billionaire and the CEO of Theranos. She was just Lizzy. We see Elizabeth breaking down on the road while she is waiting for her Uber to arrive. That scream was symbolic of her downfall. As soon as the cab arrives, almost instantly, Elizabeth transforms into Lizzy and runs away from her past that wouldn’t stop haunting her.

Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of three counts of fraud and one count of defrauding public investors. She awaits her sentence while residing with her husband, William “Billy” Evans, her son, and two dogs in California.


See More: ‘The Dropout’ Episode 1, 2, & 3: Recap And Ending: Was Elizabeth Holmes Wrong In Being Ambitious?


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Sushrut Gopesh
Sushrut Gopesh
I came to Mumbai to bring characters to life. I like to dwell in the cinematic world and ponder over philosophical thoughts. I believe in the kind of cinema that not necessarily makes you laugh or cry but moves something inside you.

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