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Painkiller — Season 1, Episode 2 Recap

Movies & TV

By Elliot W.

- Aug 22, 2023

In the captivating second episode of "Painkiller," we delve deeper into the controversial world of OxyContin, its marketing strategies, and its profound impact on lives.

See Also: Painkiller — Season 1, Episode 1 Recap

The episode kicks off with Edie briefing her legal team about Arthur Sackler's masterful marketing prowess. She alleges that Arthur once created an ad using fabricated endorsements from non-existent doctors to persuade real doctors into prescribing the drug.

Britt, one of the chief sales agents, is under Shannon's watchful eye, revealing the lengths they'd go to in convincing doctors to prescribe OxyContin. The allure and persuasion from salespersons like Britt and Shannon played a significant role in boosting prescriptions.

During an outing, Britt introduces Shannon to a rather inappropriate doctor. Quick to defuse his advances, Britt nudges the doctor to increase his prescriptions, implying Shannon will need to adapt to such encounters as they continue their rounds.

An intriguing flashback reveals Edie's investigation into a doctor suspected of medical insurance fraud. She discovers his excessive prescriptions of OxyContin and realizes his personal gain from such activities.

In the present, Edie recounts witnessing a desperate patient attempting to rob a pharmacy for OxyContin. Interestingly, she notes Purdue's unique marketing strategy of using a plush toy for promotion, subtly keeping it from regulatory scrutiny.

Britt sends Shannon solo to convince Dr. Fitzgibbons to prescribe OxyContin. At the clinic, Shannon encounters Jess, a young injured athlete. However, the doctor sternly opposes OxyContin, citing its addictive nature. Shannon challenges him with rehearsed lines, but he likens the drug to heroin, causing a heated debate. Britt later dismisses the confrontation, attributing it to the doctor's ego.

Glen, a tire shop owner, starts abusing his OxyContin prescription, worrying his family. Despite their concerns, his doctor merely amplifies his dose, adhering to the FDA's 12-hour dosage interval rule. Later, Glen is asked to testify about OxyContin's efficacy for promotional purposes.

That evening, a troubling scene unfolds as Tyler pilfers some of Glen's pills for recreational use among friends. Meanwhile, under Britt's tutelage, Shannon begins her independent mission, persuading doctors about OxyContin. Her first conquest is Dr. Cooper, but she attracts Edie's attention, leading to a tense encounter between the three.

Edie sheds light on the insidious rise of OxyContin, underlined by the dubious methods, including prescription coupons, amplifying the opioid crisis. In an emotional segment, Glen enthusiastically praises OxyContin in a testimonial. But the dark side emerges when Glen frantically searches for his missing pills, his addiction evident. Tyler, seeing Glen's distress, reveals he took the pills.

Edie fervently argues to her legal team about the inherent flaws of OxyContin. She alleges severe shortcomings in its trials, asserting its grave addiction potential was evident from early animal tests. Astonishingly, Edie suggests that the FDA's validation rested largely on Curtis Wright's recommendation for OxyContin.

Intriguing flashbacks highlight Curtis's reservations, discussing them with Richard Sackler. The Sackler brothers then strategize ways to gain OxyContin's approval, confronting Curtis with their pitch. While Curtis raises valid concerns, present-day Edie implies that Richard's desperation is clear, emphasizing the drug's overarching devastation on families.

Another evocative flashback depicts Edie visiting her imprisoned, drug-dealing younger brother, Shawn.

The episode's climax ensues in a diner, where Glen's deteriorating condition becomes evident. Oblivious to biting his own finger, Glen collapses, prompting Lily and Tyler to seek emergency assistance.

Only two episodes in, "Painkiller" is shaping up as an intense narrative. Richard's erratic behavior and seeming denial underscore the episode's theme. Glen's journey into addiction is heart-wrenching, while Tyler's perceptiveness shines through. Edie's relentless pursuit of the truth and her confrontations with Britt and Shannon are standout moments, foreshadowing the storm that's brewing.

Painkiller is now streaming on Netflix.