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Painkiller — Season 1, Episode 3 Recap

Movies & TV

By Felix Chen

- Aug 23, 2023

In the gripping Episode 3 of "Painkiller," Glen confronts the brutal reality of drug addiction, waking up in a hospital post a drug overdose. His medical team, sensing the potency of the drug, emphasizes the need for a detox. Lily says that Glen is merely following his prescription, and the viewers see Glen's contrary behavior. He has an excessive intake beyond Dr. Hartman's recommendations.

See Also: Painkiller — Season 1, Episode 2 Recap

The narrative intensifies as Edie reveals in her interview a clandestine strategy employed by the Sackler family to influence the FDA. She explains the MICE technique - Money, Ideology, Coercion, and Ego. According to Richard, focusing on these elements would ensure Curtis' approval of the drug. Purdue’s team, in pursuit of this objective, inundates Curtis with gifts and flattery, hoping to secure a U.S. patent.

Further exploring Purdue’s maneuvers, the episode sheds light on their strategic camaraderie with Curtis, which culminates in the drug's approval. This approval, though with warnings against overuse, is overshadowed by Curtis’ suspicious career switch. After the drug's endorsement, Curtis mysteriously transitions from FDA to Purdue.

The monumental approval prompts jubilations, with Richard hosting a lavish party. Soon, the drug, with Britt and others at the helm of its marketing, floods the market. The early days witness an overwhelming demand, transforming Richard into a revered figure in medicine.

Contemporarily, Glen, battling shame from his addictive spiral, returns home. Contrary to his physician's tapering advice, Glen impulsively disposes of all his OxyContin pills.

Simultaneously, Shannon attends a marketing convention. Gleaning insights from Britt, she discovers increased commissions tie to higher dosages. With monetary incentives at play, Shannon woos Dr. Cooper over lunch, subtly persuading him to increase prescriptions.

Edie recalls her association with her diligent superior, John Brownlee. His probing remarks steer her to reevaluate the drug overdose epidemic. Conversations with pathologists reveal a disturbing trend: numerous bodies, victims of overdose, are predominantly laced with OxyContin. The mounting evidence of the drug's lethal impact propels Edie to liaise with law enforcement.

Parallelly, Shannon encounters a young girl feigning injuries to obtain the drug. The subsequent events, watching the girl crush and inhale the drug, profoundly shake Shannon. Her attempt to share this alarming incident with Britt meets resistance, with Britt dismissing the victims as mere addicts and refusing to acknowledge OxyContin's culpability.

The episode poignantly captures Glen's worsening condition, revealing intense withdrawal symptoms mere hours post pill disposal. Seeking respite, he revisits Dr. Hartman, procuring another prescription. The narrative seamlessly integrates Edie's personal struggles, recounting her brother's involvement in drug peddling, the strain it inflicted on their bond, and its connection to the OxyContin crisis.

Drawing parallels, Edie likens the escalating opioid menace to the crack/cocaine disaster of 1985. She does not want to be a mere spectator to another drug catastrophe. As Glen succumbs further to his addiction, Brownlee and Edie strategize against Purdue.

The episode culminates in a heart-wrenching scene: Jess, a teenager earlier spotted by Shannon, is lifelessly outside Dr. Fitzgibbons' clinic. This tragic demise, emanating from a web of deceitful prescriptions, underscores the episode's core message.

As the episode concludes, we reflect on the impending battles, Glen's precarious trajectory, and the symbolic incessant ringing alarm, serving as Richard Sackler's haunting conscience. The critical question remains: How many lives will be lost before justice prevails?

Painkiller is now streaming on Netflix.