‘Painkiller’ Episode 3 Recap & Ending Explained: Are OxyContin And Crack Similar?

In the second episode of Painkiller, we saw how medical representatives like Britt and Shannon were endorsing the drugs only to make money and fund their lavish lifestyle. Edie, on the other hand, was reviewing the side effects of the drugs among the patients who had taken them, and she found that they were showing signs of withdrawal. Glen was one of those users of the drug who developed a strong addiction and fell unconscious due to its overuse. Painkiller Episode 3 is by far the most disturbing episode, portraying the horror of addiction and the darkness that loomed over the population of America due to the over prescription of OxyContin. A high crime rate and skyrocketing drug overdoses and deaths followed the drug’s introduction into the marketplace.

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Spoilers Ahead


How Did The Sacklers Deal With Curtis Wright?

Painkiller Episode 3 began with Glen waking up in the hospital, where a doctor asked him to detox from the drug he was using. Glen’s wife defended him, saying that he was not an addict but that the drugs were prescribed by a doctor after an accident. While the doctor and Glen’s wife were talking, Glen felt dizzy, and it was evident that, though he’d survived the overdose, his health was deteriorating.

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Meanwhile, Curtis Wright became the biggest concern for the Sacklers. Richard had to take action, either to remove Curtis or to secure an alliance with him, using a substantial amount of money to ensure the drug’s approval. Richard began meeting with Curtis more frequently and introduced him to almost everyone in his family, fabricating doctors to emphasize the size of the team working on OxyContin. However, Curtis remained a staunch believer in scientific procedures and couldn’t identify any health benefits from the drug.

One day, Curtis received an invitation to the Sacklers’ place, leading to a negotiation that ultimately shifted Curtis’s stance. From a scientific mindset, he regressed into being another puppet of the Sacklers, easily bought by money and the allure of luxury. Curtis finally approved the drug, and the Sacklers threw a celebratory party to mark the drug’s introduction to the market. With FDA approval, Richard Sackler emerged as an unstoppable force, dominating the pharmaceutical business in America.

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What Did Shannon Find?

During a conference, Shannon met some representatives who were already earning large bonuses, while Shannon’s earnings were still quite small. Britt assured her that she was just a rookie on the job and that it would take time to increase her bonus if she began selling those drugs in larger dosages. Shannon encountered Dr. Cooper again, whom she had managed to persuade to endorse the drugs previously. However, driven by the desire for more profit, she asked him to take her to lunch and convinced him to endorse the higher dosage of OxyContin. Cooper declined, stating that it would only contribute to making her more money. Shannon reassured him that they would both profit from it.

One day, Shannon spotted a disabled woman named Jess leaving Dr. Cooper’s chamber, limping. Surprisingly, once Jess and her friend obtained the drug, they started running to their car. Shannon realized Jess was faking her disability, and she was even more shocked when she saw them crush and snort the Oxy like heroin. They became extremely high and passed out after snorting it. Shannon tried to get their attention by banging on their car window, but Jess and her friend sped off and subsequently collided with another car. Shannon later recounted the incident to Britt, who dismissed it, saying there would always be addicts and that they existed even before OxyContin. However, when Shannon mentioned she had documented the event, Britt became concerned. She demanded the notepad and assured Shannon that she would report the issue to headquarters. It was evident that Britt didn’t want to jeopardize her job by reporting a problem that could hinder the drug’s marketing, as she was solely focused on making money and maintaining her status.

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The next day, Shannon received a call from Mr. Howard Udell, the Sacklers’ attorney, who was likely to question her about what she had witnessed and ask her to remain silent about it.


How Similar Was Oxy To Crack Cocaine?

Meanwhile, Edie Flowers continued her investigation into the drugs. It was revealed that her brother, Shawn, was a crack cocaine dealer. In 1985, the whole community of Los Angeles faced severe adversity due to crack cocaine. Edie had firsthand experience witnessing society’s decline caused by drugs, which motivated her even more to delve into the issues raised by OxyContin. A new boss named John Brownlee was recruited into their US attorney’s office. He was curious about Edie’s investigation. When Edie brought up OxyContin and her experience witnessing a junkie attempt to rob a pharmacy to obtain the drug, it raised concerns for Brownlee too. He emphasized investigating how the FDA approved the drug in the first place.

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Edie’s investigation took a different direction as she collected evidence of the societal issues caused by the use of OxyContin. It became evident that OxyContin was causing serious problems, including a high crime rate, home break-ins, thefts, disabilities, insurance claims, and an increased number of junkies who were overdosing and succumbing to the drugs, just like it had been in the case of crack cocaine. Every day, more and more bodies were ending up in hospitals, and autopsies revealed that the oxys were not dissolving properly in the stomach.

These pieces of evidence were strong enough for Edie to present the case to Brownlee and urge him to take the necessary steps against Purdue Pharma. When Brownlee asked for the company’s name to file the prosecution, Edie handed him a stuffed toy of OxyContin with the company’s name tag attached.

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Did Glen Really Get Off The OxyContin Addiction?

Glen, along with his family, returned home. Not wanting his family to worry about him, Glen took the pill container and flushed all the pills down the toilet. However, he couldn’t simply escape his addiction by flushing a few pills down the toilet. The pull of the pills and the temporary relief they provided were drawing him back into the abyss of darkness. Glen found it difficult to concentrate on his work without the drugs, and eventually, he returned to the doctor to get a prescription for the drug once more. With the pills in his possession, he took a slow step toward his downward spiral.

On the other hand, Jess, the woman who had taken the drugs to get high with her friend, ended up overdosing. Her friend left her unconscious body near her home and departed. The doctor who had previously dismissed Shannon from his clinic came out of the house and attempted to wake Jess up, but it appeared that Jess had lost her life.

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In the upcoming episode of Painkiller, we’ll see Glen and Shannon’s lives unravel further, exploring the aftermath of their choice, while Edie will face fresh challenges on her way to prosecute Purdue Pharma and its president, Richard Sackler.


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Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda
Poulami Nanda hails from a medical background, yet her journey is to cross the boundaries of medicine and survive in the cinematic world. The surrealistic beauty of cinema and art has attracted her from a very young age. She loves to write poems, songs, and stories, but her dream is to write films someday. She has also worked as a painter, but nothing attracts her more than cinema. Through her writings, she wants to explore the world of cinema more and more and take her readers on the same ride.

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