Netflix Painkiller recap guide: All 6 episodes explained

Painkiller. (L to R) John Rothman as Mortimer Sackler, Matthew Broderick as Richard Sackler, Sam Anderson as Raymond Sackler in episode 103 of Painkiller. Cr. Keri Anderson/Netflix © 2023
Painkiller. (L to R) John Rothman as Mortimer Sackler, Matthew Broderick as Richard Sackler, Sam Anderson as Raymond Sackler in episode 103 of Painkiller. Cr. Keri Anderson/Netflix © 2023 /
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Painkiller episode 2 on Netflix
Painkiller. Uzo Aduba as Edie in episode 102 of Painkiller. Cr. Keri Anderson/Netflix © 2023 /

Netflix Painkiller episode 2 recap: Jesus Gave Me Water

In present-day as Edie continues to tell her story, she explains that Arthur Sackler built Purdue Pharma off of lies, and Richard takes after him. This is proven as Richard continually sees visions of his uncle, guiding him as he takes a leadership role at the company.

Back to the flashbacks, Edie tries to get to the bottom of OxyContin and why it would be prescribed so much. She goes to a pharmacy with Dr. Coyle to see if he’s actually been medicating real people, and she discovers that they are real people, but seemingly being over-medicated.

They go to another pharmacy to talk to a different pharmacist about the drug, which is where Edie realizes how powerful OxyContin has already become first-hand. A crazed customer shocks her by trying to steal medicine from the pharmacy, demanding more OxyContin. Edie then starts going around to visit different doctors to see what they know about the drug. There’s already a major demand for it.

Britt and Shannon continue selling OxyContin to doctor’s offices and reaping the benefits, but it’s not until Shannon has to do a sales pitch alone does she realize what they’re doing might be unethical. The doctor in question tells her that the drug is highly addictive and tells her off, which seriously alarms her. But Britt simply tells her she has to try harder to sell the drug and they continue on. Shannon also meets a girl on crutches at the doctor’s office who will become important to the story in the third episode.

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Glen is back at work but he’s unable to do as much as he used to, and he’s still taking OxyContin. It becomes apparent that the longer he’s taking it, the more reliant he is on it. He wants to take a dosage sooner than he’s supposed to, but when he visits the doctor he’s told he has to stick to the 12 hours. That said, the doctor is open to increasing the dosage so it lasts longer. One night, Tyler steals some of his stepdad’s pills and gives them to his friends.

While out asking around about OxyContin, Edie spots Shannon making a sales pitch and follows her outside. She asks the ladies how much money they’re getting paid before realizing Purdue’s sales strategy is one of the biggest reasons the drug has become so popular so fast.

Glen gets recruited by Purdue Pharma to appear in a testimonial video for OxyContin, in which he says he’s gotten his life back because of the drug. He seems super happy while talking about it, however, we see how he gets when the pills wear off. One evening, he can’t find his pill bottle and gets extremely irritated. He creates a whole scene at home trying to find his OxyContin before Tyler gives it back, acting as if he just found it. Of course, in reality, Glen’s stepson took the pills.

In present-day, Edie explains how Richard Sackler first started OxyContin tests on mice before moving to human trials in Puerto Rico and different locations in the United States. Overall, the trials were a mess. The mice displayed effects of withdrawal, and humans needed the pill more than every 12 hours. OxyContin is flawed, according to Edie, because it doesn’t last a full 12 hours so people go through withdrawal frequently while waiting to take the next dosage.

Apparently, only one person at the FDA was required to approve OxyContin, and that was someone named Curtis Wright. But as a surprise to Richard, Curtis had a lot of concerns about the drug.

We get a glimpse into Edie’s personal life in this episode when she goes to visit her brother Shawn in prison. We discover that she visits every year, though they don’t seem to have a close relationship. At this time, we don’t know what Shawn is serving time for.

The second episode of Painkiller ends on an alarming note when Glen passes out at a restaurant. He’s out to eat with Lily and Tyler, clearly under the influence of OxyContin. He’s very out of it, and accidentally bites down on his hand instead of food, causing himself to start bleeding. His family is extremely worried about his state before he falls to the floor.

An ambulance is called and someone starts doing chest compressions on Glen, but the situation doesn’t look good. While this is going on, we get a clip of Richard pulling up to his huge home, with the show very clearly juxtaposing his financial success with the grave effects of the drug he’s selling.

Written by Natalie Zamora