As with all good docudramas, Hulu’s The stall effectively combines dramatic license with a firm adherence to events as they actually happened. Additionally, it also excels at revealing the humanity of its main characters, not just Elizabeth Holmes, but also the men and women around her as she attempted to build Theranos from the ground up. They are, in essence, as complicated and sometimes contradictory as real people.
Thus, it is worth examining them carefully in more detail, through the interpretative and analytical lens provided by the Chinese zodiac.
Rat – Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes is, without a doubt, one of Amanda Seyfried’s best roles, and she allows the viewer to understand the full complexity of this character. She’s the kind of person who has a powerful persuasiveness that allows her to convince others to sign on to Theranos, even despite her obvious flaws.
Considering she was born under the Rat, it’s no surprise that she constantly exhibits a quick wit that comes in very handy as an entrepreneur.
Beef – George Shultz
One of Theranos’ most notable investors is George Shultz. While he was obviously smart enough to serve in multiple presidential administrations, he has several Ox traits that end up being part of his downfall.
In particular, he is very stubborn and conservative, meaning he refuses to believe the truth about Theranos, even when presented with mountains of evidence. He just can’t believe that Holmes is capable of such levels of deception.
Tiger – Sunny Balwani
Sunny Balwani is arguably one of the smartest characters in The stall. He’s one of those people who constantly pushes Elizabeth to new heights, and he always tries to find a solution to a problem, even if it’s not the best one.
His intensity and authoritarian attitude make him a Tiger. Although they are some of his main strengths as a character, it is also these characteristics that prove to be his downfall.
Rabbit – Erika Cheung
One of Holmes’ great strengths as an entrepreneur is getting people to believe in her vision, even when she doesn’t deserve it. However, there is one who immediately begins to doubt what she is told, and that is Erika, a new scientist who sees that all is not as it seems.
She has the sincerity of the rabbit, which means she takes her job very seriously and because of this, she ultimately plays a key role in exposing Theranos’ wrongdoings.
Dragon – Tyler Shultz
Tyler Shultz first uses his grandfather’s position to get his job at Theranos, but he soon shows he’s a truly moral person.
He has a warm, charismatic personality that befits being a dragon, and it’s these traits that play a key role in his eventual role in making sure the world knows what’s going on in Theranos. He is the type to let go of anything that opposes what he believes to be right.
Snake – John Carreyrou
There have been many great reporters on TV shows, and John Carreyrou is one of them. He is one of those who knows something is wrong at Theranos, and he is tireless in his efforts to uncover the truth.
It’s lucky for him that he has all the intelligence of the Serpent, because it means he knows how to get the information he needs to not only tell a good story, but also reveal the truth to the world.
Horse – Phyllis Gardner
Like the other members of The stall, Laurie Metcalf has starred in many great roles, and so she brings a terrific presence to her character as Phyllis Gardner. Unlike many others who fall for Holmes’ spell, she sees the truth from the start.
She has the characteristic impatience of many born under the Horse, and this is what leads her to play an important role in revealing the truth about the fraud that Holmes pulls off.
Sheep – Noel Holmes
One of the most amazing things about Holmes is that she actually comes from a loving family, and her mother in particular is obviously loving towards her daughter. However, it is also true that Noel Holmes tends to have many Sheep personality traits.
She wants to keep the peace in her household, and he sometimes shows a certain distaste for conflict (though she does have times when she’s willing to stand up for those she loves and cares about).
Monkey – Charlotte Shultz
While George is easily fooled by Holmes and his bag of tricks, the same is not true for his wife, Charlotte. From the moment she meets the young woman, she knows she is up to something, and she does not hide her dislike and her suspicions.
Like other monkeys, she has an insight that allows her to see beyond the surface of things, and it’s her quick-wittedness that comes in very handy for other members of her family.
Rooster – David Boies
David Boies isn’t just based on a real character; he also happens to be a big TV lawyer. Fierce and determined, once he decides he is in Holmes’ service, he does everything in his power to help his business.
Considering he’s a high-profile lawyer, it makes sense that he’s a Rooster, especially since he shows this zodiac sign’s tendency to be a very hard-working and observant person.
Dog – Ian Gibbons
Ian Gibbons has the dubious distinction of being one of those who seems to sincerely believe in Holmes and what she does. This makes it all the more tragic that she ultimately betrays him when he becomes a liability.
Given that he is a dog, and therefore very loyal to those he cares about, his abandonment of him takes a heavy toll, and he ultimately chooses to kill himself.
Pig – Richard Fuisz
Richard Fuisz is yet another of William H. Macy’s great roles. He brings to the character a spiky, growling intelligence, another of those not fooled by Holmes.
Although he can be quite cold at times, he also shows some of the characteristics of the Pig (one of the most loving and compassionate Chinese zodiac signs). In particular, it demonstrates the Pig’s love of luxury, and he clearly can’t stand the idea of him being threatened in any way.
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