Warning: Spoilers for The Society are ahead.
What’s the worst thing that could come from eating a pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? Well, as Elle (Olivia DeJonge), learns in The Society’s eighth episode, accidentally poisoning a bunch of people is a possibility. In the episode, appropriately titled "Poison," Elle plans to use poisoned pumpkin pie to kill Campbell (Toby Wallace) because she believes that is the only way she can escape his toxicity and violence.
Her plan goes awry when Campbell does one “good” thing the entire season and allows them to join the rest of the New Ham residents for a communal Thanksgiving. The holiday ends with multiple people nearly dying, including Elle. In case you were a little confused, here’s a breakdown of what happens with Elle's ill-fated pumpkin pie:
What Did Elle Put In The Pumpkin Pie?
During the episode, Elle is looking for something to bake into her pie that will poison Campbell and she decides to go with antifreeze, a common household item. Antifreeze is supposed to be used on a car to prevent an engine from overheating. When it is poured into a vehicle, it prevents water from freezing up and raises the boiling temperature. Not so great for human digestion.
As Elle knows, antifreeze can produce ethylene glycol poisoning because of its ingredients. Gordie (José Julián) briefly explains this, but basically ethylene glycol is an odorless and sweet-tasting chemical that is poisonous if ingested. That’s why bottles of antifreeze have huge warning labels to alert people so they don’t accidentally ingest the product (the more you know!). This chemical is also found in detergents and some cosmetics.
How Sick Is Everyone Who Ate Elle's Pumpkin Pie?
A few hours after the Thanksgiving celebration is over and everyone goes home, the first character the audience sees get sick is Allie (Kathryn Newton). She starts to throw up like she has a normal stomach bug, but then things get worse. While many others get sick, the last person who becomes violently ill is Elle. When Campbell comes into the bathroom, he finds her having body convulsions on the floor. It’s likely Elle has the most severe reaction immediately because she stuffed almost half the pie into her mouth to prevent anyone else from eating it.
Medline Plus describes some of the many symptoms someone who ate antifreeze, and thus ethylene glycol, would experience. It says the first sign is usually someone feeling like they drank alcohol. When Allie arrives home, she is walking as if she is a little tipsy and is holding her head. The rest of the warning signs kick in after a few hours. Other reactions include vomiting, convulsions, and possibly a coma. It can take as little as four fluid ounces of ethylene glycol to possibly kill an average-sized man.
Why Didn't Anyone Die From Elle's Antifreeze Pumpkin Pie?
It is a little unrealistic that no one dies from the poison, especially Elle who ate a significant amount of it. In fact, none of the people who are poisoned seem to have any lasting effects which is, in a word, shocking (especially considering they have no medical professionals around). Medline Plus states that the brain, lungs, and kidneys could be damaged and organ failure can also occur from ethylene glycol.
Maybe the audience is supposed to believe that these extreme reactions don’t happen because of how quickly the sick teens are healed. Gordie and Kelly (Kristine Froseth) realize the only way to cure everyone is to inject IV fluids into their veins. He gets the supplies while Kelly reads a medicine textbook to learn how to insert an IV. On her first attempt she fails, but then Kelly is able to put an IV into Elle’s arm and save her. She then helps Allie and the rest of the poisoned people. Still, it's a little far fetched.