Uma Thurman’s Pulp Fiction character, Mia Wallace, almost dies after snorting an illicit white powder she finds in Vincent Vega’s jacket pocket, but she’s not taking the drug she thinks she is. Quentin Tarantino followed up his acclaimed debut feature, Reservoir Dogs, with an even more twisted, even more ambitious crime caper as his second movie, Pulp Fiction. Like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction is an inventive narrative experiment. It follows three interconnected storylines, but the last two have a hard time living up to the excitement of the first one, “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife.”


When mob hitman Vincent (John Travolta) is tasked with taking the boss’s wife, Mia, out to dinner, it seems like the biggest conflict of the story will be ignoring the romantic tension Vincent shares with Mia. But the night takes a much darker turn when he returns from the bathroom to find her unconscious on the floor with blood streaming out of her nose. This escalates into perhaps the most stressful situation of Vincent’s life. It all stems from the powder that Mia snorts when she’s hoping to top up her high.

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Mia Snorts Heroin Thinking It Is Cocaine

Mia's nose bleeds in Pulp Fiction

On the way back from Jack Rabbit Slim’s, Vincent gives Mia his coat because she’s chilly. When they return to the Wallace residence, and he excuses himself to use the bathroom, she finds a little bag full of white powder in his jacket pocket and assumes it’s her drug of choice, cocaine. So, she cuts up a couple of lines on the coffee table and snorts them. Mia had previously gone to the ladies’ room at Jack Rabbit Slim’s to “powder her nose,” which turned out to be a euphemism for cocaine use.

Unfortunately for Mia, the powder she finds in Vincent’s jacket isn’t cocaine; it’s heroin. Vincent is shown purchasing the heroin in an earlier scene and using some of it on his way to pick up Mia. Cocaine and heroin are practically indistinguishable in powder form, so Mia’s mix-up is an easy mistake to make. Since heroin has a high overdose potential (via American Addiction Centers), Mia takes what she thinks is a manageable bit of her favorite drug and unwittingly takes too much heroin.

How Does Mia Survive The Overdose?

Vincent gives Mia an adrenaline shot in Pulp Fiction

After finding Mia overdosed and unconscious on the floor, Vincent races to the home of Lance (Eric Stoltz). Lance tells him to take her to a hospital, but when he finds out she’s the wife of a notorious local crime lord, he reluctantly agrees to help. Although he owns an adrenaline shot, Lance has never administered one, so he takes Vincent through the steps in his little black medical book. Vincent gives Mia the shot in one of Pulp Fiction’s tensest moments, and she instantly regains consciousness. They both agree to never tell Marsellus about the overdose because they’ll be in an equal amount of trouble if he finds out.

MORE: How Scientifically Accurate Pulp Fiction’s Adrenaline Scene Really Is

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