‘Ratched’ Review: A Bloody, Twisted Thriller


‘Ratched’ cast (from left to right): Finn Wittrock, Judy Davis, Jon Jon Briones, Sarah Paulson, Cynthia Nixon, Sophie Okonedo, Sharan Stone, and Charlie Carver

Netflix’s “Ratched” released mid September and quickly became Netflix’s top streamed original in 2020. The show, produced by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, who together produced “Glee,” “Scream Queens” and “Hollywood,” “Ratched” is based off of Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” 

Viewers who have watched “American Horror Story” will definitely enjoy this Ryan Murphy production. 

The show was based on Mildred Ratched trying to become the head Nurse at Lucia State Hospital to save Edmund Tolleson, played by Finn Wittrock. Tolleson, publicly known as the “Clergy Killer,” is Ratched’s foster brother, who was sent to the hospital for brutally murdering five priests.

Lucia is run by Dr. Richard Hanover, whose real name is Manuel Bañaga. The fake identity for the doctor comes from the fact that a mother of an ex-patient of his has put a bounty on his head for him being the cause of her son’s missing arms and legs. 

The show was wonderfully casted with Sarah Paulson leading as Nurse Mildred Ratched. Paulson is mainly known for her roles on Murphy’s “American Horror Story.” Though Paulson created a complex and intriguing character, I found myself confused as to whether Mildred was “the angel of mercy” or the villain.

The dynamic of ‘Ratched’ was very similar to that of ‘American Horror Story’ when it came to the very bloody scenes and many plot twists throughout the show. Something else that was very similar was the way the scenes were shot. In both of Murphy’s shows, the angle of the camera was used to make the audience feel like they were standing in front of the characters. 

The plot twists were very exciting and kept me on the edge of my seat.  In every episode something new was revealed which only put me into a deeper hole with the show. Thankfully, the show never became confusing. 

I usually never like when the character’s past is told in later episodes. I like to know who the character is, where they come from and why they act a certain way as soon as I begin watching, but in “Ratched,” the audience had to wait until they were already sucked in to find out who the characters really are. 

Everything finally came together in the sixth episode, “Got No Strings.” Mildred and Gwendolyn Briggs, played by Cynthia Nixon, attend a puppet show which causes Mildred to relive the horrible childhood she shared with Edmund. Paulson played her role really well, especially in this scene. 

Surprisingly, the show didn’t end the way I thought it would. In the beginning the audience may guess that everything will work out for Mildred and Edmund but because most of the characters became the opposite of who they were in the beginning that was not the case. 

The cliffhanger was the best part of the show. Having an excellent cliffhanger will leave the audience wanting more. It’s rare to see a cliffhanger where the main character dares the protagonist to come after them . This specific scene tied season one all together and prepared the audience for the next one.

Though the second season will take a little longer due to COVID-19 restrictions, Mildred’s story is not over yet. I recommend this show to anyone who enjoyed “American Horror Story” and to anyone who loves bloody twists and turns.