“Ratched” Review


Story by Lane Phifer, Multimedia Editor

On Sept. 18, the American psychological thriller series “Ratched” aired for the first time on Netflix. Inspired by the 1962 novel by Ken Kasey “One That Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” leading actress Sarah Paulson portrays Nurse Mildred Ratched — A vile, cold-blooded battleax that will do anything to get what she wants. 

Directed by Ryan Murphy, “Ratched” tells the upbringing of Nurse Ratched, a former army nurse that works at Lucia State Hospital, a mental institution and rehabilitation center for the ill, where she begins to use a combination of medication and psychological manipulation to abuse those around her. 

The show is rated for mature audiences, so if you have a hard time handling scenes that involve graphic images, violence, nudity, language, gore, or smoking — “Ratched” may not be for you. 

When I saw that Paulson was the lead role for “Ratched,” and being the die-hard “American Horror Story” fan that I am, I was excited to see what this role had in store for her when it comes to her acting skills. 

Portraying Nurse Ratched was what I believe one of the best roles Paulson could have taken on. The character is cunning, manipulative, strikingly stunning and overall, one heck of a challenge to take on. 

The show takes place in Northern California where we meet Ratched’s foster brother, Edmund Tolleson (Finn Wittrock) also known as the “Clergy Killer,” murdering four priests in their home. One of which, Father Monsignor Sullivan (Robert Curtis Brown), Tolleson claimed sexually assaulted his mother, impregnated and abandoned her. 

As the pilot episode continues, we see Nurse Ratched working at Lucia State Hospital with head Nurse Betsy Bucket (Judy Davis) and Doctor Richard Hanover, born Manuel Bañaga (Jon Jon Briones).

After being charged for the murders, Tolleson winds up becoming a patient at Lucia in order to plead sanity to avoid the death penalty. This is where Ratched and him reunite after decades of being separated from one another.  

Tolleson and Ratched bounced from home to home in the system, each of them worse than the last. After months of abuse, Tolleson had enough and murdered the foster parents, causing him to tell Ratched to run. 

Once the two were reunited, Ratched and Tolleson had a plan for him to attempt to come off as a schizophrenic, however, Dr. Hanover saw through Tolleson’s act and was able to prove that he could not go for the sanity plea. This then led to Governor George Wilburn (Vincent D’Onofrio) to put Tolleson on death row and the top of the list for the electric chair. 

In order to avoid her brother’s death, Ratched goes to severe limits to get what she wants no matter how risky. Throughout the season, she develops a lot as a character. From discovering her sexuality to advancing in her murderous ways, at the end of the season we see a closer look to who Nurse Ratched will become by the timeline in “One That Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Nurse Ratched is the ultimate villain, however, if you’re a fan of “One That Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the series may not be for you since it takes on a background story for Nurse Ratched that was rather shocking. However, if you enjoy gore, suspense, mystery or murder, watching “Ratched” may need to be on your to-do list.