‘Ratched’ unravels untold stories


Oregon State Hospital in Salem/Josh Partee/Architectural Resources Group/CC BY-SA 2.5

The series begins in a hospital where Nurse Ratched works.

Warning: the following review contains spoilers from the series “Ratched.”

Netflix’s original “Ratched” came out Sept. 18 and immediately went into the top 10 shows on Netflix. In my honest opinion, the show was more than expected. With not much information on the show’s actual details, the thriller had numerous surprises that leave viewers on their seats. I believe that the surprises keep the viewers engaged and involved in the show and keeps people from zoning out while watching.

I think this because when shows go on with no surprises, people get bored and everything becomes expected. People like to experience new things and surprises. That is what shows can make the viewer experience. It also keeps the viewer from getting distracted or zone out from it as there are constantly new things happening.

“Ratched” has given new light to the infamous nurse, Mildred Ratched; the show is loosely based on the 1960s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and provides insight into the backstory and history of Nurse Ratched. However, the show is based on the life and backstory of Mildred Ratched and does not follow the storyline of the novel.

Sarah Paulson, who plays Nurse Ratched, is a lesbian. With dozens of roles portraying LGBTQ+ and straight characters, it is safe to say that a nurse’s role, also learning what her sexuality might be, was excellently portrayed by Paulson herself, and it’s easy to see why she was picked.

One of the first surprises was that the owner and runner of Salem State Hospital had been using hospital drugs for his own personal use. We then learn that Edmund Tolleson is her brother, which was finalized by a social worker to keep them together. The third and biggest surprise, in my opinion, was that Ratched was not even a registered nurse and had been faking her real experience the entire time. The use of these surprises keeps the audience engaged while watching.

The show goes over the horrid treatment that people with mental health conditions had to endure while receiving treatment, along with the reasoning Ratched was there all along. With the unbearable need to help people, Ratched joined the military during WWII with no previous nursing experience, let alone a nursing degree, leading to countless deaths by asphyxiation.

 While out on a seemingly innocent date with her secret lover at a puppet show, we learn more in-depth about her childhood. Throughout a horrid flashback that may be triggering for some viewers, we learned that she lived life as an orphan and had nothing, and no one, which was changed when a family adopted her, along with her brother, Tolleson. 

Taking care of each other day after day, mending each other’s wounds from the abuse they received day today. When her “brother” decided he had enough of the continuous torment, he went into their guardian’s room and killed them both in their sleep. The show does a terrific job of portraying the pain these children endured and showing their changing mental state. Its coverage of serious topics, including child pornography and the death sentence, showed just how horrendous treatment is and can still be in a psychiatric hospital.

I give this show four out of five stars only because, at times, the show had too much going on, making it difficult to follow along and keep track of what was happening. “Ratched” also has a notable similarity to the show “American Horror Story,” which Paulson and other actors from the show also star in. If you’re looking for a mature show, has a strong female lead, and overall, an incredibly directed short series, this could be for you.


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