Netflix’s ‘Ratched’ brings dramatic twists

 “Ratched” is streaming on Netflix.

“Ratched” is streaming on Netflix.

Story by Cali Roberts, Reporter

It’s not often you find yourself rooting for evil. So, why exactly did I fall for the deception of a horror stories nurse? The Netflix Original series “Ratched,” rated TV-MA, is a story based on Ken Kesey’s book “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”, set in 1947. The first episode aired on Sept. 18, 2020, each episode is 50 minutes. The main character, Nurse Ratched, played by Primetime Emmy Award Winner for Outstanding Lead Actress Sarah Paulson and well known actress from “American Horror Story”, finds herself caught up in a troubling family problem which causes her to travel to the small town of Lucia, California. Kensey based his Nurse Ratched on a real woman he had met while working a night shift in a psychiatric facility in Oregon. My biggest take away, from the very beginning of episode one, is how beautiful of a job Paulson did in depicting the deceptive and confident manner of Nurse Ratched. 

After moving into a motel, Nurse Ratched seeks out a job at Lucia State Hospital, a mental institution where they were currently holding a death row inmate Edmund Tolleson, played by “American Horror Story’” actor Finn Wittrock. Though greeted by an unreliable and frankly rude head nurse Betsy Bucket, played by British Academy Film Award winning actress Judy Davis, Ratched persisted in obtaining the job despite Bucket playing a significant role as a roadblock for her. Once introduced to a stressed and overworked doctor and overseer of the hospital Dr. Hanover, played by Jon Jon Briones, she is turned down for any job at the hospital. This does not deter her. While wandering the hospital she discovers scandalous behavior and creates a job opening herself through black mail. 

Through the eight episodes, secrets and traumatic events unveil themselves through present actions and insightful flashbacks. An interesting part of the show is the historical element of the hospital’s actions with mental illnesses. In this time period mental illnesses were very stigmatized and scientific knowledge of the illnesses and treatments were slim. As seen in the show, people with schizophrenia were injected with heavy sedations and women who idenitifed as lesbian were told they had a mental illness. Interestingly, the show focuses on these women and the oppression patients were put into through the hospital. These women suffered through temperature controlled baths causing their skin to seer and sending them into shock. Another medical malpractice shown is the lobotomy. In the show it is performed using a drill initially and an ice pick on a second try. It was performed on several patients and Ratched even uses this to her favor in a later episode. 

The irony of Ratched’s place in the hospital is the main reason I was sitting so far on the edge of my seat. Dr. Hanover even faces hypocrisy, giving patients intense dosages of medications while abusing the same drugs. It’s interesting the way the show depicted the point of view of an “evil” person. In turn I was rooting for her, the character has a strong emotional appeal through the depictions of Ratched’s and other characters’ trauma.

The end of the series offered an interesting cliffhanger, that I hope will be resolved through another season. Out of all the shows released this year, none of them excited me as much as “Ratched” did. If you’re looking for a horror drama, this is the one.