Ratched Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: Incredibly beautiful interiors, landscapes, costumes, cars, characters; bright colors; superb acting by Sarah Paulson, Judy Davis, Cynthia Nixon, Sharon Stone and Vincent D’Onofrio; excellent cinematography and selection of music Cons: The title character is significantly different from the one we know from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; some ostentatiousness of the picture; the logic of many scenes raises serious questions Ratched / “Nurse Ratched”

Genre psychological thriller
Creators Evan Romansky, Ryan Murphy
Cast: Sarah Paulson (Mildred Ratched), Jon Jon Brions (Dr. Hanover), Finn Wittrock (Edmund Tolleson), Charlie Carver (Hack Finnigan), Judy Davis (Betsy Bucket), Cynthia Nixon (Gwendolyn Briggs), Sharon Stone (Lenora Osgood) ), Vincent D’Onofrio (Governor George Milburn), Alice Englert (Dolly), Brandon Flynn (Henry Osgood), etc.
Netflix channel
Year of release 2020
Episode 8
Site IMDb

Nurse Ratched, one of the main characters in Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962) and the Oscar-winning film of the same name by Milos Forman (1975), based on it, has repeatedly been included in lists of the most important anti-heroes for American cinema. Powerful, aggressive and vindictive, a petty bureaucrat reveling in her little power over people, she became a kind of symbol of the system that the beatnik generation fought against. She, forever stuck in the 40s, did not understand and did not accept the values ​​of these new Americans, who placed personal freedom above traditions, discipline and hierarchy and were not afraid to go against the authorities, no matter what it ultimately cost them.

In Forman’s film, which, by the way, Kesey himself did not like, who considered the main character of his work to be Chief Bromden, and not Randley McMurphy, Mildred Ratched’s sister was played by the talented actress Louise Fletcher, who received an Oscar and BAFTA for this work for Best Actress.

Netflix, Hulu and Apple fought for the rights to produce a series based on Kesey’s character. Netflix’s bet was higher. The show was taken on by screenwriter Evan Romansky, for whom this was almost the first major work in his career, and popular television producer Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, 9-1-1, The Politician), who had long been pursuing Michael Douglas , which owns the rights to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and the character Ratched. Douglas produced the original film, for which he won his first Oscar, and served as one of the executive producers of Ratched. The series was intended to be a prequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and show the events that made Mildred Ratched the monster she became in the book/movie.


The only problem is that, halfway through the first season, Mildred Ratched already looks like a monster, and more terrifying than the one shown in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. She literally goes towards her goal, stepping over corpses, and she does it so purposefully and confidently that she seems to have no remorse about the lives she took and the destinies she broke.


In the second half of the season, we will, of course, be told why the heroine acts the way she does, what made her who she is. Here the human part of her nature will be revealed, however, this will not stop the “sister” from equally calmly removing obstacles in her path and manipulating people. Yes, at some moments you will even feel sorry for her, but… in any case, Mildred Ratched from Ratched and Mildred Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest are two completely different characters, complete namesakes, working in the same field, nothing more.


Netflix has ordered two seasons of Ratched at once, so the story of the killer sister is not over yet, perhaps the authors will be able to bring it to a logical conclusion and connect the title character with the person she became in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Much more boring, limited, burnt out and discolored than the one shown in Ratched.


In general, if we talk about color, then Ratched is undoubtedly a very bright, sometimes even defiantly beautiful series. It is almost the antithesis of the mundane and everyday detail of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The post-war USA in Ratched is deliberately shown to be extremely glamorous, glossy, and exalted. Too bright colors, dresses from the pages of fashion magazines, luxury cars, incredibly beautiful interiors in the Art Deco style. It has little in common with Foreman’s film or Kesey’s novel, but at times echoes Kubrick’s The Shining. Ideal frame construction, narcissism, show off, it seems that the director and cameraman of the series want to challenge their colleagues: “Look what we can do!” Maybe this is not bad, but such beauty turns a seemingly serious psychological thriller into some kind of carnival show. It feels like you’re not watching the backstory of Sister Ratched, the ideal watchman of the beat generation, but the next season of “American Horror Story.”


Well, traditionally for recent thrillers and detective series, viewers have a lot of questions about the logic of what is happening. Every second person in this series skillfully forges any documents, including medical ones. The security is simply disgusting. A mental hospital is like a walk-through yard where no one is watching over the patients. When one of the patients disappears in the first episode, he is remembered only in the third. Yes, there was such a person, he disappeared somewhere, and God bless him. Disappearance of the second, third, etc. no one cares about the person anymore. Well, that’s how they do it in psychiatric hospitals. A hospital for the mentally ill with no doctors at all? Why not, who needs these doctors. Lobotomy as a way to cure a lesbian? Perfect solution. Etc. Yes, punitive psychiatry existed in the USA, but still not on the same scale.

Well, especially for connoisseurs of traditional values. The talented Sarah Paulson, who plays Mildred Ratched, is an open lesbian. The series features a lot of LGBT+ content, partly based on Paulson’s personal experiences. If this bothers you, well…


In general, Ratched impresses with its cast, especially its female cast. In addition to the excellent performance of Sarah Paulson, the work of Judy Davis (main sister Betsy Bucket), Cynthia Nixon (press secretary to the governor Gwendolyn Briggs), Alice Englert (sister Dolly) and Sharon Stone (Lenora Osgood), who has not appeared on screen for a long time, deserve attention. And Vincent D’Onofrio is traditionally good, albeit in the small but striking role of Governor George Milburn.

The first season of Ratched leaves an ambivalent impression. It’s a beautiful series with amazing actors, but unfortunately it has very little in common with either Kesey’s book or Foreman’s film on which it is based. We’ll see where the authors turn in the second season, but it’s obvious that you shouldn’t count on a happy ending here.


A bright, very beautiful, ostentatious series, which, unfortunately, has little in common with the original book and film

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