“Ratched” Review: What Even Happened?

Cover art by @cathywoods_art on Instagram

When I first came across “Ratched” on Netflix, I thought it was going to be a quick 9-episode binge, something I could watch while eating or doing homework.

It was quite the opposite.

The series, created by “Glee” and “American Horror Story” creator Ryan Murphy, is about a woman named Mildred Ratched (played by Sarah Paulson, the iconic “American Horror Story” queen), who starts work at a psychiatric ward. However, when she gets there, she creates a lot more chaos than there already is. I was skeptical as to how actors would portray characters with various mental illnesses but the actors were all very expressive and vibrant in their portrayal of the characters.

I should’ve known that when I got into a Ryan Murphy and Sarah Paulson collaboration, there would be a lot of twisted and dark elements. There were so many surprising twists and aspects of the characters no regular person could have come up with. However, so many elements clouded my view of the main plot. I was confused from the beginning and didn’t get a grasp on the actual plot of the show until the very end. While it is important to have a deep understanding of the characters and how their backstories fuel their present day actions, the history of the doctor and his family combined with the subplot involving the governor made “Ratched” feel like two shows in one. The combination of the plots did not merge together smoothly and there was too much focus on the doctor’s sketchy backstory. After all, the show is called “Ratched” after the main character, but the focus on the doctor made it seem like he was the main character of the show.

Sarah Paulson plays Mildred Ratched, the main character who schemes her way to becoming head nurse of the psychiatric hospital. While there was that mild hyperbolic element written into her character that all Ryan Murphy characters have, Mildred seemed too good to be true and overall just not like a human. Mildred is too ambiguous, cynical and overall a mystery and the show doesn’t give us enough information in order for us as viewers to relate to her or at least figure her out.

Ryan Murphy is excellent at portraying the faults of humanity through a vibrant color palette, but this show overall flopped in the quality of the writing. If you loved “American Horror Story”, “Hollywood”, or even “Glee”, you should stick to those shows instead of trying out “Ratched”.

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