Sarah Paulson leads the way by profiling One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest villain Nurse Mildred in this gory, raunchy and terrifying Netflix exclusive spinoff, Ratched.
Not for the faint at heart, viewers are treated to eight ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ episodes detailing life for inpatients at Lucia State Hospital in 1947 Northern California. With torturous lobotomies, excruciating steam treatment and a plethora of psychedelic drugs used for experiments, this ‘rehabilitation facility’ is like no other.
Initially under the care of Dr Richard Hannover- a mental health professional desperately trying to cure afflictions such as amnesia and schizophrenia via inhumane methods- the audience are introduced to main protagonist Edmund Tolleson who has committed a spree of vicious murders, consequently he has been sentenced to death. Pleading insanity as Tolleson’s defence, Hannover claims to be able to ‘cure’ him and thus subject him to a whole life term at a secure mental hospital instead of the electric chair.
With members of the state’s judiciary split on whether Edmund deserves such an opportunity, the team at Lucia State begin their attempts at rehabilitation which attracts the interest of Nurse Ratched who is determined to be part of the process. Their goal is to persuade corrupt State Governor George Willburn of the merits of their work.
Conniving and cheating her way towards employment at the hospital, Ratched is responsible for a host of law breaking capers of which she doesn’t care for collateral damange; the only question for the viewer is why would she be so determined to work for Dr Hannover?
Sex and the City’s Cynthia Nixon guest stars as a closeted lesbian who is afraid of revealing her sexuality for fear of societal reprisals and excellently portrays some of the bigoted attitudes that marginalised members of society faced openly in the post war era.
Don’t watch with children or the squeamish. Very good stuff and the potential for a second season judging by the ending.
Viewed: October 2020