Netflix’s ‘Ratched’ serves as a  delightful homage to American Horror Story

Written By Tia Bailey

4 / 5 Globes


Nurse Ratched is in as the star of Netflix’s new drama, “Ratched.” 

The show, starring Sarah Paulson as the title character, was created by Evan Romansky and Ryan Murphy. 

“Ratched” was released to stream on Sept. 18, and fans immediately went to binge the anticipated show. With Murphy as a creator and Paulson as the star, fans of American Horror Story were drawn in to watch. Some elements of “Ratched” were recognizable from AHS, such as disturbing storylines, music and even the way the show was shot. 

The show is set in the late 1940’s, and follows Nurse Mildred Ratched as she seeks employment at a psychiatric asylum, and manipulates the director of the hospital, Dr. Richard Hanover (Jon Jon Briones, who appeared in American Horror Story: Apocalypse), into hiring her. 

Around the same time she is hired, a new inmate is taken into the hospital. Edmund Tolleson (Finn Wittrock, another AHS alum), is checked into the asylum after he brutally murders four priests, one who he says is his father. 

The timing of Ratched and Tulleson’s arrival at the hospital is no coincidence, and some dark secrets about the two are uncovered as the show goes on. 

Every character in the show, whether their part was big or small, was connected together in some way, which was interesting to watch unfold. Nobody was there by accident, and the relationships of the characters all come together for an intense ending. 

It is very clear throughout that “Ratched” had the same creator as American Horror Story, even besides using some of the same actors. There is a lot of disturbing imagery, like when they show doctors performing lobotomies, and when they use other horrific “treatments” for other illnesses. It is also similar in how it leaves viewers confused as the mystery very slowly unravels throughout the show. Just when one question is answered, another is formed. This has definitely become a signature of Ryan Murphy’s.

Paulson, as usual, shines in her role as Ratched. She plays the hell out of the Angel of Mercy, and brings more to the character than others could have. Ratched may not be easy to relate to, but Paulson’s portrayal makes you want to sympathize with her. Although some of her methods and ideas are questionable, they come from a good place and she shows her patients true kindness.

The series was booked for two seasons right off the bat. Season One1 ended with a cliffhanger that should easily set up season two2. The character Ratched was based off of a character of the same name in the novel “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” from 1962. In the book, Nurse Ratched is cold and heartless, which differs greatly from the Nurse Ratched we see in the show. The first season of the show is supposed to be the nurse’s origin story, so season two may show us a very different Mildred Ratched than the one we have come to know. 

“Ratched” currently has a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Viewers and critics have noticed a few similarities between “Ratched” and AHS, but generally still seem to be enjoying it. 

The release of the show’s second season is currently unknown, as the production process has been hindered by the coronavirus.