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Step Out of Your Netflix Comfort Zone

by Grace Knoop

Once I find a show that I like, I usually stick to it and watch it over and over again. I have seen “Gilmore Girls” so many times that I feel like I live in Stars Hollow.

But, in early October when I was just mindlessly scrolling through Netflix, I stumbled upon the new crime series, “Ratched.” With Sarah Paulson as the lead, how could I not watch? After her phenomenal performance on “American Horror Story” and “Mrs. America,” I had to start the series. Rory and Lorelai Gilmore would understand if I took a little break from them. Within the first five minutes of “Ratched,” I was hooked.

The main character, Nurse Ratched, was first created by author Ken Kesey in his novel, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.” Directors Ryan Murphy and Evan Romansky have created “Ratched” as an origin story for her character.

The pilot starts off with a bang: a mass murder of priests in the little town of Lucia, California. Edmund Tolleson, played by Finn Wittrock, stops into a house of a local priesthood after “his car breaks down” and murders all but one priest in the house.

The series then quickly turns to Nurse Mildred Ratched traveling to Lucia, seemingly unbothered by the buzz that this mass murder has created. She then makes her way to the town’s mental hospital in search of a nursing position. After she is turned away because there are no positions available, she targets a nurse on staff and drives her to resign, taking over her role—the perfect introduction to her character.

Patients treated at the Lucia State mental hospital include those admitted to cure their “unnatural” sexual orientations. The cruel treatments administered by Dr. Hanover (played by Jon Jon Briones) are shown without details withdrawn. In one particularly gory scene, patients are placed into a bathtub filled with scorching water and then immediately thrown into an ice bath.

Many of these cruel techniques were actually practiced in the ’50s. Although the show is fictional, these hints of truth bring an eerie nature to “Ratched.” With each twist and turn that the show threw my way, I became better at predicting what was to come next. But, the idea that subtle parts of the storyline were based on real events kept me on the edge of my seat. Each episode was more chilling to watch than the previous.

As the show follows Nurse Ratched, we see flashbacks that explain her character as a whole. Her divisive and destructive treatment of some of the patients is a reflection and result of her traumatic childhood.

My favorite part of the show is the cinematography. From scene to scene, not one moment is wasted. Colors are vivid, and even the background music serves a purpose. “Ratched” lives up to the high standards of “American Horror Story” and is a perfect show for this time of year.

With its second season already in contract, the last scene ends with lots of questions. “Ratched” is a binge-worthy show that will put you right in the spooky mood. But, if you get scared easily, I recommend watching with a friend.

If you have seen “Friends” or “Grey’s Anatomy” so many times that you could recite the words of each episode, take a risk. Step out of your comfort zone and try “Ratched.” You won’t regret it.


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