[Editor’s Note: The following post contains spoilers for “Ratched” Season 1.]
Ryan Murphy’s “Ratched” tells the origin story of Nurse Ratched, a character made famous by Louise Fletcher’s Oscar-winning portrayal in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” but the debut season does not end where “Cuckoo’s Nest” begins. Far from it. Sarah Paulson, the star of Murphy’s Netflix series, tells The Wrap “the goal” for the show is to continue beyond Season 2 so it can end up in the 1970s era where “Cuckoo’s Nest” is set. Netflix ordered two seasons of “Ratched” when it greenlit the project, but not even Season 2 is designed to meet “Cuckoo’s Nest.”
Should “Ratched” get the opportunity to continue beyond Season 2, it’s unclear how Murphy and creator Evan Romansky would tackle the events of “Cuckoo’s Nest.” The AMC “Psycho” prequel series “Bates Motel” used its final episodes to reimagine the events of the Hitchcock movie, casting Rihanna in the role of Marion Crane (played by Janet Leigh in the film). Paulson tells The Wrap she hopes “Ratched” goes a different route.
“I don’t know that we would ever go into the [‘Cuckoo’s Nest’] hospital, simply because — and this is me saying this, I don’t know what Ryan’s plan would be — I certainly don’t want to see me acting opposite a computer-generated Jack Nicholson,” Paulson said. “I mean, I don’t think that sounds like a good idea. So I think if we end up in that era, it would be more about what Nurse Ratched’s life was when she turned the key in her white uniform, coming back into her house from those days at the hospital with all those events that happened there.”
As for Season 2, Paulson tells fans they should expect to see a more hardened Mildred Ratched. The first season ends with Mildred’s semi-adopted brother, the serial killer Edmund (Finn Wittrock), escaping from St. Lucia hospital after discovering Mildred planned to euthanize him before he could be killed on death row. Edmund calls Mildred to tell her he killed nurses as punishment for her plan, prompting Mildred to exact revenge on her ex-beloved family member.
“I think what you do see at the end of this season is that, once Mildred realizes that the very thing she has spent her entire life governed by has betrayed and forsaken her — which is her brother — and has now brought harm and more mayhem by taking the lives of seven innocent women, who are also nurses, she says, ‘I’m coming for you,’” Paulson said. “And what you are probably going to see is a Mildred who has now become even harder, because the thing that kept her soft was the part of her that was engaged in the love and the protection and the desire for absolution as it pertained to her brother.”
Paulson also said, “Now that that’s gone, I don’t know who she’ll become. But further and further away from her heart and her humanity, I can be pretty sure about that.”
“Ratched” Season 1 is now streaming on Netflix.