Ratched Season 1 Episode 1 Review: Pilot

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Don't cross Mildred Ratched.  

The iconic nurse arrived at the hospital on Ratched Season 1 Episode 1, and it went about as well as can be expected. 

From her manipulative attempt to get the job she desired, to her outlandish antics to turn the tide in her favor, she really is one of the most wicked characters on the small screen. 

Mildred and Mr. Salvatore - Ratched

It was evident Mildred had reasons for going to the hospital based on her actions alone, but the last thing that crossed my mind was that she was there for Edmund. 

That came out of nowhere, but it was a big development to drop on viewers at the conclusion of the series premiere, but it's a testament to how fast-paced this series is. 

A Tense Meeting - Ratched Season 1 Episode 1

Edmund's actions were nothing short of despicable, but these types of murders, especially back then, garner a lot of media attention. 

There was no internet in 1947, so that means there was no social media. The world was a different place, and people typically got their news from, you guessed it, a newspaper. 

It helps to explain why there was so much interest in Edmund, but we never did get an answer to how Mildred and knows the killer. 

What was immediately striking was the way Edmund softened up when he met Mildred. This was not the person from the opening scene who carried out the heinous crimes against the priests. 

Finn Wittrock as Edmund - Ratched Season 1 Episode 1

This was a man in who was genuinely hurting. Did he act impulsively when he carried out the murders, or was it a well-calculated attempt to get some revenge?

Edmund told the priest about his mother, and what dark fate was her undoing, so are we to assume he was telling the truth?

The likely scenario is that Mildred and Edmund are siblings, and they are both a casualty of some crimes in the past that shaped them into the mentally unstable duo that are in Southern California in 1947. 

For now, Edmund is safe as long as he gets to spend the full 120 days in the treatment facility, but that's a big if. 

Nurse and Patient - Ratched Season 1 Episode 1

Nurse Bucket is going to be all over the care of Edmund because, let's face it, her staff was unexceptional before Mildred arrived. 

One of them was sleeping with patients, while another was blowing bubbles with gum. Bucket struck me as the type of person who ran a tight ship, but she's really not that good at her job. 

She knows Mildred is up to no good and could tell as much from the jump, so they are going to butt heads throughout Ratched Season 1. If they continue to have the same energy in their fiery exchanges as they did in the opener, then I'm all for it. 

Mildred sucked all the attention away from everyone else, and that could be attributed to the powerhouse performance of Sarah Paulson. 

Making a Move - Ratched Season 1 Episode 1

Mildred took some big chances in order to garner the praise she needed so that Richard could not get rid of her. 

Agreeing to hire her is going to come back to bite him. The hospital was falling by the wayside, but his chance meeting with Governer Milburn, allowed him to get some much-needed attention for his institution. 

Gwendolyn recognized the passion in Richard while speaking about the hospital, but it's obvious she recognized the immense opportunity to use it as the face of the Governor's re-election campaign. 

Everyone was going to be talking about it because of Edmund's arrival, so why not kill two birds with one stone? 

Corey Stoll on Ratched Season 1 Episode 1

Gwendolyn also picked up on Mildred telling George to get his hands off her, so she understands there's a lot more going on beneath the walls than anyone could imagine. 

Mr. Salvatore dying so soon was tragic, but this was a much-needed moment of warmth from Mildred. Everyone was lying to him about the furlough, to the point that it was making him more deranged. 

Mildred did not want him in pain or to be manipulated because she figured he was a decent enough man, and wanted him out of his misery. 

We have a three-dimensional antihero at the wheel of this story, and it is so much fun to watch. 

Sarah Paulson is Ratched

The only character I'm not sold on is Charles. Corey Stoll is a phenomenal actor, but his character felt monotonous at the best of times. 

The way he smolderingly stared at Mildred at the motel was bizarre, but at least Mildred opted to put him in his place for it. 

Their meeting in the room was a strange scene, largely because of the way Mildred acted. Was this a genuinely vulnerable moment, or was it a calculated attempt to learn more about him?

All told, this was a successful premiere. It was bursting at the seams with thrills and chills. 

Ratched Season 1 Poster

What did you think of it, Ratched Fanatics?

Are you sold on the hospital setting? Did you expect more from the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest prequel?

What is your theory for the relationship between Mildred and Edmund?

Hit the comments below. 

Ratched Season 1 is streaming globally on Netflix. All eight episodes are available. 

Pilot Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (1 Vote)

Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ratched Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Clerk: Here's that map you asked for, ma'am.
Mildred: Thank you.
Clerk: May I ask why you're headed to Lucia?
Mildred: That seems like a rather personal question now, doesn't it?
Clerk: Sorry.
Mildred: Clearly, your tumescence has distracted you, sir. I recall asking for today's local paper.
Clerk: Oh, sorry. Here you go. Yeah, it's big news around here. Everybody's up in arms. A fella cuts up a bunch of priests and they ship him up to Lucia. Hey, that's where you're headed. You're not some sort of journalist, or something, are you?
Mildred: You should bathe more often. Your finger nails are filthy.

Bucket: Where did you get this?
Mildred: You must be the head nurse. Mildred Ratched.
Bucket: I didn't ask what your name was. Where did you get the letter?
Mildred: Why, it was sent to me.
Bucket: That's where I'm confused because there is no one in his office, except for Dr. Hanover and myself. I didn't send that, and I can assure you, that isn't Dr. Hanover's signature.
Mildred: I have come quit a long way, and would just like to speak with him.
Bucket: Dr. Hanover is out of the office until later this afternoon. If you'd like to leave a number...
Mildred: If you don't mind, I'd prefer to wait here.
Bucket: He'll be gone some time.
Mildred: You just said he'd be back in the afternoon.
Bucket: It could be longer.
Mildred: Then it could be shorter by your own logic. I truly don't mind waiting. I have nowhere else to be.
Bucket: Very well.