Alliances are forged as blood is spilled in Ratched’s penultimate episode.
This recap of Ratched season 1, episode 7, “The Bucket List”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Halfway through Ratched’s seventh episode, I was beginning to wonder if the show was wasting Sophie Okonedo. Introduced halfway through the season, she has a few scenes where she plays big, but from then on is relegated to having been “cured.”
That’s until Dr. Hanover, in a cruel dereliction of duty, hides her in a closet, reawakening her trauma and causing her personality to split once again. She flies into a rampage, resulting in her awakening later with a dead Dr. Hanover and blood on her hands.
Look, I don’t mean to be a strict parent scolding the show for irresponsibility, but Ratched isn’t making it easy for me. The Charlotte scenes left me feeling uneasy—not in the “oh wow this is so freaky” sense the show’s creators intended. It’s more that by now Ratched has fully fallen into the worst trappings of the genre. Namely; equating mental illness with violence and murder.
I’m sure the show’s creators intend no harm, but by focusing on two patients who cause a lot of violence, the show unintentionally implies that people with mental illness should be locked up (more information about how these representations create stigma are a quick google search away). It’s a far cry from Ken Kesey’s novel and Milos Forman’s book.
Before then, the episode spends a lot of time on Hanover’s backstory. He suffers from an acute case of being married to the job, leading to him losing custody of his children, and resulting in his employment with Mrs. Osgood. It’s unnecessary to the point where it feels like padding; I’m more interested in the founding of the hospital itself than the string of jobs that got him there, but the writers seem more invested in the Osgood plotline than me.
The best thing I can say about that is that it finally comes to an end. After Mildred cleans up Charlotte’s mess and sends her away on a train, she calls Mrs. Osgood. Unsurprisingly, the head of Dr. Hanover does not please her son, (“this doesn’t fix anything”) and she’s promptly killed off. It’s a pointless end to an uninteresting storyline.
In contrast, having Betsy and Mildred finally unite is a more than welcome development. After Louise snoops around Mildred’s room, Betsy discovers what Ratched did to that priest back in the second episode. When confronted, Mildred decides to come clean. “I’m so tired,” she says, and I couldn’t agree more. While I’m not sure I’m convinced that Bucket would so quickly sympathize with Mildred, it’s refreshing to see a character come clean like this. “We’ve all done terrible things,” Nurse Bucket says, in what seems like a bit of an exaggeration.
By explaining the Osgood subplot to the hospitals’ donors, they manage to force Hanover out (I guess that storyline came in handy somewhere). “I should have never let you into the hospital,” he lashes out at Ratched. In response, she towers over him and says, “I know the price that’s on your head and I’m letting you walk out this door.”
Meanwhile, Gwendolyn says a moving goodbye to her husband. When Ratched arrives, Briggs scolds her for her dishonesty. “I understand that the world has not been kind to you,” she exclaims, but Ratched’s lying and your selfishness have cost me… everything.” It’s great to see someone push back against Mildred’s web of lies, and the conversation only becomes more moving when Briggs reveals she has cancer and does not have long to live. Cynthia Nixon is so good at playing the range of emotions her character feels that I hope to god she stays on the show longer.
As the episode ends, a newly promoted Nurse Bucket announces the hospital’s restructuring. “What about Doctors,” she’s asked. “Honestly, who needs them.”
- Mildred and Edmund’s caseworker pays a visit, and we learn that Mildred tracked down every juvenile detention center until she found her brother. But Edmund lied about his release date, and by the time she returned, he was already gone.
- The adorable Huck asks Ratched to be his “sweetheart.” Not wanting to let him down, she comes out to him. I wish there were more of Huck.
- We also learn that Ratched faked her nursing license, a reveal that, by this point, has very little significance. We already know that she is capable of lying to get hired, and she seems pretty knowledgeable about the position.
Thanks for reading our recap of Ratched season 1, episode 7, “The Bucket List”. For more recaps, reviews, and original features covering the world of entertainment, why not follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page?
Cole Sansom is a writer, filmmaker, and photographer based out of Philadelphia