10 unanswered questions from Netflix’s ‘Ratched’ finale

Even though the premise of Ratched, an ostensible origin story for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’s infamous Nurse Ratched, requires its famous protagonist to end up in a familiar place, the first season of the Netflix show managed to end on a surprising cliffhanger. Its finale showed that Mildred escaped to Mexico with her girlfriend Gwendolyn to live happily ever after, which lasts until her brother Edmund calls to remind her he’s coming for her blood. 
Ratched will return to Netflix, given the show received a two-season order from the start; these are the most burning questions left open at the end of Season 1. Season 2 might answer them. Or not. Seriously, who knows? 
1. Who ratted out Mildred’s location to Edmund?

Ratched’s finale sets up an inevitable Season 2 showdown between Mildred and Edmund by revealing that Edmund knows all about his sister’s secret hideaway in Mexico. After Edmund murders seven nurses in Chicago to get Mildred’s attention, he calls and tells her that she (and her partner Gwendolyn, most likely) are next on his list. Mildred responds with a threat of her own, but privately wonders who could have told Edmund where to find her. 
Nurse Bucket knows where Mildred and Gwendolyn live, since she comes to visit earlier in the episode, and the season’s final moments show that Edmund is traveling with his split-personality liberator Charlotte Wells and Betsy’s sometimes friend/Mildred’s former landlady Louise. One of these characters might have slipped up, but it’s unlikely Nurse Bucket would have told the notoriously unreliable Louise where to find Mildred and equally unlikely that Mildred is still in contact with Charlotte. Someone spilled the beans, and whoever they are should probably watch their backs come Season 2. 
2. What was the clue in the Chicago nurse massacre?

Mildred knows Edmund is alive and back to his murderous ways when she reads news of a massacre in Chicago. Edmund killed seven nurses as a “tribute” to his sister and says that his actions were “a clue,” but what was that clue? Is it a The Ring situation where Mildred now has seven days to live? Does Chicago hold some special significance for Mildred? Maybe it was just a nurse murder=“I’m going to kill you, a nurse” thing. This is Ratched — it could be deep or it could be literally nothing.  
3. Why is Edmund coming for Mildred in the first place?

Mildred spent all of Season 1 killing, lobotomizing, lying, and manipulating people to make sure Edmund didn’t get the death penalty and he was the one who threw a wrench in her plans every time. He’s obviously not mentally healthy, but if he had gone along with Mildred’s plan and not, you know, murdered a hospital security guard and run off with a candy striper to act out a horrible remake of Bonnie & Clyde, he might have had a shot at keeping his life. 
After he screwed the pooch on that plan, Edmund seemed pretty resigned to dying as long as it was painless — and a painless death was what Mildred attempted to give him. Even a serial killer should be able to see the mercy in his sister trying to spare him the electric chair, but he insists that Mildred betrayed him.
Edmund knows he got lucky with Charlotte coming through to break him out of Lucia, so why doesn’t he do something different with his time? If he’s going to kill anyone, why doesn’t he track down the people who paid his abusive foster parents for his and Mildred’s horrendous “performances?” Or go after Governor Wilburn? Mildred is not the problem here. 
4. How did the gubernatorial election go? 

Speaking of Governor George Wilburn, did he win another term? That electric chair execution was live on the radio and even the announcer seemed freaked out by Wilburn’s vicious behavior at the prison, so was acting like a bloodthirsty tyrant a winning political strategy? Then again, asking if a political figure roasting a man alive for an audience of thousands would disqualify him for public office might be a naive question at this point. 
5. Why did Charlotte rescue Edmund and why is she still traveling with him?

Dr. Hanover deduced that Charlotte’s split personality developed as a protective mechanism to shield her psyche from the trauma of a racist attack. Even after he made progress with separating her original self from the characters she created, she relapsed once after witnessing Edmund murder a security guard who was kind to her at the Spring Fling and again when she killed Dr. Hanover. 
Charlotte returns to Lucia with a new personality modeled after Dr. Hanover and rescues Edmund to “treat” him, but if Charlotte’s characters are meant to protect her from trauma, wouldn’t they lead her away from Edmund? Her fight-or-flight response to Dr. Hanover’s stressful attempt to run away with her triggered her transformation into a violent Jesse Owens–Inglourious Basterd hybrid, so why doesn’t looking at Edmund’s smug face every day remind her that he killed her only friend? 

6. How is Lucia State Hospital still open? 

It’s nice that Nurse Bucket was able to turn Lucia around by hiring a woman doctor, but any mental hospital where a patient died by suicide, two others permanently escaped, one of their own employees killed a party guest, a break-in led to a man boiled half to death, and a former patient returned to escape with their number one security risk would at least be subject to serious review by the board of health. Even by 1940s standards of care for the mentally ill, it’s bananas that Lucia is still allowed to operate. 
Also, they pissed off the governor who held the power of life and death over them for months. Maybe that answers the question re: Wilburn’s reelection!
7. Is this the last we’ll see of Henry Osgood?

Henry Osgood’s pin-stabbing, LSD-dosing days came to an end when his amputation adventure with Dr. Hanover led to the loss of his arms and legs, but he still found plenty of ways to be a prick in the latter half of Season 1. When he had his millionaire mother killed, Henry discovered that she donated half of her money, left the rest to her pet monkey, and required that her son be committed to a mental institution. Since Ratched is a show centered around such an institution, it’s likely that Lucia State Hospital gained a difficult new patient, but will Henry appear in Season 2? 
It’s possible that Mildred’s cat and mouse game with Edmund might bring her back to the hospital, but under what circumstances? Will Mildred finally get to see the results of Dr. Hanover’s biggest mistake? Will Edmund find a kindred spirit and bring him along for his next homicidal road trip?
8. Where is the spinoff for Gwendolyn’s husband?

He was only in a few episodes but Gwendolyn’s gay ex-husband Trevor was a billion times more fun than anyone else on Ratched. It would be lovely to get to know him better in a limited series about his new boyfriend, lucrative job at a law firm, and dedication to packing the most delicious bagged lunches in the state of California. 
9. How’s Dolly’s family doing? It’s weird that they never bring up her next of kin or anything, right?

Dolly was a terrible nurse and obviously had some of her own stuff going on, but it’s messed up what happened to her anyway. Girl had no idea what she was getting into and now she’s immortalized in death as a killer lover who went down in a blaze of not-glory. The fact that she worked at the mental hospital where Edmund was incarcerated and escaped with him in a fit of deadly passion (see Question #6) should have been a bigger deal, since Ratched follows the media circus around Edmund’s case closely in all other respects.
Even if Dolly wasn’t close with her family, shouldn’t they have something to say about Edmund “kidnapping” her and getting her killed? The total lack of response to Dolly’s death made that whole plot line seem unfinished. 
10. How does all of this lead to Mildred becoming the Nurse Ratched seen in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest?

Ken Kesey’s novel and the Miloš Forman film One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest both portray Nurse Ratched as a chilly and authoritative woman who keeps order at Salem State Hospital with unfeeling brutality. There’s still some time to go for Mildred’s character in Ratched to age into that version of herself, but if the Netflix show is intended to reflect or inform one of film’s most iconic villains, there are not a lot of throughlines between the two characters. 
Mildred in Ratched is far from a rule-following menace whose evil stems from her control of her patients’ every move. Giving her a backstory involving sexual abuse, murder, and an inevitably tragic queer love story deflates the cold villainy of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest because it makes her psychologically exceptional; actor Louise Fletcher’s Oscar-winning performance as Nurse Ratched was good because it allowed the audience to see that her cruelty was utterly ordinary. If anything, the character in Ratched should be a lot worse by the time the late 1960s come around. 
How will Ratched connect the dots between Mildred hunting her mass murdering brother and settling down as the ultimate enforcer of order at Salem State?
Ratched is now streaming on Netflix.

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