Saturday, September 19, 2020

REVIEW: 'Ratched' - A Dance Brings the Patients Together Before Tragedy Spoils Ratched's Plans in 'The Dance'

Netflix's Ratched - Episode 1.05 "The Dance"

Promoted to head nurse, Ratched plans a dance at the hospital and invites Gwendolyn to be her companion. Lenore makes Ratched an offer.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Ratched.

"The Dance" was written by Ian Brennan and directed by Michael Uppendahl

Ratched has always held the steadfast belief that saving her brother, Edmund, was of the utmost importance. It's the reason why she took a job at Lucia State Hospital. She can adapt to any situation and unexpected reaction. She can always find a way to make it fit into her ultimate goal. Why is this relationship so important to her? The show hasn't really provided a satisfying answer to that question. The show seems to suggest its nothing more than a typical bond between siblings. They love each other and are trying to protect each other because of some sense of obligation. They have to because they are all that the other has in the world. They were both traumatized as children. That led to their creation as people able to commit heinous acts. And yet, those details have only been teased so far. Ratched has stronger relationships elsewhere. Of course, all of those are informed by what she can hopefully get out of them to achieve her ambition of helping Edmund. She can carefully craft any argument to persuade people to comply with her orders. However, she can't control everyone. She can't fully expect people to always listen to her. She trusts that Edmund will because she is the only one coming up with a plan for his freedom. However, he is listening to Polly as well. He sees her as someone who is also offering him that hope. She just so happens to be doing so in a faster timetable. She argues that him being freed to attend the dance gives them a convenient way to escape. They can run away and be together. They have both been swept up in this romance. Polly allows Edmund to feel things again. He appreciates that sexual and romantic touch. Edmund allows Polly to embrace the darkness that she says has always been there. He makes it okay for her to break the rules of society. It's an impulse she has always had. She positions it once more as rebelling against the mother who never trusted her to have any innocent fun. And yet, that may just be a convenient argument propped up in one's own mind to see things that honestly aren't there. Bucket truly believes that Hanover is in love with her despite the constant bemoaning of the gifts and trying to convince her not to go to the dance. Lenore believes that she is the one caring for Henry all the time despite the wealth that affords her to hire others to do so much. People can be self-centered in that way. That doesn't make them foolish though. They are all capable of complex thoughts and actions. Bucket can be delusional about Hanover while still plotting revenge against Ratched for undermining her authority ever since joining the hospital staff. Lenore can enjoy all the extravagancies life has to offer while still being a fierce businesswoman who refuses to be taken advantage of. These woman are all plotting their courses in life. Bucket insists she would be happy with a simple life of domestic bliss. But she is fiery when discussing the woman she projects all of her failings onto. Lenore seeks revenge and believes that will ease the pain that has defined her daily life. Hanover feels at the mercy of all the women who wish to sway his actions. He is spiraling because so many are forcing him to take destructive actions he doesn't believe in. He sees himself as a noble man who is genuinely helping people. He is still barbaric when it comes to some of these therapies. And yet, this episode outlines how he can do some good as well. As a patient, Charlotte's story is told in complete tragedy here with her being introduced at the hospital, receiving a diagnosis, seemingly being cured and tragedy befalling her once more because of the evil that resides within these walls. It's unfortunate and heartbreaking. She deserves some peace and happiness. The world is seen as a cruel and disparaging place though. It just so happens to infect her more than any of the main characters. Sure, Gwendolyn is shot when Edmund and Dolly make their grand escape. Dolly argues that it was necessary. Edmund doesn't believe so. That will only aggravate and enhance the manhunt to deliver swift justice onto them. A government employee has been struck down by a criminal everyone was already willing to give the death penalty. In this moment though, it's a shocking development meant to infer that true feelings do actually exist between Gwendolyn and Ratched. It's a way to escalate the action and throw things out of control for the person who always demands and deserves it. It complicates things because it seemed likely that Ratched was using Gwendolyn to manage the various interests in her brother's case. And now, the argument is quickly transitioning to it being the thing that grounds her. That's a huge transition in a season designed around Edmund bringing Ratched to Lucia State Hospital. Everything that has happened has been a result of his killings. He has never been more than a brute lusting over the attractive blonde. That's simple in a story that is now subjecting pain onto a woman who just wants to be loved and accepted in the world. Tragedy was inevitable. It just seems like violence inflected onto her because of the shocking reaction not because it is the most viscerally sound development for the character journeys. It will truly test whether or not Ratched is indifferent to the lethal consequences for those caught up in her mission.