Sunday, September 20, 2020

REVIEW: 'Ratched' - Dangerous Consequences Start to Catch Up to Those Who Tried to Delay the Inevitable in 'The Bucket List'

Netflix's Ratched - Episode 1.07 "The Bucket List"

Rivals put a plan into action as secrets from the past surface, and Hanover takes a risk that pays off for Ratched.

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 Bucket List" was written by Ian Brennan and directed by Jennifer Lynch

Death is a clear and concise ending. It doesn't have to be the only conclusion in dramatic storytelling. Here, it has absolutely been utilized a ton. It highlights the heightened stakes of this world. It reveals just how lethal every single action can be. But it's also a tool to utilize dramatic flair in a way that entertains while offering simplicity in the end. It's puzzling. It can absolutely be rewarding. Death is the ultimate conclusion. It's the fate that awaits everyone. In dramatic storytelling, it can be inevitable but still heartbreaking. Here, it's clear to see how the various cases of death are deserving and structurally sound. But it's also just as powerful to be in the moment with Ratched and Gwendolyn as they discuss how much of their relationship is real. That moment is full of so much ambiguity. It's unclear if Ratched can even allow herself to feel love. If she can, then is she capable of expressing it and giving herself fully to Gwendolyn? Is Gwendolyn expected to just immediately accept that despite all of the lying that has occurred previously? That has shaped so much of their relationship. Ratched has been reserved and every new detail reveals such a tragic past that only encourages more pain and trauma. Gwendolyn may also be forced to accept this potential happiness as the only fate she can grasp given her dire cancer diagnosis. It's all incredibly complicated and well-earned. This relationship has absolutely had some plotting issues. The show itself can be inconsistent with how it perceives them. Even now, it's unclear what the core ambition is. That's the point. Of course, the show can absolutely muck all of this up in the finale. It feels like so many of these big and dramatic moments are happening in the penultimate episode just to allow things to settle in a subdue way in the finale where no real ambiguity is allowed to thrive. Ratched and Bucket have clashed all season long. And now, they team up to take control of the hospital away from Hanover. All the secrets Ratched has gathered about him make for powerful ammunition for his downfall. This is the fate that he has been running away from for a long time. He believes he is doing incredible work that is changing humanity. He believes he can improve the lives of so many. And yet, his ego is constantly getting in the way. That's not only dangerous for him but for his patients as well. Ratched may not have known that things would end deadly when she allowed Charlotte to leave with Hanover. She saw it as her personal choice. Charlotte embraced the only doctor who ever did anything good on her behalf. He is just running away and using her as an accomplice to escape trouble. It's all about his safety and protection. When the police arrive at the door, he no longer cares about her. He pushes her into a closet despite that being the trauma that split her personality in the first place. It's a prison of his own making.

Hanover's death allows Ratched to collect the bounty Lenore placed on his head. That's satisfaction she thought she needed in order to move on as a family with her son. He too sees the need for lethal repercussions for what was done to him. He blames his mother for welcoming such a devious influence into their house. This corner of the show has always been elaborate and over-the-top. It's for the pure comedic relief of realizing Lenore donates half of her estate and leaves the rest to her monkey. Henry is right to claim she loved the animal more than him. It's a cruel twist of fate. However, it's not the core drama that engages the narrative. It's useful filler trying to reveal more complexity that never was. Ratched always had to be on top of everything. She did so because of her belief she needed to save her brother. She doesn't need to honor that promise. He is responsible for his own choices. He may not deserve the death penalty. That punishment is inhumane. Bucket agrees that he should be studied to advance the profession. But again, death is a clear and concise ending. It allows the public to go to sleep under the assumption that this evil has been eradicated from the world. It's still a broken system that treats far too many people unfairly. That will more than likely be Edmund's fate though. He could never escape it. Neither could any of the other characters who have died this season. That was set up for them long ago. It was the only outcome. Sure, that grew repetitive and annoying. It makes the series seem limited in its ambition. However, it's also valuable to see Ratched accept that she isn't her brother's keeper. Only one voice could have told her that. Would she have accepted that as the freeing message its meant to be if it was coming from Bucket? Would Gwendolyn's expression of it have mattered? It had to be the case officer who cared about them as children. She knew them before too much of the damage was done to their psyches. The show still plays up the fact that Ratched lies about everything. That makes her untrustworthy. So much is revealed here about her being unqualified to serve as a nurse. It doesn't matter. She has the information to hold power and wield it to her advantage. That may catch up to her eventually. At the moment, she shares some kindness by helping Huck. That's good enough. She pleads her love to Gwendolyn. That may be fleeting. She helps Bucket regain control. That's self-preservation to evade paying for what all she has done throughout her adult life. It's a delicate balance. One that trims down its players here. And now, the final sentence has to be written. It will determine whether or not Ratched can truly detach herself from the mission that once filled her with so much drive.