Spoilers for Ratched season 1, ahead.
The maniacal mind of Mildred Ratched is just beginning to form. That’s the eerie promise at the center of Netflix’s Ratched, which tells the origin story of the titular nurse (Sarah Paulson) who wreaked havoc in Ken Kesey’s 1962 novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and the 1975 movie starring Jack Nicholson.
Season 1 tracks Ratched’s rise at Lucia State Hospital, where she becomes a nurse to prevent the death of her brother Edmund (Finn Wittrock) at the mental institution. Created by Ryan Murphy and Evan Romansky, the series shot to the Top 10 of Netflix’s Most Watched list after its September 18 premiere. Viewers desperate for a second season are in luck, as the show’s already been confirmed for two installments.
During a recent interview with ELLE.com, Paulson said season 2 will bring the misunderstood Ratched one step closer to her villainous reign as depicted by Louise Fletcher in the 1975’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. “We’re definitely doing a second season, but if we were to go on, the plan would be to do about four seasons,” she says. “And in the fourth season, we end up in the Cuckoo’s Nest era. But I don’t believe we will ever find ourselves in the hospital [from the movie], unless it’s pre McMurphy being admitted, unless it’s pre all those patients being there. Unless you want to see computer-generated Danny DeVitos and Jack Nicholsons acting with me, which, I don’t know that that’s the way to do it.”
Ahead, what we know about the next season and when it could start filming.
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The show was set for two seasons from the start.
Rest assured, Ratched fans: a second season is confirmed. Back in 2017, Netflix ordered two seasons of Ratched sight unseen, per The Hollywood Reporter. The show is one of several from Murphy with the streaming service, including The Politician and Hollywood.
Paulson reflected on the first season of Ratched during a recent Harper’s BAZAAR cover story. “We were going for something, and I’m proud of it,” she told writer Roxanne Gay. “It’s an exploration, and it has something to say, and it looks beautiful. It’s dangerous. It’s scary. It’s sexy.”
Season 1 ended with both a cliffhanger and time-jump.
“I’m as curious as anyone to know what will happen in season 2,” Cynthia Nixon, who played Nurse Ratched’s love interest Gwendolyn Briggs, told OprahMag.com. “I’m sure there’s a lot of pathos and heartbreak up ahead.”
The season 1 finale did leave viewers with a lot to parse. Things really kick into motion when Edmund escapes the hospital. He joins forces with Charlotte (Sophie Okonedo), who is diagnosed with multiple personality disorder and Louise (Amanda Plummer), a grisly motel receptionist. The trio treks to Mexico, where they have conveniently discovered Ratched is starting a new life. She’s left her days at Lucia State Hospital behind for a future with Gwendolyn, who was diagnosed with lung cancer. Their happily ever after appears doomed, though, after Edmund is told Ratched planned to murder him.
That leads to a two-year time jump into 1950. Briggs is still alive after her dark prognosis, but Edmund draws near, calling Ratched and threatening to kill her. Despite a dream sequence depicting Edmund stabbing his sister, the demonic duo are both still alive by series’ end. Never one to shy away from a kill, Ratched ensures Edmund that she’ll find and murder him first.
There will be some cast changes.
Considering the amount of bloodshed in the first season, not every beloved character will be returning for the next installment. Paulson, Nixon, Wittrock, Okonedo, Plummer, and Judy Davis as Nurse Betsy Bucket are all likely to return. As are Vincent D’Onofrio’s Governor George Wilburn and Brandon Flynn’s Henry Osgood, who’s destined for institutionalization given his actions in the first season.
Among the season’s casualties were Sharon Stone’s Lenore Osgood, Jon Jon Briones’ Dr. Hanover, Alice Englert’s Nurse Dolly, Charlie Carver’s Huck Finnigan, Jermaine Williams’ Harold, and Corey Stoll’s Charles Wainwright.
There’s no release date yet.
While a second season is confirmed, there’s no clear release date in sight. “Nobody knows anything about season two because Ryan [Murphy], with the number of things he has going on, who’s to know when that’s all going to begin, and you throw in the pandemic and then we think well who knows,” Paulson told Variety.
Her assessment of the situation isn’t far off—both Paulson and Murphy have packed schedules that have been delayed in 2020. He recently wrapped production on The Prom, a movie musical based on the hit Broadway show that was one of the first projects to resume filming during COVID-19. Plus, cameras are set to roll on both Pose season 3 and American Crime Story: Impeachment, this fall. Paulson plays Linda Tripp, the woman who secretly taped Monica Lewinsky confessing to her affair with Bill Clinton, in Impeachment. She’s also set to return for American Horror Story season 10. So season 2 is likely a few years off.
Until season 2 arrives, relive every gory detail of the first.
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