Ryan Murphy fans have been busy binge watching the latest series from the prolific producer, which puts his distinctive spin on an iconic character from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Sarah Paulson plays the title character in Ratched, a series that explores the dark origin of the cold and uncaring nurse, revealing how she became so ruthless.
The ending leaves a lot of questions unanswered and sets up a frightening confrontation that could be explored in season two, if the series is renewed by Netflix – something that Paulson herself is hopeful for.
Here’s your full explanation for Ratched’s season one ending, as well as what could come next:
Ratched season 1 ending explained
After concluding that her unhinged brother, serial killer Edmund Tolleson, is beyond saving, Ratched hatches a plan to ensure that his execution is as quick and painless as possible.
Knowing the terrible abuse that they endured together at the hands of their twisted foster parents, she still feels some sympathy for him and does not wish to see him suffer.
However, when Nurse Bucket is forced by a deranged Charlotte Wells to release Edmund, he demands to know exactly where Ratched is and what she had planned for him.
Expecting to hear of a daring escape attempt, Edmund feels shocked and betrayed when he gets word of Ratched’s plan to euthanise him, fleeing with Charlotte in Dr Hanover’s old car.
Ratched passes them on the road and for a brief, haunting moment they lock eyes, and she realises that her foster brother has just become a dangerous enemy for life.
The story then jumps forward approximately three years, with Ratched having fled Lucia State Hospital and started a new life in Mexico with her girlfriend, Gwendolyn Briggs.
Gwendolyn’s cancer, which had once been thought terminal, seems to be going into remission and all seems well, but Ratched still has vivid nightmares of her brother tracking her down.
Ratched’s former rival Nurse Bucket comes to visit the couple and it is revealed that they are now good friends, enjoying breakfast together in the radiant sunshine.
But Ratched’s thoughts again drift to her brother, asking Gwendolyn if there are any unusual stories in her newspaper, a ritual she repeats daily.
Gwendolyn notes the murders of seven nurses in Chicago, just as Ratched receives a phone call from the bar from her brother: he knows where she is and is responsible for the killings.
They have an intense conversation over the phone in which Ratched finally confronts her brother, warning him that while he may think he’s coming to get her, she will in fact be ready for him.
In the closing moments of the series, it is revealed that Edmund and Charlotte are still travelling together, joined by a new accomplice: motel owner Louise, who revealed Ratched’s location to them.
Will there be a Ratched season 2?
With an ending like that, it seems likely that producer Ryan Murphy and creator Evan Romansky are betting heavily on a second season of Ratched at Netflix.
There is yet to be any official confirmation of Ratched season two, but star Sarah Paulson has previously expressed interest in returning to the role.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, she discussed the potential for Ratched to catch up to the events of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest “by the time we’re in season four”.
Therefore, it appears the series could be on our screens for some time if it can find a large enough audience, and a key plot thread in a prospective second season would have to be the face-off between Ratched and her brother, Edmund.