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Ratched Season 1 Episode 5 Recap/Explained

September 18, 2020
5 min read

According to Ken Kesey, the author of the 1962 original novel ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’, the creation of Nurse Ratched was inspired by his experiences with the head nurse of the psychiatric ward where he was previously employed. Their paths crossed years later, and he found her to be “much smaller than I remembered, and a whole lot more human.” Ryan Murphy’s Hitchcockian thriller drama attempts to bring forth the humanity inside one of the greatest cinematic villains of all time. Episode 5, titled ‘The Dance’, focuses on a spring event organized at Lucia State Hospital. Although on the surface, the event is meant to bring a sense of normalcy and joy in the lives of the patients, Ratched (Sarah Paulson) has ulterior motives and so does Edmund (Finn Wittrock). SPOILERS AHEAD.

Ratched Season 1 Episode 5 Recap

Episode 5 begins with Ratched blackmailing Hanover (Jon Jon Briones) for the head nurse post. Hanover refuses at first, as this means that he has to demote Bucket (Judy Davis), but he ultimately relents. Ratched then tells Bucket that this demotion is a good thing because Hanover has been in love with her for a long time, and now can pursue her without being intimidated by her position as the head nurse. Ratched then forces Hanover to accept Bucket’s invitation to accompany her to the spring dance.
A new patient, Charlotte Wells (Sophie Okonedo), with multiple personality disorder self-admits into Lucia. After successfully diagnosing her, Hanover promises that he will help her. He uses hypnosis to bring out her real personality, seemingly curing her. Ratched and Edmund intend to use the dance to showcase his insanity and how unfit he is to stand trial. However, then Dolly (Alice Englert) reveals her own plans to Edmund.

Ratched Season 1 Episode 5 Explained

Episode 5 establishes that Hanover is completely under Ratched’s control. In the previous episode, they caused Wainwright’s death. In episode 1, she helped him in disposing of Salvatore’s body. Furthermore, she is one of the few people who knows that he is a “dope fiend.” It doesn’t take much effort for her to make him demote Bucket and give her the head nurse post. And then to placate the other woman, she compels Hanover to agree to go to the dance with her.

Ondine Duquette/Baby Taffy/Apollo the Boxer

We are introduced to Ondine Duquette, supposedly a world-renowned classical musician, while she is hackling some young man playing a musical instrument in the park. She later visits Hanover and tells him that she has been diagnosed with melancholia, which is what depression used to be known as at the time. Hanover gradually discovers that her real name is Charlotte she has multiple personality disorder. The other two personalities she exhibits are Baby Taffy, a young girl, and Apollo, a male African American boxer who supposedly fought in Nazi Germany.

While recording the success of the hypnosis therapy on Charlotte, Hanover breaks down crying. There is a sense of impotent brilliance about him. He genuinely cares for his patients and time and again goes to astounding lengths to help them. But he is unknowingly restricted by the science of his time. As a result, the various treatments he orders throughout the season can be construed as misguided, even cruel, by modern standards. It is because of his desire to allocate his patients the best care he can that he becomes a pawn in the schemes of both Ratched and governor Milburn (Vincent D’Onofrio).

Spring Fling

Ratched and Edmund decide that he will slice open his wrists with the razor she will provide in the presence of both Hanover and Briggs (Cynthia Nixon), so that there will not be any question about his insanity. Ratched’s relationship with Briggs is changing. She is still manipulating the press secretary, but her feelings towards the other woman are becoming more and more genuine. Briggs is elated when Ratched asks her to come to the dance with her.

At the dance, Hanover tells Bucket in no uncertain terms that he is not interested in her, and that finally manages to get the message through to her. Over the years, she has brought him various gifts, from cakes to flowers, to win his affection. She realizes for the first time that what she somehow interpreted as genuine interest was actually derision.

After Edmund is brought to the dance and freed from his shackles, it doesn’t take long for chaos to ensue. Dolly has convinced him that they should elope together. So, he discards his original plan with Ratched and uses the razor to cut Harold’s throat open. He was dancing with Charlotte at the time, who subsequently experiences a relapse. Dolly grabs Harold’s gun, shoots Briggs, and she and Edmund escape together. It is hinted in the show that Dolly always had psychotic tendencies, but they remained dormant until she met Edmund.

Read More: Is Ratched a True Story?

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