According to the American Film Institute’s list of ‘100 Years… 100 Heroes & Villains’, Ratched (Louise Fletcher’s Oscar-winning portrayal) is the fifth greatest cinematic villain of all time. It was evidently a mountainous task that Ryan Murphy undertook when he decided to make the series on the script about the ruthless head nurse in her younger days. ‘Ratched’ season 1 Episode 6, titled ‘Got No Strings’, focuses on the immediate aftermath of Edmund (Finn Wittrock) and Dolly’s (Alice Englert) escape as well as on the devastation they have left in their wake. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Ratched Season 1 Episode 6 Recap
The previous episode marked the arrival of Osgood (Sharon Stone) in the town. Ratched (Sarah Paulson) has agreed to kill Hanover for her for $100,00 and bring her his head. Episode 6 opens with Edmund and Dolly on the run from the police. They take shelter in an abandoned barn. When the authorities eventually come for them, Edmund decides to surrender. But as he does so, Dolly comes out shooting, kills two police officers, and is killed herself.
Elsewhere, Briggs (Cynthia Mixon) is being treated for her bullet wounds. Believing she is unconscious, Ratched begins telling her the truth about herself but stops when she starts waking up. After Briggs gets better, the two go out on a date, which includes a marionette show. Ratched is reluctant at first but eventually agrees, noticing how excited Briggs is. However, during the show, her long-suppressed memories come rushing back and she has a nervous breakdown. Briggs reveals that she has heard what Ratched was saying when she was gaining consciousness. This prompts Ratched to finally confess everything about herself to the other woman. Later, governor Milburn (Vincent D’Onofrio) fires Briggs and tells her about his plans of bankrupting the hospital by pulling its funding.
Ratched Season 1 Episode 6 Explained
Episode 6 sheds some light on Edmund’s psyche. He has no problem killing police officers or priests but is horrified by the fact that Dolly shot Briggs, whom he considers to be “innocent”. In a scene involving a chicken, it is shown that he has a child-like love and fascination for animals. His hatred for authoritative figures, as we discover later in the episode, stems from his childhood trauma. The only reason he gives up easily when the police arrive at the barn is his need to protect Dolly overshadowing, however momentarily, his sense of resentment for men in power.
The Puppet Theater
From the moment the marionette show starts, it is clear that Ratched is experiencing a vision that is completely different from what the other members of the audience, including Briggs, are seeing in reality. Using the show within a show trope, the showrunners give a detailed account of Ratched and Edmund’s shared history. She grew up during the Great Depression. Her family was financially strapped, and when her mother abandoned her, she was placed into foster care.
Life only got worse for Ratched after that. She endured extreme abuse, with each foster family being worse than the last. During her stay with one such family, she met Edmund, who was also part of the system. Their caseworker, Annie (Rosanna Arquette) noticed the growing bond between them and forged their papers to make them biological siblings. They were subsequently sent to foster homes together. While the abuse continued, they at least had each other.
Annie eventually arranged them to be fostered by a wealthy couple, who appeared to be nice and welcoming at first. In truth, they were sadistic pedophiles who forced them to perform sexual acts on each other for an audience. One night, Edmund finally snapped and attacked the couple who were sleeping at the time, gouging their eyes out. When Ratched got there, Edmund screamed at her to run away, and she did.
The two didn’t see each other for years after that. Ratched is ashamed as she feels that she abandoned Edmund there. It is that sense of guilt that has set her on her current course of saving him from his impending execution.
Read More: Where is Ratched Filmed?