For those who were instantly hooked on 2019’s time-bending head-scratching comedy-drama Russian Doll, hopes are raised for what mysteries lie in its newly released second season! Considering just how many time loops were in the first season, it could be best for a recap before you watch the new season.
**Spoilers for Season One ahead!**
One thing you should remember about Russian Doll is the basic storyline of Nadia, played by Natasha Lyonne who gets trapped in a time loop. It’s her 36th birthday and she’s out celebrating when she gets hit by a car and dies, only to wake up in the bathroom of the party to start the night over. Everything seems all well and good as she survives through the night and even makes it to the next day until she falls into an open cellar door. I think we all know someone that clumsy, or rather…knew.
It’s at this moment that things start to go downhill for Nadia as she then dies again and again, in ways that get more peculiar and disturbing. She tries to track what’s happening back to drugs, to a peculiar man in the park, and finally gives in to the inevitable existentialism of her whole predicament.
Nadia is trapped in a faulty elevator halfway through the season. The elevator stops before plunging into a free fall. While everyone else panics, the man next to her remains strangely calm.
The calm man is Alan, played by Charlie Barnett, and from this moment onwards they move through the loop living separate lives but also growing closer as the only two people in the world who understand each other as they seem to be the only ones that remember the events happening in every loop. Together they realise that they’re dying at the same time and try to trace this link back to their first deaths when Nadia was hit by the car and Alan jumped off the roof of a building.
The pair slowly become the essential components of Russian Doll. They have sex, they fight and then come back for each other.
We see Nadia continue through the loop and start to revisit her childhood with her unstable but still loving mother Lenora. In the present, Lenora’s friend Ruth fills in as a mother figure for Nadia. Ruth is the only person who can understand Nadia’s loss as she witnessed Nadia and Lenora’s relationship first-hand.
Lenora starts off being the ideal loving and compassionate mother with Nadia, but you can see her struggles with bringing up and mothering a child and after an argument, with Ruth, she shatters various mirrors in their home. Eventually, Lenora loses custody of her daughter and later commits suicide.
Nadia consistently struggles with Lenora and the years they could’ve spent together and it haunts her even to this very day. Nadia struggles in the time loop, questioning her whole identity and perception of herself, and tries to seek comfort and answers through thoughts of her mother, but the memory of her mother can’t provide this for her.
By this point, time has become increasingly tedious. Differences in the loop become more apparent every time it resets. She discusses with Alan that linear time, as they once knew it must still exist somewhere because fruit seems to glitch and seem to be rotten. Alan and Nadia then return to the deli on the night they met and plan to die again and again until they can recreate the perfect circumstances for escape.
As each loop passes by, Nadia finds that there are fewer and fewer people at her birthday party, which leads to the conclusion that they could be disappearing due to the damage to time, but this theory quickly comes to an end as by the end of the episode things seem to be back to normal, other than the fact that that she and Alan are still trapped.
The season ends with Alan and Nadia in contrasting universes where one of them no longer recognizes the other which is sad but at least they are alive and free. The question still remains though as to how and why the time-loop was created and what lies next for our main characters?
Will you be watching season2 of Russian Doll? What were your thoughts on the first season? Let us know in the comments below.