Season 2 of Russian Doll is a time-consuming triumph

Season 1 of Natasha Lyonne’s Emmy-nominated Netflix series Russian Doll was compelling, original and had a happy ending – so it seemed like tempting fate to try again.

Thankfully, Season 2 (streaming now) lives up to the high expectations.

The first season of “Russian Doll” (2019) followed Nadia Vulvokov (lyonne), an eccentric New Yorker caught in a time warp, repeating the day of her 36th birthday, often dying — by being hit by a car or falling into a basement door on the sidewalk in one memorable horrific episode — before waking up on same morning.

Their paths crossed with Alan (Charlie Barnett), a depressed man who was also stuck in a time warp, and they realized they needed to help each other. Weird, funny, and moving, the show captured a version of New York that didn’t feel like “TV New York,” but rather a grittier, more realistic version of the city, interspersed with quirky characters who often reacted to odd events to casual ones Way.

Natasha Lyonne is standing in a church and pointing at something.
Natasha Lyonne as Nadia in Season 2 of Russian Doll.

Of course, time loops are not a new invention. From Groundhog Day to Happy Death Day. “Palm Springs,” It’s a common sci-fi concept. But what sets “Russian Doll” apart in both seasons is its focus on heart rather than spectacle and the emotions and mental states of the characters.

This show is sci-fi only in that it plays around with time travel; it’s not remotely about explaining how time travel works. Season 2 (with Lyonne as showrunner, alongside starring, producing, writing and directing) goes even further into the characters’ psyches by sending Nadia on a deep dive into her family’s past. Somehow, the 6 train sends her back to 1982, where she soon realizes that she is pregnant with herself inside her mother Nora (Chloe Sevigny).

The camera cleverly shows us Lyonne most of the time, but when she looks in mirrors, her reflection shows a pregnant Sevigny.

Chloe Sevigny in a redhead wig on the sidewalk in NYC.
Chloe Sevigny as Nadia’s mother Nora in 1982 in NYC in Season 2 of Russian Doll.
Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) is standing at a bus station in "Russian doll" Season 2.
Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) in “Russian Doll” Season 2.

Nadia’s family history is strained as her grandparents were Holocaust survivors and her mother was schizophrenic, leading to her friend Ruth (Elizabeth Ashley) being Nadia’s main parental figure.

In the 1980s, Nadia is excited to meet a young version of Ruth (Annie Murphy, “Schitt’s Creek”), and she tries to regain the family fortune her mother lost to right past wrongs. For his part, Alan eventually travels into his grandmother’s body in East Berlin in 1962, when she was a PhD student from Ghana.

Natasha Lyonne is on the subway reading the newspaper.
Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) realizes that she somehow took the 6 train to 1982.
Alan (Charlie Barnett) is standing on a train platform in "Russian doll" Season 2.
Alan (Charlie Barnett) in “Russian Doll” Season 2.

Boldly abandoning the “time warp” concept of season one but still embracing a storyline that plays with time, “Russian Doll” creates a second season that feels fresh and new, but still resonates with the original themes of the series .

Season 2 tells a story that unabashedly revolves around generational trauma as it explores the question of whether it is possible to resolve or repair the past. And while it feels like a more scattered tale, it still pulses with a manic kind of energy that pulls you in and creates a show that’s compelling and unique, thanks in part to Lyonne’s portrayal of Nadia as a woman who always wants to be rolls with the punches, no matter how weird they are.

The show is a shining example that the sci-fi genre doesn’t have to consist of laundry lists of nonsensical, fake scientific terms and explosions; It can be used to tell thoughtful stories that address the roots of human nature.

https://nypost.com/2022/04/22/russian-doll-season-2-is-a-time-bending-triumph/ Season 2 of Russian Doll is a time-consuming triumph

Dais Johnston

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