After three years of endless waiting, season 2 of one of Netflix’s best series is finally back. It’s Russian Doll and it’s still good.
In 2019, Russian doll – a creation of Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler – landed on Netflix discreetly but immediately found its audience. Brought to the screen by Natasha Lyonne herself – the unforgettable Nicky of Orange Is the New Black – Russian Doll is a drama with black humor and a real existentialist theme in the background.
After having found death hundreds or even thousands of times on the evening of his 36th anniversary, because trapped in a time loop, Nadia Vulvokov has apparently not finished with space-times. While taking the New York subway, she finds herself suddenly and without any logical explanation propelled in 1982.
Back to the 1980s
Do not panic, this information does not constitute a spoiler since the plot starts from the first 10 minutes of the first episode. Very quickly, Nadia realizes that this time she is in her mother’s body (Chloe Sevigny), pregnant at that time with Nadia… And she must solve a family enigma that marked both her mother and her grandmother. We won’t tell you more…
While Season 1 clearly echoed an endless daywith its famous time loop, this time season 2 is rather eyeing the side of Back to the future. With this idea of the famous “And if…“Nadia could change (perhaps fix?) an element of her mother’s past, it would solve the family’s problems.
Des Kruggerands, the ex of his mother and Alan
Season 1 of Russian Doll has accustomed us to a certain craziness in its storytelling and the new season is no exception. It is about a legacy worthy of a mythical treasure that has mysteriously disappeared: Nadia’s grandmother, an Ashkenazi Jew, fled Hungary and the Nazis with 150 Kruggerands, gold coins from South Africa, to ensure his future and that of his descendants. But the nest egg would have disappeared. Fly ? Flown away? Nadia intends to shed some light on this.
In addition to being “locked up” in the body of her mother Lenora when she travels in 1982, Nadia has an encounter that is destabilizing to say the least: that of Chez Carrera, played by Sharlto Copley (District 9), a former lover of Lenora, who is also a con man. As for Alan (Charlie Barnett), his co-prisoner in Season 1’s deadly time loop, he too is back but the development of his story arc comes later in the season.
The WTF as a trademark
Russian Doll has never bothered to attempt the slightest explanation of her time travels and pursues this total disengagement with the same constancy. Because we have understood it well, this screenplay artifact serves above all as a catharsis for the characters. A successful bet since, on the spectator side, we care more about the improbable situations in which Nadia finds herself than about the way she got there.
Beneath this seemingly hard shell and behind this irresistible banter, Nadia hides traumas that she herself struggles to recognize. And they are essentially linked to his mother and the disease from which the latter suffered, schizophrenia. Nadia skilfully hides this fear behind her eccentricity, which she wears like a costume. But as she explores it, we discover a little more – as in season 1 – the emotional depth of this decidedly iconoclastic character.
Russian Doll, a series created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler. Episodes seen: 3 out of 7. Available on Netflix.