After more than three years, Season 2 of Natasha Lyonne’s Russian Doll has finally arrived on Netflix — with a new Canadian addition: Schitt's Creek star Annie Murphy.
You’ll remember in Season 1 of the show Nadia Vulvokov (Lyonne) along with Alan Zaveri (Charlie Barnett) were stuck in this intersecting loop of repeatedly dying.
Season 2 begins just days before Nadia’s 40th birthday and takes on a different issue of moving through time.
To reveal too much would be a massive disservice to anyone who has been waiting the return of Russian Doll, a co-creation between Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler that was one of the best comedies of 2019. What we will say is that one trip on the subway seems to shift everything, with Nadia discovering that she has travelled back in time, ending up in the East Village in 1982, which opens the door for Nadia to look back at her past.
While we don’t want to spoil any massive surprises for people who haven’t made it through the seven episodes yet, we will say that 1982 is where Murphy’s character comes into play and truly, she’s such a perfect match for Russian Doll. The Canadian actor plays a version of someone who is very important in Nadia’s life, who we were introduced to in Season 1 of the show.
Like every time travel-related movie or TV show we’ve seen, there is always a cautionary tale about not manipulating the past because it often has an unwanted impact on the future, but apparently Nadia didn’t get that message. She explores her mother Nora's battle with mental illness (Chloë Sevigny) and the circumstances around Nora losing her family’s money, and the relationship between her mother and grandmother, Holocaust survivor Vera (Irén Borán).
While initially Season 2 may seem like a completely separate journey down the rabbit hole, there is a link between the days before Nadia’s 40th birthday, and the death loop at Nadia’s 36th birthday, that comes to light as the season ends.
With so much success in its first season, it’s understandable that comparisons have been made, and will continue to be made, between the two seasons, but ultimately it’s a pleasure to see Lyonne’s Nadia again. We missed that raspy voice with wit and humour in this absurd world.
Season 2, while still staying in the familiar aesthetic of Season 1 of Russian Doll, comes to the table with a fresh perspective through an intergenerational journey, throwing you into these existential questions that are still rooted in narrative, story, and more importantly, sarcastic humour.
The fact that Russian Doll still leaves us with the mystery of why these bizarre time shifting anomalies happen to Nadia, and Alan, is certainly appreciated. Sometimes it’s nice to not have everything tied up in a bow, leaving some questions unanswered amplifies your excitement and curiosity.
The originality of Russian Doll is still there, impressive in a time when many complain about a lack of original stories and characters, making Season 2 very worth the three-year wait.