Russian Doll is a very specific Netflix series that I wrote about in connection with its debut in 2019. Now, three years after the premiere, the production returns with a new season in which the main character, Nadia (Natasha Lyonne), will again be put to a serious test of fate. This time we return to Nadia on the occasion of her 40th birthday – the closer to the jubilee, the stranger things begin to happen to a woman, and they will be initiated by – it would seem – a completely innocent, routine subway ride.
After Season 1’s premiere Russian Doll I had the impression that a possible continuation would cut the coupons from something that had already worked. It turns out, however, that in the new series, the creators focus on a theme other than getting stuck in a time loop. This time Nadia will travel in time, and in this case the already mentioned subway will become the vehicle. After an initial shock, the heroine begins to see a new challenge in this adventure and tests her abilities more and more, going back decades in time. The woman is determined to learn about her and her family’s history and – as it turns out soon – will have to show a lot of self-denial in order not to mess up too much in the past.
The decision to depart from the looping theme is in a sense right – thanks to the plot being directed to a completely different path, we do not have the impression of being redundant; We don’t feel as though we’re looking at the same thing, or that the source material has already run out. On the other hand, the new formula proposed by the series slightly distances it from the series number one – the story seems to be something strange, different, and if it were not for the main character and her friends, there would not really be much connection between this season and the opening installment. Just like in 2019 Russian Doll she surprised with an unusual approach to storytelling, so now I have the impression that it is not as innovative anymore – the theme of going back in time is definitely more common than the one originally proposed; maybe that’s why the new version does not have such a spark or power of attraction in it anymore. Although a lot happens in the episodes, there are no major surprises here – at times it is a bit template, and the consequences of individual actions of the characters are not difficult to predict, if you have seen at least one production related to the theme of time travel. We already have less “wow” effect and fewer surprises. Technically, it is very good – the episodes were built very meticulously, the shots are thought out, and the pulsating soundtrack nicely illustrates what is happening and prepares us for the next fictional roller coasters.
Season 2 Episodes Russian Doll they are quite difficult – both in terms of the emotions presented, as well as their very structure and multithreading. I have the impression that the creators have overdid it a bit – the story was probably supposed to be intricate and addictive, but in fact it’s so twisted that it’s easy to get lost in it and maybe even discourage you. The situation is not improved by the fact that the plot was split a bit between Nadia and a bit between Alan, whom we already know from the first series. The lion’s share of the screen time was, of course, devoted to the main character, so even more so – what’s the point of Alan and his own past, which we enter regardless of Nadia’s plot? It is not legible to me; nothing important for the plot follows from this either. An unnecessary complication that does not add color to what is happening on the screen.
Natasha Lyonne is still a great Nadia and looks great on screen. The character in the new series evolves a lot – as it travels in time, we discover new faces of a woman and the emotions she hides deeply. With each subsequent episode, Nadia appears to us as a person more and more sensitive, once deeply wounded, and now, in the past, seeking healing, trying to work through her traumas. The plot of the new series is obviously devoted to her difficult relationship with her mother, but it also goes deeper, to the roots of the whole family. It’s cool that not only Nadia has the opportunity to learn something more about herself, but we, as viewers, receive a lot of material that describes this specific heroine. Everything that happens here builds up Nadia somehow, making her more and more complete.
2nd season Russian Doll this is a more mature release than the one that Neflix presented to us 3 years ago. Initially, the episodes still exude a specific sense of humor, but with each subsequent episode it gets more and more difficult, and the unanswered questions only multiply. The screening does not come as easy as in the first season and I personally had to put more effort into getting through all the plot intricacies. Yes, the level is still high, and the series, compared to other productions, still feels original – but if you thought that the first series was already quite strange and complicated, then I warn you that here it gets even worse in this regard. The viewer’s mind has to work at full capacity to get the most important ideas out of it. I believe it can be daunting at times. Nevertheless, for the overall performance, a very good technical layer and unquestionable ambition, 7/10 for me.
I am looking for reflection in artistic European productions, and in high-budget blockbusters – for spectacular special effects. I like when there is a lot going on on the screen, so epic fantasy and sci-fi movies have an added bonus for me. I have a special affection for the great movie sagas – The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Harry Potter – as well as good horror films and psychological films. I avoid romantic comedies and Eastern dug movies.