Russian Doll is inarguably one of the greatest Netflix Originals ever created. Natasha Lyonne triumphs in the role of an existential heroine, Nadia Vulvokv who is the ultimate epitome of an alcohol-fuelled Manhattanite spewing profanities. Relatable and strange, Lyonne adds an unholy amount of luxurious quirks to the character, making her the greatest Netflix original character.
Lyonne’s character is a lot like Prufrock from T.S. Eliot’s famous poem ‘The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock’, except she is a lot more crude and volatile. She is constantly dealing with the issue of time and getting caught in the catastrophic disaster that sends her into an unending spiral of repeated events on the eve of her thirty-fifth birthday. Drowning in childhood trauma and dysfunctional family issues, Nadia seeks solace in the arms of Israeli joints and alcohol that helps her numb the pain.
Natasha finally realises the freedom her mother talks about at the very end. However, she is continuously reliving the same instances, trying to find answers to complicated questions. Her rage, flaws, apathy and desperation make her human. She has a brilliant and memorable storyline and finds a co-passenger in Charlie Barnett’s Alan who is trying to recover from his own heartbreak.
While her journey through the 25-minute episodes is memorable and hilarious, Nadia nestles in her deep-seated pain and agony. Her battle with trauma and guilt is not sugar-coated within the narrative. While the first season ends on a hyper-real note and shows her carving out a niche space for herself in the vast heterotopic diaspora of New York, Nadia survives the catastrophe of time, space and existential dread. She is coming back for a second season and we have certain expectations from her character arc.
Created by Lyonne in addition to Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler yet again, the second season will have eight more episodes and will also star Annie Murphy alongside the rest of the cast members. Lyonne has hinted at a more “bizarre” and explosive season where the questions regarding parallel dimensions and alternate realities will gain prominence. While it is all a hallucinatory effect of Nadia’s addiction and substance abuse or real-life events, will be answered this season. Perhaps Alan is just a figment of her imagination? Perhaps Nadia has really died? One will never know. Since the first season came to a proper end, the events of the second season seem more unpredictable.
However, the trailer is pretty interesting. It shows Lyonne’s character travelling through time in a transit system as a montage of snippets flashes by in a flurry. They include instances of her walking up the stairs into what seems to be a graveyard, Nadia falling down the stairs, Barnett sporting a toothy smile with his distinguished moustache and others.
In the end, Nadia is seen saying, “when the universe fucks with you, let it,” before taking a shot. The trailer also shows the infamous bathroom door with the time loop portal towards the end. Interestingly, the time loop is shaped like a woman’s vulva which could indicate the references to rebirth and mortality which are all interlinked. The graveyard sequences make us wonder if Nadia enters a parallel dimension or perhaps gets to visit her childhood to find closure to all the unresolved trauma and tension.
Lyonne has hinted at how the show would “continue to explore existential thematics through an often humorous and sci-fi lens” where the leads will find “fate even worse than endless death”. They will journey “deeper into their pasts through an unexpected time portal located in one of Manhattan’s most notorious locations” to experience an “ever-expanding, era-spanning, intergenerational adventure”.Whether Nadia will get to confront her mother and Alan, his girlfriend will be revealed this season.
Fans are excited to be a part of this “wild ride” which is imbued with the genius of the showrunners. Russian Doll season two is scheduled for an April 20th, 2022 premiere.