Spoilers will take the next train.
This one’s going to be a challenge. If you’re a returning reader, you know I prefer to disclose as little as possible when I really like the show, so this one is already getting spoiled with a positive review. That being said, it’s also one of those where you’re either into it or just not onboard for the ride. There are some small tidbits that throwback to the first season, but for most purposes you can actually binge this one fresh without having seen it before. For the most part, it’s its own thing and a separate feel from the first season.
Russian Doll, Season 2 (2022) is created by Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler. Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne) seems to have gone back to living in regular time, that is until the New York City 6 Train suddenly gains the ability to make her travel back in time to 1982. This where she finds herself living the life of her mother, Lenora (Chloe Sevigny). We also get to see her mother’s friend Ruth “Ruthie” Brenner (Elizabeth Ashley) as well as her young self in 1982 (Annie Murphy). Also traveling through time is Alan Zaveri (Charlie Barnett).
It’s actually Natasha Lyonne’s colorful demeanor and personality as Nadia that will either make or break the show for the audience. I found her character completely refreshing. She’s not troubled or hindered by confusion or the usual fish-out-of-water, but rather adaptive and mellow down. It makes for a rather comedic and lively experience to see her navigate her situation and eventually try to make things better. On the other hand, Charlie Barnett’s Alan is full of nervous energy and he tries to prevent himself from changing anything.
It’s rather complicated to explain why the show works for me, but it does. It’s sort of a second chance at lightning in a bottle where Nadia remains as engaging as the first season but the dynamic of the show is different and somehow relatable. There’s a host of other characters that appear in the multiple times that Nadia ends up visiting. Bottom line here is if you end up being amused by Nadia’s antics you will find the show engaging. On the other hand, Alan is less crucial this season and perhaps it was better this way.
Highly recommended with one reservation. Basically, you’re either going to be hooked or be annoyed by the characters here. I think that Natasha Lyonne kills it as Nadia, and I loved the introduction of the other relatives but I recognize everyone’s mileage might vary. The story can become a bit complex to follow casually, but I casually is the better way to enjoy it. Worth a watch for audiences who don’t mind the unusual and quirky, and perhaps even a second watch.
That will do for now.