Russian Doll – Season 2 Episode 3 “Brain Dead” Recap & Review

Brain Dead

Episode 3 of Russian Doll Season 2 starts with Nadia on the train, asleep. In fact, she sleeps all the way up to the last stop. She’s still in 1982, groggily stepping off at Astor Place and making her way back to Ruthie’s. The reason for this is that Nadia believes she’s in 1982 for a very specific purpose. But for now, it’s off to the hospital for a baby scan.

Given she’s now adopting Lenora’s identity, Nadia can understand Hungarian a little too, but the doctor’s concerns about getting rest and taking it easy are only made worse by Nadia’s ramblings about the future. Naturally, she’s sent to stay with her grandmother for while.

Whilst there (after drinking some terrible alcohol) Nadia uncovers hidden documents, a wad of money and a passport hidden behind the different photographs in the room. Snatching all of these up in her bag, Nadia skips out the bathroom window (after checking out some cuts on her arm) and makes her way into the library.

Now, earlier in the season we heard about a fabled gold train back during World War II and she’s intent on doing some research on this. Nadia leaves both her name and number to the unenthusiastic librarian before heading back to Nora’s flat. She does also have a run-in with Crazy Eddie but honestly, nothing really happens with this plotline, hence it’s omission from this recap.

Anyway, over in Nora’s flat things go from bad to WTF in a flash. Nadia’s hands appear to have mold on them, she smashes a mirror and then starts itching her arm uncontrollably, only to then squeeze a strange insect out of her forearm.

“F*ck this!” Nadia exclaims, but as she leaves the room, Nora and Nadia separate into two people and they just start talking to one another. That talking manifests itself into researching, as Nadia pores over the hidden documents she found earlier in the episode.

Within this, she finds images and information about the gold train, courtesy of Ethel Sorter phoning from the library to update on what the origins for this actually are. Now, it would appear that this train stems from the Schutzstaffel, who sought to evacuate the possessions of Hungarian Jews during World War II .Everything of value was handed over, including paintings and jewelry. Each family were issued a receipt to promise they’d get the belongings back… but they didn’t. The train was lost in 1945 but it’s presumed that soldiers took off with the gear and kept it for themselves. So knowing that the train is real, Nadia sets out to uncover the train. Only…there’ a problem.

Police are called and Nadia is naturally locked up for being crazy. Given she’s seeing her mum – who the doctor confirms isn’t actually next to her after all – Nadia appears to be having a breakdown. The same breakdown we know Lenora had in the past, one can assume. That seems to be the general thinking here, as Nadia escapes the hospital and heads on the train back to 2022.

Back home – and in 2022 no less – Nadia uncovers another hidden document, once more behind a photo frame but in her own apartment. She quickly realizes that this is the gold train receipt, signed off by Kapitany Marton Halasz. It appears that Nadia is bound for Budapest, intent on finding this gold and righting the wrongs of the past.

The Episode Review

The third episode of Russian Doll starts to deepen the ties to the past – and the connection with trains too. Given it’s a train that’s sending her back to 1982, it seems fated that this fabled gold train is where the story is currently gearing up toward. Will Nadia manage to change the past and save her own mother’s fate? And how will that impact the family at large?

It would appear that everything is connected and happened this way, especially if Nora’s mental breakdown is anything to go by. It’s a nice way of tying everything up and making clever use of the time travel which, so far at least, has been worked effectively into the story without too many plot contrivances.

There’s certainly a lot to like with this one, although it’s fair to say it’s not quite as tightly woven as the first season was.

Previous Episode

Next Episode

You can read our full season review of Russian Doll Season 2 here!


  • Episode Rating

Leave a comment