Episode 6 of Russian Doll Season 2 begins with Nadia back in 1982, occupying Lenora’s body and about to give birth. If you’ll remember, the last time we saw Lenora, she was in the institution and escaped for the train. Nadia wandering through the carriages (and time periods) at the end of episode 5 has essentially ended in her occupying a less than ideal scenario.
Everyone is there for Nadia though, including Ruthie and Delia, who join her and offer some encouraging words as Lenora pushes her baby out in record time. In a season with a time traveling train and gold heirlooms, this is definitely the most unrealistic part of the show!
Anyway, Nora eventually wakes up in hospital to find Chez there, drinking and offering some suggestions on how to make a quick buck. When Ruth, Vera and Delia appear, he’s ushered out the door. In doing so, the women start talking amongst themselves, believing Nora is not cut out to be a mother in her current state and she needs to go to the institution.
Well, Nadia is having none of that and scoops up baby Nadia and heads down to the subway. There’s no stopping her now, as our protagonist sits on the northbound train and heads across to 2022. On the way back, Maxine phones and informs Nadia that Ruth has been brought in with a blood clot in her lung.
Nadia makes it to the hospital, where Lizzie and Max are quite happy to take care of baby Nadia while adult Nadia heads in to find Ruth. She’s not dying after all, given she’s inexplicably jumped back to a week before her 40th birthday. And at the same time, Nadia is also in the present.
If you’ve reached this point, Russian Doll hits us with a completely destruction of time itself, as it would appear that the timelines are collapsing thanks to Nadia taking her younger self out of the correct time period. As time continues to implode in on itself, Nadia finds herself exploring more of this crazy time-leaking hospital, with different versions of Ruth strewn all over the place.
Nadia eventually heads down to the mortuary where she finds numerous body bags, all of which containing Nadia. Now, someone far wiser than myself may correlate this to the number of times Nadia died in season 1, but without going back and counting every death, I’d imagine this is pretty accurate. There’s also one of Alan too.
Meanwhile, in East Berlin 1962, Agnes is stopped at the station when she tells the officer that he’s bound for West Berlin. She doesn’t have the clearance to go unfortunately, and as such Agnes is told to head home. After getting on the train, Alan finds himself lost in time as well, thanks to Nadia bringing her younger self out of the correct sequence of events.
All these timelines begin to converge together, with a trippy montage of visuals and different events overlapping over one another. Numerous Oatmeals jumping on a counter at the shop; Alan finding Ferran stumbling with a drunk Alan through the park; Nadia rushing to Alan’s apartment; then eventually they find one another. In the chaos, Alan and Nadia eventually come face to face, in the very bathroom where season 1 saw Nadia start her time loop adventure.
The Episode Review
The depiction of time imploding and causing chaos, merging all these time periods together would have been far more effective had we not seen Nadia just randomly walking through train carriages and experiencing the same phenomena at the end of the last episode. I can’t help but feel how powerful these visuals would have been had Nadia scooped up the baby, head onto the train and then found herself skipping through the carriages and jumping into different periods.
However, the idea here is clearly to go bigger and badder than before, and visually the series absolutely leans into that. However, in doing so I can’t help but feel this show has lost some of the tight-knit intricacies that made the first season so engrossing. It was your typical Groundhog Day/Happy Death Day scenario; a sprinkling of humour and clever wits added in.
Season 2 however, has been a bit of a muddied affair, with time not really changed despite all these big changes and Alan’s journey into the past incredibly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. Either way though, the finale looks set to kick things into high gear.