Does Nadia go back to 1982?
Episode 7 of Russian Doll Season 2 begins with Alan incredulous over what Nadia has done. He points out that she’s collapsed time to the point that they’re back where they started from. They’re stuck, with Alan angry and annoyed that while he’s “followed the rules of the train”, she’s succeeded in doing no such thing, collapsing time and causing absolute havoc for them all.
Alan believes that they need to take baby Nadia back, while Nadia is optimistic and believes that they should explore all their options. With all the people around them collapsing into pure chaos, Alan urges Nadia not to be so selfish and head back.
Out on the stairwell, a whole army of Ruthie’s begin heading up the stairwell. This is the point that Nadia realizes what she’s done, as she’s stuck in this loop and everything is just going to spiral into an existential crisis that she may not be able to escape. Eventually Alan convinces her to head back to the 80’s and bring the baby back. Only, there’s another problem.
What happens with Horse? Why has the train stopped?
Down on the subway station, the train doesn’t show up. When they notice a worker in the distance, Alan and Nadia follow him… only to find out it’s actually Horse. The train 6622 is the one Nadia is after and apparently it’s at the end of the line. After handing over some money to a grateful and opportunistic Horse, they make it aboard her train. It’s the right model but for some reason the train has been stopped for 30 minutes now.
Everybody aboard this train are heading off to Ruth’s funeral. It’s April 30th, and Nadia is shocked that time has passed. “Grief doesn’t move you in a straight line” Lizzy says, but realizing that Ruth is going to die alone is enough for Nadia to head fof the train carriage and try to make sense of what’s happening. Interestingly, the train starts moving again when she walks with Alan. It would appear that the train stopping is more to do with Nadia, allowing her to “catch up” with events that have currently occurred with Ruth’s death.
Anyway, Alan tries to convince Nadia not to let grief consume her, bringing up his own journey about trying (and failing) to save Lenny from his fate in Berlin. Funnily enough, Nadia uses that Coney Island metaphor Chez originally told her, but as they both confront their own fates, we’re given a similar split-screen experience to season 1 when a train fast approaches and appears to hit them both.
How do Alan and Nadia escape The Void?
Nadia and Alan find themselves thrown out of their respective timelines and into a place called The Void, a sort of gateway between life and death. Their watches aren’t working and Nadia (plus her baby self) are stuck. Alan is also stuck too, and he ends up speaking to his own grandmother, who appears and offers him some encouraging words to take forward with him. Agnes points out that she helped Lenny escape. She encourages Alan to find happiness himself, and stop living in fear. Agnes tells him to follow the blue light and make his way out of this perpetual limbo.
Meanwhile, Nadia is given a choice between the bag of gold or baby Nadia and the future of time itself. Tough choice! Anyway, Nadia eventually realizes what’s really important as she finds herself on the train carriage once more. All the family are there, in various stages of their lives, as Nora sits and talks to her daughter about fate.
In Nadia’s version of The Void, she’s asked about her own family and whether she’d choose them if she had the choice. Looking around at the other family members, Nadia makes her choice and decides that yes, she absolutely would.
After handing over baby Nadia, our protagonist finds the lights flicker and frazzle, eventually coming back on as she finds herself back in 2022. Horse is there, briefly, and after looking at Nadia outside in the street, heads off skipping into the night laughing.
How does Russian Doll season 2 end?
Nadia makes it to Maxine and Lizzy’s place, where a crowd have gathered for Ruthie’s wake. A beautiful montage is playing up from the projector, while Alan is there too. Nadia and Alan give each other a knowing glance. For Nadia, she heads into the bathroom and finds herself back where she started at season 1, only this time with far more understanding and appreciation for her family.
The Episode Review
So Russian Doll bows out this messy and somewhat turbulent season with a fitting conclusion and a nice way of tying everything together. Sure it comes at the expense of some contrivances involving the train and a bit of uncertainty over how this time traveling train actually works, but it’s a satisfying watch and the mix of sci-fi, drama and comedy makes for another decent watch all the same.
Seeing Nadia faced with all those dead versions of herself was a really nice way of contextualizing the first season’s time loop, although I must confess I thought they’d tie that into this season a bit more. However, the main theme here is family and for that, Russian Doll does a good job with Nadia’s storyline. Alan though? Not so much.
Alan’s story almost feels like an afterthought here, rather than a genuinely important piece of the puzzle. We were never really told about the rules of the train early on either, and how Nadia ended up in Budapest is a bit of a stretch too. I guess, Alan’s reveal that they’ve “leveled up” seems to ring true?
Beyond that though, season 2 of Russian Doll doesn’t quite have that same spark the first season had in abundance, but it’s a compelling watch all the same. It also leaves the door open for a potential third season, should Netflix decide to renew this one. For now I guess we’ll have to wait and see what the future has in store for our characters.