*Disclaimer- In writing my thoughts on the Netflix Series “Russian Doll” I will be discussing the series where spoilers will indeed by popping up during my article. Now that that factoid has been pointed out, enjoy fellow TV Nerds!*
The new series “Russian Doll” which is currently now streaming on Netflix seemed to have come out of nowhere. Well, at least for this TV Nerd. With so many new series coming out daily now along side the numerous amount of tv shows I’m already trying to keep up with these days, I don’t really go out of my TV Nerd way to really know about every new series that is coming out before their premiere date, there’s just simply too many new series to know about them all before they start.
When it comes to that TV Nerd thought of wondering whether to tune into a new tv program or catch up on a show you’re already behind on I can be very much like this “Uh….Yeah… Okay…. Cool…… But I’m already watching too many shows as it is, so I’ll get to watching all of these new and latest tv programs… you know, at some point in time in the near future….eventually”. I’ll either be very much like that with my tv watching decision making when it comes to what to view on the good old tube or I’ll be like “I need a change of TV Scenery! I need a new show! Whatever with the shows I’m currently behind on! Pause on those programs for a moment!”. Or I’ll be like that with my tv watching decision making when it comes to deciding on what shows to watch. And so many exclamation points (!!!!!!!), I know, very dramatic!
In one of those moments of needing a “Change Of TV Scenery!” I turned to a new tv gem on Netflix called “Russian Doll”. I had heard about this series only slightly here and there before it began streaming on Netflix. I knew very little about what “Russian Doll” was about before I began watching the series. I only knew that this was yet another new series going on Netflix, and that Natasha Lyonne was on the show playing that of a lead role. And that was about the extent of my knowledge when it came to this new series.
In a moment of curiosity about this new series I went to watch the trailer and saw that the premise of the series had a “Groundhog Day” like vibe and I was sold. Any time any kind of story where that kind of premise is involved is always going to be a story that I will be interested in wanting to know more about. This set up for a story is one that I will always continue to find fascinating.
For those of you who don’t speak “Pop Culture Dork” such as I, this is a concept for a story where someone keeps on experiencing the same moment in time over and over again, reality as they know it has stopped. As I’m sure many of you are aware of the movie that is “Groundhog Day” (also made into a Musical!), from the early 90s starring Bill Murray where his character continues to relive that of the same day over and over again. Hence, the term “Groundhog Day” was coined, referring to a moment in time where someone is experiencing a moment in their life that seems to have gone in a circular rotation. When experiencing that kind of situation the person usually has thoughts such as “Hey!!!! This already happened!!!!! What is going on!?!?!?”. For me anytime I hear the phrase “Groundhog Day” what immediately comes to my mind is the thought of a day / something repeating. Russian Doll has taken this form of storytelling and modernized it for today’s time. Along the way adding bits of existentialism, charm, wit, humor and cleverness that makes the mind think. And it does that in just the matter of only 8 half- hour episodes.
This route of storytelling can be an interesting way for a writer or writers to tell the story they want to tell. It can also at the same time be a very difficult task to tell a story in this type of manner. The “Groundhog Day” concept can get old after some time with the same thing happening over and over again, so telling a story with an aspect such as this one can be particularly tricky and kind of risky for any storyteller to tell. Because if not told exactly in the right way the story can go from “Oh, wow. Loving this! It’s genius!” to “Okay, okay now. This is getting old. Next?!”.
Being the TV Nerd that I am I knew right away that this was a show I needed to write about and share my thoughts on why this series was such an incredibly special moment on tv. As I was in the process of writing my overview for the series I found myself remembering many of the big moments from the show, while at the same time I also seemed to have found myself not remembering a lot of those smaller, not as in your face key details from the show as well. Seeing how detailed oriented this show was and not remembering every single key detail, I decided to take a pause on my writing for the moment to go back to the show and do a re-watch of the series.
I rarely re-watch episodes of shows or a whole series again, but for this particular series it felt as though a re-watch was essential to writing a good and solid review. It’s a series where everything means something, down to every single moment in the show. And in order to feeling confident that I had the full understanding for what the show was trying to say I felt I had to take that pause on my writing to do that re-watch of the series. And I’m so happy I decide to do that because after my second viewing it had become clear to me that this is a series that you really need to watch more than once to fully understanding the show.
There were indeed some moments throughout the series that I had just overlooked or missed completely during my first time around viewing the show. It wasn’t until that second viewing where I realized how I missed these moments, these moments that had real meaning for the message of what the show was trying to say in its story. Russian Doll is really a very quite detailed series that has such heart and depth to it. It’s not the kind of series where you can just casually watch it only once and pick up on everything in just that one viewing alone. It’s a show that requires a lot of attention and with a second viewing it allows you to watch this show for a story that you’ve already become familiar with while at the same time making you more aware of those moments and key details that you might have missed the first time around.
I will now be putting my TV Nerd thoughts on pause for the moment to actually talk about what the series “Russian Doll” is all about. I’ve separated this article into two parts. For the first part of this article I have written an in-depth overview detailing every part of the series. And for the second part of this article I will then discuss my thoughts on how I felt about this show after viewing it. So without any further ado…..
Show Title: Russian Doll
Creators: Natasha Lyonne, Leslye Headland, Amy Poehler
Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee, Rebecca Henderson, Elizabeth Ashley, Yul Vazquez, Dascha Polanco, Ritesh Rajan, Brendan Sexton III, Chloe Sevigny
Episode Number: 8
Amount of Time Per Episode: Around 30 minutes
In- Depth Overview:
*For Episodes 1 & 2* (Spoiler- Free)
The show follows a woman named Nadia. It’s the night of her 36th birthday. Her friends are throwing her a birthday celebration honoring the day of her birth. Nadia is very much a person who lives her life in that of a carefree style. She has a few solid friendships in her life, but never really gets too attached to anyone. Because as she says “Other people are garbage”. She has does have a pet. A cat she named Oatmeal. A cat that Nadia lets roam free through the streets of New York City. She doesn’t allow herself to ever get too attached to anyone, not even her very own pet. She prefers to having Oatmeal roam free outside vs. being stuck inside.
Nadia is the kind of person who very much lives in the moment. Someone who lives a day to day kind of existence. Someone who doesn’t have a desire to get too close with anyone. She isn’t someone who feels any kind of longing to be in that of a committed relationship. She would rather have a casual encounter with someone than be in a relationship where there is any notion of commitment attached to it.
She likes being alone. She likes the freedom that comes with being a single lady. She doesn’t want to feel stuck with anyone in any kind of relationship, especially one that might possibly result in her having any kind of bond with someone else. The kind of bond with someone where there might be deep or emotional feelings involved. A real and committed relationship is one that might involve having real feelings for someone and that is the furthest kind of thing Nadia would ever want to be involved in.
Nadia has a very small inner circle of people in her life, and she is completely fine with that. She is more than okay with having just a few people in her life, ones that she can really call her friends. She’s the type of person who doesn’t care to go backwards in time and reminisce on the past. If she doesn’t give a two cents for something or someone she’s fine with that because she’s already emotionally moved on from that moment. She either likes you or she doesn’t. And if she doesn’t, there’s always tomorrow to look forward to and the past is going away in a minute, so whatever if something or someone isn’t towards her liking.
That “carefree and unattached to anyone” way of life is how Nadia has lived her life always. That is until up to the night of her 36th Birthday. At her birthday party celebration (thrown together by her friend Maxine) Nadia ends up meeting this random guy. She ends up leaving the party with him. They stop by a convenience store and then head off to her place. After they have their fun, he leaves. She then goes on to work on an assignment for her job from her apartment. Nadia works in the world of video games, for where she is a designer. She is working away on her latest assignment when she sees she is out of cigarettes. She then puts her jacket on and heads back out to the same convenience store she went to just a few hours prior with that random guy from the party. She is a regular at this particular establishment so much so that the cashier Farran, knows her by name. As Nadia is leaving the store she sees Oatmeal across the street. It’s been awhile since she’s seen Oatmeal, and without thinking immediately starts to go in the direction of her pet. As Nadia is making her way across the street she than gets hit unexpectedly in a horrific car accident. She dies instantly.
Then something truly bizarre happens. Moments later Nadia is alive again looking into the bathroom mirror in the apartment where her birthday party is happening. She is very much alive and not dead at all, living the same moment she has already lived before. A scared and confused Nadia is very much pondering the thought of “What the flipping flip is happening?!?!?”. Feeling frustrated, completely clueless and confused for why time would repeat itself on her, Nadia finds herself wondering if she is actually alive now or is she possibly dead in this moment. She is determined to figuring out how to stop this night from repeating over again on a loop. She has now found herself on this unusual journey of trying to get back to real reality again to see a new day of tomorrow.
Overview: (!!!!!!!!SPOILERS FROM HERE TO THE END OF ARTICLE!!!!!!!)
*For Episodes 3 – 8*
When it came to writing an overview for this series I felt the need to do two separate overviews. One overview for the Episodes of 1 & 2 and then a separate overview for the remaining Episodes of 3 to 8. I decided on doing this simply because the first two episodes more or less weren’t that different from one another and the story didn’t change a whole lot during this time on the show.
Then episode 3 happened and BAM! There was a twist! A twist so surprising that it would definitely fall into the category of being that of a “MAJOR TWIST”! A twist that I definitely didn’t see coming, but a twist I seriously was so happy that had happened. Later on I’ll be sharing my TV Nerd thoughts on why I thought this twist was much needed when dealing with the concept of having a “Groundhog Day” like story.
I’ve already previously mentioned how the first two episodes were for the most part not that different from one another. These first two episodes basically showed the emotional fear and confusion that Nadia was feeling after going through life now living on a time loop. Living an existence now where she would continue to die and than moments later would be reawakened to the exact same night again.
At this point she still has no idea why this has happened to her. She finds herself somewhat grasping at straws, coming up with possible theories to explain why this bizarre occurrence had begun. She comes up these possible theories in hopes that this will make the time loop stop. Despite her many attempts with thinking up these possible theories that she hopes will put an end to this madness, none of her theories add up and don’t end up having any substance to them to explain or to stop this time loop occurrence.
Nadia continues to die and die and die, in every imaginable crazy possible way time after time. Afterwards as always, she wakes up again in the exact same place on the exact same night. To say that Nadia feels as though she has lost her mind with feeling the feelings of being somewhat fearful and confused would be an accurate thing to say. No one else could possibly understand what she is currently going through because she is the only one experiencing this issue of time repeating. This night that she is reliving over and over again is a night that she’s already lived several upon several times before. This night and these moments are ones that are no longer new to Nadia, but this night and these moment in time that are no longer new to her are very much brand new to everyone else around her.
Than as one might do throughout one’s day Nadia gets on an elevator. As the elevator starts to move…… (well, as you may have guessed it by now) Nadia has found herself entering that moment of dying, yet again. This latest death is somewhat ironic, one might say.
Why ironic? Well, the irony of this moment of Nadia being on this elevator is simply ironic because Nadia wasn’t meant to be on the elevator during the time when it started to malfunction. Nadia had reached the ground level of the building and was making her way slowly off of the elevator. During this time others were making their way onto the elevator. Nadia than found herself not being giving the chance by anyone to let her pass them in order to get off. Instead of waiting a moment to give Nadia the chance to pass them and to wait for her to get off of the elevator in a casual manner, everyone just completely disregarded her entirely. Despite Nadia showing the obvious impression of how she was in the process of making her way off of the elevator, these people around her still continued to make their way onto the elevator regardless. Which in turn than resulted in pushing Nadia fully back onto the elevator again. It was as though no one around Nadia in this moment even noticed her. Nadia having other things on her mind at the moment, didn’t really care all that much about this lack of common courtesy with an “Eh. Okay. Whatever”.
At this point now the elevator is slowly making its way to moving upward in direction. As it is doing this Nadia notices a guy standing next to her snapping his finger away against a ring box. An annoyed Nadia looks at him without saying a word. Without saying a single word she does give him a look though, that kind of look along the lines of “Okay. You know stop that. It’s annoying!”. The guy looking somewhat nervous stops after seeing the annoyance on Nadia’s face.
This moment on the elevator is a pivotal turning point for the series. Before Nadia entered the elevator there had been three things that had remained exactly the same, night after night. Nadia dies, one. Nadia wakes up afterwards, two. Nadia is the only one experiencing this, three. Those three things have never changed from the moment that time had started repeating itself on her. Than Nadia went on this elevator. Once this moment happened things started to shift, started to change for Nadia. Those three things that had stayed exactly the same from the beginning for her which consisted of dying, reawakening, along with being the only person experiencing this kind of routine had now changed.
As the elevator was plummeting, there was a panic that started among everyone. Well…not everyone. Nadia, of course was unfazed by all of this because this was her way of life now. Nadia was seeing though how everyone else was in utter fear about what was about to happen, and that’s when she noticed something odd.
Nadia was seeing around her how in these moments every single person on that elevator was feeling fear, screaming out for help, feeling scared out of their minds. Everyone expect one person. There was one person who didn’t seemed to be concerned or scared at all by any of this.
It was the guy standing next to Nadia. That same guy who moments earlier had been annoying her by tapping his finger nervously away on a ring box. While everyone else was feeling every feeling of being terrified, this guy didn’t seem to care at all that he was possibly going to die in an elevator. Nadia notices this, and says in her usual sarcastic tone to the guy, “Hey Man. Didn’t you get the news? We’re about to die.”. He then turns to her and casually replies, “It doesn’t matter. I die all the time.”. End of Episode 3, fade to credits.
Nadia had just assumed that she was alone in living a life where time was repeating itself. She was stunned to discover the fact that someone else was also experiencing what she was experiencing. She was in shock at this news, but was also feeling hopeful at the same time. She was feeling hopeful for the first time in a long time. For with the help of this other person maybe they could solve the mystery of why this had started for them and more importantly of how to stop this madness. She was no longer alone in this. After dying in the elevator, Nadia has once again reawakened and is now on a search to find this mystery man.
The first three episodes all focused around Nadia’s character. During this time in these episodes it showed Nadia trying to make sense of her current living situation while also failing to stop time repeating on her. The fourth episode starts off differently as the previous three had. Nadia up to this point had been the main central character of the series, following her on this unusual journey. This time though (Episode 4), the mystery man standing next to Nadia in the elevator who was unfazed by dying is now the person the story has shifted to. It has become clear now at this point that Nadia is no longer the only person experiencing this time loop.
It’s during this time that we learn who the mystery man from the elevator is. His name is Alan and he has also found himself mysteriously reliving the same night over and over again as well. His “wake up routine” starts off with him staring at his bathroom mirror (a moment similar to Nadia’s after waking up) in the midst of finishing up brushing his teeth after a shower. A classical musical melody is playing in the background (unlike Nadia’s wake up music, which is more along the lines of laid back melody in tone) during the moments that Alan is reliving again.
Regardless of having just died (again), when Alan returns to life he seems to be a good mood, even having a smile on his face. He then goes on to say the number of deaths he’s now on (10) with that of a positive tone in his voice. After he puts his toothbrush down, he then sees a fly on the wall and smacks it. Despite his current living situation Alan’s initial reaction after waking up again appears to be along the lines of as though he is fine. He comes across as very calm and collected with his emotions. His “wake-up” reaction is vastly different from Nadia’s. When waking up Alan’s emotional state of mine seems to be fine and intact, while Nadia’s is quite the opposite.
Alan is now fully dressed and starts to put away clothes from a suitcase. He then picks up a ring box that had been placed inside of the suitcase and opens it. It’s an engagement ring. He then closes the ring box, feeds his one fish, puts on his jacket and leaves to go out.
During the time that Alan is preparing to go out, his apartment had been shown around him. It becomes clear immediately during this time that his personal style along with his living habits are far different from that of Nadia’s. Everything he owns is neatly placed in exactly the perfect spot. There is not one ounce of clutter, anywhere. Everything is crisp and clean. Not only are their “wake up” reactions quite different from one another, Nadia and Alan are also quite unalike when it comes to their style of taste in things as well. Nadia’s style is in her apartment is more along the lines of a modern and chilled tone, while Alan’s style in his apartment is more of a traditional one in tone.
Once out of his apartment Alan is on his way now to his girlfriend Beatrice’s place (again). He arrives at Beatrice’s and goes on to lightly knock on the door. She opens the door with a somewhat grim look on her face and it becomes clear within moments that this night that Alan has been reliving time and time again is not in the least like Nadia’s. Nadia’s night (while frustrating to keep on reliving on a loop) is full of fun, friendship and good times, where as Alan’s night is far from that.
Alan goes to Beatrice’s that night because they had planned to go away on a vacation together. Once they had arrived at their destination Alan’s plan was to than propose to his longtime love. But that vacation never ended up happening. It was on this planned vacation where Alan thought his life was going to change. A good change in his life, a happy change. He could see his potential future laid out in front of him. One where him and Beatrice were engaged. Alan was happy when thinking about this future with Beatrice. He was happy when thinking about how he would get to spend the rest of his days with her by his side. Someone who he truly loved and who he thought truly loved him back. Instead of that happy, hopeful future that Alan so desperately wanted to happen, things on that night went in an entirely different direction.
This is the night where Alan’s world turned upside down. It’s on this night where Alan had thought his life was going to go one way and instead went a different way entirely. He had such hopes of spending a happy and wonderful future with the love of his life. Instead of that hopefulness of a future of a lifetime of happiness together Alan saw his longtime relationship crumble right in front of him. It’s on this night that Beatrice and Alan ended up not getting engaged, and splitting up entirely from one another.
The night that Nadia is reliving is a night where all of her friends are showering her with happy birthdays and love. The night that Alan is reliving is the worst night of his life, where he and his girlfriend of several years have broken up. Despite the circumstances of already knowing how his night is going to turn out Alan still goes to Beatrice’s time after time, reliving his break up over and over again.
When time started to repeat itself on Alan he started to think how he had been given now the chance, the opportunity to where he could fix things and correct any mistakes he might have made within his relationship to Beatrice. He doesn’t see this “same night” happening over and over again as a burden or as a problem, but more of a way to try and correct things to get that chance to be a better person in Beatrice’s eyes. Where after correcting those moments he feels he can possibly still get that chance of having happy future with Beatrice. And with every death he gets another chance to reach that possible future of happiness with her. It may take some time and it may take some effort, but Alan is willing to put in the work it may take to make a better future happen.
Alan returns home after another one of his many repeat break ups with Beatrice. He plays video games, eats junk food, and then goes on to fall asleep with a mess of clutter around him. He wakes up the next day, cleaning up the mess he’s made from the night before. Goes on to do a little bit of work out routine from the previous night of junk food eating. Gets a text from a friend to meet up, agrees. Alan gets dressed and leaves his apartment to meet up with this friend.
Alan is meeting up with his friend Farran (the same Farran who works at that convenience store where Nadia is a regular customer). Alan than goes on to tell Farran (again) about the breakup with Beatrice. Farran suggests to Alan maybe he should talk with someone. How maybe talking to someone can help him through this difficult time and give him some direction and guidance on dealing with this circumstance he has now found himself in. Alan tells Farran that he will be fine, that he can handle what’s happened on his own. Farran is concerned about how okay Alan seems to be despite having gone through something quite so upsetting and so difficult. He then looks at Alan with concern and care in his eyes while softly replying, “No one can do anything by themselves”.
After meeting up and talking with Farran, Alan then goes to see his Mother. He goes to see her at her workplace. She notices Alan immediately and asks him several times over if he’s okay and why he’s not at work, that he should be at work.
The subject of his proposal to Beatrice gets brought up. Alan’s Mother asks, “Did she say yes?”. As Alan is about to tell his Mother what happened, he can see her eyes beaming with joy, happiness and hope for this happy news she thinks he is about to tell her. Alan can see this in his Mother’s eyes and can see how happy she would be if she heard how now he was happily engaged. He wants so badly to confide in his Mother the real truth of what really happened, but he ends up just not having the to heart to tell her how everything just fell apart completely. He wants to tell her how he is not engaged to Beatrice. How he and Beatrice are no longer together and have broken up and gone their separate ways. Instead of telling his Mother went ending up really happening he happily answers, “She said yes!”.
Alan doesn’t tell his Mother the truth. He doesn’t end up telling her what really happened because in his heart Alan still has hope that his broken relationship with Beatrice can be fix, can be repaired eventually. Alan feels he how has now been given a chance to do that, thanks in part to reliving time. If Alan were to tell his Mother what really had happened with his relationship and how it is over, he feels as though that by just saying those words out loud will make everything that happened real. He doesn’t want what happened to be real. He doesn’t want to see any kind of disappointment in his Mother’s eyes of how he failed. He’s just not ready to let that be the way things turned out. He can fix this, he’s sure of it.
That’s exactly how Alan’s night(s) had been going since time started repeating itself on him. He had been reliving every single moment of that night “to a T” in exactly the same way, time after time, death after death, same night after same night. His night(s) had gone in the exact same way, every single time. Exactly the same. That was the case every single time that is up until the moment Alan saw Nadia on the elevator before dying that death. The moment after this brief encounter with Nadia is now where Alan’s “same night” routine of reliving the same events of that night exactly in the same manner had now started to slowly change.
Alan and Nadia meet in the elevator. The elevator then plummets downward and they both die. After that Alan wakes up again, as he always does now after dying. Alan wakes up and goes on to do everything in the same manner as he always does. He gets dressed, unpacks his suitcase, opens the ring box, closes the ring box, feeds his fish, puts his jacket on and leaves his apartment to go to Beatrice’s for another chance to fix his relationship.
The first place and the first person that Alan always goes to after waking up is to Beatrice’s apartment, same as always. They talk, same as always. Their talk is tense, same as always. This is the moment where Beatrice admits of how she no longer wants to be in a relationship with Alan any longer, same as always.
This time though, things don’t go exactly “same as always”. Something new happens, changing that pattern of Alan’s “same as always” night. Beatrice ends up making a confession to him. She confesses how she’s been cheating on him with a colleague from work, a professor named Mike. She then goes on to say that she hasn’t wanted to be together anymore for awhile now, and how being in a relationship with Alan had become like work. She says the reason behind never telling Alan what she was truly feeling was that she was worried how he would handle hearing what she had to say because he has such a sensitive soul. She was afraid that he might end up hurting himself if he found out about any of this.
Beatrice’s confession to Alan that she had cheated on him several times was an element now brought into this “night” that was new. Up to this moment Beatrice had never once confessed to Alan that she had ever been unfaithful to him. There was also the confession from Beatrice of her true feelings towards Alan and how she really felt about not wanting to remain in a relationship with him any longer. Alan was stunned, shocked, hurt and angry when Beatrice reveal to him everything that she had been hiding and holding back on.
The moment before Nadia’s latest death which consisted this time of crashing down in an elevator, she had a brief encounter with a stranger who seemed to be living the same kind of existence as she was living. Seeing how they didn’t have a lot of time to exchange names and chat with one another about what the heck was happening to them, Nadia has no clue of how she will ever find this mystery man standing next to her on the elevator again.
Nadia may not know this mystery man’s name, but what she does remember is the logo of the ring box he was holding. The ring box had a clearly visible logo of the store’s name on top of it. After her latest death on the elevator, Nadia is now walking around outside passing by stores when she comes across a store with the exact same logo on their window that the ring box had. Nadia not missing a beat heads into the store and tries talking the sales person into telling her Alan’s name. Nadia says her boyfriend bought her a ring at this store, but she doesn’t remember his name saying how she has flares up where she just forgets peoples names. The sales person not understanding what the heck she is up to asks Nadia to leave. Nadia agrees to go, but before she does she notices on the counter an advertisement for an online app review where customers can review the store online. Once out of the store Nadia looks up this app on her phone, and sure enough this mystery man (Alan) has indeed left a review. She finds his name and from there his address. Determined to meet in person again, Nadia heads out to this mystery man’s place of living. This mystery man who she can now put a name to. And that name is Alan.
After a few unsuccessful attempts to get into Alan’s apartment building, Nadia figures Alan will eventually return home. Until that moment arrives she decides she will just wait for him outside, for how ever long that may be. Surely enough, moments later Alan appears right before her eyes. Immediately he recognizes her. Nadia then goes on to formally introducing herself, as they didn’t exactly have any time to do that the first time they had meet. They formally exchange their names to one another. Nadia quickly afterwards gets to the matter at hand. She asks Alan if he knows anything what is happening to them, why this is happening, and if he knows a way to stop it.
Alan tells Nadia that he has no idea why any of this had begun. He has a theory that they might be in purgatory. Unlike Nadia who desperately just wants out of this bizarre cycle of continuing to relive the same night, Alan expresses to her how he is okay with this living situation for himself. He doesn’t have any desire to get out of whatever this may be. He finally feels in control, and likes knowing what is going to happen. He tells Nadia how his night had been exactly the same for him every time until they saw each other. Alan says how after that moment things have now changed on that night for him, not going in exactly the same pattern as it had always gone.
There doesn’t seem to be an obvious answer to explain as to why the universe chose Nadia and Alan to experience this time loop cycle. Nadia and Alan come across as very different people. Very different people with very different personalities, who don’t come across as having anything in common that would be a possible answer as to why they both are experiencing the same bizarre occurrence.
Nadia is someone who is very much sarcastic in tone when she speaks, whereas Alan is more straightforward. Nadia is a bit messy, whereas Alan is more organized, borderline OCD. They couldn’t be more different in personality and lifestyle, but yet they are facing the same bit of circumstances regardless. Since two minds together are better than one, they must now count on each other to help one another get out of this. Still being very much strangers to one another at this point, Nadia and Alan are now finding themselves in the position of having to rely on a stranger to get back to their real lives again.
Despite having several theories they fail to come up with a theory that can both explain why or to stop what is happening to them. They still continue to die and wake up again in the same spot of the same night on a loop. This cycle is still very much in play for the two regardless of having found one another.
Nadia and Alan then start to tell each other of all the different ways they have die. They think that this might be where they may possibly have something in common that might help explain why the two of them would be linked together in this. Nadia remembers exactly how she died her first death. Alan on the other hand, can not recall how he died his first time. He remembers how he has died every other single time, but can simply just not remember how he died the first time.
When it comes to reliving the same night again, Nadia and Alan have very different experiences of that night for themselves. The night that Alan keeps on experiencing over and over again is a night that he considers to be the worst night of his life, where his relationship ended. Nadia’s night is much more of a happy one (at least until time started going on a loop). She gets to relive a more happy time than Alan has been reliving. It’s a moment in time with friends celebrating her birthday honoring her with a party celebration. Even though their night is very different, they have each other now to lean on to get through it.
Nadia invites Alan to come to her birthday party. At the party Alan sees a familiar face. He sees Mike. The same Mike that Beatrice had cheated on him with. This is also the same guy that Nadia on the night of her first death had a one night stand with. You know, what just a stand up guy this Mike fellow is. This is now something that connects Nadia and Alan. They both have this random connection of knowing this guy, Mike. Does this connection mean anything though? It doesn’t seem to. It just seems to be a mere coincidence.
During a moment of frustration at their current “life situation” Nadia and Alan end up sleeping with one another. The next day Nadia wakes up to go out for a bit. When she returns back she sees a picture of her and her Mother from when she was younger on display. The moment after seeing this picture hung up Nadia spirals. She gets completely angered by Alan moving around her things and cleaning up. He doesn’t understand why she’s so angry because at some point their night will start over again and her room will be as it was before.
When it comes to relationships with their Mothers, Nadia and Alan have very different ones. After Alan breaks up with Beatrice he at some point goes to see his Mother. He is happy to see her, happy to have her in his life. By going to see her during this time is somewhat comforting to him, knowing that she is there even if he can’t get himself to tell her what really happened with Beatrice. Unlike Nadia who at the mere sight of her Mother, even if only in a picture, flips out. Then there is Alan who has a picture of his Mother is his apartment on display in a frame. Alan and his Mother have a good relationship. The relationship between Nadia and her Mother on the other hand, wasn’t one that one might call great or stable when she was growing up.
When Nadia sees this picture it brings up a lot of feelings from her past that she had buried down deep inside. This particular birthday for Nadia of turning the age of 36 meant something to her. It was an age she assumed she would never ever reach. This number, this age was the same age that Nadia’s Mother was when she died. Nadia was only that of a young child when her Mother passed away all those years ago.
After Nadia sees that picture of her Mother and herself from when she was younger she then starts to see her younger self everywhere. No one else is seeing this though, not even Alan. Every single time she sees her younger self Nadia immediately dies afterwards. There has to be a reason for why Nadia is all of sudden now starting to see this. This could be the possible link, the possible answer as to the reason behind why this time loop of the same night had started repeating for her.
Nadia isn’t someone who ever talks about her past. She isn’t one to reminisce. She isn’t one who cares to look back in time. She’s a very private person when it comes to that time of her life and keeping that to herself. Nadia’s upbringing wasn’t one filled with many joyous occasions or memories, especially any moments involving her Mother growing up. When Nadia was younger her Mother wasn’t someone who provided any kind of a support system as someone she could count on.
A flashback shows a time to when Nadia’s Mother was still alive, the year is 1991. During the flashback it shows what Nadia’s life was like back than living with her Mother. It starts with the two of them out and about in the city. Nadia’s Mother is driving them to stores here and there on a trip to get some watermelon. This trip though, is not for getting just one single watermelon or even two watermelons, but loads and loads of watermelons. The more that Nadia’s Mother is shown it becomes clear that Nadia’s Mother is somewhat emotionally unstable, possibly suffering from some kind of mental illness (it’s never clearly stated as to what exactly her Mother suffered from).
Growing up Nadia’s Mother would do odd things coming across erratic. Besides the time where all she bought to eat was simply only watermelon and nothing else, she would do other things that made you question her mental stability. There was a whole entire year where she wouldn’t wear anything unless it was the color purple. There was then the time she broke every mirror in their home in a moment of anger. And finally, Nadia’s Mother even spent all the money that had been meant for Nadia’s College fund, just because. At a certain point it became clear that those around Nadia that this kind of living environment wasn’t healthy for anyone to grow up in.
Despite living life in this way Nadia didn’t want to leave her Mother, she loved her even though life was strange and far from normal. It was decided by a social worker that it would be in Nadia’s best interest for her well being that she would go off to live with a friend of her Mother’s Ruth. Ruth ended up becoming Nadia’s official guardian. Ruth had to remind Nadia (in present time) of this. She had to remind Nadia that she never wanted to leave Mother, that she wanted to stay with her despite everything. When the social worker came to visit Nadia at her home it was clear that this wasn’t a good living arrangement for her, and the best thing for Nadia at the time would be to live with someone who could take care of her properly and be responsible for her well being and state of mind. And Nadia just wasn’t getting that type of proper care living with her Mother at that time.
Before talking with Ruth (in present time) about her Mother, that had been the way Nadia had remembered that time from her past. She had always thought that she had made that choice to leave her Mother, that it was her decision to do that. And in continuing to think that way Nadia had always felt guilt inside for leaving her Mother behind, especially because it only was shortly after that when her Mother died. With Nadia never confronting how she felt from this time of her past those feelings no matter how much Nadia had thought she had hide them, those feelings were always there with her.
This guilt was something Nadia had never let go of. It had affected her outlook of life, along with every relationship she had ever been in. Time passing on by never changed her feelings and her guilt never lessened inside. She always felt that she had a hand in her Mother’s passing because she wasn’t there by her side anymore. Once this had happened to Nadia, she never got too close to anyone after that. Nadia does has a few good friendships and acquaintances in her life, but beyond that never has ever had any kind of relationship to where the other person would really ever get to know her completely, she would never let it get that far.
Nadia would chose her relationships in a certain manner. She would be in relationships that she knew would never last. She preferred ones that she could easily slip out of, ones where she would never have to get too close with the other person.
Nadia’s last relationship had been with a married man named John. John feel for Nadia hard. Nadia liked John and all, but was never ever looking to be any kind of long term relationship with him. Cheating on his wife and having an affair with Nadia resulted in John’s marriage ending. Despite the mess of his family breaking up from having this affair with Nadia, John still very much wanted to stay together with her. His feelings towards her never changed. A part of Nadia seemed as though she wanted to stay with John. The other part of her though, couldn’t ever fully commit to that idea. With everything that she had gone through earlier on in her life Nadia could never get to that place where she would ever allow herself to ever be vulnerable with someone ever again.
Despite possibly having feelings for John back in some way, Nadia at the end of the day only got involved with someone like John for one reason. Her thought process of being with someone like John was the fact that she figured he would never actually leave his family and wife behind, she never thought he would get a divorce. She liked the idea of John because he was someone she thought of as not fully available, and seeing how she never ever has had a desire to ever be in any kind of relationship were commitment was involved she felt this was a perfect kind of situation for her. John being married let Nadia feel as though their relationship would always be somewhat at a distance. A relationship that would never get too intimate with feelings or emotions. A relationship that would never get too serious beyond what it was. Never wanting to really get too close with anyone this type of relationship was one that was ideal for Nadia.
When her relationship with John ended Nadia just moved on, and left that in the past. Where as John felt how that time that they had spent together had meant something to him. John had hoped that Nadia and him would stay together. He had hoped that she would finally get to meet and know his daughter. He had hopes that they could now be a real couple with one another. Nadia had never allowed herself to let this time that they had spent together mean anything to her. At the end of the day she would always prefer to live life unattached and solo.
Those issues to commitment and never wanting to get too attached to anyone can all be connected back to that time of Nadia’s life with her Mother. This time of her life had affected her completely. It affected every relationship she ever had from that moment forward. She chose from the moment forward to be in relationships where there wouldn’t be any kind realness or any kind of depth in the relationship. She never wanted be in that position ever again where someone might get hurt. She didn’t want to feel any kind of real feelings, making herself numb to ever being open to allowing herself a chance at real happiness. She thought that if she were to stay in someone’s life long enough that she would eventually hurt them in some way, and how they were just simply better off not having her in their life. For Nadia, to be alone in life was easier than to feel anything that might result in involving any kind of emotions that could lead to hurt down on the line.
The only other person in the world that knew about this time from her past was Ruth. Ruth was the only other person in her life that she could truly confide in, the only one who truly knew what she went through all those years ago. Feeling how she was in the company of a loved one who truly knew her, Nadia did something she never did. She allowed herself to being open to talking about this subject matter. The moment Nadia expresses all her guilt, regrets and fears out loud with Ruth, Nadia becomes aware of just how much she had held onto over the years. After saying everything out loud and no longer holding onto it internally anymore Nadia recognizes how not forgiving herself and holding onto this guilt she felt might possibly be the very reason for all of this to having started in the first place, along with how this was the night she turned 36. And that can’t be just a mere coincidence.
By holding on to everything that she had felt Nadia had never fully allowed herself to ever really live. She was alive in the present, but her mind was in the past. The only way she could ever move forward was not to forget her past, but to simply not let it completely take over her. Nadia had to confront these feelings and this time from her past with Mother. It was as though the universe was telling her she could no longer put this moment of her life aside any longer, how she must acknowledge it and confront it.
There was always something that seemed kind of odd about Alan not remembering how he died his first death. It was bizarre because he remembered every other single one expect that first one. Whereas Nadia remembered her first death clearly. It stayed within her memory completely. After Alan had rearranged Nadia’s apartment displaying that picture of Nadia and her Mother, an angry Nadia bitterly told him to leave. Alan ends up returning to his apartment and does want he does every night now. He plays video games for hours while he goes on a binge of eating cake and drinking alcohol. This night though Alan doesn’t play video games until he’s all tired out. He goes to his bed and lies down, feeling completely down and truly sad.
After a few moments of lying down Alan gets up. He goes up to the rooftop of his apartment building. He looks down. It appears in this moment that Alan might hurt himself. It’s in this moment of looking down at the ground below him that Alan remembers how he died his first death. He jumped off the roof of his apartment building that very first night before the time loop began. Unlike with any of Nadia’s deaths, Alan’s first death was one made by himself in a moment of complete despair. It is now apparent that the manner in which Nadia and Alan died their first time couldn’t be more different.
Nadia and Alan may appear as though they have nothing in common at first glance. Different personalities, different attitudes toward life, different life styles, but they were similar in some aspects. They both held on to things exactly the same. With Nadia it was holding on to guilt she had felt for feeling that she had had a part in her Mother dying. For Alan it was being that person who always felt that if he put in the effort and always gave something all he had that he would in turn be happy and have success within his life . He never gave up, never gave in because he felt that if he were to just put it that work he could fix anything. That was how he lived his life. He was someone who was always trying to be better and do things in the right way. When Beatrice and him broke up, Alan felt like a failure. He felt empty inside. This was something in his life that he couldn’t save, couldn’t fix. He wanted so badly for things to have gone a better way. He felt himself feeling that none of that effort he put in seemed to have made any kind of difference or mattered at all. He found himself feeling done, feeling he no longer had it in him to try anymore for anything. It was during this time of feeling that way when Alan sadly took his own life.
When Alan remembers how he was responsible for dying his first death, he found himself feeling such guilt and sadness. He tells Nadia that he thinks he must be dead. He feels that he must be the reason for why all of this had started in the first place for them.
Nadia tells Alan that she doesn’t think that he is the reason for why this had started for them. That that doesn’t explain still how exactly they are connected. She tells Alan how during her last loop when she was at the convenience store that she remembered a moment from that very first night. She remembers how she saw him there. She remembers seeing how he looked in distress.
Nadia had noticed how during this time that there was something in particular that seemed to be strange. She noticed how every time she saw a piece of fruit anywhere that it was rotten. Rotten fruit still being sold at stores, rotten fruit still in bowls at peoples homes. She goes to Alan’s refrigerator and takes out a piece of rotten fruit. She cuts it in half. On the outside the piece of fruit appears to look rotten, but on the inside it is fresh. She than goes on to tell Alan that she believes they have been experiencing time on different loops. And that somewhere there is a loop where that very first night still exists.
Nadia and Alan now think that the possibility for everything that they have been experiencing can be connected back to that very first night. They were in the same place at the same time. Two strangers going through the same thing without knowing it. They needed a person to lean on, someone to just be there, someone to help. And knowing what they now know they can be that person for each other on that very first night when they were both in need on someone by their side. By being there for one another during this time they can prevent the original events that ended up taking place on that night for both of them. They can fix it, if just they work together. They come up with the plan that they will meet each other on the next time loop at the convenience store, and be there for one another this time the way they should of been on that very first night. They hope that this is the answer to stopping time repeating on them, and be set free to see a new day of tomorrow.
Slowly people, things and objects start to disappear around Nadia and Alan. Even mirrors have disappeared entirely. Nadia and Alan realize how they don’t have much time and how that possibly the next time they die they might not wake up. They know how there may not be many more opportunities to correct things and realize that in this time they still have before their next death is the time for when they have to confront their past and their feelings, in order to get that chance to get back to real reality again.
Before dying their next death, Nadia and Alan go on to confront what they have long held on to and setting themselves free of holding on to those feelings any longer. After doing that, they are now both emotionally free of what they had held on to. They then both die.
Nadia and Alan wake up again in their respective same spot places, as they always do after waking up. Nadia in Maxine’s bathroom. Alan in his bathroom. The mirrors have returned. Life is back to looking as it always has. Nothing seems different or off.
After their latest death they go off to see each other at the convenience store as planned. They both see one another. They both are happy because their plan might actually work. Then moments after going up to talk to one another something weird happens. Nadia remembers Alan, but Alan doesn’t know who Nadia is. The same thing happens to Alan after he goes up to Nadia. He knows her, but she doesn’t know him. It becomes clear after this that they are living the same night, but are on two different timelines of within the loop. They are both alive, but are in two separate worlds where one remembers who the other one is while the other person doesn’t.
They are both aware of just how important it is that they stay with one another during this time, despite the unforeseen circumstances they have now found themselves in. Regardless of this obstacle, they are both still determined to stay by each other’s side throughout the entire night. Stay no matter how difficult it may be. Especially difficult because of the fact that only person (within their respective loops) is really aware of how the night will end if they don’t stay by each other’s side.
Nadia and Alan hope that with some persistence the other one will recognize that they do in fact know each other, and they are there to help. Nadia and Alan stay by each other’s side determined to see this through because they have to choice but to try. Their persistence pays off. Slowly bit by bit the two separate timelines become one as they merge together. Nadia and Alan remember everything. As this is happening there is a “Day of the Dead” parade they come across and they both go off marching into the night, feeling free.
TV Nerd Thoughts:
To say that I just simply “liked” this series would be an understatement for this TV Nerd to say. I absolutely 100% adored this show and just loved it completely through and through. It was interesting, it was different, it was unique, and it raised the bar for how to just truly and completely nail the concept of having a “Groundhog Day” aspect in a story. For me it felt like the show came out of nowhere. It completely caught me off guard. After completing watching the series Russian Doll, this TV Nerd can mostly definitely say that it’s already on my list of “Top Favorite New TV Series of 2019”, for sure!
Russian Doll is a series where you can tell a lot of thought went into it. The creators are storytelling geniuses, making a story that is in one way or another one that anyone can relate to in some kind of way. It is a series where there is humor, while there is also darkness. The balance between the two extremes of up and down is handled extremely well.
This is very much an existential series, where thoughts on life come into play. As one gets older life in many ways can seem to feel more complicated. Life might not feel as easy as it once felt “once upon a time”. Existential series are relatable simply because it’s this kind of series that deals with emotions that everyone will go through at one point or another in one’s life. Russian Doll handles this subject matter well, while also bringing moments of charm in the form of witty one liners that you can’t help but laugh at along the way.
Actual Thoughts on The Series:
My TV Nerd thoughts portion of this article where I gushed about how great this series was set aside now. Here now are my thoughts on why this series reeled me in:
I loved the characters on this series. Every character had such an identity and was extremely well thought out and written to perfection. Nadia and Alan were two characters that on surfaced seemed to be so different, but really were two people going their similar things in their life. A crisis of identity, and a loss of faith in their existence. Yet once they found each other no matter how different they might have been, or how different they may have lived their lives, they were the same in many ways.
Nadia and Alan found themselves wondering who they would be in this world if they were to change. Letting go of who they thought they had to be, and letting go of how they thought they had to feel. With each others help and guidance that discovery of figuring that out didn’t have to be so scary, knowing someone else was also experiencing the same thing as they were. And they didn’t have to walk alone in it. They both had each other by their side on this journey to discovering who they could be once they let go.
*Acting / Performances*
Natasha Lyonne! What just an amazing presence on screen that this lady does have! Can she just please get her nomination for a 2019 Emmy now? Her facial expressions alone at the start of experiencing time repeating itself is Emmy nomination worthiness right there! Lyonne’s expressions of shock, confusion, along with look of “What theeeeeeee?!?!?!?!?!” alone is worthy of some recognition for when nomination time comes around in the award show circuit.
Mostly known these days for being a part of the ensemble cast of Orange Is The New Black on Netflix, in Russian Doll Lyonne stands on her own leading the series. And she does a fantastic job in her role as leading lady. Lyonne completely nails her performance of Nadia. Portraying that of a complex character who expresses shades of humor with a side of sarcasm pretty much every single time she speaks, masking her real emotions in humor. Lyonne’s acting ability is remarkable here. She is able to convey such emotions and such depth within her performance in every word she speaks.
At a certain point Nadia just starts to feel discouraged for continuing to live the same moment in time over and over again. Sure certain aspects might change ever so slightly on “that night”, but during that course of time we see a person who is trying to grapple with having this existential crisis of what is happening to her. A person who doesn’t understand why this had begun, a person who is just trying to keep it together the best they can. Someone who has lost hope with thinking that she has lost her mind. Nadia is someone who is tackling such despair and anguish for just feeling lost and alone in a world she can no longer understand. Lyonne’s performance is memorable and touching, while expressing heart and emotion every time she speaks. Her performance as Nadia are why award shows were invented. It’s a performance that sticks out from the rest as one of the very best.
I can’t talk about Lyonne’s performance on Russian Doll and not mention the actor that was as equally a major part on the series as well. Nadia was the lead initially at the start of the series. Then came a guy named Alan in to the picture. Once Alan was placed in to this world of the series, him and Nadia shared an equal amount of time on screen. Charlie Barnett played Alan. Barnett played Alan extremely well. Alan at his core was just a guy who wanted to be happy, but no matter how hard how he would strive for that happiness he always felt at an arm’s length to it, never ever feeling quite there. Barnett did a wonderful job portraying the emotions that one might feel in a time of despair. A person just longing to feel okay. His performance of Alan was just perfection, deserving much recognition. And it won’t be too long before we all this incredible actor on another series again, because it has been officially announced Barnett is going to be on the second season of Netflix’s YOU!!!
One more performance I have to acknowledge is that of Greta Lee’s. She played Maxine, one of Nadia’s friends. She was the very friend who was throwing Nadia’s birthday party celebration which took place in her very apartment. She went all out for Nadia’s birthday, making her a feast of food and inviting many others to joy in on celebrating Nadia turning another year older.
Probably the most popular line in the series is said by Lee’s character which is “Sweet Birthday Baby!”. It is the very first line that is spoken after Nadia wakes up after dying every single death. Lee is a fantastic character actor who has worked on a numerous amount of other amazing tv programs such as New Girl, Wayward Pines and Chance to name just a few. On Russian Doll though, Lee just completely shines as Maxine. Lee has some of the best one liners on the series that involve such humor that for a moment you forget that you’re watching not a comedy but an existential series. Her moments on screen are moments that you look forward to seeing. Lee has a charm in her acting that keeps you interested while making you smile and laugh at the same time.
*The “Groundhog Day Concept” With An Added Twist*
There is usually always one thing that is always the same in a story dealing with a “Groundhog Dog” like concept. The person who is reliving time over and over again is usually the only person who is experiencing that happening. What Russian Doll did in their series that set it apart from most stories that include this kind of aspect in their story is that more than one person was experiencing this happening to them.
I’ll admit that while I still found myself really liking the show, I did also did start to feel “Hmmm… Good, but getting repetitive now” after seeing the second episode. So at the end of episode 3 when Nadia meets Alan, someone who is also experiencing what she is, I was floored! It was a twist I never saw coming at all.
Alan’s current living situation is the same as Nadia’s. Nadia notices how before the elevator plummets down how there is this guy standing next to her that seems unfazed by dying. She wonders how he is so calm, wonders why he is so okay with what’s about to happen. They then look at each with surprise, but also intrigue. It’s that! It’s that moment at the end of episode 3 is where things really start to get interesting and be anything but repetitive. This was a genius move brought on by the writers to introduce a character who was also going through the same thing as Nadia. It was such an unexpected twist where I just have tip my hat to the writers for this piece of creativity. It jolted even more life into this series that already had a hold on my interest.
By having another person who could really understand what Nadia was going through and really be able to be there for her was a brilliant choice. This twist occurring really changed the direction of the show. In this type of story the person that is dealing with having to relive time is the only person being affected, always feeling so alone and isolated. They are the only one being affected by this, and then the “next day” comes around and this time is time that is old for them, but new to everyone around them. By having someone who Nadia could confide in that could actually understand what she was going through was such a smart idea, and a way to give this “repeat of time” concept a much needed update.
*Attention To Detail*
Russian Doll is a series where everything had meaning behind it. It is a series where things were constantly happening and moving. A series where there was such an attention to detail, during every moment in every episode. There were so many moving parts and pieces that a second viewing is essential to truly trying to understand everything that the show was trying to convey during the course of its 8 Episode run. On my second viewing of the series I noticed and picked up on more of those attention to detail items that I did overlook during my first time viewing the series.
One of those “attention to detail moments” was one where Nadia was at Ruth’s place, and she saw a Russian Doll figurine in a box of old things from her past. Nadia went on to take the figurine apart, one by one. Russian Dolls are figurines that feature the same exact image that come in the form of many different sizes.
The moment of Nadia taking apart a Russian Doll was kind of like a metaphor for what Nadia and Alan were going through. On the outside they appeared to be the same to those around them death after death, but on the inside they were both slowly losing themselves in each one of their deaths. People and things around them were slowly disappearing from existence. Things weren’t quite as though they were before time went on a loop for them. Than came their moment of realization. That moment of how they had no choice any longer but to confront their fears. For that was the only true way get back to reality again and not to continue down the path of falling more and more towards losing themselves completely.
Also, it is probably safe to say that this is where the title of the series came from. A Russian Doll symbolizes in many ways what Nadia and Alan were going through. After every death they experienced they would inch just a little closer to possibly really dying. They realized how at some point that their next death could be real, and they might not wake up. They could see time that was running out for them. The concept of a Russian Doll is something that is being taken apart, and as it is getting taken apart the same image is still there but it’s not quite exactly the same as it was before. It’s slightly different as the sizes go down one by one, a bit of it getting lost along the way. Such as Nadia and Alan who appeared the same on the outside, but on the inside were changing after every death.
*The Song…. Yes! That One*
There are only but a mere few series that come to mind when I think of a song being able to define a show just so well. One song alone that has the complete ability to just get entire feel and tone of its series. A song in a series that is so well placed that when one were think of that series how that one certain song will always comes to mind. HBO The Leftovers “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies, which was covered for the show by Maxence Cyrin, is an example of that kind of scenario. The song was featured many times over, and it fit in exactly perfectly with the tone of the series 100%. Not since “Where Is My Mind” on The Leftovers has a featured song on a series captured the complete essence of a series quite like that song did on that show.
That is until Russian Doll came along on Netflix. Anyone who has watched this series can tell you that there is one song that stands out as being memorable. It’s the song that is prominently placed during those moments after Nadia wakes up again after dying. She wakes up in the bathroom of her friend Maxine’s apartment and the moment she reawakens there’s a song that immediately starts to play. It’s a song that has a very chilled and relaxed tone to it. A song that just flows, fitting in perfectly within her party atmosphere.
The song is called “Gotta Get Up” by Harry Nilsson. I’m very much someone is into that of pop culture. Although, I’m more of a knowable “Pop Culture Nerd” when it comes to the areas of: TV / Theater / And A Few Books Here and There. Music isn’t a category of the pop culture sphere that I would say I know a whole lot about. So when hearing this song play on the show I found myself like “Omg! Love, love, love! Sounds so modern and of the current music scene!”.
It wasn’t until I looked up to see who sang this song where I discovered that this was not a song from today’s current music scene. It was one that was recorded in early 70s, written and performed by singer- songwriter Harry Nilsson. Even though this tune is from an earlier time, it still has all the feels of a song from today. If I never looked up to see who sang this song I would kept on assuming that it was a current song that was made recently. I was surprised to learn how it was a song that was it fact not from now, but from decades ago. Proving how some pieces of music are just timeless.
My first initial reaction to the ending of this series was somewhat along the lines of “Wait, what? That’s it?!”. Although upon further thought (along with a second viewing), I came to more of an understanding of what the ending of this show meant. Well, at least my interpretation of what I thought the ending meant, and what it was trying saying to say.
That moment of Nadia and Alan joining in on the “Day of the Dead” parade represented something. It represented them walking towards their future, leaving behind their past selves. As Nadia marches off into the night with Alan, you see past versions of who Nadia was passing her by. This representing how Nadia has truly finally let go of that guilt that she had held onto for so long. That guilt that she had let define her complete and entire existence up to that point.
As Nadia and Alan march off into the night they feel a surge of joy. They finally feel that happiness of getting to walk towards a new day ahead of them, walking towards a new them in the process. A new them where they have let go of their past. They have let go of those regrets. A new them where they are no longer looking backwards but forward.
Nadia and Alan are back fully again in reality. A reality that they once tried to escape in their minds, a reality that they didn’t want to face. Both realizing now that to get through anything in life you must confront it head on and just march forward on. Nadia and Alan have left behind who they were to become two people who got that chance to start over.
Russian Doll is a series that even after watching you will continue to think about. There are many things involved in this series that set it apart from others. What makes that the case here is the story, a surprising twist, interesting characters, meaningful performances, and the attention to detail in every single episode. Russian Doll is a show that will spark conversation. In a day and age of so many tv programs available to watch Russian Doll is one that should be on the top of that list for shows that are worth your time for tuning into.
It is a series where not every question gets answered. The story here is a complex one. A story that perfectly portrays what holding onto something can do to a person and their spirit. It is a show with depth that involves many layers. One where every single thing can be interpreted differently, and have different meanings depending on one’s outlook on life. It is an incredibly brilliant series, one where I could have written many more pages on it. Although I’m guessing at this point I’ve already written too much as it is (you know, just a guess). That’s the thing about this series, after watching it there is just so much endless conversation on what the story deals with and what the show is trying to say. It a show that deals with life and how certain moments can define you if you let them.
It’s a show that stays with you, and makes you realize how important it is in life not to hold onto things, people or moments where you feel as though your spirit has been drained. How it can be hard to get to that place of letting go. Letting go of the past, letting go of our failures, letting go of what life “might have been like” wonders.
By always looking back on what could of went better and never looking in the present, one isn’t allowing oneself to move forward. Living in that head space for so long one can become oblivious to how a moment in time might have affected them. Holding onto those feelings can ultimately in many ways change the course of who someone might have been or become. Simply because they have let that moment in their life define them.
When someone doesn’t face their feelings for a time in their life when something didn’t work out the way they would of hoped for, or for not getting that outcome of something just being okay, they are keeping those feelings inside internally allowing them to eat away at them bit by bit every day. How the only way to ever get over anything in life is to acknowledge that it happened, to process it, face it, and to not let it get the best of them and change them. It can be hard getting past a time in your life where someone might let you down, or you let yourself down. That time can have such an impact on someone, feeling as though they have nothing left to give or no desire to try. How it may be hard but in order for one to move past anything difficult one must gather up that strength that one does have from deep down within, and allow themselves to move on. If not they are allowing that moment to be in charge of them, making their despair the only thing they will ever feel and letting it completely take over.
Russian Doll is an excellent series. One that highlights the ups and downs that life can sometimes feel like it is. Sometimes things just don’t work out, that’s the reality of life. People can let you down, you can let yourself down, making one feel that something might feel as though it is beyond any kind of repair. And how sometimes that something that we feel is beyond that repair is own our self. That’s how Nadia and Alan felt deep down inside. They both felt that they were damaged. But that was never the case. With just a little bit of courage they faced those moments in their lives that they had hide away because of how hard they were to cope with. Once they were truthful with themselves saying out loud what they were really feeling inside could their real healing begin. And how sometimes in life the kindness and help from even that of a stranger going through exactly what you are going through can truly be that unexpected answer to realizing that and moving forward within your present. “You can’t do anything by yourself”- Russian Doll