Review: The second season of “Russian Doll” tackles an important subject through time travel
By Clay Thompson | Journalist
“Russian Doll” is another underrated Netflix show that surprisingly got a second season. I decided to try both seasons of “Russian Doll”, just to find out exactly what was going on. Although I still don’t think I understand it in the best possible way.
Created by Natasha Lyonne of “Orange Is the New Black,” Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, “Russian Doll” follows the life — or rather the death — of Nadia Vulvokov, who faces a “Groundhog Day” dilemma in season one. , leading him to make amends for the mistakes in his life that have followed a dark path. In the second season however, Vulyokov faces time travel to learn more about his family’s history and how it shaped it.
What I love most about this show is its deep themes and the way it presents them in an interesting surreal way. The first season touched on the feelings of having regrets and thinking about the kind of person you want to be through your death loops. Season two, on the other hand, uses time travel to address generational trauma and the fear of living in the moment. Mixed in with wonderfully otherworldly moments and camerawork, it only adds to the themes the show nurtures for audiences.
The acting is just as stellar as the themes. Natacha Lyonne gives an unforgettable performance as Natasha. Her distinct voice, mannerisms, and character set her apart from most of the generic TV characters we see these days and make her surprisingly likable to audiences.
Further thanks must go to Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee and Elizabeth Ashley who each give equally adorable performances in the show. Each actor also does a great job portraying their emotions throughout the series so that the story never really gets stale and the character development is subtle but never too slow.
The cinematography and editing were also excellent. The camera followed the characters for long stretches or split the screen between significant parallel moments and everything seemed to have a purpose that added to the story and the spectacle as a whole. The soundtrack was also killer, as songs from Pink Floyd, Falco and many more matched perfectly with the visuals and everything going on in each scene.
All in all, the two seasons of “Russian Doll” were worth watching and enjoying. With uniquely portrayed sci-fi elements giving way to much deeper themes of mental health and trauma healing, alongside incredible acting and spectacle work, hopefully Netflix won’t continue not his weird streak of canceling really great original shows in the face of his recent loss of subscriber.