Type keyword(s) to search


Russian Doll Season 2 highlights dimensions of the Nazis and the Holocaust that are often overlooked

  • "Russian Doll, through Nadia’s trauma and that of her mother and grandmother, focuses on the stealing of Jewish people’s valuables while those people were imprisoned, enslaved, and killed," says Kevin Fox, Jr. "Watching the series, I couldn’t help but think about how two separate speculative fiction HBO shows focused on Black characters, Watchmen and Lovecraft Country, had invoked the Tulsa Race Massacre and used forms of time travel as plot devices to explore generational trauma. Both series focused on the spectacle of violence, though neither omitted the burglary that went along with it. Russian Doll’s plot device is more similar to Watchmen (and I’d say it’s the superior show), but what’s important is that all three of these series use entertaining plot devices to ultimately focus the audience’s eye on components of targeted, oppressive, systemic violence that are overlooked. All too often, the social-psychological association with crimes against humanity become so great that they are difficult to discuss earnestly—even if people callously and casually invoke them for comparison to much lesser inconveniences or obscure them when parallels become apparent. As such, the dispossession of Jewish personal and private property is sometimes an understated facet of the Nazi regime’s plan to erase them from the face of the Earth. Through Russian Doll, Natasha Lyonne is making sure audiences don’t forget it."


    • Season 2 is an ambitious but ultimately lacking attempt at illustrating how trauma is inherited from one generation to the next: "Russian Doll is a show about trauma — how it manifests, festers, and embeds in its characters’ lives — and the possibility of healing these deep-seated wounds," says Terry Nguyen. "Last season, Nadia and Alan had to reckon with the pain that predated their Groundhog Day loop, which was set off by their failure to help one another on that fateful night. They emerged from the trappings of death with another chance at life. The second season probes further into the murky source of their lingering struggles by way of Nadia’s (and to a much lesser extent, Alan’s) maternal relations. It is an ambitious but ultimately lacking attempt at illustrating how trauma is inherited from one generation to the next, at the expense of the protagonists’ development and season one friendship. There is no strong emotional thread binding Alan and Nadia together, and despite their parallel time travel journeys, the pair’s interactions feel forced and disjointed."
    • Should Russian Doll have kept spinning in circles in Season 2?: "The shagginess can make Russian Doll feel like a less polished retread of its earlier self, revisiting familiar themes while losing track of other elements," says Alison Herman. "As affecting as some of the flashbacks may be, Russian Doll was already a deft dissection of how Nadia still carries Vera’s and Nora’s emotional baggage. Meanwhile, Alan’s role ends up diminished, breaking up the unlikely soulmates that gave Russian Doll a solid foundation to its freewheeling chaos."
    • Natasha Lyonne wants to make it clear: Russian Doll is personal but not autobiographical: “One of the stories about the show is how much it’s me, personally,” Lyonne tells the Los Angeles Times, alluding to her chaotic childhood and history with addiction. “It has been my life experience that there’s a lot of stuff that we don’t talk about or that we’re ashamed of, family histories, stuff like that, and it’s actually not as rare as we like to pretend. The only thing I could tell you about my family is that there’s such extreme character studies that I think, as a writer, as a director, as an actor, as a producer, it’s given me a huge window into the human condition more than I think I’m exorcising personal demons through my work.” In other words, as she later quips: “No, my mother did not give birth to me on the subway tracks at Astor Place station while I was time traveling.”
    • Lyonne on the potential of a future-focused Season 3: "Without saying too much, that thought has occurred to me, as well," she says. "The show is always going to be a philosophical, psychedelic meditation on the nature of time, mortality and so on. Yes, one of the jumping off points of Season 2 is this Italian physicist Carlo Rovelli and this idea about the arrow of time and asking the question, why can I remember the past, but I can’t remember the future? That opens up some big questions. And who knows? Who knows if they’ll ever let me do this again?"
    • Even Greta Lee is finding new Easter eggs with each Season 2 viewing: "We have joked about it collectively; we can’t agree what is the appropriate number of times you should watch each episode, to get everything, to get all the Easter eggs," says Lee. "There are some throwaway lines that are incredible. Natasha loves to do this thing where she fills in the gaps in ADR with improv, which is not always the case. So there’s just so much to catch. Even for me, every time I watch it, there’s something else that I catch."
    • Russian Doll music supervisor Brienne Rose on picking some alternative hits from the 1970s and 1980s: “Nadia is an old soul,” says Rose. “She’s complex with an erratic personality. It’s not only about how she feels now, but how she feels over the course of time in different eras, and how the music represents her headspaces and experiences. We wanted an aural expression of that.”
    • Charlie Barnett on how his experience as an adoptee shaped his Season 2 role: “I never got the chance to meet my birth mother,” he says. “I have met my birth grandmother. I’ve never met my birth father. I have little puzzle pieces that I’ve been trying to put together for all my life. And, I admit, there are a million holes inside my soul because of it.”
    • Barnett says a rave scene gave him an 'excuse' to have an "intimate" kiss with Lyonne

    TOPICS: Russian Doll, Netflix, Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee, Natasha Lyonne