From the very beginning of Netflix’s Russian Doll I loved Natasha Lyonne’s roll as the main character of the show. She not only did a fantastic job of playing the part but her character Nadia was extremely interesting and likable throughout. Her troubled past and the assortment of men in her life go along perfectly with her care free attitude on life. This perspective not only provides the audience with a decent amount of comic relief throughout but it makes it very interesting to see how she handles the weird sequence of events that are happening in her life. Almost halfway through the series we are introduced to a man named Alan who is experiencing the same cycle of death that Nadia is. I greatly appreciated the contrasting personalities of the two characters and how they handle their predicaments differently while still working together to figure out what the hell is going on. Nadia’s care free mentality allows her to investigate her situation as calmly as one could while Alan is frantically searching for answers and jumping off of buildings. These drastically different personalities are most likely due to the fact that he is continuously living the worst day of his life while Nadia is reliving her birthday party but the character contrast adds depth to the show either way.
Despite my appreciation for the two main characters of the series I struggled to feel the same about the storyline. In first discovering that Nadia and Alan are reliving the same day over and over again I believed it would make for a very interesting plot, however, I began to realize what this repetitive aspect of the series was doing to my perception of it. I found myself caring little about what was actually happening to these individuals as they lived out the same day again and again and focussing more on when they were going to die next and appear in the same bathrooms I had seen at least fifteen times. I felt as if this repetition hindered the progression of the plot significantly throughout the series.
All in all, it seemed as if I was waiting for the “aha” moment for a majority, if not all of the show. Everything that happened up until episode seven felt like an introduction to the problem at hand that was extremely drawn out thanks to the endless repetition I mentioned above. I did enjoy Nadia and Alan coming to the realization towards the end of the series that they both had to confront the darkest points in their lives to stop their endless cycles of reliving the same day. This was not only a good message for the writers to convey to the audience but it introduced a deeper side to Nadia’s care free personality. The ending still felt lazy as the two entered separate worlds where they had to save the other from death, leaving many questions unanswered with an abrupt ending. These techniques are fine when writers make it clear there will be another season but this was not the case with Russian Doll. I didn’t know if I should feel content with the two successfully saving one another because of the uncertainty of whether or not they will continue to enter other dimensions thanks to our lack of knowledge of how it happened to them in the first place. This made for a frustrating finish to a show with a fantastic concept and characters that I genuinely enjoyed throughout.