Review of “Russian Doll”

Russian Doll is a Netflix original that aired in 2019. The story begins with a girl named Nadia who is the victim of a fatal car accident. Rather than just dying however, Nadia is forced to relive the same night over and over as she keeps dying at the end of the night. While living in this cycle of dying and reliving the same life Nadia meets Allen. Allen is a man who is suffering the same problem as Nadia as he keeps dying and coming back to relive the same day as well. The premise of the story was intriguing, but I did not find Russian Doll to be an outstanding show.

Both Nadia and Allen had troubled pasts that haunted them in their lives. Allen was rejected by the love of his life, while Nadia had a mother who was not suited to be around children.  Nadia and Allen carried the weight of these issues more than anything else in their life. Allen had the idea that these weights were holding them in purgatory and that they needed to make things right. This leads too Nadia admitting her guilt about her mothers death, and Allen having a conversation with his girlfriend  making a peace between them. This become a major plot point in the story and I thought it was lazy. Many stories use the same premise of forgiving your past mistakes to be able to move on. Although this is true and a good lesson for life I thought the plot line of Russian Doll could have been pulled in much more interesting directions. It seemed to me as if they were trying to cut the season off and end the story rather than really developing the plot.

One thing I did like about the Russian Doll was the connection created between Nadia and Allen. As they get to know each other they begin to rely on one another and trust on another. Nadia is a very independent character who does not tell people about her past. Allen gets her to make peace with the things that happened with her mother and helps her forgive herself for saying she did not want to live with her. Allen on the other hand is someone who does not want to accept the help of others. Nadia gets Allen to talk about his problem and helps him get over his issues. The connection gets so deep that at the end they save each others lives in different dimensions.

Many shows struggle to find a good ending but I thought Russian Doll actually did alright. It connected the story well and showed how deeply the main characters cared for one another. I liked how the show connected the characters from two different dimensions to show that even different worlds could not weaken their connection. The characters changed each others lives for the better, and the ending really demonstrated that.

Overall I thought Russian Doll was a very average show. There has been much better stories about a friendship devolving between characters. There has also been much better stories about fictional, sci-fi type worlds. It did have some redeeming qualities however, such as the depth of Allen and Nadia’s connection, and its overall statement about random people being able to have a big effect on your life. I give Russian Doll 3 out of 5 stars. Worth the watch if you have some extra time, but not exactly binge worthy either.

The OA Review- Jackson Gutshall

The OA is a Netflix original that premiered in December of 2016. The premise is very interesting as it follows the incredible story of a girl named Prairie, who was once blind but has now regained her sight after going missing for 7 years. Prairie refuses to tell her story to anybody except for a few high school students and one of their teachers who are all experiencing their own difficulties in their lives. Prairie and her friends meet at night at an abandoned house to let Prairie tell her story.  Prairie’s story is incredible as she has had numerous near death experiences in her life time and she develops a very deep connection with these experiences. While being held captive by mysterious Dr. Happ, Prairie and four other prisoners work to break out and figure out the secrets behind death. They begin to learn symbols that correspond with moving around realms, and their story becomes spectacular as they do everything they can to save one another and escape their captivity.

I thought The OA was an outstanding show and that Netflix once again hit it out of the park with a new original. The OA has tremendous depth to it as the characters have genuine love for one another. Prairie forms a deep connection to both her fellow prisoners while being held captive as well as her new friends that she reveals her story too. The depth of the characters added an amazing sense of authenticity to the show.  Another reason the show was incredible was because of its very diverse character selection. The characters in the show are all going through something difficult in their lives that make them very easy to connect with for the viewer. Having characters struggle with problems that every day people face such as losing a love one, or stressing about college makes the show seem extremely deep and authentic. The diversity of problems facing the characters also make the show easy to connect to for all different kind of viewers.

The overall concept of the OA was also something I really enjoyed. I thought that the show really showed what the power of love can do. It showed that if you love people and listen to what they have to say you can form deep connections with people. I thought it also showed how important it is to have support when you need it. The group of students and Prairie all needed to be heard, and all needed someone in their lives to love and support them. They were all able to provide that love and support to one another, and were all stronger people in the end for it.

One more intriguing story line of the OA was the overall idea of belief. Prairies story is spectacular, so spectacular that it is very hard to believe. Although I always wanted to believe Prairies story in hopes she was telling the truth, sometimes I found it difficult. Prairies new friends also found her story difficult to believe at times and at one point near the end of the show they actually complete doubt her. Even though they doubt her however, they come together to stop a school shooting by using the symbols Prairie taught them to distract the shooter. This is an incredible revelation of the show as it shows that love and human connection can trump truth. I think what this says about belief is remarkable and can really help some people learn how to listen to people. Everybody has their own truth, and it is important everybody feels their own truth will be heard and responded to.

The OA was an incredible production that combined an exciting fiction story line, with real every day problems people have creating an incredible blend of the two genres. I think people can learn real lessons from the OA, such as that it is important to listen to others and provide support for them because you never know what they could be going through.

Another Netflix original, another great production. My final rating of the OA is 4.5 out of 5 stars, I cant wait for season 2 on March second!

Pierre; or, The Ambiguities Review (Amazon)- Jackson Gutshall

Pierre; or, The Ambiguities Amazon Review

In a quick basic plot summary, Pierre; or, The Ambiguities is a novel by Herman Melville. Pierre is the main character of the story and goes on a journey throughout the novel. After his fathers passing Pierre must figure out If Isabelle is truly his sister and also figure out how to approach his life. Pierre ends up falling for his step sister Isabelle and then the story degenerates into a super weird three way relationship between Pierre, his wife Lucy, and his sister Isabelle. The novel ends with all of the characters dead after Pierre goes to jail for murdering his cousin.

Along with all of the other ambiguous events in the book, I find it ambiguous why anybody would ever want to read such a slow an taxing novel.  The novel drags on much further than necessary and makes it hard for the reader to continue reading. The slowness of the novel is made even worse by the fact that the language is very hard to read and understand. Uses of complex words and syntax make it very hard to stay focused on the plot. One more thing that slows down the story are weird sidetracks that Melville takes on the story that drag on for far to long such as Pierre’s stop at the Memnon rock. Another problem I had with this novel was that the usage of philosophy just weighs other important aspects of the plot down and makes the novel harder to read.  Another problem I had with this novel was that I felt certain parts of it were added based upon other famous works. Melville kills off everyone in the final scene such as Shakespeare did in Hamlet and he also builds an Oedipus complex between Pierre and Isabelle. Melville was trying to write his own unique work but he reverted back to basing parts of it off of the classics in my opinion.

Overall I thought this was a poorly written work that drags on for much to long in places. The language makes it to hard to read and parts of the novel make it feel as if the author was way overthinking. If the story was condensed and language was simpler it could help but I still do not think it would be very good. The plot was at least somewhat interesting, but if you want a similar juicy ending to this novel that is a relatively older work just go read Hamlet, it has a much better plot with the same ending. The answer of whether or not to read this novel is not very ambiguous, but just to clarify since Herman Melville never does, do not read this book!

Review: 1/5 Stars