In Russian Doll, Nadia Vulvokuv(Orange is the New Black’s Natasha Lyonne) is a drug addicted, hard partying software programmer who sports Jamie Fraser’s bangs and gets stuck in a time loop on her 36th birthday. I am intentionally not including the trailer as it contains a big spoiler.
As Nadia begins to navigate her repetitious dilemma she is convinced it’s a side effect of drugs. Rather than her day resetting when she sleeps, she constantly dies in a variety of accidents only to find herself in back in the bathroom of her friend’s apartment.
Nadia’s recycled days start to slow the show’s pace until a genre shattering plot twist at the end of episode three.
As we learn more about Nadia and her past, she tries to find the key to unravel her predicament.
Is the time loop connected to her missing cat, a homeless man named Horse, her mentally ill mother (Chloë Sevigny)? The darkly comic series also features Charlie Barnett (Secrets and Lies), Elizabeth Ashley (Treme) and Dascha Polanco (Orange is the New Black). Surprises abound as the season crescendos into the final two episodes.
There is a major tone shift in episode 7 as Nadia begins to hallucinate and her deaths become more disturbing.
The finale is cleverly scripted and filmed as the season wraps with a definitive ending. Two additional seasons have been pitched to Netflix but they have yet to confirm Season 2.
Lyonne, who along with an all female team created, wrote and directed the series, has said Russian Doll is vaguely autobiographical, minus the time loop. Her history of drug and alcohol issues has been well documented. It’s a very public way to face your past and reconcile your life decisions but it sure is entertaining.