Review: ‘Russian Doll’ season two addresses important topic through time travel

Photo courtesy of IMDb

By Clay Thompson | Reporter

“Russian Doll” is another underrated Netflix show that surprisingly got a second season. I decided to give both seasons of “Russian Doll” a try, just so I would know exactly what was happening. Although I still don’t think I quite understand it in the best way possible.

Created by Natasha Lyonne of “Orange Is the New Black,” Leslye Headland and Amy Poehler, “Russian Doll” follows the life — or rather the deaths — of Nadia Vulvokov, who faces a “Groundhog Day”-esque dilemma in season one, leading her to fix the mistakes of her life that went down a dark path. In season two however, Vulyokov goes up against time travel to learn more about her family history and how it shaped her.

What I love most about this show is its profound themes and how it presents them in an interestingly surreal way. Season one tackled the feelings of having regrets and reflecting on what kind of person you want to be through its death loops. Season two, on the other hand, uses time travel to tackle the issue of generational trauma and the fear of living in the moment. Mixed with wonderfully supernatural moments and camera work, it only adds to the themes the show feeds to the audience.

The acting is just as stellar as the themes. Natasha Lyonne gives an unforgettable performance as Natasha. Her distinct voice, mannerisms and character set her apart from most generic television characters we see these days and made her surprisingly likable to the audience.

Other shoutouts have to go to Charlie Barnett, Greta Lee and Elizabeth Ashley who each give equally lovable performances in the show. Each actor also does a great job of portraying their emotions throughout the show so the story never gets truly stale, and the character development is subtle but never too slow.

The cinematography and editing were great as well. The camera would follow characters for long periods of time, or split the screen between parallel important moments and it all seemed to have a purpose that added to the story and show as a whole. The soundtrack was killer too, as songs from Pink Floyd, Falco and many others fit perfectly with the visuals and whatever was going on in each scene.

Overall, both seasons of “Russian Doll” deserved to be watched and enjoyed. With uniquely portrayed sci-fi elements giving way to much deeper themes of mental health and healing from trauma, alongside amazing acting and show work, let’s hope Netflix doesn’t continue on its weird streak of canceling really great original shows in the face of its recent subscriber loss.