The first season of RUSSIAN DOLL burst onto the scene in 2019 and could’ve easily made SFR’s best GROUNDHOG DAY collection. It was a fresh take on the tired genre that used lead actor Natasha Lyonne’s strengths to deliver an exciting/emotional ride. I’m sad to report the second season does everything sequels do wrong. It adds more time travel, characters, backstories, and effects. But, for the most part, none of it hits. The recent UNDONE S2 does a much better job telling a story of family forgiveness through the metaverse than RUSSIAN DOLL.
Let’s talk about Natasha Lyonne as Nadia. Lyonne is meant to play this role. She smokes, drinks, does recreational drugs, and for the most part, tries to have a good time while f*cking with the space-time continuum. Imagine Hunter S. Thompson having unlocked time travel – that’s Nadia. Yet, despite her charming lead performance, the story is a “train ride” I wanted to get off.
That story includes getting lost in not one nor two, but three backstories along with trying to tie it together with Alan’s (Charlie Barnett) C plot. A better analogy is that RUSSIAN DOLL attempts to be FROZEN II. It’s deeper, more introspective, and with heavier themes. Yet, while FROZEN II successfully juggles the characters journeys “Into the Unknown,” RUSSIAN DOLL gets “Lost in the Woods.”
Time travel might not exist, but if it did, I would travel to the past and tell myself not to board the train for RUSSIAN DOLL S2. I would’ve been much happier skipping it on Netflix.