“Russian Doll” Season 2 takes the audience on another unforgettable journey into the world of Nadia when the universe messes with her again. The world of “Russian Doll” deals with the complex concept of time and multiple universes, and, therefore, possibilities. This season sticks to a similar idea but does not deal with the time loop, which is such a relief. While there were endless possibilities for the series to repeat ideas, it chose to take the route leading to the past that is almost therapeutic and extremely emotional. “Russian Doll” is one of those series that one can never get enough of. Even with its set of flaws, you will choose this version over and over again.
‘Russian Doll’ Season 2: Plot Summary – What Is Season 2 About?
Nadia will turn 40 within ten days. It has been nearly four years since she and Alan were able to escape from the infuriating time loop. Ruth’s health is deteriorating, and Nadia has to visit the hospital quite often. Since Ruth was the only person who did not give up on her, Nadia was worried about her condition. In the subway station, she saw a “horse” once again. The homeless guy had been a part of her strange journey even in the past. In almost every universe, they ended up helping each other in some way. It all began when she saw him for the first time and felt that she knew him from somewhere, a hint to the time loop. The arrival of “Horse” is an indication of the madness that is about to set in. She got excited to see him on the opposite platform and waved at him. At that moment, two trains entered the station. Nadia got on the sixth train and witnessed people smoking inside. The haircuts, clothing, and the poster of “Sophie’s Choice” added to the mystery. She got hold of a newspaper, and the year was 1982. She wanted to believe that it was an elaborate performance, but as she got off the train at Astor Place, she realized that it truly was 1982.
People outside the station demonstrated against nuclear power, and New York was pretty much a terrible mess. Her pocket did not have a phone and instead had a matchbox with the words “See you at 0, Chezz” written on it. She met Chezz at the bar, and he seemed to know her quite well. He took her to a house where they stole a bag and ran away. Nadia was extremely confused by all that was unfolding. She was in a room with a man who was clearly quite close to her, but she barely knew him. She stepped inside the washroom and looked at herself in the mirror, but the reflection was that of her mother. She was living the life of Lenora. She was pregnant at the time with Nadia. Nadia was stunned when she saw the reflection. She took the 6622 train again, and this time she returned to the current year. She went straight to Alan, knowing how this could be another possible absurd situation they were both tied to. While Alan refused to indulge in the past, Nadia wanted to change the past. Nadia believed that she could make her life better if she made her past wrongs right. She became a regular traveler through time. Alan, who wanted to focus on his reality, was distracted by what Nadia had revealed. He finally took the train to the past and landed in 1962 in East Berlin, living the life of his grandmother.
Nadia wanted to make use of the opportunity she was bestowed with. She knew her mother made several bad decisions that impacted her life, and she was determined to make it alright. She wanted to get hold of the gold her grandmother had saved for her future. With that money, her present life would be a lot more at ease. Alan was more interested in simply experiencing the life of her grandmother, but certain aspects of her past did bother him.
Major Spoilers Ahead
The Gold Train: What Happened To The Bag Of Krugerrands?
Nadia took the train and went back to 1982 when Ruth confirmed that Chezare Carrera was the con man her mother dated and that he was with her at the time the gold was stolen from her. When Nadia went into the past, she opened the stolen bag that her mother and Chezare had stolen from her grandmother’s house, and she saw the 150 gold coins she had always heard of. Once Nadia went inside the washroom, planning to steal the gold for the future, she heard the door close. Chezz ran away with the bag of gold.
Nadia tracked down Chezz in the present time and found an old man living in a small basement apartment. He confessed that he did not have the gold with him; he wouldn’t have been living the way he did if he had that money, but life is mostly about “if only.” Disappointed with the present, she went back to the past. She, as her mother, sold the car she had bought. With the money and Ruth’s engagement ring, she bought back the gold Krugerrands that were left at a pawn shop. Ruth had been with Lenora through thick and thin. She supported her when her mother did not trust her. She gave the ring that her late husband gave for Lenora’s happiness. Nadia always knew how selfless Ruth was, and as she lived the life of her mother, she realized how impossible her mother’s life would have been without the support of Ruth. With the bag of gold coins, she was set to return to her time, but she got distracted when she saw Alan on the train that was passing by her. She left the bag on the seat and went closer to the door to get a better look at him, but by the time she returned, the bag was gone.
What is interesting to note is that her mother, Lenora, now lived by Nadia, had met Alan’s grandmother on the 6622 train. Lenora went to the hospital for a regular check-up on the baby (Nadia). In the washroom, her grandmother mentioned something of interest. She spoke about a gold train that had once taken away the gold from her, and then another train brought it back. She believed people would call her crazy if she revealed the truth. Their conversation was interrupted by the nurse. As Nadia’s grandmother was a Holocaust survivor, when the Nazis entered Hungary, the Jews could not trust the bank with their money, and as a result, they exchanged it for Krugerrands. Her grandmother saved the Krugerrands for Lenora and her unborn child. It was supposed to be Nadia’s college tuition fee, but her mother had lost it before she was born. Nadia now wanted to track down the gold train. She found a receipt from her grandmother’s house that was given by the Nazis with the promise that they would get back their property after the war, but that, of course, never happened. Since the gold would be lost in the future, she hoped to track the valuables and get the money. She tracked down the Nazi officer’s grandson in Hungary, but that did not help her cause. She was lost and helpless, but the train gave her another opportunity.
She traveled to Budapest, and the year was 1944. She got to live the life of her grandmother and get what was lost. Jewish women used to dress as widows to protect themselves from the Nazis. The Soviets were approaching to overthrow the Nazis at that time. In her grandmother’s pocket, she found the receipt for the items that were taken away. She found Delia, her grandmother’s closest friend, who helped her find the place where the Nazis sold the stolen goods. The gold train did not exist; it was a warehouse where the goods were kept and displayed for sale. Nadia went inside the basement of the warehouse and found the box that had every valuable item stolen from her family. She collected them in a bag and left. In the present, she had seen the tomb of a Father in Hungary who was respected for helping the Jews during the Holocaust. So, she used that information in the past and met him. She had kept the bag inside a tunnel and had covered it with cement and bricks. She handed him the map and asked him to send it to Vera Peschauer after the war ended, and she hopped on the 6622 train again. She traveled back to the time when her grandmother had received the mail and found the bag. She was overjoyed that her plan had finally worked. But, the twist in the tale was that her grandmother and Delia went to sell the valuables for Krugerrands. The same 150 gold coins were given to Vera, and she poured them into the bag; the bag that Lenora stole from her mother and that was again stolen by her then-boyfriend.
Nadia was racing against time and the events that were inscribed on it. The fact that time is treated as a closed-loop is confirmed when we think about what Nadia’s grandmother, Vera, said in the washroom. She spoke of the mysterious circumstances under which she got the bag of gold. How a train took it all away, and another brought it back. Her grandmother thought that she had lost the valuables of her family on a “gold train,” but then she received a letter from a priest informing her about the location where the bag was kept. She brought the bags back on a train and sold them for gold. Therefore, what Nadia thought she was correcting was what she had already done in the past. She, as Nadia, had helped her grandmother find the bag long before she took the trip to the past. This indicates that the impact of the present changes had already affected the past a long time back. And no matter what she tried to do, she could not undo what was already destined to be.
‘Russian Doll’ Ending Explained – What Resulted In The Collapse Of Time? How Was It Stabilized?
The purpose of Nadia’s multiple visits to the past was to change her present, and she was determined to make her life better. To erase and rewrite all that negatively impacted her life. Disappointed by not being able to save the money, she decided to save her younger self. When her mother gave birth to her, she took her baby self to the present reality. The effect was the collapse of time.
She reached the present time and received calls and messages from Maxine informing her about Ruth’s unstable condition; she had a pulmonary embolism. She had to be admitted to the hospital, and the doctors were not sure if she would be able to make it. Nadia was rushed to the hospital, but time took a split. They were divided into two halves; one was on the 22nd of March and the other on the 30th of March. There were two Ruths now, one who was in critical condition and the other admitted to the hospital for a fender bender. Nadia struggled to keep up with the time. She rushed from one Ruth to another, hoping to figure out the reality. Thinking the worst, she followed the men who were carrying bodies to the morgue. As she entered the room, she noticed a body wrapped in a black bag. The person had long red hair just like her. She opened the bag and saw her deceased self in front of her. The morgue had multiple bodies of her, the culmination of multiple deaths in different timelines, as was comprehended in Season 1 of “Russian Doll.” The morgue seemed like a storage space for every reality; it was not only her bodies she found but also Alan’s, who had died multiple times just like her. Alan could feel things turning worse. He saw multiple versions of himself around him. He wanted to seek Ruth’s help to fix the way they were experiencing time. Nadia went to Alan’s apartment to discuss the chaos, and Alan entered the washroom of Maxine’s apartment. They were back in the time loop they had entered in “Russian Doll” Season 1. The same song, “Gotta Get Up” by Harry Nilsson, that haunted us for eight episodes, started to play. Nadia, holding the baby version of herself, went to Maxine’s apartment and confronted Alan. She announced that with her baby self, she had a blank slate to rewrite her life the way she wanted. Even though Alan tried to explain the negative effects of trying to do so, she wanted to fulfill her needs no matter what. This desperation to fix the past, even if that meant the collapse of time, reveals the trauma that was associated with Nadia’s past. She was obsessed with erasing the trauma, but even when space and time are fluid, healing comes from within.
She realized how messed up the situation was when she witnessed multiple versions of Ruth every few seconds. For Ruth, she could live her life once again, knowing there was one person who loved her endlessly throughout her life. She also realized how she was disrupting the lives of those she loved with her self-centered pursuit. She decided to leave the baby back in time, but the train did not arrive. She met “Horse” once again, and he helped her find a train. She got on the train and noticed that people around her were wearing black and mourning. Maxine and Lizzy were there as well. It was the 30th of April, and they were on their way to Ruth’s funeral. She could not make it. Nadia was devastated, knowing that she was not there for the one person she cared for and that too, for something that, in the end, meant nothing.
Nadia and Alan were hit by two trains approaching from two directions. They entered a space where time seemed to be fluid. They walked through the water and found doors that helped them understand their lives better. When Alan found his grandmother, he asked her about Lenny, the man she had once loved. He wanted to save him from crossing the Berlin wall, but he did it anyway, which probably led to Lenny’s death. His grandmother responded, saying that they were destined to do and be what they chose to be. She would never cross the wall, and he would, no matter what. Their paths would not cross even if they tried.
Meanwhile, Nadia’s door opened inside a train, where she found her mother, grandmother, and Ruth. Her mother asked her if she would choose her as her mother all over again. She replied that she had not chosen her the first time, but this time she accepted Lenora as her mother with all her flaws and handed her the baby.
Time was stabilized, and she went to Ruth’s funeral. With “Shine on you crazy diamond” playing in the background, Nadia looked at Ruth’s pictures with admiration. No matter which universe she was in, she would always have Ruth by her side, and that comforted her. She entered the washroom of Maxine’s apartment once again and looked at her reflection in the mirror. She accepted her past as that made her the person she was in the present, and, no matter what, she would choose this version of herself over and over again. While she attempted to fix her past trauma, she learned that the situations made her the person she was. She was proud of who she had become. As Ruth had once said, she had an incredible life force. She had the will to live, and that was her biggest strength.
The train is one of the most important elements in “Russian Doll” Season 2. For Vera, the train connected the generations; for Lenora, it was the place she gave birth; for Nadia, the platform was the place she was born. The last episode, titled “Matryoshka,” symbolizes the dolls that represent the way the mother carries her child within her, and how the family legacy is carried through the child within the chain of mothers. “Russian Doll” Season 2 unfolds the generational trauma passed from the mother to the child that resulted in the way Nadia turned out. There are numerous repetitions of symbols, be it the time travel portal in the door of Maxine’s bathroom, where they end up several times, or even the mirrors. Every time she entered a different timeline, she looked at herself in the mirror. In 1982, she saw herself as her mother; in 1944, she saw herself as her grandmother. She was the reflection, or rather, the result of the past. Those women shaped who she was in the present time, for better or worse. By traveling to the past, she was able to understand them better. She realized how her mother felt when she was locked inside a mental hospital for schizophrenia and how Vera managed to survive those testing times. At the end of “Russian Doll,” she saw herself in the mirror, admiring and appreciating her for trying and failing and simply accepting who she was.