Content warning: This article mentions suicide.
Remember that weekend you spent back in 2019 watching the first season of Russian Doll?
Honestly? Neither do we, which is why we thought it might be helpful to put together this little refresher on what actually happens in the first season of the smash hit Netflix show, before the second season drops.
Here’s a very necessary recap of what happened in season one of Russian Doll, as well as everything you need to know about season two.
What Happens in Season One of Russian Doll?
After her 36th birthday, Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne) is chasing down her missing cat, Oatmeal, when she is hit by a New York City cab and dies. Or does she?
Suddenly, Nadia finds herself back in the bathroom of her birthday party, where she will find herself again, and again, and again. Nadia is stuck in a time loop that reverts back to the bathroom every time she dies, and she dies a lot.
Within the time loop, Nadia is able to leave her birthday party and carry on her life, but death is lurking around every corner, on the edge of every pier, at the bottom of every staircase.
Nadia can recall everything from each time loop, so she quickly learns which routes end in death. Eventually, her learnings about what not to do lead her to cross paths with Alan Zaveri (played by Charlie Barnett), who is also stuck in a time loop.
Alan has been reliving a breakup with his girlfriend. Before his initial death, Alan had just proposed to her, but she had rejected his proposal and broken up with him, instead.
Nadia and Alan pair up to try to work out what’s going on. They quickly realise that they need to find a way to break free of the time loop, because each time their world resets, part of their reality disappears. With each loop, the food at Nadia’s birthday party appears more rotten, and guests disappear until only Maxine remains.
While Nadia can easily recall the car accident that caused her first death, Alan struggles to remember the details of the death that triggered his time loop. When he retraces his steps back through the day, he realises that his initial death was by suicide.
As the pair continue to retrace their steps, they realise that not only had they briefly crossed paths before their initial deaths, but that they could’ve helped one another avoid their fates.
With the other’s support, Nadia and Alan confront their personal demons. Nadia comes to term with the fact that she blames herself for her mother’s death, who died by suicide after a long battle with mental health issues when Nadia was a child.
Meanwhile, Alan lets go of the idea that the purpose of the time loop is to become a better person and have his girlfriend accept his proposal. Instead, he forgives her and accepts the end of their relationship.
With newfound closure, Nadia and Alan find themselves back at the beginning, tasked with saving one another at the beginning of their initial loops.
Of course, nothing is simple when it comes to Russian Doll, and this is when Nadia and Alan realise they have been separated into alternate timelines, and the Alan in Nadia’s timeline doesn’t know Nadia, and vice versa.
Armed with an intimate understanding of one another Nadia and Alan befriend one another in their separate timelines, and avoid their initial fates. At this point, the separate universes appear to merge together once more, and the season ends with Nadia and Alan walking into the night together.
What Is Season Two of Russian Doll About?
Russian Doll season two is set four years after season one, and simultaneously, in 1982.
Rather than picking up where it left off, then, the second season is a completely different story. This time around, Nadia and Alan discover a time travel portal in New York City, which prompts them to confront their personal demons more intimately than before.
Netflix’s official logline reads: This season finds Nadia and Alan delving deeper into their pasts through an unexpected time portal located in one of Manhattan’s most notorious locations.
At first, they experience this as an ever-expanding, era-spanning, intergenerational adventure, but they soon discover this extraordinary event might be more than they bargained for and, together, must search for a way out.
Watch the trailer below:
Who Is in Season Two of Russian Doll?
Natasha Lyonne will of course be reprising her role as Nadia, and Charlie Barnett will reprise his role as Alan.
Also returning to the series are Greta Lee and Rebecca Henderson, who play Nadia’s friends Maxine and Lizzy, along with Chloë Sevigny and Elizabeth Ashley.
Where to Watch Russian Doll Season Two in Australia
Russian Doll season two will be streaming on Netflix.
When Is Russian Doll Season Two Going to Premiere?
Russian Doll season two premieres on Netflix on April 20, 2022.
If you or anyone you know is struggling and needs support, call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 or Lifeline on 13 11 14, both of which provide trained counsellors you can talk with 24/7. You can also speak with someone confidentially at Headspace by calling 1800 650 890 or chat online here.