Surviving a near-death experience was an understatement for Nadia Vulvokov (Natacha Lyonne) after waking up from each fatal accident only to relive the same day. Russian doll, Season 1, premiered in 2019 as Nadia and fans struggled to understand time loops. Finally, after two years, Russian doll announced that the second season will air on April 20, 2022, continuing Nadia’s story and providing clues to how time works in Nadia’s world.
While Season 2 shared some clues as to what fans expect to see in the show, it also left viewers asking more questions or speculating as to exactly why Nadia was in the time loop and how did she break it, if she did? Reddit users under the u/RussianDoll subreddit have provided their views or theories on what’s really going on on the show.
Mike is in a time loop
After a taxi killed Nadia and she appeared in the same bathroom as at the start of the episode, it gave viewers clues that time worked differently for Nadia. Further in the first season of Russian doll, viewers learned that Alan (Charlie Barnett) also experienced a time loop phenomenon. What if more people were also stuck in this time loop?
Reddit user u/Balthazar_rising shared his theories regarding the possibility that Mike (Jeremy Bobb), the college professor and sex addict, was also in an endless time loop. They reason that they’ve seen Mike pop up almost “everywhere” on the show. They further explained that Mike seemed to be the most damaged individual on the TV series, so for him being stuck reliving the same experiences may have been a form of punishment.
When Nadia reappeared in front of the bathroom mirror, she was re-enacting if she hadn’t already experienced these events a moment ago. She recalled searching for her lost cat, Oatmeal, when she was hit by a taxi. As she retraced her steps to the same spot where her first death occurred, Oatmeal appeared across the street (just like the first time), except this time Nadia wasn’t knocked down by taxi, and she was able to catch her cat.
Nadia was holding her cat in her arms, but a few minutes later her cat disappeared. Nadia then fell backwards into the lake and reappeared once more in front of the bathroom mirror. A few Reddit users noted Oatmeal’s odd behavior, and u/schwerky proposed that Oatmeal stands for “Schrödinger’s cat”. Schrödinger’s Cat refers to the cat being both dead and alive, a thought experiment used to explain the paradox of quantum mechanics.
The power of the time loop
Usually time loops are caused and controlled by some sort of external action or spell. In one of the biggest time loops in TV shows, buffy the vampire slayerIn the episode “Life Serial”, Buffy’s time loop was a test caused by a magic spell. What if people didn’t control the time loop, but the time loop controlled people?
Reddit user u/zeta212 noticed that the dialogue or lines spoken by the characters at one point in the TV series sounded rather odd, as if they weren’t naturally spoken by those characters. Specifically, they note that when Mike said “I’m right where the choice should be”. It could be that Mike was evolving away from being the pompous person he was seen at the start of the series or that he could influence or control the characters. Reddit user u/whoisliva commented that Mike’s retort might be a way to explain or excuse his bad behavior.
What does the chicken symbolize?
Even though chicken was one of the foods found on the table at the party, chicken appeared in more scenes later in the series. The chicken became a recurring object and did not always appear in the same raw form as in the birthday party scene. Chicken bones also caused Nadia’s death.
Maybe chicken just didn’t feel like comfort food or standard food. Reddit user u/schwerky suggested that the chicken represents the “uncertainty of human life,” where they explained that people raise chickens to eventually eat them and suggested that the death of chickens served a “purpose ” bigger. While expanding on this idea, fellow Reddit user u/plotthick suggested that the chicken may be the only element of the show that represents “normality.” They further examine that the chicken soup that was offered served as a typical traditional meal while the chicken at the birthday party may represent a friendly gesture.
The meaning of the “Russian doll”
Some movies or TV shows may not verbally or directly disclose all information. For example, by Julia Ducournau film, Raw (2016) uses gruesome violent scenes as a metaphorical device to convey the emotions the characters are experiencing rather than the characters announcing that they are feeling anxious or unemotional. While Russian doll might have deliberately used certain objects in his show to convey certain elements about the characters or the plot, a Reddit user has carefully analyzed the meaning behind the title of the show itself.
Russian dolls or Matryoshka dolls are painted wooden dolls and each doll is placed inside a larger doll. One idea suggested by Reddit user u/oitnbspinofffor2022 was that each of Nadia’s deaths hinted at her removing a piece of herself, allowing her to no longer focus solely on herself. and notice the world around him. This process that Nadia undergoes alludes to removing a smaller doll from the larger one.
At the end of russian doll first season, Nadia spoke with Alan on the roof of a building after deciding not to jump off the building. At the same time Nadia and Alan exited the roof, a split screen showed Nadia talking with Mike and running to meet Alan. In these two scenes, Nadia and Alan were seen wearing two different outfits.
Reddit user u/randallparkinson noticed that during this scene, and specifically in one particular shot, two people looked like Nadia. This could have given some insight into the fact that there were three timelines that intersected in this scene. Each timeline could have run on a different path, where each character experienced different events. Their theory does not consider the possibility that during this event, the two people walking in the opposite direction have dressed up and appear to resemble Nadia.
The Russian doll experiences time as the “principle”
In by Christophe Nolan movie 2020, Principle, viewers had difficulty grasping the concept of “time inversion”. In PrincipleThe protagonist (John David Washington) had to arrest an arms dealer, to do so he had to travel through time. The time machine Principle, or turnstile, operating differently from the time machines in other movies. Therefore, the protagonist moved in the opposite direction, even though the surrounding objects and people in the environment moved forward.
Reddit user u/Royal_Passion_5274 specifically linked the moviePrinciple, in the last episode of Russian doll. They expanded on the idea of several timelines suggested by other Reddit users. However, they suggested that the reason the two red-haired individuals faced the opposite direction from Nadia, in the black coat, was that their timelines were reversed. As Nadia and her timeline moved forward.
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