Russian Doll stars Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Barnett have opened up about season two’s ending.
The Netflix series returned last week for its long-awaited second outing, this time seeing Nadia Vulvokov (Lyonne) travelling back in time as she finds herself in the body of her mother (Chloë Sevigny).
In the final episode, Nadia – having given birth to herself – steals the baby version of herself, collapsing time and finding herself in familiar series locations such as the birthday party in season one and the Yeshiva school that previously served as a location on the show.
Nadia eventually returns the baby after pleadings from Alan (Charlie Barnett) and a number of Ruths – and Lyonne has now cleared up any confusion over whether Ruth is dead despite this appearance, confirming that she passed away “in that space between episode six and seven”.
“Time is what gives life its order,” she explained to Entertainment Weekly. “And its meaning, on some level, is that it is finite.
“These are ideas that are well-explored, but I think that Nadia is so hard-headed — or wants so badly to be able to affect some kind of change, or fix things — and in trying to rearrange the past, there is a karmic consequence wherein she misses that present moment.”
The finale also sees Nadia and Alan find themselves in ‘the Void’ after getting hit by another train, having to face their demons and learn lessons to resolve them.
“Season one was about breaking through these boundaries of death. And season two is now about actually being able to live that life,” Barnett explained, noting the moment Alan’s grandmother Agnes (Carolyn Michelle Smith) reassures him that it’s ok that he doesn’t know what happened to Lenny, her long-lost love who he tried to save.
“And yes, I 100% feel like it can be summed up to that small moment with his grandmother, that Alan isn’t living, because he is so afraid to make the wrong choices. I know that I relate to that.”
The season also ends with a note of acceptance from Nadia after speaking to her mother, telling her: “I didn’t choose you the first time, but I guess that’s just how the story goes, huh, Mom?” before returning to 2022 and Ruth’s wake. The season ends with her looking in the bathroom mirror, as she smiles.
Lyonne said of the ending: “There’s nothing really to be that ashamed of here. I didn’t create these events. This is just sort of how it is.
“And I think [in season one] I wanted very badly for Nadia and Alan to sort of ask a question of, ‘How do I stop dying?’ Great.
“But really, for them, three and a half years later, [it’s about] ‘How do I start living? What does it mean to be present in a life and make the most of the time that we have in the here and now, with our set of circumstances?
“What would it take? Would it take a sort of time travelling device? Would it take me actually being there to see it all? Would it take my grandmother kind of signing off and saying, ‘Hey, I’m telling you, kid, you’re all right. You come by it honestly?’
“At what point would I be able to walk free in life and say, ‘It’s okay that this is the way I am, and it’s okay that this is the way you are,’ and then sort of try to exist? What would it be like if that was how we were interfacing in the present?” she added.