Russian Doll- (2019)

Feeling stuck? Then this show is definitely for you! This is the child of Natasha Lyonne’s imagination who wrote the script and also stars in the series. I absolutely loved her performance, she depicts a confident, tough cookie really well. The plot centers around Nadia, who seems like a typical New Yorker, working as a gaming developer, and living a life of excess. It’s her 36th birthday, and while it would be normal for her to feel happy that her friends are throwing her a party, she seems quite disengaged. Something is not right from the beginning. Nadia starts off the night by bailing from her own party to spend the night with a stranger, only to end up dying… again and again. This is when the show gets really interesting, and the layers underneath her toughness begin to slowly peel away.

The repetition of patterns, people and situations create a wonderful metaphor of what happens in life when people hide from their own feelings. The internal wounds that yearn to be healed create similar situations, and attract similar people as a cry for help. Nadia’s repeated death and subsequent disappearance of objects, people and places symbolize losing a part of ourselves, each time we make the same mistake. She’s fully aware of the pattern, and is desperately trying to figure out why it keeps on happening. She knows there is an answer, that the universe is trying to tell her something, and that she doesn’t want to be stuck any longer. She becomes terrified when she realizes that this may be her new way of living forever, and that at some point, she might die and never come back.

Nadia tirelessly searches for external explanations to what is happening. It’s only when she meets someone else who is going through the same thing, that they together figure out a way to break the cycle. The way out that they find is definitely not what you’d expect. It requires a lot of courage and trust, both in oneself, and in each other. It requires looking with your heart, and not your eyes or rational mind. Here is a wonderful video explaining why people get stuck on these loops, and how to get out of them.

While the character seems at war with the world, the reality is that she’s at war with her feelings. She’s fighting fiercely to ignore her needs, to let down her guard, and to show vulnerability. This tragic comedy ads a bit of perspective and unexpected color to depict what depression looks like. You’ll have to watch until the end to find out what Nadia and her healing companion discover about each other.

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