** Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for Seasons 1 and 2 of Russian Doll**
If Russian Doll Season 1 captured the dislocating grief of the pandemic and the need to bear witness to each other’s realities as a way to counter that grief, then Russian Doll Season 2 captures the lingering disorientation and pain of a traumatic event and the difficult, lonely paths out of it.
Russian Doll Season 2 catches up with its characters, Nadia and Alan, four years after the events of the first show. Still alive, still friends, they seem to be doing well. Nadia is celebrating her fortieth birthday and caring for her godmother Ruth. Alan is dating. Together, they’ve built a tradition of celebrating Nadia’s birthday with each other, just in case the universe tries any more funny business. They look out for each other. Life is good.
Yet both characters are still papering over deep, unresolved trauma and pain.
As the narrative unspools, they are asked to come to terms with their…