If you thought that Russian Doll (starring Natasha Lyonne) is simply a rip-off of Happy Death Day and/or Groundhog Day, then you’re wrong. Although it has similar elements of repeating the same day after dying, it goes deeper with topics surrounding childhood trauma and mental illness.
If you’ve seen this short series (it’s only eight episodes that are almost 30 minutes long each), you probably think that Nadia and Alan’s (Charlie Barnett) adventure is done. They already saved each other and stopped the death loop after all. But here’s some good news: The series is slated for three seasons, so we might get new episodes by 2020.
That said, let’s talk about Russian Doll theories and how some of them will interconnect in the sequel. And yes, they can be as dark as the show itself. Keep reading to find out!
The concept of purgatory has been brought up multiple times in Russian Doll. Alan mentions that they might be repeating their deaths because they haven’t atoned for their sins. It’s somewhat true because in Catholicism and Judaism, purgatory is seen as a place of purification and that’s similar to what the protagonists did in the series.
Nadia had to admit that she feels responsible for her mother’s death and bring back the little girl who was hopeful about life. Meanwhile, Alan needed to forgive his cheating girlfriend and not attack those who ruined his already-doomed relationship. Once they accomplished those, they die one more time and were ultimately “healed” in the last episode.
Nadia’s wild, red hair
Nadia is known for her curly red hair which she flaunts proudly despite its unruly nature. At one point in the series, a homeless man named Horse offered to cut her hair short and she obliged. This haircutting offer would go on in other episodes.
At first, you’d think this is just one of Horse’s quirks. But Polygon suggests that the haircuts might be a metaphor for removing Nadia’s childhood burden. When she was younger, her mom told her that her hair is her “crowning glory” and that she shouldn’t wear it in a ponytail. This also posits the idea that Horse is a sort of shepherd in the purgatory-like world they’re in. The only question is if we’ll see more of him in the sequel.
Oatmeal might not be real
First off, I love Oatmeal the deli cat and I don’t want him to be a figment of Nadia’s imagination. GameSpot theorizes that Oatmeal and Horse can be the same being since both of them are always at the park and don’t have a permanent home. Plus, they’re seen together in Nadia’s “healed” universe.
That said, I personally believe that Oatmeal might be a guardian like the alebrijes in Disney Pixar’s Coco. Just putting it out there.
On the first episode of Russian Doll, it showed Nadia’s first death wherein she was hit by a car. But when she asked Alan about his first death, he says he couldn’t remember. He later shares that he jumped from a building after breaking up with his girlfriend of nine years.
This bit could play an important role in the sequel because it could explore Alan’s mental health. Digital Spy cited a Reddit theory that claimed Alan might’ve jumped multiple times before realizing that it’s futile. Proof? Nadia repeatedly falling down the stairs and dying in episode 2 since they always die and resurrect at the same time. This also explains why Alan listens to an affirmations podcast to start his day.
That darn chicken
One of the focal points of Nadia’s birthday party (the night she first died and resurrects) is the chicken that Maxine made and how no one was eating it. You’d think it’s just a funny bit in the scene, but if you really wanna go deeper, a Twitter account dedicated to Russian Doll theories posted that the chicken might be symbolism for fear. Here’s their rundown:
Not food as I assumed. To be "a chicken" is to be afraid.
Fear of birthday: "Maxine's chicken"
Fear of commitment: John holding a bag of chicken
Fear that she's losing it in Ruth's kitchen: eating rotisserie chicken
Argument with Ruth: chokes to death on chicken.
— Russian Doll Theories (@RDcockaroaches) February 13, 2019
So if you see a chicken in future Russian Doll episodes, you know what’s up.
Art by Marian Hukom
Photos courtesy of Netflix
For the latest in culture, fashion, beauty, and celebrities, subscribe to our weekly newsletter here
JUST IN: Netflix will be releasing an anime about a Filipina
Instagram teamed up with Netflix for this cool feature
Netflix’s new young adult thriller The Innocents features young love and shape-shifting women
Netflix series Alias Grace shows why female oppression must stop