Binge and Repeat: Dodging death with Russian Doll

Russian Doll
Russian Doll

Natasha Lyonne stars in “Russian Doll,” the Netflix series she co-created, revolving around her character being caught in a time-loop on her birthday.

Lyonne plays Nadia, a woman who doesn’t particularly care about herself at all, while also being an incredibly selfish person. That is, until she dies. After every death Nadia comes back and finds herself in the bathroom of her friend’s apartment at the birthday party being held in her honor. And it seems that no matter what Nadia does she can’t avoid dying. She gets hit by a car, falls down the stairs, falls into open grates and just keeps finding her way back to the ominous bathroom.
As she begins to question her sanity she tries to prevent her death in different ways and goes on a quest to see if she’s having a bad drug reaction, if she’s haunted or if her mother’s mental issues have finally manifested in her own mind.
That is, until Nadia encounters Alan. From there the story gains more traction and moves away from a dark humored “Groundhog Day” to a deliberately deeper storyline, but we won’t give away too much.
Lyonne (who also stars in Netflix’s “Orange Is The New Black”) dives headfirst into her character’s emotional trauma, providing a softer performance while maintaining Nadia’s sardonic humor. Charlie Barnett’s turn as the rigid Alan is anything but stiff, pouring humanity into what could have been an otherwise bland character.
“Russian Doll” has eight half-hour episodes available on Netflix. Fans might also enjoy the spookier series about the Crane family surviving their ghosts in Netflix’s “The Haunting of Hill House.” Those looking for a thriller without the horror should press play on Amazon’s “Homecoming,” which follows a woman trying to figure out what happened to her when she was working at a facility for veterans.