In the first season of ‘Russian Doll,’ Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne), the brash and undeniably New Yorker protagonist of the series, was stuck in a time loop in which every time she dies, she returns to the same bathroom in her friend’s apartment on her 36th birthday. In season 2, Nadia, approaching her 40th birthday, finds herself traveling back in time whenever she takes the 6 trains from 77th street.
Initially, she is troubled, confounded, and exasperated, realizing that she is once more on the receiving end of the universe’s bizarre sense of humor. But then, she decides to make the best use of it and change her past so that her future would be better. That inevitably has certain consequences, including the collapse of time. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Russian Doll’ season 2. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Russian Doll Season 2 Recap
It’s been over three years since Nadia and Alan (Charlie Barnett) were trapped in the time loop. Since then, they have spent Nadia’s birthdays on high alert so that they wouldn’t trigger the circle of the deaths and mirrors once more. Ten days before her 40th birthday, Nadia visits Ruth (Elizabeth Ashley) at a clinic after the latter is involved in a fender bender. In the evening, she calls Maxine (Greta Lee) while heading toward the latter’s apartment. The first thing that Maxine says to her involves human embryos and the stage where they have slits in their necks like fish. Nadia takes the 6 train from 77th street, and when she reaches Astor Place, it’s 1982.
Nadia meets a very unscrupulous character named Chez or Chezare Carrera (Sharlto Copley), and it seems that he knows her. When she stands in front of a mirror, realization dawns. She is inhabiting her mother’s mind and body, while the latter is heavily pregnant. The time loops were bad enough; this takes things to a whole new level, especially with the insurmountable issues that Nadia has with her mother.
After overcoming her initial shock, she realizes that she has traveled back to the day her mother stole the Krugerrands from her grandmother, Vera. After World War II, Vera got 150 Krugerrands in exchange for the remnants of the family valuables. The gold coins were meant to go toward Nadia’s college fund, but she was left with only one of them, which she now wears around her neck.
Nadia realizes that she can repeatedly travel back to 1982 and tries to rewrite the history by ensuring that the Krugerrands remain in the family. But no matter what she does, how much she changes history, the timeline readjusts, and the family loses the Krugerrands every time. One time, she falls asleep and misses her stop, ending up in Budapest, Hungary, in 1944 in the mind and body of her grandmother.
She tries to secure the original heirlooms for her family, but the timeline readjusts, and it’s the Krugerrands again. Meanwhile, Alan has grown deeply unsatisfied with how his life has turned out. He learns about the 6 trains time travel from Nadia and decides to give it a try, ending up in 1962 East Germany, where he develops a romantic interest in his grandmother Agnes’ (Carolyn Michelle Smith) boyfriend, Lenny.
In the season 2 finale, titled ‘Matryoshka,’ Nadia causes time to collapse after she gives birth to herself in a 6-train station and flees to the future with her infant self. Both she and Alan discover that they are at the same 36th birthday party that they spent a lifetime trying to escape.
Russian Doll Season 2 Ending: Does Nadia Change Her Future? Do Nadia and Alan Stop Time from Collapsing?
The existential crisis was at the center of the narrative in the first season of ‘Russian Doll.’ In season 2, the focus is shifted to family. Nadia literally gets to occupy the mind and body of both Nora (Chloë Sevigny) and Vera and witnesses their circumstances firsthand. In the first season, we get the impression that Nora is mentally unwell, though the type of disorder is never really specified. She buys a carful of melons, steals family heirlooms, does drugs, and forces Nadia to be the subject of many of her outbursts.
It is Nadia’s greatest fear that she will become similarly unwell. And yet, Nadia inadvertently replicates her mother’s behavior — she drinks, smokes, and has eggs with hot sauce for breakfast. In the first season, it is heavily implied that Nora committed suicide after losing her daughter’s custody. In season 2, Nadia gets to inhabit the erratic mind of her mother and starts to really understand the other woman for the first time.
Vera isn’t an easy mother to live with. Her life has understandably been shaped by the horrors she experienced during the Holocaust, and that has created a fundamental disconnect between her and Nora, who was born and grew up in New York City. While trying and failing to regain familial wealth, Nadia realizes that her mother didn’t have a perfect childhood either. All three women are the products of their upbringings and youth. Vera, who has lost almost everything, desperately wants to hold on to the only connection she now has with her family, the Krugerrands. One of Nora’s reasons to steal the Krugerrands is that this is the best way she knows how to rebel against her mother.
As for Nadia, she seeks a better life for herself. Eventually, this leads her to take her infant self to the future, so she can give herself a blank slate — a new beginning — and causes the collapse of time and space. Eventually, she comes to terms with her past and present. When she finds herself in the void, or the empty pocket of space — “leftover from a job never completed” — she has to choose between herself and the Krugerrands, and she chooses the former. Nadia ultimately returns her infant self to her mother, reuniting with Nora, closing the loop that she has created, and finally freeing herself from all the what-ifs that have plagued her mind for all these years.
Does Ruth Die?
Yes, Ruth dies in the second season of ‘Russian Doll.’ Ruth has been the sole mother figure in Nadia’s life — the one that actually devoted herself to Nadia’s wellbeing. When Nadia travels to 1982, she meets Ruth’s younger version (Annie Murphy), who has recently lost her husband. Despite the snide remarks of her being an outsider and a widow from Vera and Vera’s friend Delia, Ruth remains steadfast in her support of Nora while the latter is pregnant.
As we see in season 1, in the years to come, Ruth turns from a supportive friend to a concerned second mother for Nadia as Nora becomes progressively volatile. When Nadia discovers Ruth has died due to pulmonary embolism, she becomes inconsolable. Being trapped in the time loop of her own creation, she missed the death of the only woman who had been there for her since the beginning. After finding a way, she reaches Astor Place in 2022 and heads straight to Maxine’s apartment, where Ruth’s wake is being held.
Does Alan Save Lenny?
Alan’s journey in both seasons happens concurrently with that of Nadia’s. In season 1, they eventually end up in the same timeline with their memories intact. While they are free from the time loop, it’s the same memories that hold Alan prisoner. He still vividly remembers that he killed himself. His apparent depression and struggle with life have become too big of a burden to bear. So, when he is offered to live in a drastically different way, he eagerly takes it. He inhabits the body and mind of his grandmother Agnes, a Ghanian student in East Germany in 1962, and develops feelings for her boyfriend at the time, Lenny.
Alan discovers that Lenny and his friends are trying to escape to West Germany through a tunnel. Knowing that the tunnel will collapse, he tries to stop them, but they leave anyway. He never gets to know whether they survived or not. When he finally meets Agnes in the void, he discovers that she never found out either. Agnes helps her grandson find his true worth before helping him get out of the void. When Nadia reaches Ruth’s wake, Alan is already there, looking happy and self-assured.
Read More: Review: What Is the Nazi Gold Train as Shown in Russian Doll? Did It Exist in Real Life?
Where is The Perfect Family Filmed? Is it Based on a True Story?
Directed by Arantxa Echevarría, ‘The Perfect Family’ or ‘La Familia Perfecta’ is a Spanish comedy movie. It revolves around Lucía and her family. Over the years, Lucía has maintained the perfect image of her family. However, the perception is in danger of being broken due to her son Pablo’s lifestyle and girlfriend, Sara. Her son’s possible in-laws make her worry even more. As the two worlds collide, chaos ensues, and Lucía desperately tries to hang on to any piece of normalcy.
The film is a hilarious blend of romance and family dynamics that are somehow both relatable and unbelievable. Thanks to the stellar performances by talented actors like Belén Rueda, Jose Coronado, Gonzalo de Castro, Carolina Yuste, and many more, the movie is sure to keep you hooked. The film is also quite visually appealing, thanks to the amazing locations and backdrops used in the scenes. If you want to know where the Spanish movie was lensed, we have your back!
The Perfect Family Filming Locations
‘The Perfect Family’ was filmed in Madrid and Brihuega, Spain. After seven weeks of shooting, the movie’s principal photography was completed in October 2020. Let’s take a closer look at the details of the filming locations.
The Community of Madrid served as the primary location for the production of ‘The Perfect Family.’ It is home to the country’s capital, the city of Madrid, which was used to lens the scenes for the comedy film. The municipalities of Rascafría and Guadarrama were also used to capture several scenes.
Located in the center of the Iberian Peninsula, with the River Manzanares, the community of Madrid has a diverse landscape and wildlife. The region also has a rich historical background with political and financial influence. The city of Madrid is perhaps the most infamous place in the area for tourists. However, apart from the capital city, the community is also home to tourist destinations like the Guadarrama Mountain Range, La Pedriza, and the Castle of Manzanares el Real.
Thanks to the facilities and beautiful landscape within the Community of Madrid, it has always been one of the most popular productions spots for both local and international projects. Several projects have been lensed in its borders, including ‘Elite‘ and ‘Money Heist.’
Locate in the Spanish province of Guadalajara, the Brihuega municipality was used to film ‘The Perfect Family.’ The city was home to violent battles during the Spanish Civil War. Apart from its importance within the country’s history, the Brihuega is also known for tourist destinations like the Arab Caves, the Cadena Gate, and the Cozagón Arch. Many moviemakers have used the area as their shooting spot, like ‘Talk to Her’ and ‘The Immortal Story.’
Is The Perfect Family a True Story?
No, ‘The Perfect Family’ is not based on a true story. The movie has been written by Olatz Arroyo and directed by Arantxa Echevarría. Though the film deals with relatable themes surrounding family drama, the plot is a product of Arroyo’s imagination and Echevarría’s vision. The director took inspiration from similarly themed movies to get an idea of how the film would proceed.
“Monster-in-Law [The mother of the groom, with Jennifer Lopez and Jane Fonda] was one of them, with the mother-in-law that nobody can stand. Belén may remember Katharine Hepburn in Guess Who’s Coming Tonight. And Meryl Streep in Big Little Lies is another example of the mother-in-law that nobody wants to have,” Echevarría shared. The director was determined to present viewers with characters that they can relate to, without falling for stereotypes.
“Starting with stereotypes is the big mistake we all make. I always talk about that in my movies, of the difference. The difference is cool, the differences have changed the world. We are afraid of what we don’t know,” Echevarría explained. “When you realize that the person next to you feels, suffers, and wants the same as you, it doesn’t matter if they are poor, rich, a single mother, or a mother of five… Suddenly there is a communication. I wanted to demonstrate how archetypes rub against each other and repel each other due to ignorance.”
The director wanted to portray a natural transition in the relationship between Lucía and Sara. It focuses more on the feelings that the two inspire in each other rather than their bond with Pablo. According to the director, despite the seemingly perfect family, Lucía finds something missing inside her. However, she does not realize the emptiness within her until she meets Sara. The director also told Carolina Yuste, who plays Sara, that her character adores Lucía, allowing the dynamics between the two women to flow naturally.
While the movie is not based on a single true story, it does allow viewers to empathize with the characters. At one point or another, viewers can understand the motivations of Lucía or Sara. Whether it is the desire to have a picture-perfect family or being accepted into a new one, the themes are true to life, even though shown through the lens of comedy.
Read More: Is Monster-in-Law Based on a True Story?
Did Emmy Rossum Use Prosthetic Breasts for Angelyne?
‘Angelyne’ tells the story of the original Hollywood icon who is famous for being famous. Often called the billboard queen because of the many billboards around Los Angeles that sport her likeness, the show’s titular character remains famous for decades. In her appearance on talk shows and in interviews, Angelyne says she is whatever her fans want her to be.
The show attempts to recreate the actual titular Hollywood icon from the 1980s and 1990s, with actress Emmy Rossum essaying the role. The bleached blonde, noticeably busty figure of Angelyne seen on the show is a good likeness to the original despite the actress playing her looking quite unlike Angelyne to begin with. Let’s take a look at how Emmy Rossum turned herself into the titular character of ‘Angelyne.’
Are Emmy Rossum Breasts Fake or Real in the Show?
Actress Emmy Rossum actually spent years trying to bring the series to fruition after initially having the idea to essay Hollywood’s billboard queen, Angelyne. After crossing many a hurdle, including buying the rights to Angelyne’s life, trademarks, art, and punk-pop music catalog, all of which are present on the show, Rossum focused her attention on the transformative makeover that turned her into a convincing image of Angelyne.
In one memorable instance, the actress actually walked into a production meeting with her entire garb on. In a blonde wig and leopard-print arm warmers, Rossum interrupted the meeting and passed out rose quartz crystals while holding a peacock feather. To make her physique look like Angelyne’s, Rossum was clad in high heel stilettos and donned a massive 3-pound breastplate. So accurate was her rendition that a few people in the room actually thought for a few moments that the real Angelyne had walked in.
The heavy breastplate that Rossum wore for long periods took its toll, and there were multiple reports of the actress getting blisters from the fake breasts. She also developed tear duct issues because of the two pairs of contact lenses and copious eye makeup she would have to wear for most scenes. All of this resulted in the actress spending between four and five hours almost every day in the makeup chair. The actress also bleached her eyebrows for the role.
Rossum’s husband, ‘Mr. Robot‘ creator Sam Esmail who is also a producer on ‘Angelyne,’ claimed that there were times that even he couldn’t recognize his wife. While Esmail described the situation as kind of eerie, Rossum actually found looking completely unlike herself a liberating experience. “The physicality of the character was challenging. The body is heavy, yet it has to feel light and effervescent,” she told The Hollywood Reporter, continuing, “At first, it’s unnerving. But feeling lost gives way to this real liberation — from myself and the hang-ups that can impede a performance.”
Rossum delved deep into recreating Angelyne, purchasing the latter’s meditation tapes from eBay, and even meeting the titular icon to get her blessing for the show. Rossum claims Angelyne told her to tell the story she wanted to tell. Ultimately, the actress wants to make the show a love letter to Angelyne and has put substantial effort into recreating the glamorous icon, including donning 3-pound prosthetic breasts. The end result is a convincing likeness of Angelyne that aims to bring her distinctive and mysterious charm to screen.
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