I looooove Russian Doll, it's like one long game of Memory with sexy people drinking inadvisable amounts. Let's find out who this other groundhog is that we just met, right after the break. Rolling Russian Doll S1:E04 Alan's Routine!
We open in a different bathroom, yay! This is the bar we've set, a different bathroom feels like a victory. Alan Zaveri (Charlie Barnett - he's so familiar!! But I can't figure out where I know him from....hmmm) has everything taped out to the second a fly will land at a particular spot on the wall so he can swat it.
Wow, okay, this extreme organization does not look new, his suitcase says he does everything in a careful and well-thought out way. He listens to affirmations while staring at an engagement ring in the bottom of his bag.
He negotiates the streets in his careful, measured way as he crosses paths with our Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne) who is looking for Horse, the homeless guy.
Alan continues on to see Beatrice (Dascha Polanco from OITNB!!! I love her) who thinks he seems tense. I would be tense if I was her, seeing as he's reading her mind and giving her stuff before she asks for it. They're supposed to go on a vacation the following day, he must have been UNpacking earlier.
She's breaking up with him, he still wants to fix that, to make that not be what happens on his last and never-ending day. But it does.
He drinks and plays video games at home, I honestly wish there was anything I liked doing as much as some grown men seem to like playing video games. Well, there is one thing, but difficult to do solo. For very long.
He gets food delivered, I knooooow this delivery driver (JD Samson)....he eats and eats and drinks and plays and wakes up to a text from F inviting him to coffee. A quick workout, shower and cleanup and he's off again.
His life is timed to the second; he waits to hear the chime of the elevator before he moves to his door in measured steps. He surprises his neighbour Audrey (Mirirai Sithole - whom I just saw in Black Mirror S5:E02 Smithereens! She was the data analyst and looked twice the age she looks here, which is 12), who was supposed to look after his fish and asks her for a personal take. She does not have one. "If you weren't paying me, I never would have spoken to you."
F turns out to mean Farran (Ritesh Rajan with the dreamy eyes) who is the cashier at the bodega Nadia goes to! He had a drunk friend on one of those nights, was that Alan? Farran can't believe that Beatrice and Alan have broken up, and how "serial killer calm" Alan is about it. Alan's obsessed with fixing his life via his repetitive routine, and while he'd love to come over on Friday for supper, he knows it's a lot further away than Farran thinks.
He stops over to see his mama, Dr. Zaveri (Lillias White) wants to know why he's skipping work?? But when he tells her he proposed, her face makes us all want to cry.
Of course he lies, it's not going to hurt her, she's not going to know.
He pops into the elevator to die with Nadia, this is how we met him! Then we're back in their respective bathrooms.
But Alan's timing is off - there's someone else like him out there! Nadia regroups while Alan coasts through the rest of his night, trying to figure out what's going on.
He's out of it with Beatrice, so actually gets some new information for once. He's been cutting her off, so missed the point where she tells him she slept with Mike Kershaw (Jeremy Bobb), who Alan calls The Gingerbread Man but we know as Fingers from episode one where he and Nadia picked each other up.
Alan can't believe Beatrice cheated on him with "that elitist, condescending NIGHTMARE" but does it matter, really? Especially since Alan hasn't even met him and he can't remember Beatrice's dissertation focus (Updike, not Philip Roth but really: same same). It wasn't just a one time thing, but Beatrice struggled with telling Alan because she was worried he would hurt himself. He's...fragile. There was never going to be a right time to tell him anything.
That's a thing. That's a real thing that people need to know: are you even with someone if you're with them because you don't know how they'll handle being apart from you? Related: "Ex-Factor" by Lauryn Hill.
Alan researches Mike online, there are even pictures of him with Beatrice on the school website. Nadia's also doing some homework, looking for Mike via the Garret's ring box she saw him carrying in the Elevator of Death.
A hilarious exchange with the jewelry store clerk Liana (Stella Schnabel - honestly, they have the best cameos on this show) and Nadia leaves without Alan's name but a lead: Yep reviews. Look, Alan did a Yep review!
*If you had any idea how hard it is to not type "Yelp"
Alan's still in a funk at coffee with Farran, but letting Beatrice finish that one sentence has borne unexpected fruit. Farran's wife cheated on him when they were first together, they worked through it with therapy, but Alan does not do therapy. He will work through it on his own.
So Alan's neighbour Audrey wouldn't talk to him if he didn't pay her, but she cares enough to block Nadia from entering his building, so, even stevens? Nadia waits.
Alan is freaked out when he spies Nadia smoking outside his door, she's working on some theories of which zero he wants to hear. I want to hear the one about them being the same person, though! Not with her burning herself with a lighter, Corsican Brothers style, though.
Alan's pissed because he had everything figured out for his last and never-ending day on earth and then along came Nadia like some "carcinogenic siren" and messed with him! He learned something he didn't want to know - wait. His girlfriend was cheating on him for 9 years??? 9???? Beatrice!
Nadia takes another stab at getting to know Alan, looking exactly like a cherubic pixie gnome with important but confusing information.
She's happy to have someone to be in this with! He is less so.
We meet Mike again! He's holding forth about Faulkner's work with a student (Madeline Bundy) when Alan bursts in before we find out if he was sleeping with her too. Booooo. Alan jumps on Mike, who doesn't.even.know.who.he.is. It's worse, somehow, that he hasn't even bothered to research the boyfriend of his lover.
Another teacher (Alberto Bonilla) drags Alan off Mike and listens to Mike's explanation: "She's unhappy, man. I'm just her excuse to leave." Alan breaks a mirror and leaves, throwing the engagement ring off the bridge seconds before being electrocuted in a freak electrical accident and reappearing in his bathroom.
He unpacks his suitcase in the messiest way possible, to find that there HAS been a change! The ring is gone!! There is hope! Wait. Also gone is his fish, Bobo Fett, a Siamese fighting fish alone in an oblong tank. What does that mean? Is Bobo Fett like Oatmeal, Nadia's cat? Is it related to Nadia losing Oatmeal? Every time she looks for him, she dies immediately after seeing him.
We're out, by the way, in the middle of my carrying on up there about hope and missing fish. So what did we learn this time? That Alan and Nadia live quite close by each other, they die on the same bridge but are probably not the same people. They can alter their Forever Day! Or is that just Alan? Can Nadia change something in her day? I wanna know! We'll get another piece of the puzzle next time, cheers everyone!