It's been a minute since I jumped into Russian Doll, we just learned about Alan's Routine, now we want to know how it ties in with Nadia's and WHY they two keep dying on a daily basis. Let's find out what we can after the break in Russian Doll S11:E06 Reflection!
We open with Nadia Vuvokov (Natasha Lyonne) verbally trashing Alan Zaveri's (Charlie Barnett) apartment as a prelude to discussing their predicament. Quick recap of the season thus far: they both die daily and are reborn in different bathrooms, and are somehow connected. We don't know how or why any of this is happening.
Nadia's not happy with the nightmarish idea of being trapped in this repeating eternity (or Groundhog Day!) with Alan; it's not him, it's her! She has a problem with commitment.
Also with decorum, as she stabs him in the thigh to make sure they're not actually the same person: another theory of hers. Nadia can be a bit of a dick.
They do a deep dive into their backgrounds to check for similarities, but what we see about them in the present is two complete opposites. Nadia's messy where Alan is compulsively tidy, she's spontaneous (see: thigh stabbing) while he is meticulous and plans everything. Basically: two very different people going through the same trippy experience.
They do find a commonality! She designed a video game he hates, see if you can see any other things that match in this game description! It's a single character that has to solve everything by herself.
*I swear to all that is holy, if this turns out to be one of those shows where the moral is that you just need to be part of a community and hang out with friends more, I will motherfucking RIOT.
However, Nadia isn't trying to solve this puzzle alone, she's trying to work with Alan so backing off a scootch.
Nadia smokes and works on her video game while Alan eats the bakery birthday cake again, how did he die? He starts listing all the ways, but she wants to know what was his first death? He doesn't remember.
How can he not remember? This seems like super important information. Wouldn't that be some kind of a milestone too? Maybe that's the key to everything! They're off to see therapist Ruth Brenner (Elizabeth Ashley) for help.
I said therapist, right, not shaman or fortune teller or a practitioner of any other magical art. Ruth is at a loss as to how she can help and Alan's not into therapy and Nadia is mostly interested in convincing Ruth to get her gas leak checked out anyway.
Alan has a fear of being labelled crazy, which is kinda crazy, nobody uses that word any more! Except for me right there and I clearly didn't mean it. The important thing is that now we're going to get to know more about Nadia's mom!
Nadia's mom is a very important person who died at 36, the same age Nadia was when she first died at her birthday party. It's all connected.
Nadia's mom was a unique soul; she read that one of the chakras was purple so she wore no other colour for a year.
*Scanning show memory for purpleness.
Then there were the mirrors, shattered by Nadia's mom and hanging empty with shards of glass all over the floor around Nadia.
Recently, my youngest broke a glass in the kitchen. It's kind of what he does, not a big deal but he knows to stand still so I can sweep then wipe the area with wet paper towels to safe it out. This time he decided to move, then move again, so I had no choice but to throw him up on my back and piggyback him out of there to safety while we laughed so hard I thought I would cramp. I shouted dire warnings while his older brothers tried not to laugh milk out their noses and basically: it was an awesome random event. I cannot imagine allowing my children to wander around among entire mirrors-full of broken glass, some of it even in Nadia's hair. What?
What did Nadia's mom have against mirrors, anyway? "Reflection. Proof of existence. Another pair of eyes. That's why therapists are so important, we are very unreliable narrators of our own stories."
*I am working on my own Book of Stories, I've given exactly those caveats at the beginning!
Nadia and Alan continue to look for similarities and differences, it's a bit of a coincidence that they're both allergic to bees but what can that mean?
It means that they're both about to die by honeybee attack in the underground, that's what!
Back in the (purple? Is that purple?) bathroom of doom, Nadia stares in the mirror, then heads over to Alan's place with a plan in place.
Alan has a deconstructed mirror by the door in his place, I don't know if that matters, but it's as though I just bought a red car, all I can see are red cars! And mirrors.
Nadia's plan is to revisit Alan's night, but whereas her night is a birthday party thrown in her honour, his is the worst night of his life, so hard pass. Nadia is not deterred.
We start at Beatrice's (Dascha Polanco from OITNB!!) apartment, first listening through the door as she talks to Mike (Jeremy Bobb), hey Nadia knows Mike! They banged it out five minutes after meeting on her very first death night, but to Alan she identifies Mike as "Maxine's friend."
In they go! Beatrice is aloof and wary, but willing to allow random stranger Nadia to use her bathroom. Nadia asks for cottage cheese, like you do, which confused Beatrice and I for different reasons.
Beatrice wants to know who eats cottage cheese, but I do! I love it! Add in a bunch of black pepper and sliced up green onions, it's to die for! But at night? In a stranger's apartment? What does that have to do with using the bathroom? These are all questions I would have asked.
Beatrice is ready to get to it, they go into the other room to break up while Nadia watches from the other room and we look at the moldy fruit on the table. Does the fruit not evolve with night? Is it just fruit or all foodstuffs that can rot in a timewarp? Is it a timewarp? Let's just watch!
Beatrice starts into her speech about not wanting to be in the relationship and needing to not have to take care of Alan and wanting more; Nadia interrupts to make fun of Beatrice and her Urban Outfitters art and suggest that Alan is out of Beatrice's league and some other fun things.
That certainly helped Alan, however true it is that he has admirable erection qualities. Everyone needs a friend to back them up unreasonably while they're being dumped.
Step One complete! On to the bar to get drunk and talk shite about marriage.
He asks about her necklace, it's a Krugerrand with a horrifying story. It's the last bit of Holocaust gold left from Nadia's family, her mother spent the rest. Nadia's grandparents were survivors and their legacy was $152k for Nadia's college fund. She has the last one.
On to what was happening the night of for Nadia! Oh no, we knew this was gonna happen, and what happens next, too. Nadia tells Alan she was bouncing on Mike, Alan would like to have a penis measuring contest with Mike, but inside Nadia.
Some hilarious and complicated roleplay later, Nadia is brushing her teeth and Alan is passed out buttnaked. Awww, that literally never happens that we see male nudity before women's! Yay!
But really: nobody needs to be naked while doing their job, unless that is their job which is absolutely a job and deserves all the protection we extend to everyone working. Wooooo!
Nadia snatches Alan's shoes and heads out onto the streets to find Horse (Brendan Sexton III), the homeless fella she's been bonding with. They huff paint together in the park and discuss the nature of being real and seen in society. They decide they are shadows (totally not) and she gives him her Krugerrand necklace. It's too heavy to carry, like, psychically.
Off to the bodega, where alllll of the fruit is rotten there too but I can't see whether any other food has expired yet. Nadia chitchats with Farran (Ritesh Rajan) about his writing then we have the oddest thing happen yet. A noise draws Nadia's attention to the back of the store where Horse is making a mess of the dairy aisle. Yet. On the other side of the back of the store, Alan is doing the same, but in a much cleaner and tidier fashion.
That's not all! Nadia is half paint-huffer and half clean.
What?? This is a memory? A vision of the night? Wait, maybe a memory, because Farran was helping a drunk friend, which was Alan after the bar (sans banging Nadia because she was bouncing on Mike).
None of that explains half of Nadia's face being in each dimension.
She returns to her apartment, where Alan is up, dressed and has completely cleaned her entire place. He even dug up pictures of Nadia as a child with her mom, played by Chloë Sevigny about whom I am conflicted.
Don't mistake that impish smirk for happiness, Nadia is furious that he went through her stuff and throws Alan out forthwith without his shoes.
Alan goes home to lose at Nadia's video game some more then curl up on his bed and remember how he died the first night. He jumped off his roof. I could see that being something he maybe didn't want to share with brash Nadia. That's all supposition, but right now he's standing on the roof of his building swaying while Nadia eats chicken with Dr. Ruth.
Ruth wants Nadia to forgive her mom and move on, but Nadia is stuck. Needing other people is bullshit! She'll just stay here and choke on a chicken wing while Alan jumps off the roof.
So the cooked meats weren't rotten!
Neither are the fruit in Maxine (Greta Lee)'s party for Nadia where she regenerates. Also: the mirror in the bathroom is now missing. We don't have our cheerful song any more either, which I've grown to miss.
All the mirrors are gone, even in Alan's apartment, which is where Nadia heads to check in. Alan spills what I guessed above, that he committed suicide for his first death and that's why he didn't want to tell her. Awww. Poor Alan and we're out.
So. Lots going on here. Suicide is such a painful subject, one of those things that feels like dancing with live bees. It's tied up with the stigma associated with mental illness and is apparently contagious, depending on which study you read. Genetic, too, same same.
How does this tie in? Is Nadia supposed to help Alan not do that? How does that connect to Nadia's mom? Did her mom commit suicide? Did Nadia try/not try to help her not do that? I feel as though the answers are all here but I can't see them yet...how does the cat tie in? Until next time, lovely people, cheers!
PS: thanks for being so patient with me about the recaps for this show. I have quite a lot going on offline, I jump on shows when I am able. Thanks again!