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How To Make Sense of the Ending of Netflix’s “Russian Doll”

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When Russian Doll premiered on Netflix on February 1, 2019, it was destined to become a classic. The comedy-drama features time travel, alternate realities, and plenty of psychedelic hallucinations. The ending of the first season, however, left fans with several questions. Don’t worry, we have the full explanation right here.

Repeating The Same Day

The Netflix series has a similar premise to the popular Happy Death Day films. Nadia, played by American Pie and Orange is the New Black star Natasha Lyonne, keeps dying and reliving her 36th birthday. She is trapped in a surreal time loop. She knows she’ll die every day, but it’s intriguing to learn how.

Alternate Universes

Nadia and her friend, Alan, die several times but learn to accept their inevitable fates. However, Nadia begins to wonder if each time they die, they are instead jumping into a new alternate reality. During their final reset, Nadia and Alan find alternate versions of themselves without any memories of what has happened. A parallel universe must exist in the show’s timeline.

It’s Really About Video Games

Nadia works as a video game programmer. This element offers a hint of what’s going on beneath the surface of Russian Doll. Co-creator Leslye Headland said Nadia’s situation is much closer to being trapped in a video game. When you die, you get to “restart the game.” If this is true, what is this particular game trying to teach Nadia and Alan?

The Final Exam

The show’s last episode is a final exam for Nadia and Alan. They find themselves in separate timelines with alternate versions of each other. They’re doomed to die permanently this time unless someone helps them. In the final scene, the screen is split and one side features Nadia in one reality with Alan’s alternate version. On the other half of the screen, we see Alan with Nadia’s alternate version. Will the original characters be reunited?

Did They Find Each Other?

The episode’s final shot shows both alternate versions of Nadia and Alan passing through two identical versions of a street parade. We’re left with a single Nadia and Alan. They exit together. Were they finally reunited? Their clothing is an important hint. Nadia is wearing a white shirt and Alan is wearing a scarf. Their alternate versions don’t resemble their attire, so it’s safe to interpret that the original characters reunited, and their test is over. Well, at least it’s over for now.

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