It’s been a few years – odd years to say the least – since Natasha Lyonne released her “Russian Doll” series on Netflix. We have experienced a violent uprising in the capital of the United States and a global scourge that has disrupted our societies. Moments when you want to say, as Lyonne’s character Nadia Vulvokov eloquently does, before drinking a glass of bourbon: “When the universe fucks you … let it go! »
It would be good punch line, but that’s probably not what a true New Yorker would do. Nor, according to Jacob, is the way a Jew would handle the matter. Fortunately, Vulvokov, like its creator, is both at the same time. Once the basic psychedelic and sci-fi premise of the sequel is established, we know for sure that Nadia will face her problems and in the end make difficult but fair decisions.
While the opening premise of the first season, inspired by “Groundhog Day,” drew perfect loops of cause and effect, this second season, airing since April 20 on Netflix, doesn’t fit perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle. I think it’s thoughtful. Nadia, our urban urban hipster, one of the most “oh-god-I know” characters I’ve ever seen on TV, has come a long way since the last time. This time, he has to somehow change a couple of things for his family, and this is where it gets tricky.
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For starters, his mother and grandmother are dead, but one night as he climbs Line 6, he discovers that his $ 2.75 allows him to go back in time. A few days before her 40th birthday, in 2022, it has been 40 years since she reappeared in Astor Place to discover that she is in fact in the body of her pregnant mother, played by Chloë Sevigny.
Her mother, who committed suicide at the age of 36, had severed ties with her own mother after losing her family fortune, which was invested in South Africa’s Krugerrand gold coins. If Nadia somehow manages to recover that stolen wallet, she could create a completely different future, right? No, of course not.
Nadia’s grandmother had invested in Krugerrand because, like many Holocaust survivors, she was suspicious of … everything, absolutely everything. He had witnessed government lies and large-scale robberies. Everything of value had been taken to him by the Hungarian Golden Train, a small (and strange) story of World War II history. Without getting too into spoiler territory, I’ll just say that Nadia’s magical paths take her not only to the East Village of the 80’s, but also to the Budapest of the 40’s. For a woman who lived with the specter of Nazism all his life, there is something terrifying.)
But also fun! Because Natasha Lyonne, who herself wrote and directed most of the seven episodes (and produced all that “shmear” [bazar]) is one of the most creative artists of our time. Incredibly beautiful, oscillating between extreme self-confidence and perplexed problems, she can be hard as a rock and the next moment as sweet as a woman in love who just wants people to be happy. He also misses the opportunity to make jokes, even if no one listens to him. No one but us.
I started jotting down some especially scorching lines as I scrolled through the series, but quickly gave up, the list was getting too long. It’s a deluge of cult lines (“It looks like Purim is early this year!”; “We’re Ashkenazi Jews, not magicians!”).
Nadia’s research into her Judaism is not a dialogue, but a situation comedy between her and her destiny. “You’re not a creationist, are you?” to wonder about God’s plans for her, she’s too busy trying to avoid them.
Such a rich project opens up many avenues worth discussing (all the music chosen – from Van Halen to Bauhaus to Falco, Franz Liszt, Velvet Underground and Brian Eno – is perfect), as well as the delicious jokes that will speak. to the people who have lived a life similar to Nadia’s. (It was great to see Crazy Eddie again.)
But beyond the weird twists and turns of science fiction and nail-hard heroin, it’s a wise, tender, and supremely intelligent reflection on generational trauma. A show that the Jews of my generation – the generation of grandchildren – will feel in the depths of their being.
We can debate whether the second season is as good as the first, but one thing is certain: we would like to see a third season.