Russian Doll was such a fizzy breath of recent air when it premiered, with Natasha Lyonne’s Nadia getting caught in a time loop and compelled to relive her thirty sixth birthday again and again, that I wasn’t even positive I needed it to return again for a second season. After all, TV exhibits that take a promising concept and run it into the bottom can develop into like irritating time loops themselves. But I’m joyful to report that Season 2 of the Netflix comedy — premiering subsequent Wednesday, April 20; I’ve seen all seven episodes — is a really worthy follow-up, discovering a brand new time-tripping premise that recaptures the sci-fi enjoyable of Season 1. Most importantly, although, it serves as a unbelievable showcase for Lyonne, who as soon as once more delivers probably the greatest and funniest performances wherever on TV.
We decide up 4 years later, with Nadia free from her time loop, making ready for her fortieth birthday and taking part in caretaker to her ailing outdated pal Ruth. One evening, she innocently will get on the subway and notices a poster for Sophie’s Choice and advertisements for Tab soda. What within the identify of Ed Koch is occurring round right here? Eventually, Nadia figures it out: The subway has acted like a time machine, taking her again to they dirty outdated days of 1982 NYC and thrusting her into an advanced household saga that includes a stolen stash of gold Krugerrands and stretches again even a long time additional than that.
More than something, Season 2 is a reminder of how terrific Lyonne is as Nadia; it’s actually probably the greatest comedic TV performances in recent times. She’s totally entertaining right here, fumbling her method by the Eighties together with her distinctively raspy Noo Yawk accent whereas dropping scorching inventory suggestions and too-early Cheers references. Nearly each phrase that comes out of her mouth is humorous, and even when there’s nobody else within the scene together with her, she mumbles humorous issues to herself. (Just take heed to the way in which she says “cock-a-roach,” and savor it.) But Lyonne has genuinely poignant moments as nicely, as Nadia excavates layers of trauma and stares down the barrel of her personal darkish and twisted household legacy. Attention, Emmy voters: You nominated Lyonne final season, however she actually deserves to take it residence this yr.
Russian Doll does lose a little bit of steam each time Lyonne isn’t on display screen: Her fastidious time-loop companion Alan, performed by Charlie Barnett, isn’t as compelling a protagonist as Nadia — however to be honest, nobody is. And at first, I believed that perhaps this season’s thriller was getting overly bold and convoluted, throwing every kind of historic eras and areas at us. But the worldwide time-travel shenanigans do lend a cosmic significance to Nadia’s story and permit for eye-popping set items like a supremely drugged-out European dance occasion, and all of it ties collectively ultimately in a supremely satisfying (and mind-blowing) finale. This present is really a present, and if Season 2 is any indication, it might probably carry on reinventing itself for years and years to return.
THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE: Netflix’s time-tripping comedy Russian Doll is simply nearly as good in Season 2, with an Emmy-worthy efficiency from Natasha Lyonne.