Russian Doll Season 2 Ending, Explained: Does Nadia Change Her Future?

In the first season of ‘Russian Doll,’ Nadia Vulvokov (Natasha Lyonne), the brash and undeniably New Yorker protagonist of the series, was stuck in a time loop in which every time she dies, she returns to the same bathroom in her friend’s apartment on her 36th birthday. In season 2, Nadia, approaching her 40th birthday, finds herself traveling back in time whenever she takes the 6 trains from 77th street.

Initially, she is troubled, confounded, and exasperated, realizing that she is once more on the receiving end of the universe’s bizarre sense of humor. But then, she decides to make the best use of it and change her past so that her future would be better. That inevitably has certain consequences, including the collapse of time. Here is everything you need to know about the ending of ‘Russian Doll’ season 2. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Russian Doll Season 2 Recap

It’s been over three years since Nadia and Alan (Charlie Barnett) were trapped in the time loop. Since then, they have spent Nadia’s birthdays on high alert so that they wouldn’t trigger the circle of the deaths and mirrors once more. Ten days before her 40th birthday, Nadia visits Ruth (Elizabeth Ashley) at a clinic after the latter is involved in a fender bender. In the evening, she calls Maxine (Greta Lee) while heading toward the latter’s apartment. The first thing that Maxine says to her involves human embryos and the stage where they have slits in their necks like fish. Nadia takes the 6 train from 77th street, and when she reaches Astor Place, it’s 1982.

Nadia meets a very unscrupulous character named Chez or Chezare Carrera (Sharlto Copley), and it seems that he knows her. When she stands in front of a mirror, realization dawns. She is inhabiting her mother’s mind and body, while the latter is heavily pregnant. The time loops were bad enough; this takes things to a whole new level, especially with the insurmountable issues that Nadia has with her mother.

After overcoming her initial shock, she realizes that she has traveled back to the day her mother stole the Krugerrands from her grandmother, Vera. After World War II, Vera got 150 Krugerrands in exchange for the remnants of the family valuables. The gold coins were meant to go toward Nadia’s college fund, but she was left with only one of them, which she now wears around her neck.

Nadia realizes that she can repeatedly travel back to 1982 and tries to rewrite the history by ensuring that the Krugerrands remain in the family. But no matter what she does, how much she changes history, the timeline readjusts, and the family loses the Krugerrands every time. One time, she falls asleep and misses her stop, ending up in Budapest, Hungary, in 1944 in the mind and body of her grandmother.

She tries to secure the original heirlooms for her family, but the timeline readjusts, and it’s the Krugerrands again. Meanwhile, Alan has grown deeply unsatisfied with how his life has turned out. He learns about the 6 trains time travel from Nadia and decides to give it a try, ending up in 1962 East Germany, where he develops a romantic interest in his grandmother Agnes’ (Carolyn Michelle Smith) boyfriend, Lenny.

In the season 2 finale, titled ‘Matryoshka,’ Nadia causes time to collapse after she gives birth to herself in a 6-train station and flees to the future with her infant self. Both she and Alan discover that they are at the same 36th birthday party that they spent a lifetime trying to escape.

Russian Doll Season 2 Ending: Does Nadia Change Her Future? Do Nadia and Alan Stop Time from Collapsing?

The existential crisis was at the center of the narrative in the first season of ‘Russian Doll.’ In season 2, the focus is shifted to family. Nadia literally gets to occupy the mind and body of both Nora (Chloë Sevigny) and Vera and witnesses their circumstances firsthand. In the first season, we get the impression that Nora is mentally unwell, though the type of disorder is never really specified. She buys a carful of melons, steals family heirlooms, does drugs, and forces Nadia to be the subject of many of her outbursts.

It is Nadia’s greatest fear that she will become similarly unwell. And yet, Nadia inadvertently replicates her mother’s behavior — she drinks, smokes, and has eggs with hot sauce for breakfast. In the first season, it is heavily implied that Nora committed suicide after losing her daughter’s custody. In season 2, Nadia gets to inhabit the erratic mind of her mother and starts to really understand the other woman for the first time.

Vera isn’t an easy mother to live with. Her life has understandably been shaped by the horrors she experienced during the Holocaust, and that has created a fundamental disconnect between her and Nora, who was born and grew up in New York City. While trying and failing to regain familial wealth, Nadia realizes that her mother didn’t have a perfect childhood either. All three women are the products of their upbringings and youth. Vera, who has lost almost everything, desperately wants to hold on to the only connection she now has with her family, the Krugerrands. One of Nora’s reasons to steal the Krugerrands is that this is the best way she knows how to rebel against her mother.

As for Nadia, she seeks a better life for herself. Eventually, this leads her to take her infant self to the future, so she can give herself a blank slate — a new beginning — and causes the collapse of time and space. Eventually, she comes to terms with her past and present. When she finds herself in the void, or the empty pocket of space — “leftover from a job never completed” — she has to choose between herself and the Krugerrands, and she chooses the former. Nadia ultimately returns her infant self to her mother, reuniting with Nora, closing the loop that she has created, and finally freeing herself from all the what-ifs that have plagued her mind for all these years.

Does Ruth Die?

Yes, Ruth dies in the second season of ‘Russian Doll.’ Ruth has been the sole mother figure in Nadia’s life — the one that actually devoted herself to Nadia’s wellbeing. When Nadia travels to 1982, she meets Ruth’s younger version (Annie Murphy), who has recently lost her husband. Despite the snide remarks of her being an outsider and a widow from Vera and Vera’s friend Delia, Ruth remains steadfast in her support of Nora while the latter is pregnant.

As we see in season 1, in the years to come, Ruth turns from a supportive friend to a concerned second mother for Nadia as Nora becomes progressively volatile. When Nadia discovers Ruth has died due to pulmonary embolism, she becomes inconsolable. Being trapped in the time loop of her own creation, she missed the death of the only woman who had been there for her since the beginning. After finding a way, she reaches Astor Place in 2022 and heads straight to Maxine’s apartment, where Ruth’s wake is being held.

Does Alan Save Lenny?

Alan’s journey in both seasons happens concurrently with that of Nadia’s. In season 1, they eventually end up in the same timeline with their memories intact. While they are free from the time loop, it’s the same memories that hold Alan prisoner. He still vividly remembers that he killed himself. His apparent depression and struggle with life have become too big of a burden to bear. So, when he is offered to live in a drastically different way, he eagerly takes it. He inhabits the body and mind of his grandmother Agnes, a Ghanian student in East Germany in 1962, and develops feelings for her boyfriend at the time, Lenny.

Alan discovers that Lenny and his friends are trying to escape to West Germany through a tunnel. Knowing that the tunnel will collapse, he tries to stop them, but they leave anyway. He never gets to know whether they survived or not. When he finally meets Agnes in the void, he discovers that she never found out either. Agnes helps her grandson find his true worth before helping him get out of the void. When Nadia reaches Ruth’s wake, Alan is already there, looking happy and self-assured.

Read More: Review: What Is the Nazi Gold Train as Shown in Russian Doll? Did It Exist in Real Life?