Content Warning: The following article contains spoilers for the Netflix show Russian Doll.
With the premiere of the second season of Russian Doll just around the corner, fans are likely busy binge-watching its riveting first season. The Netflix show introduced lovable characters like the protagonist Nadia, her best friend Maxine, and her therapist Ruth, not to mention Alan, who’s stuck with her in the time loop.
Before going on another wild adventure (this time, with time travel involved), it’s the best time to look back at some memorable quotes that perfectly capture the characters’ personalities. These lines almost always highlight their roles in Nadia and Alan’s time loop, as well as how they relate to or impact the main characters’ decisions.
“Don’t Ever Let Them Tear Us Apart, Okay?”
Several fan theories about Russian Doll‘s second season revolve around Lenora, Nadia’s mother. Based on the first season, fans know that Lenora was not the best mom, and she was often emotionally abusive, using young Nadia’s love for and attachment to her to get her to do risky things.
Fans may recall how right after Lenora tells Nadia to never “let them tear” the duo “apart,” she asks the young girl to walk up to the shopkeeper and lie about the salesperson’s interaction with her mother while loading the watermelons into her trunk.
“I Want More For My Life.”
When fans look past her affair with Mike, Beatrice isn’t a terrible person. She’s someone who feels stuck in a bad relationship, which is definitely something that happens all the time in real life. Part of her breakup speech that Alan has heard several times is her admission that she wants “more for” her “life.”
Beatrice just wants to get out of her relationship with Alan, but she’s scared of what he’ll do without her. This shows that she prioritizes his well-being, putting her own wants aside to make sure he’s okay.
“The Key Is Knowing Who To Ask For Help”. In Her Case, Me, In Your Case, Also Me.”
Lizzy is an underrated supporting character in the series, as she’s often overshadowed by Maxine’s big personality. One scene that spots her role happens when she helps Nadia down the fire escape and describes an absurd situation she’s involved in with an eccentric artist.
When she says that “the key is knowing who to ask for help,” it’s already clear that she’s referring to herself. She’s the supportive friend Nadia can turn to at any time, which is why it’s easy to see why the protagonist is so protective of her (and Maxine).
“I Want To Cut Your Hair.”
Viewers know Horse as Oatmeal’s unofficial owner along with Nadia, which she finds out for herself after a few loops. Other recognizable traits Horse has are his straightforwardness and his strange obsession with Nadia’s hair.
Every single time they meet (for the first time in Horse’s case), he asks “to cut” her hair, and he actually does in one instance. It could be the way he connects with other people, or he could’ve been a hairdresser back then. He’ll hopefully be around during the second season, asking to cut Nadia’s hair as usual.
“Nobody Chooses Me. I’m The Hole Where A Choice Should Be.”
Mike is one of the least likable characters in the series and even he is aware of how despicable he is. After Alan confronts him about his relationship with Beatrice, Mike admits that “nobody chooses” him, he’s just “the hole where a choice should be.”
His self-awareness certainly doesn’t excuse his actions, but it at least gives Alan some much-needed perspective on his situation. Later, this same line helps Alan convince Nadia that she shouldn’t go with the sleazy character. He’s someone fans won’t be too happy to see in future episodes.
“Don’t Do This To Her, Please. Okay? Don’t Do It To Me. I’m Begging You. I Love You.”
If there’s one thing that defines John in the series, it’s his helplessness when it comes to Nadia. Despite being broken up for six months, he’s still desperately in love with her and wants her to be a part of his and his daughter’s lives.
When Nadia decides to ditch the meetup with his daughter, he begs he to stay, going as far as “begging” and desperately telling her that he still loves her. It’s a sad situation that he will hopefully move on from, especially considering he has a brilliant kid to take care of.
“Don’t Be Morbid”. This Is Your Party, And I’m Making You AF*****g Birthday Chicken.”
One of the most important reveals in Russian Doll‘s trailer for season 2 is Maxine’s involvement in Nadia’s new adventure as a time traveler. Fans likely still remember her original line – “sweet birthday, baby” – from the first season, which is almost always followed by a comment about her “birthday chicken.”
Maxine is a people-pleaser, even more so with her friends on their birthdays. She can take it too far sometimes and start threatening violence if her efforts aren’t appreciated or if something in her perfect plan goes wrong, even if it is only chicken.
“I Look At You Now Chasing Down Death At Every Corner And, Sweetheart, Where Is That Gorgeous Piece Of You Pushing To Be A Part Of This World?”
Ruth is more than Lenora’s therapist. For most of Nadia’s life, Ruth acted as the stable mother she needed, offering comforting words or insightful advice regularly. This is exactly what happens when she has a serious conversation with Nadia about how she’s “chasing down death at every corner.”
Her reminder of how Nadia used to be a sweet little girl drives the protagonist to tears and helps her understand herself a little bit better. This is the effect the loving Ruth has on Nadia, and likely on her other patients (like Alan), too.
Routine Is An Incredible Thing, Beatrice. We Become What We Repeatedly Do.”
At first, it seems as if Alan is perfect for a time worrying situation, as instead of like Nadia, he actually finds the entire thing comforting. For him, “routine is an incredible thing,” which is a line that defines his personality for years before he meets Nadia.
Certainty brings Alan peace, which is Beatrice’s biggest issue with him. He’s too afraid to step out of his comfort zone, believing that by doing the same things over and over again, he’ll be safe from harm and negativity. It’s a perception and a personality trait that Nadia thankfully helps him break, as she encourages him to be brave and take risks.
“Staring Down The Barrel Of My Own Mortality Always Beats Fun.”
Nadia helps Alan break his routine and take more risks, but it’s Alan’s job to teach her to recognize that she shouldn’t use risky behavior to run away from her problems. One of Nadia’s first lines in the series is a joke about “staring down the barrel of” her “own mortality,” which is just one of the several dark jokes she makes around friends.
She constantly distracts herself – it doesn’t matter if it’s drugs, dark humor, or one-night stands – to help her escape existential dread and the pain she still carries from her childhood. In her disturbing (but well-written) jokes, audiences will often find she’s telling the truth about her deepest secrets and biggest fears.
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