Russian Doll Episode 8, the finale, concludes the story with both characters finding a final solution to fixing their destructive time loop.
This recap of Russian Doll Episode 8 contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
By facing their past and present, Nadia (Natasha Lyonne) and Alan (Charlie Barnett) appeared to have solved the problem in Russian Doll Episode 8, which is also the finale of the series. Nadia is back at her party; the mirror is there with a fly buzzing around, the fish are in the tank, and all her friends have attended. Everything is back to normal. As for Alan; he opens his suitcase, and the engagement ring is nestled under the clothes, confirming all is back to normal. Unfortunately, there is one major problem facing them both.
Both characters are in adjacent timelines, so by definition in Nadia’s world, Alan does not know who she is and vice versa. This realization occurs at the Deli store, and they try to confront each other, and when the other person looks dumbstruck by the confrontation it dawns on them what has happened and the burden they both face.
Alan understands that Nadia sleeps with the same guy that is having an affair with his partner that night, which leads to her getting run over. His task is to stop Nadia from sleeping with him at all costs, so she doesn’t cross the road and die. As for Nadia, she understands that Alan commits suicide because of his impending break-up, so technically she has the more difficult task.
Russian Doll Episode 8 dabbles in alternative Universes, splitting both characters up for the first time since they’ve met, running both stories parallel. There’s no real explanation of why this is happening to them, apart from that Nadia needed to deal with the issues that were born from her mother and Alan had to speak to his girlfriend truthfully. At some point, the universe decided to loop them both when they made the wrong decisions at the same time – almost like an emotional, scientific link binding them both together.
Nadia follows a very drunk Alan all episode, ensuring that he does not commit suicide, which proved difficult. Alan spends a lot of Chapter 8 trying to stop Nadia from having sex, which was much harder than he first realized. In the end, both characters succeeded, creating a friendship with the alternative version of their companion.
Overall, Russian Doll was a concept that was a little stretched in the end, but the performances of Natasha Lyonne and Charlie Barnett ensures that the story just about works. It does drag by the time you get to the final episode, but it was a worthwhile Netflix experiment.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.