Russian Doll season 2 – Did Nadia cause Nora’s mental breakdown?

April 20, 2022
Adam Lock 1
Netflix, News, Streaming Service
View all
Loading JustWatch data...

This article, “Did Nadia cause Nora’s mental breakdown” contains spoilers regarding Netflix’s Russian Doll season 2.

Access the archive of recaps, reviews, and news for Russian Doll.

Episode three of season two, titled “Brain Drain”, is a full on descent into madness. Nadia begins to research the Nazi’s gold train and inadvertently has a nervous breakdown, ending up in a mental hospital. This breakdown coincides with Lenora’s pregnancy and begs the question, did Nadia actually cause her mother’s psychotic tendencies in the first place?

The first season depicts Lenora as a troubled mother, dealing with schizophrenia and depression. There are many scenes of Lenora in the throes of her breakdown. In one memorable sequence she fills her car with watermelons. This is an ill individual who needs serious help. Family friend and therapist Ruth tries her best to help Lenora, becoming Nadia’s second mother so to speak. The show never really addresses why Lenora is this way, but the time travelling events of season two may unlock a potentially shocking scenario.

Nadia finds herself inhabiting the pregnant body of her mother Lenora. In “Brain Drain” she starts to notice strange marks on her skin and a devilish bug that crawls out of these holes. Nadia’s hands go black with mould and she smashes a mirror. This craziness only intensifies when she separates from her mother and converses with Lenora. The two minds are still one being, but the filmmakers represent this insanity via two bodies. The Nadia/Nora hybrid speaks with Ruth on the phone and the worried friend calls for help. She is swiftly whisked away in a straitjacket and interviewed by a doctor. The doctor says she is having hallucinations, although later she escapes.

This insanity is perfectly executed, with Natasha Lyonne’s delivering a stunning performance as the confused patient. It seems coincidental that Nadia’s time travelling antics happened at the very same time as Nora’s unstable episode. Did Nadia cause Nora to be sectioned or did Nadia just witness Nora’s breakdown and then experience it herself first-hand? It’s an intriguing question and the creators don’t explore the notion much further than in episode three, with only a few hints throughout the rest of the season.

Russian Doll season 2 – Did Nadia cause Nora’s mental breakdown?

Interestingly, whenever Nadia speaks to her friends or family with her witty observations, they all go along with her rants and crazy talk. Again, is this the characters accepting Nora’s instability or are they actually dealing with Nadia channeled through Nora? It’s a unique and intricate scenario that will be debated for years to come. Myself, I believe that the two sides to the argument are actually one and the same. Nora’s breakdown and Nadia’s witnessing of the breakdown are intrinsically linked, like the time loop with the Krugerrands, you can’t have one without the other. This is just another one of those paradoxical time loops, where Nadia will always travel back in time and witness or cause the breakdown for eternity. Please let me know your theories on the issue.

You can watch this series with a subscription to Netflix.

View all