This article, “who is Agnes” contains spoilers regarding the Netflix series Russian Doll season 2.
A welcomed addition to season one was the introduction of Alan Zaveri (Charlie Barnett). This odd, almost robotic character was also stuck in a time loop just like Nadia. Over the course of their interactions and these never-ending deaths, the couple managed to merge timelines and return to normality, becoming friends in the process. Season two changes the concept from time loops to time travel, with Alan travelling back to the sixties in the body of his grandmother Agnes.
Who is Agnes in Russian Doll season 2?
Alan’s grandmother Agnes is a graduate student from Ghana, living in 1962 East Berlin. She has a flirtatious romance with German student Lenny, who she helps to cross the Berlin Wall into East Berlin. They plan on tunneling under the wall thanks to schematics Agnes has drawn up. When Alan inhabits her body he is surprised to find out about these plans and her heroic activities. She is a brave and pioneering woman, dealing with racism and sexism in a male dominant world. The soldiers taunt her and some of her fellow students seem perplexed by the colour of her skin. Agnes had to endure a lot in the sixties and Alan respects her for that.
We next meet Agnes in the eighties where she is a construction worker in New York, working on the underground. She helps Nora off the subway train, taking pity on the pregnant woman who fell asleep until the end of the line. Agnes is caring and kind, helping Nora to avoid arrest or being taken advantage of in her drowsy state. This version of Agnes makes one further appearance in the season finale.
In episode seven, having completely broken the very fabric of space and time, Nadia and Alan fall into an endless void. This experimental otherworld is depicted as extravagant hallways with a layer of waist-high water at its surface. Alan exits these ancient hallways and comes across his middle-aged grandmother. She is wise and supportive, telling Alan to not worry over making mistakes or to be afraid to live. This little pep talk does wonders and reinvigorates the man to live his life to the fullest.
Agnes is a smaller character in the Russian Doll cast, but one who plays an important role in shaping Alan’s family history, just like Vera did for Nadia. She is a strong, influential woman who fought great hardships to give Alan’s family the best chance in life. Starting in Africa, moving to Europe and then New York, Agnes lived a rich and interesting life, passing on her knowledge to her children. Agnes allows Alan the opportunity to grow and by inhabiting her body, he finds new strength and a more carefree attitude.