The ending of Netflix's 'Russian Doll' explained

2 February 2019, 18:45

Nicky Idika

By Nicky Idika

Nadia keeps reliving her death in season one of 'Russian Doll'. In episode eight, the season finale, Alan and Nadia reach the conclusion of their unusual adventure. What is the meaning behind the finale of 'Russian Doll'? Why didn't Alan and Nadia recognise each other? And what did the parade at the end mean?

Netflix has dropped all eight episodes of its mind bending new series Russian Doll, starring Orange Is The New Black actress Natasha Lyonne. Russian Doll is infinitely watchable, despite a premise that centres around its lead character Nadia reliving her death on the same night over and over again. The series has an edge of your seat quality right up until its eighth and final episode, when the mystery at the heart of season one comes to a head. You may have watched the final episode and had a few questions, so some are a few bits from the ending of Russian Doll that you might needed an explanation for.

via Netflix

Why didn't Nadia and Alan recognise each other in the deli?

At the start of Russian Doll episode 8, we catch up with Nadia and Alan in front of their respective sinks. It soon becomes clear that their realities have completely reset themselves, giving them the ultimate do-over.

When Nadia and Alan head to the deli, we now have to follow them in their original timelines because their fatal error occurred when they didn't help one another as strangers. Nadia and Alan do not recognise each other in either realities so they must work hard to keep each other from repeating the mistakes they made on the first night they died.

They did not know each other because the final loop was a complete reset on both ends.

Netflix Russian Doll
Picture: Netflix/Screenshot

Russian Doll episode eight ending meaning

At the end of Russian Doll, Alan does not commit suicide and Nadia is not hit by a car. They don't survive because the other swoops in and saves them. Both are influenced by the others' dedication and concern, however, their circumstances turn out differently because each of them choose a different path for themselves.

This illustrates the idea that you can't change a friend's harmful, dangerous, or destructive behaviour. Instead, you can be there for them so they can open their minds up to making positive choices for themselves.

Nadia and Alan were not meant to save one another, but rather help each other save themselves.

Netflix/Russian Doll
Picture: Netflix/Screenshot

The finale is also quite open ended. Our two protagonists walk off into a parade together but, beyond that, there is no indication of where or how they end up.

It's unclear whether fans could get a second season but the final episode does not close the door to that possibility. Interestingly enough, it also wraps up the series in a rather satisfying way.

What does "Ariadne" mean?

The title of episode eight is 'Ariadne'. Ariadne is a figure from Greek mythology who helps Theseus escape a labyrinth (maze) by giving him a ball of string so he can find his way out of the puzzle.

What did the parade at the end mean?

The parade at the end of Russian Doll is presumably up for interpretation, much like the rest of the show.

Versions of Nadia pass by her in the parade which we might interpret as their realities lining up or, at the very least, the different versions interacting with each other in the smallest of ways.

The parade could also be paying homage to some of the more absurd elements of the show.

Netflix 'Russian Doll' parade. Picture: Netflix/Screenshot