Monday, September 9, 2019

Emmy Episodes: Russian Doll

It’s always my policy to watch every Emmy-nominated episode each year, which leads me to sample a handful of shows that I don’t tune in to on a regular basis. For the fourth year in a row, I’m making a special effort to spotlight each of those installments to offer my perspective on shows that I don’t review each week.

Russian Doll: Season 1, Episode 8 “Ariadne” (B)

I knew that this episode, the sixth and last of the submissions for Best Comedy Series consideration, wouldn’t be able to provide a satisfactory finish to its narrative, but this attempt was actually decent because not following a clear scientific or explained narrative means that the writers can make up whatever rules they want. Everything was back at the start to the way that it was supposed to be, though Alan noticing something new, while seemingly harmless, didn’t appear to be a good sign. Nadia’s conversation with Joe about life being like a “box of timelines” was entertaining, and it seemed like things might be okay until Nadia went to Alan’s apartment and he went to her party, signaling that their wires were not going to go well. Both Nadia and Alan realized at the same moment, at least as we saw it happening, that they were existing in their own narrative separate from the other’s loop, which meant that they could both die and that they didn’t have each to rely on for assistance anymore. Watching them fight to convince the other that they’re closer than they could ever possibly imagine because the other didn’t remember them was a compelling exercise that demonstrated the connection that they’ve made. Alan trying to get Beatrice away from Mike didn’t work too well until he used her student loan total to get her attention, and there is obviously something lingering between them that transcends whatever simultaneous timelines exist. The ending was sweet but didn’t wrap anything up, and after sampling six of these episodes, I definitely don’t feel like I need to see more, though I suppose it’s more tolerable than other fare. It’s certainly not my choice for Best Comedy Series.

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