Russian doll season 2 – Did Nadia cause Nora’s nervous breakdown?

This article, “Did Nadia Cause Nora’s Mental Breakdown” contains spoilers for Season 2 of Netflix’s Russian Doll.

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Episode three of season two, titled “Brain Drain,” is a complete descent into madness. Nadia begins searching for the Nazis’ 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 portrays Lenora as a troubled mother, struggling with schizophrenia and depression. There are many scenes of Lenora in the throes of her depression. In one memorable sequence, she fills her car with watermelons. This is a sick person who needs serious help. A family friend and therapist, Ruth does her best to help Lenora, becoming Nadia’s second mother, so to speak. The show never really explains why Lenora is like this, but the time travel events of season two can unlock a potentially shocking storyline.

Nadia finds herself inhabiting the pregnant body of her mother Lenora. In “Brain Drain”, she begins to notice strange marks on her skin and an evil insect crawling out of these holes. Nadia’s hands turn black with mold and she breaks a mirror. This madness only intensifies when she separates from her mother and talks with Lenora. The two minds are still one, but the filmmakers represent this madness through two bodies. The Nadia/Nora hybrid speaks with Ruth on the phone and the worried friend calls for help. She is quickly taken away in a straitjacket and questioned by a doctor. The doctor says she is hallucinating, though later she escapes.

This madness is perfectly executed, with Natasha Lyonne delivering a stunning performance as the confused patient. It seems like a coincidence that Nadia’s time travel antics happened at the same time as Nora’s unstable episode. Did Nadia cause Nora’s section or did Nadia just witness Nora’s depression and experience it herself? 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 season.

Russian doll season 2 – Did Nadia cause Nora’s nervous breakdown?

Interestingly, whenever Nadia speaks to her friends or family with her witty observations, they accompany all of her rants and wild talk. Again, are these the characters coming to terms with Nora’s instability or are they really dealing with Nadia being channeled by Nora? It is a unique and complex scenario that will be debated for years. Myself, I believe that the two sides of the argument are in fact one and the same thing. Nora’s collapse and Nadia’s testimony to the collapse are intrinsically linked, like the time loop with the Krugerrands, you can’t have one without the other. It’s just another one of those paradoxical time loops, where Nadia will always time travel and witness or cause the blackout for eternity. Please let me know your theories on this.

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