If you thought Season 1 of Russian Doll was hard to wrap your head around, Season 2 is going to make your brain explode. Rather than reliving one specific day over and over again, this time around, Nadia jumps across time to numerous important eras in her family history. All the time traveling can become very hard to keep track of very quickly, so if you’re having trouble getting it all straight, this timeline of Russian Doll Season 2 will be a big help in explaining what’s going on, and when.
Spoiler alert: This post contains light spoilers from throughout Russian Doll Season 2. The new season of Russian Doll explores five main time periods important to both Nadia and Alan’s histories, as the two realize a special subway train has the inexplicable power to ferry them through time and space. Alan uses the train to learn more about his grandmother Agnes’ life as a student in Berlin shortly after the construction of the Berlin Wall. Nadia’s travels are much more complex, as she hip-hops between walking in her mother’s shoes during her pregnancy and reliving pivotal moments in her grandmother’s immigration to America.
Since the season presents these time periods all out of order and often flashes between them, it can be difficult to keep all the details straight. So let’s break down exactly what happens in each time period in chronological order:
1944 — Budapest
At the core of Nadia’s time adventures is her grandmother Vera’s Krugerrands, which are gold coins she hid for years to protect her family’s wealth. When Nadia’s mother Nora was pregnant, her boyfriend Chez stole Vera’s Krugerrands, creating a deep rift between the mother and daughter that Nadia blamed for her own generational trauma. Determined to fix things for her grandma, her mom, and herself, Nadia set out to restore her family’s wealth.
The source of Vera’s wealth was in 1944 Budapest, during the Nazis’ occupation of Hungary before the end of WWII. While inhabiting Vera’s body during this era, Nadia tracked down her family’s belongings in a Nazi storage bunker and buried them in a wall so they could pass through the decades untouched. She ensured Vera would know the location of her buried valuables by entrusting a map with a priest, and believed this would ensure her family would have more than just the Krugerrands to fall back on.
1962 — East Berlin
While Nadia was chasing Krugerrands, Alan got wrapped up in his grandmother Agnes’ complicated love story in 1962 Berlin. He quickly learned that Agnes was involved with a man named Lenny, but their relationship wasn’t all kisses and German chocolates. Alan was shocked to discover his grandma was secretly working with Lenny and a few other radicals to break through the Berlin Wall to see their loved ones in West Berlin. Conflicted about such a dangerous mission, Alan ended up wimping out, which resulted in Agnes losing Lenny as he crossed the border without her.
1968 — New York City
Nadia’s Budapest plan worked, and Vera was finally able to retrieve her valuables from the wall 24 years after Nadia buried them there. With her family’s wealth in tow, Vera moved to the United States and exchanged the valuables for Krugerrands upon arriving. This was disheartening to Nadia, who finally realized she could do nothing to break the cycle of Vera hiding her bag of Kruggerrands and Chez eventually stealing them.
1982 — New York City
The scene of the Krugerrand theft is 1982 New York, when Nadia’s mother Nora was pregnant with her. This is the time period Nadia visited first, and most often throughout the season. Inhabiting her mother’s body and brain helped Nadia realize how much Nora was struggling to stay afloat. This is also when Nadia basically broke the whole space-time continuum by giving birth to herself and then bringing baby Nadia with her across the various time periods.
2022 — New York City
It’s usually very clear when Nadia is back in the present day. Most of her time in 2022 is spent researching her family history to pinpoint when and where she needs to go next, while also taking care of her mother figure Ruthie, whose health has been faltering. Not that this makes keeping track of her present-day shenanigans any easier.
Russian Doll Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix.