Russian Doll cinematographer talks “ambiguous” ending to season 1

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With Russian Doll season 2 officially on the way, there’s no better to look back at the mind-bending ending to Russian Doll season 1. That’s exactly what cinematographer Chris Teague has been doing…

Teague, during an interview with Collider, was asked what kind of discussions went into make the split-screen heavy finale, which followed two separate versions of the show’s stars. At the very end of the episode, of course, we saw these two realities meshing together as two versions of Natasha Lyonne’s Nadia walking through a parade. At that point, the credits rolled.

Here’s what Teague, who served as cinematographer on the show, had to say about that:

“Well, first of all, Natasha, on top of acting in every scene and writing and producing and doing everything else, worked with a storyboard artist to craft all of the split screen sequences in that episode, and then brought those to me as a starting point and then we talked them through and refined them. So that was an incredible amount of initiative and work on her part and completely essential to trying to make those sequences legible and effective when we shot them.

“So that was an element to it. You know, there was an ambiguity to the ending that I felt like we all embraced. And it was more about what does this moment want to feel like? What’s the feeling we want to leave our audience with? And that’s typically where my instincts go, what I get excited about. Honestly, I don’t get into the nitty gritty of the theory or the grander meaning behind things. I like to try to think in a more immediate sense about what kind of direct impact is this image going to have on an audience? And obviously, that relates to the context of the scene and the story and everything we’re experiencing. That’s incredibly important. But, we were trying to not get hung up too much on what does this specific thing need or what are we trying to say with this? But I love how people engage with it in that way and I think it’s one of the great things about being an audience member and being somebody who loves film, is you become an active participant and you want to spend time thinking about what the climax of the story is all about.”

Russian Doll season 2 is definitely happening, and it’ll be interesting to hear how it follows up this ending. We’ll  keep you posted as we hear more…