It would be remiss to start this recap with anything other than a "yaaaaaas kween!" So, humour me for a moment: yaaaaaas kween! We're back. It's finally Broad City season, and this time, it's winter. Have we ever seen a season of Broad City take place in anything other than the dead heat of a muggy New York summer? Nope. And, in a twist, the first episode of the fourth season takes place in the long-forgotten year of 2011. Can you even remember 2011? Weren't leggings a thing? I, for one, loved Aztec print tops! We've all grown since then — especially Abbi and Ilana.
Season 4 kicks off with a front row seat to the beginning of their friendship (and then some). In fact, this blast from the past presents us with two different realities. In a Sliding Doors inspired twist, the plot hinges on if the two fresh-faced, bushy-tailed women ended up making it onto the same F train. The premiere alternates between the two possible storylines that I've laid out below, along with all the things you may have missed while trying to keep up.
Storyline One: Abbi and Ilana Make The Train
They make it onto the F train. Like normal New Yorkers, once our protagonists are on the subway, they see no reason to continue talking to each other. Sure, they had that moment of camaraderie at the turnstile, but this is NYC, and the default mindset is "everyone sucks".
However, Abbi still turns to say goodbye to Ilana before getting off at her stop, only to realise that her future best friend is too absorbed in her music to even notice. In fact, the only thing that brings Ilana out of her zone is a group of subway performers that she can't help but dance along with — before getting kicked in the face.
Abbi, who was on her way to Bed, Bath, & Beyond, leaves the store with her bounty in tow, only to have her good mood ruined by a catcaller selling $5 bubble guns (as well as bongs, grinders, and lighters, lest you forget this is Broad City).
She heads to a coffee shop to use the restroom, but as she's waiting in line, gets her hair snipped by a man who's been going around snipping off women's ponytails (this is apparently a real thing that happens, ugh). An-y-ways, none of that would have happened if the bathroom had been unoccupied in the first place, but it wasn't, because Ilana works at the coffee shop and was sleeping in there. She gets fired, and on her way out, runs into Nicole, her current-day temp job nemesis, spilling coffee everywhere.
Back home, we finally get to see a pivotal moment for Abbi: The first time she meets Bevers. In 2011, Bevers was a lean, buff stud who had only just entered their apartment and hadn't yet cemented himself as the crude squatter we know he becomes.
On top of getting fired, Ilana's having roommate issues. Or rather, her roommates have issues with Ilana. They've prepared a slideshow of her faults, which include calling them all "Madison" and displaying a wall of pornogrophy above her bed. She then heads to class, where she makes out with Jaime (kind of glad we miss how that all shakes out over the next two or so years) before being called on to give a presentation she didn't prepare. Luckily, her improvised presentation goes so horribly that the professor excuses her. It's for the best.
On her way home from class, a biker zooms by and snags Ilana's dress, pulling it clean off of her and leaving her in nothing but leggings (like I said, it's 2011) and a bra. On that same block, Abbi sits in a frozen yoghurt spot (yes, we get it, it's 2011) enviously watching two close friends laughing together at another table as Ilana shouts for help in the background.
After a tough day for both women, they find themselves side-by-side on a park bench. Ilana is smoking a bowl and Abbi has pizza, and they realise that they saw each other earlier that morning in the subway. They talk about their days while sharing their respective treats, and spot some wet cement in the park. Naturally they write their names, and thus, Abbi and Ilana were born.
Storyline Two: Abbi and Ilana Miss The Train
In this reality, not only did Abbi and Ilana miss the train, but it also turns out the F line is now suspended, forcing them to leave the station together and start chatting. They talk about where they were headed before the F train steamrolled their plans — Ilana, her job, and Abbi, well, we already know — but with no kind of viable transportation in their immediate future, they instead decide to smoke and head to Bed, Bath, & Beyond high.
Now, with Ilana by her side, that incident with the catcaller takes a different turn. Specifically, Ilana calls the perp a "needle-dicked bitch, bitch" before telling it to the rest of the street. They leave the man crying to go sit in the park, where Ilana finds out she's fired from her coffee shop job for leaving the doors unlocked all night, and they discover that Abbi has gone to that exact coffee shop pretty much every day but somehow they never saw each other. Before they can take the conversation any further, the park sprinklers turn on, and they make their escape.
While wandering New York City, they come across a psychic and decide to pop in. The psychic, played by Constance Shulman, emerges while eating a Chipotle burrito bowl. She immediately senses that they are new friends, but delivers some horrifying news: They're going to die today.
They don't buy the prediction, but nevertheless decide to live the day like it's their last, and what better way to commemorate your final moments on Earth than with a tattoo? Abbi gets an Oprah tattoo on her lower back, and while we don't see Ilana's, we can assume it was something just as outrageous.
Their final stop of the day involves pizza, and eating it while smoking another bowl on a park bench. Here, Ilana convinces Abbi to call her roommate and insist that Bevers, who (in this reality) she hasn't met yet, doesn't crash in the apartment for longer than the week.
Just as it seems like they're about to skip off into the sunset, Abbi and Ilana run into traffic and get hit by a bus. We're guessing the former reality is the one that actually happened.
But the true reality wasn't necessarily the point of this episode, anyways. Rather, it's that had Abbi and Ilana made the train, missed the train, or any other possibility, their friendship was inevitable. This day could have gone a thousand different ways and they still would have ended up on that park bench eating pizza and smoking a bowl. You don't need to be a Chipotle-eating psychic to predict that.