Broad City Season Finale Celebrates the Glory That is the Abbi/Ilana Friendship

We’ve arrived at the last Broad City episode of the season! This is a sweet and funny end to a season that got political, explored romantic relationships in a more serious fashion, and ultimately centered on the enduring power of Abbi and Ilana’s friendship. Appropriately, the season finale celebrates Abbi and Ilana’s “Friendiversary,” bringing us full circle to the season premiere, when Abbi and Ilana met for the first time.

In the finale, Abbi wakes up to a giant cut-out of Ilana’s face in the bed next to her, with a note that reads “Scavenger Hunt.” The note sends Abbi on her first mission: to dig through a trash can. Abbi leaves the room, excited to embark on her mission, revealing IRL Ilana hanging on a coat hook from the door, clandestinely watching the scavenger hunt unfold.

ilana friendiversary

Abbi finds the next clue in the trash, which leads her to a dive bar (Ilana is watching this from the roof of a building with binoculars). Inside the bar, the bartender hands her a blank piece of paper and a flaming shot. “Put it over the fire, you dumb whore,” says a rude old man sitting at the end of the bar ­— who, after Abbi reads the next clue and leaves, pulls her mask off to reveal herself, improbably, as Ilana. The next clue, given to her by a homeless man, is a vial of something with the Dallas BBQ logo stuck on it. (Ilana is watching this part of the scavenger hunt from inside a pet store, her hair disguised as a curly black-haired puppy.)

They finally meet up at “Houston BBQ,” where Ilana is waiting, dressed up and holding a giant cut-out of Abbi’s face. There are margaritas and chicken fingers waiting for them at the table. The reason for the scavenger hunt, though, was their Friendiversary, which Abbi now realizes she has completely forgotten. Ilana presents her gift: a diamond necklace from her great grandma, who came to America from a shtetl, “on a ship during Fiddler on the Roof times.”

But Abbi has nothing to give to Ilana in return. She rifles through her bag and comes up with a sheet mask, a “metaphor” for how she feels about Ilana. She tells Ilana, while reading the packaging on the mask, that Ilana is “nourishing” and “extremely rejuvenating;” “you regenerate me and restore me, and my skin.” Ilana is not fooled, so Abbi pulls another idea out of her hat — she says that she has a surprise planned for them on the top of the Empire State Building. Ilana realizes at this point that Abbi forgot about their Friendiversary, but goes along with the plan anyway.

It’s pouring rain on top of the Empire State Building (“Glad I spent 1200 bucks getting these heads made,” Ilana says of their cut-outs, which they’re now using to keep themselves dry). The funniest sequence of the episode follows, where they look into people’s apartments through a viewfinder, but keep seeing different things: Ilana sees couples having hot sex while Abbi lands on a man in a clown mask masturbating, and then a man seemingly strangling and pushing his girlfriend over a balcony. This Ilana sees, too, and it quickly turns into an episode of SVU, the two of them pairing up together to fight crime.

They run to the scene of the crime; the cops come, but there’s no evidence: no blood, and no other witnesses. They are horrified, feeling like they need to take action, despite what the cops said. Then they spot the same guy from the balcony; he’s walking down the sidewalk and pulling a large suitcase. They follow him to a karaoke bar, where he drops off his suitcase, and then to a movie theater, where he buys tickets to see Daddy’s Back. They reason that the movie is long enough that they can find a way to sneak into his apartment; at this point, they’ve made up an entire backstory about the woman he killed, reasoning that they need to do this to “give the mother of his children justice.”

They go into the lobby of his building with a birthday cake, telling the doorman that they’re the man’s nieces and came to surprise him. “God, white girls can get away with anything if they look dumb enough,” Ilana says quietly to Abbi after the doorman gives them the key. (“Healthy looking hookers,” he remarks to himself.)

Once inside the apartment, they search for “evidence,” pointing to everything from an accordion folder of take-out menus to cleaning supplies as proof that this man is a murderer. Then they hear a key in the door: he’s home early. They run and hide in the closet, among the dead woman’s clothes. Ilana calls 911 saying that they’re being held hostage in the man’s apartment. The man sees the cake, realizing there’s someone in his apartment, and takes a knife from the kitchen as he looks for them. Abbi and Ilana are certain they’re going to die, and they say their goodbyes, sharing how much they love each other.

It is at this point that they discover and are frightened by an extremely lifelike sex doll in the closet. Startled, they scream, and Abbi farts out of fear. The man hears all of the commotion and opens the closet to find them. He looks just as scared as they are. They scream that they know exactly who he is and what he did. Holding a knife, he yells that that’s Fran in the closet with them, and the “person” who fell off the balcony was Fran’s sister, Lydia — another sex doll. He went to the karaoke place (a “black market sex doll hospital”) to take his “wife” to get repaired because her head fell off.

The same cops come and Abbi and Ilana have to explain to them that this was all a misunderstanding. In the end, they up defending the guy — Terry — for his sex doll fetish. He agrees not to press charges and they all leave his apartment.

The episode concludes with Abbi and Ilana strolling through the city having one of their usually weird conversations (tonight’s topic: which celebrities would you want to keep their shoes on during sex?). They sit on a bench and reminisce over their night — Ilana thanking Abbi for jumping in front of her when Terry opened the closet, and Abbi thanking Ilana for the amazing scavenger hunt. Abbi confesses that she forgot about their Friendiversary, but of course Ilana already knows. Then they profess their love for each other one more time, amazed at how much they’ve been through in this city.

As the camera pans out, we see their names written in cement on the sidewalk in front of them; it turns out this is the same spot where they met in 2011 during the flashback in the season premiere.

It’s a sweet and fitting end to Season 4. Though some episodes this season were much more successful than others, its most prominent thread throughout was Abbi and Ilana’s love for each other. Female friendships get a lot of flack for being complicated, but this show speaks to how uncomplicated they can actually be. Sometimes, Glazer and Jacobson are seeming to assert, two women actually can be simply kind and loyal to each other, without all the pettiness that seems to so often come hand-in-hand with these representations.

I was delighted by the humor, empathy, and social responsibility that these two women placed in such high regard this season, and I can’t wait to see what they do next.


Photos courtesy of Comedy Central.

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