Broad City – A-
After last week’s emotional bloodbath and barrage of unusually heartfelt moments, it’s not surprising Broad City changes gears back into its comfort zone of fast-paced, NYC-centric farce. Trey and Lincoln are mentioned in passing — both by roommates — as Abbi and Ilana separately pack for a mystery trip. In both cases, there’s a mournful pause as each is clearly a bit broken up about it, but it’s dispatched quickly as they’re in a hurry to get to JFK to catch a plane to…somewhere.
From there it’s some of the funniest slapstick — both verbal and physical — the exalted comedy has produced as they Mad Mad Mad Mad World their way to the airport. “Getting There” is a very direct parallel in another penultimate episode, the first season’s excellent “Destination: Wedding,” but that one had a weird measure to it, while this episode is straight-up chaos, almost from go. There is a weird hot yoga cold open which is a bit hackneyed and pointless, but it may just suffer as it’s impossible not to compare it to all the classic openings Broad City has given us.
There’s a brilliant moment as Ilana hops on the subway to meet up with Abbi, and faces an indignity familiar to all real New Yorkers and one presidential candidate from Chicago via Arkansas. As someone who has lived in this city most of his life, the whole Metrocard kerfuffle of last week felt like contrived bullshit. While I’m no Hillary partisan, it’s such a relief to see it acknowledged that the turnstiles are a pain and Metrocards are beyond unpredictable. Considering Secretary Clinton appeared on their show earlier this season, this may have been a last minute add, but can’t fault them as its a tremendous and familiar visual gag, and fits perfectly in with the story’s Planes, Trains, and Automobiles vibe.
So, they get on the subway, are stopped by a suicide on the tracks (“it’s 9/11 2, return of 9/11, the end is nigh”), they have to cab from random Brooklyn or Queens to retrieve Ilana’s forgotten password, hitching a ride from a cabbie’s 15-year-old son, an you get the basic idea. Along their odyssey’s path, they debate Uber, the notion that even 20-somethings can feel old and out-of-touch (“what are fuck bracelets?!”), Judaism, weed, and there’s even some genuine moments of tension between the pair — the sort that would never be apparent in earlier seasons.
There’s a lot to love in this frantic first part of the third season’s finale, and even some wonderful character work. One semi-caveat to the episode’s greatness is it’s Abbi and Ilana at their most awful whether they loudly talk about others on the subway, push people out of their way on an airplane line, or throw a shoe at a stewardess. It feels a touch off, but it could kind of make sense that after all the debacles and heartbreaks of this season, the pair would be of a mood to let their indulgently oblivious, self-centered flags fly. Plus, there’s a poodle being given the choice of juice or mimosa in its own first class seat; it’s that kind of episode. And the reveal of just what sort of trip the duo is embarking on is brilliant and utterly fitting.
– Jason Thurston