Broad City kicked off its fourth season last night with a Sliding Doors-esque premiere, appropriately dubbed, "Sliding Doors." [SPOILERS BELOW!] The episode digs into Abbi and Ilana's origin story, though the exact circumstances that lead them to each other differ depending on whether or not they caught an F train before it went out of service. It is truly a New York tale of divergent paths, and though this episode takes place in 2011, one can't help but wonder—what would life be like if you hadn't missed that train? Or, rather, if the Q that turned into an R that turned into an A decided to run normally, after all?
The beauty of Broad City is how specific it is to New York without dipping into GIRLS-esque gentrifier cliches, and though this episode doesn't have, say, Season 2's subway ride of horror, there's still plenty to grab onto. Abbi and Ilana meet because Abbi's MetroCard runs out of money and Ilana swipes her in. Ilana gets kicked in the face by a SHOWTIME performer, for instance (who happens to go to NYU Tisch). Ilana works at The Grey Dog on Carmine's. Pat Kiernan warns NY1 viewers about the "NYC Snipper." And though this isn't particularly NYC-centric, there's a good callback to 2011 in there: "Do you like Four Loko?" "It kind of scares me."
Of course, like in the Gwyneth Paltrow film that inspired this episode, there's the alternate universe—the one in which Abbi and Ilana miss the train, spend an awesome day together playing hooky and hanging out, and ultimately get run over by a bus—and the real universe, in which the duo catch the train, part ways, have terrible days, and end up finding each other again in the end. Life unfolds in strange ways, both in Broad City's world and the real one.