Ilana & Lincoln’s Breakup On ‘Broad City’ Allows Her To Mature In Her Own Unique Way
Ilana is riding high on her newly-acquired cash flow from her waitressing job when her past comes back to put her in check. Spoilers ahead for Broad City Season 4, Episode 3, "Just The Tips." Just like Abbi had to confront her former relationship with Trey in the previous episode, Ilana reunites with Lincoln on Broad City, and it throws her for a loop. Of course, Ilana accepts Lincoln's friend's party invitation without even acknowledging where the party is or the guest list, so she's surprised to see Lincoln with Steph, the girlfriend he ended things with Ilana for. But while Ilana has always advocated for casual sexual relationships, "Just The Tips" forces her to deal with her lingering feelings for Lincoln in the most embarrassing, but totally relatable way.
Fueled by the three Cs — champagne, cocaine, and cheese — Ilana poops herself upon meeting Steph at Damien's party. This would be a complete nightmare scenario for anyone — and it actually proves to be horrific for the shameless Ilana as well. Making the situation worse is that Abbi is nowhere to be found, so Lincoln joins Ilana in the bathroom to help her out of the jumpsuit she bought at a sex shop. Jaime may have been the better person to assist her, but the getting-the-poop-out-of-her-leotard exchange allows Ilana and Lincoln to reconcile and get some closure for the first time since Season 3, Episode 8.
There's certainly a fondness and continuing attraction between these two (even under the gross circumstances), but Ilana and Lincoln are pretty appropriate in this highly-inappropriate moment. Even before her body betrays her, Ilana is clearly vulnerable and upset at seeing Lincoln and Steph together, but beyond allowing Lincoln to rip her leotard, she doesn't significantly overstep any boundaries, which is a huge deal for her. Because while you probably wouldn't ever call Ilana "mature" (although she does use the term about herself), it is a grown-up step for her to talk to Lincoln about his relationship without saying she misses him or trying anything sexual. That's actually a grown-up step for anyone who is suffering from heartache.
Ilana and Lincoln have been broken up for a while, so you could say that she should be more over him than she is. But take her noncommittal nature into account, and it's likely that she really hasn't coped with the breakup like an adult should. Ilana was never exclusive in her relationship with Lincoln during the first three seasons of Broad City, but he's the closest thing to a partner that she has had on the show. When Lincoln broke up with her in the "Burning Bridges" episode, she literally ran away. And though she had an emotional breakdown later in the episode, she probably never allowed herself to really think about Lincoln and therefore hadn't processed the loss.
But "Just The Tips" makes her face her emotions head-on by physically trapping her in the bathroom with Lincoln with nowhere to run. Lincoln has always been more of an adult than Ilana, and he proves that again when he says to her, "Now I'm getting what I want and I'm happy and I hope you're getting what you want too." Her non-committal response to his statement signifies that Ilana probably isn't getting what she wants, but that still doesn't lead her to make any proclamation of feelings she'd later regret. (Although regret is probably a pretty foreign notion to her.)
Honestly, Ilana may not even know what she wants, which is quite a pervasive feeling in your 20s. But she's being the best 20-something she can be by respecting Lincoln enough to let him pursue what he wants without meddling or trying to ruin it. So while you are right to laugh when Ilana says she is "much more mature" right before she wipes her butt with a bath towel, she is kind of speaking the truth. And now that she has reconnected with Lincoln, she may just be one more step closer to figuring out what she does want.