This Review Contains Spoilers For Episode 4 of Limitless
Things are starting to get a little complicated for our favorite female body inspector. Now that Brian has proved himself to be competent at this whole FBI agent thing, he found himself trusted with a much more high stakes, “top secret” case this week, even if it ended up being the least pressing of his many priorities this week. Most notably, Brian found himself tangled in a conspiracy involving other potential super drugs, and warding off Senator Morra’s goons who are starting to close in and tighten their grip. All of these subplots could certainly make Brian feel like a student with too much homework due at the end of the week, but it made for perhaps the strongest episode of Limitless since the pilot.
Brian’s quest to free Arthur, a disgraced scientist who has invented a drug that has managed to extend a rat’s life-span, from being accused of murdering his former partner was by far the most prevalent thread. What initially seemed like a distraction down message board lane from his main assignment (which we’ll get to) became where Brian’s priorities started to lie. Arthur and Brian really seemed to take to each other upon meeting in person, and that genuine connection made sure Brian didn’t act like a total goof the entire time. Sure, he did manage to trip the alarm within two minutes of entering the lab (he’s really got to work on his cover stories), but this was the first time we’ve really seen him care about the person involved in the investigation. Unfortunately, the ultimate solution to the mystery was a bit underwhelming, with the partner’s lawyer being the culprit, but it served as more of an excuse to play with Brian’s espionage skills than anything. Plus, this is the first hint of other super drugs being in development, and the promise of this along with the hinted-at pill that makes time go slower pose some interesting possibilities for the future.
Unfortunately, Brian’s so-called primary assignment was not nearly as interesting. Frankly, I have a hard time even recalling much about it beyond it involving a drone designer who was selling intel outside of the FBI. Even the episode itself didn’t seem to care very much about it; Brian decoding the design for the drone based on a pattern of the suspect’s thrown out milk cartons in a moment where NZT seemed to turn Brian into a Robert Langdon style code cracker. The whole case was rushed into the plot at the very beginning, and barely paid off at the end. It really didn’t matter, so let’s just move right along.
Where this episode really excelled was in the emotional arcs for both Brian and Rebecca. Since the more comedic tone has taken over after the pilot, we’ve only had a little bit of time devoted to really diving into these people. Well, this episode seemed very intent on moving us closer and closer to the inevitable return of good old Bradley Cooper two episodes from now, as Brian was also forced by Mr. Sands to steal the FBI files about NZT if he wants his next immunity shot. Brian was obviously deeply conflicted about betraying his new best buddy Rebecca and the rest of the FBI. This looming task hung over the head of the entire episode, giving much more dramatic weight even to the parts that were a bit silly. It really went to show just how much business Morra’s camp means when Brian’s attempt to forge a file was followed by his dad getting sick “by accident” once again. Seriously, can Brian’s dad stay out of the hospital for five minutes? Meanwhile, Rebecca was given a nice little side story involving some of her dad’s NZT crafted art being sold at a gallery show, ultimately revealing that he made a massive portrait of his daughter as his final work. It was a nice moment well played by Jennifer Carpenter, which made Brian’s revolution that Rebecca’s father was in fact an NZT supplier all the more painful.
Limitless achieved a really nice balance of tones this week. Sure, the last couple weeks of goofy who-dun-its have been fun, but I needed to be reminded that these people are in fact in danger. Since the big bad Coop does not arrive for another week, I’m curious how the time will be filled next week, but make no mistake, the shoe is about to drop on Brian and company.