TV Review: Limitless (1X08) “When Pirates Pirate Pirates”


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Is that alright to say in a review? I never checked. See, here’s the problem with a show like Limitless having such a long 22 mile road to run. There will always be episodes like “When Pirates Pirate Pirates.” An episode that wants to pretend like a whole lot is happening, that ultimately really doesn’t achieve much of anything. It’s a way to fill a quota, with the actors wandering around waiting for a better episode to come. That’s not to say that Brian Finch’s scrabble with East Asian pirates, and brown nosed bureaucrats was a complete bust, as Limitless always finds a couple ways to be fun every week. It just pales in comparison to previous episodes, and frankly, it’s time for a bit of a kick in the ass after a few weeks of fairly stale episodes.

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After his off the books brush with the CIA on last week’s episode, Naz had reached her breaking point with the sister agency melding in the FBI’s affairs. However, on a trip to DC, which Brian adorably pictured as an 8-bit beat-em-up of his director kicking ass, Naz found herself in some hot water of her own. Incarcerated for making a multi million dollar payment to a suspicious negotiator and broker in exchange for her niece’s freedom from a group of pirates, Naz left behind quite the mess in her wake. Not only did Brian have to find a way to get her back, but he also had to deal with (ADIC) Grady Johnson (played by Greg “jackass in everything he’s in” Germann) running the show in her place.

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The interactions between Brian and Grady were where some of the episode’s more fun moments resided. The always playful Brian not only had a great deal of fun with the euphemisms in his new superior’s name (explaining his back story away through a baseball card) but also with his stolen cell phone. Even if the mass text to all of Grady’s contacts about his supposed “micropenis” were a little much, it was still enjoyable.  It’s only when Brian and Rebecca left Grady behind that things got stale. Rebecca enlisted Agent Boyle into preforming a bait and switch with Grady that would eventually result in him getting the forms that sucked the CIA soldiers on Brian in Washington. However, this plan was not only convoluted (putting the important papers in a dish of brownies, really?), but took up far too much time. No disrespect to Hill Harper, but Boyle isn’t exactly the most charismatic character on the show, so watching him pull this whole ruse off for 20 minutes by walking through grey hallways and talking to government suits got old pretty quick.

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Meanwhile, Brain and Rebecca’s tango with the pirates was far more uneventful than one might expect. In fact, they didn’t really meet up with said pirates at all, instead opting to wait around learning languages and calling small children on radio frequencies. When they finally did get somewhere, it involved Brian getting captured by a guy who used to be a pirate, who he was able to bribe into letting him go by getting…a pinball machine for him. Yeah, not exactly thrilling television. It says something when the highlight of the episode was a brief game of “Screw, Marry, Kill” between Brian and Rebecca, with Rebecca deciding without a doubt that Brian would die in any scenario. I’m also not a huge fan of the potential romance between Brian and Naz’s daughter Ava. It was certainly nothing horrible, she just seemed to latch onto Brian a little quickly, but we can certainly see where it goes over the next few weeks.

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While “When Pirates Pirate Pirates” certainly wasn’t ever infuriating, it did go to show just how blandly the conceit of Limitless can be carried out. This felt like an episode desperately trying to compensate for being far under-budget, and while that’s certainly fine every once and a while, let’s not make it a pattern. After all, you don’t promise me pirate ships, and then give me pinball. Better luck next time.


When Michael Fairbanks first saw Sam Rami's Spider-Man film back in 2002, everything changed. The experience began a lifelong passion for cinema that has gone undeterred since. In 2009 he began reviewing movies on Youtube, which ultimately sprang into a lifelong passion for film criticism and entertainment reporting. He is currently studying screenwriting at Chapman University. Aside from seeing movies, Michael enjoys making bad puns while playing video games, going on long late night drives, and socializing over large plates of food. For more of Fairbanks' movie reviews check out: