It would have been easy to make Limitless’ season finale a convoluted mess. After all, Jared Sands and The Legion of Whom had a whole lot more going on than originally thought. However for all the information that got tossed out here, the main focus this week was completing and expanding Brian’s mental and emotional arc from dopey street musician to legitimately talented crime solver. NZT brought Brian to arguably his lowest point here, but some of this series’ most satisfying moments lay in watching him overcome that to become at peace with everything that has happened to him thus far. Beyond that, we got some of the most heartwarming exchanges between Brian and Rebecca yet, and an ending that leaves things in good shape regardless of if there is a season two or not.
To make a long story short, The Legion of Whom’s master plan was to create a market bomb centered on a new trade route that is going to open when a Canadian ice cap melts. It’s a layered, convoluted plan, but that’s exactly why it was so satisfying. Now that NZT is on the streets, it was fascinating to watch Brian make sense of a mystery with so many moving parts. A particular highlight came towards the beginning, in the hotel room of a Canadian Secretary of Defense who committed “suicide.” Brian’s suspicions started to rise when he noticed that one of the artisanal beads in a pot were a different color, implying that it had been knocked over and quickly reset. It was a moment straight out of a Sherlock Holmes story, and hopefully there are more of them to come.
Brian’s problem solving skills were all the more impressive considering that since his immunity shot was wearing off; he was starting to experience the side effects of NZT. Most of these were brought on by his desperation to find Piper (still his prime motivation for tracking down Sands), as she would appear to him in a series of surreal ways. The visual creativity of these visions was extremely impressive, particularly when Piper’s finger appeared through a donut to beckon Brian closer. Also, Brian experienced the large time skips that plagued Eddie Morra in one of the best sequences of the film. I’ve been waiting for these all season, as they’re one of the most fun storytelling elements to play with in this world. Here, they were used fairly well, mostly to skip long bouts of exposition, but perhaps they could have been a bit more disorienting, as they were truly terrifying in the film.
Once the pieces were in place and it was time for the climax, the emotional moments triumphed over the action sequences. The raid on Sands’ layer was certainly entertaining, particularly for seeing Rebecca get her revenge on Sands, but I wish Brian had played a bigger role. Sure, he decided to go in and look for Piper, but since his entire role was covered by a superhero fantasy sequence (complete with fake names like Brianpool and The Brunisher), we didn’t really get that satisfying moment where he proves himself worthy of being in the middle of the fray. However, the sequence after that with Rebecca taking Brian home was absolutely wonderful. While it wasn’t lapped on too thick, it was nice to see Rebecca tell Brian how much she cares for him and how “emotionally mature” he is. Jake Mcdorman has really done a fantastic job of showing Brian’s growth, making this exchange feel completely earned.
In fact, that scene was so fantastic that it significantly diminished what came next. As it turns out, Piper escaped Sands’ layer in the battle, and was waiting at Brian’s house. Better yet, she has figured out how to make a permanent immunity shot for him, dumping that into his neck before running off again. Essentially, they had the exact same conversation that he and Rebecca had literally a scene earlier, making the whole thing seem a bit extraneous. The whole Brian/Piper romance has always felt rather underdeveloped, and frankly, leaving Piper’s real whereabouts a mystery for season two would have been nice, especially since Eddie Morra is still out there. Meanwhile, the last five minutes made for some fun possibilities for what could come next. As it turns out, the government isn’t exactly denying Brian permission to help the CJC. So under the radar, Brian’s going to have his own secret squad to solve NZT crimes. Watching Brian “interview” all of his friends for positions in his squad was a great way to cap things off, particularly with the reveal of Mike’s real name (Daryl), and having Brian and Rebecca agree to this plan on the same rooftop that they first partnered up on was a nice touch. However, while The whole secret squad thing is a fun concept, I’m not entirely sure why Rebecca is so on board, since it wasn’t really made clear if she knows about the immunity shot.
Overall, this was a solid wrap up point to what has been a surprisingly strong series. What could have been yet another phoned in movie to television adaptation has instead become not only a solid continuation of it’s source material, but a great story in its own right that expands the world in fun and exciting ways. Ideally, we will get a season two with week to week mysteries that are a bit denser, especially since NZT is on the streets. Also, a bigger role for Bradley Cooper would be very welcome. The episodes he was featured in were some of the strongest, and while Sands proved to be a decent substitute, he also seemed a bit shoe horned into prominence due to Cooper’s limited availability. Hopefully, CBS sees the potential for what could be a show that extends beyond this solid foundation into truly mind bending and exciting territory.
If those dreams do come true, I’ll be back to cover every single minute of it.