TV Review: Limitless (1X20) “Hi, My Name Is Rebecca Harris”

Screen Shot 2016-04-05 at 11.22.05 PMOne of the strongest and yet most understated components of Limitless’ first, and hopefully not final, season has been Jennifer Carpenter as Rebecca Harris. Sure, her role hasn’t been the showiest or the most fleshed out, but her warm chemistry with Jake McDorman’s Brian has made each and every case a pleasure on at least some level. This week though, Rebecca finally got to be at the forefront, as this episode not only took place from her perspective but also essentially wrapped up the majority of her story arcs for the season. Such a perspective switch might have seemed gimmicky and awkward in the hands of a different show, but the here the time could not be more right to get inside of Rebecca’s head. After all, it’s about time she learned the truth about all the shady stuff Brian’s been up to.

Immediately starting things off on different footing, Rebecca was the one who starts narrating as the episode began. She begins to recount her relationship with her father, which started out loving and full of silly drawings, but eventually turned resentful when he became an unreliable drug addict. It was a brief peak into Rebecca’s past, but now her anger at being lied to by Brian, another drug addict, became much more palpable. In fact, she was not just angry about it, but she decided to take it one step further, and pop a little NZT herself. Now, as Brian recounted the accurate version of the events of this past season, Rebecca could scan the redness of his nose for lies using a technique she had heard about called the “Pinocchio Effect.” See, Brian might know a thing or two on NZT, but when the vastly more intelligent Rebecca gets behind the wheel, we have a real powerhouse on her hands. This opening chess game between these two pill-fueled friends was a fantastic, minimalist way to start the show, but as is often the case, it was soon time for Brian and Rebecca to get to work.

Now that Rebecca had a bit of a boost, and the knowledge that it was Sands who killed her father, she was even more hell bent on taking him down. Watching Brian and Rebecca work together while both on NZT was the great joy here. Often times with this show, the mystery itself is fairly simple, so it only serves as a mild cheat code that Brian is on NZT. However, as Brain and Rebecca had to essentially re-create one of Sands’ men using his genetic code, I was reminded of the dizzying intellect that Eddie Morra possessed in the film. The things that the pill allows its users to understand should not be so accessible to the audience, and the fact that I found myself both confused at the details and completely able to follow what was going on through the fantastic visual storytelling means that the creative forces behind this show are really tapping into what makes this property so special. Perhaps in season two, Brian and Rebecca can both take NZT even for the average cases.

Although, that dream might be a little complicated, as Brian quickly started to worry about Rebecca’s dominating attitude while on NZT. As Rebecca came up with a plan to stage a kidnapping of Sands’ son in order to draw him out, Brian saw shades of the “win at all costs” mentality of Eddie Morra, and started to become worried for Rebecca. In fact, it seems as though NZT might be in short supply for both of our heroes. Although they managed to catch Sands with that elaborate sting, armed with a newly received testimony from a man in a coma, the efficiency of that plan outed both of them for having used NZT. Certainly a problem when Sands mentioned that Eddie ordered the death of Rebecca’s father under an initiative called “The Purge,” in order to stop other potentially special users of the pill from rising up against him.

While catching Sands and essentially breaking up his little mafia in this episode seemed to be a bit of an anticlimax, it set up for an ending that frankly could have served as the finale in itself. Brian and Rebecca’s final conversation here was deeply touching, as Brian decided to take the tongue lashing from Naz for their shenanigans, while promising that he just might be able to become a janitor or something now that he’s cut off his supply of immunity shots as a sacrifice for Rebecca. It was a perfect culmination of the friendship they’ve built, coupled with a hallucination of Rebecca’s father telling her that just because Brian couldn’t stay in her life, he can still stay with her.

It’ll be very interesting indeed to see where we’re headed in our two part finale. Judging by the finality of this episode, it seems that the show is setting itself up for a true ending, just in case season two doesn’t become a reality, and I’m more than confident that they will deliver. Will Eddie retaliate now that Brian has no mental avenue to defend himself, continuing The Purge and and ushering in the beginning of his “next world?” Perhaps Sands will escape and remain our big bad, leaving Eddie’s fate open for later on. We’ll have to wait another two weeks to find out, and I may need a pill myself to get me through all of that time.




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