The strange thing about tonight’s first part of Limitless’ season finale is that it felt more like the premiere of a brand new season than the climax of an old one. Even if the victory was a little hollow, Brain Finch found himself in a rapidly changing world that seems to be getting as hooked on NZT as he did, while also trying to uncover a conspiracy sans his beloved pill. As such, this episode attempted to simultaneously build what will clearly be the world of season two, while also setting the table for Brian’s final stand against Sands, or is it Morra? It’s starting to become hard to tell, because for as interesting as all the pieces of this story are on their own, they become a little jumbled when they’re tossed together in one episode.
We found Brian four weeks after he and Rebecca captured Sands. He’s living at home again, working in an electronics store, and still desperate to track down Piper. His only lead is a group who he calls “The Legion of Whom,” Sands’ group of operatives who he planned to use as his NZT fueled army. However, doing the detective thing is a little harder for Brain without NZT, although thankfully the show didn’t make the mistake of regressing him completely. He’s still much more intelligent and practical than the man we met at the beginning of the season, but he just doesn’t have the clarity to put it all together. That is, besides occasional moments where his brain chemically relapses into NZT mode, a side effect we have yet to see. Perhaps as that progresses, it becomes permanent, hence how Eddie Morra can remain in that mode without the pill.
Then, without warning, NZT started hitting the streets. In what seems like the beginnings of Eddie’s prophesied “new world,” somebody has figured out how to mass produce the pill. A worthwhile replacement for weed, the drug trade gets set on fire and we see what average people do with increased perception. Brian, deciding that this was his chance to get his hands on some pills, took his friend Grover (don’t worry, they know it sounds like the muppet) to a party where NZT is the favor. Working his way up, he finally obtained a stockpile of brain food, as well as a general idea of the network of the NZT trade. There were all kinds of cool inventions shown off through his journey through this party, including a hallway made of straws, and a Rube Goldberg machine acting as a bartender. It merely scratches the surface of what I suspect we’re going to see later on, but it suggests a much more lively setting for the future of this show.
This is where things get a little convoluted. As it turns out, there’s a dealer named Clay Meeks who goes by the name Apocryphon (knowledge that can’t be taught), who is the main producer of NZT. He’s also a magician, who disappears into a cloud of smoke before Brian can really get anything out of him. Perhaps he’ll be back as a potential threat in the future. The CJC managed to find their way to the Legion of Whom from an arrested snitch, but in fact, they are all Morra’s sleeper agents looking for a way to take down Sands. Ahead of the game, our smooth friend set up his own pawn, a DEA agent named Adam Brewster who seemingly wanted to help in the investigation. However, he ended up feeing Sands from prison and killing the entire legion in a car bombing. As such, Rebecca and Naz were forced to believe Brian once again, as they all rode off together to take on their recently liberated enemy. It’s a lot of characters and names that got thrown out in very rapid succession, which made the lead-in to next week’s climax feel a bit cold.
This episode found itself at it’s best when it re-constructed the formula of Limitless. It was great fun to watch Brian work without NZT or Rebecca, and the world of public NZT sets up the potential for some very cool crimes next season. However, the war between all the different villainous factions did suffer from confusion, which could have been avoided if they had been developed better throughout the season. Even so, the pace and humor of the episode won out (they finally debunked the 10 percent of your brain myth!) and I greatly look forward to how it all comes together next week. Hopefully, the motivations for Sands’ disloyalty to Morra clear up, and we can see the first of perhaps many battles Brian will have with his fellow NZT users. That’s sure to impress Piper … wherever she is.