This Review Contains Spoilers For Episode 2 Of Limitless
While the pilot episode of Limitless certainly did a fantastic job at recapturing the universe and aesthetic of the film, it definitely felt a little flat in the character department. Although we got a decent sense of where Brian Finch and his partner Rebecca have come from, we didn’t really get to see who they were as people. Well, this second outing seems all too aware of that. From the moment this episode starts, there’s an extreme emphasis on the funnier side of what one would think and see on a pill that puts their brain on overdrive, and guess what? It really works.
The real change lies in Brian, who went from plastic every-man to charismatic quip blaster tonight. Although NZT has certainly advanced his intake of information, at heart he has the playful mind of a teenage boy. This lead to a great deal of hilarious visual gags including a James Bond style fantasy of FBI life, lip reading through comic bubbles, and an escape or two from a couple of frustrated security guards dubbed “Mike and Ike.” He’s just such an adorable ball of excitement that we can’t help but love him, even when he’s just running around the crime scene yelling “Dope!” when he finally gets to do something. As for Rebecca, she’s still a touch bland. While she certainly has a decent amount of chemistry as the straight woman to Brian’s wackiness, she needs a little bit of spice to set her apart as well. I’m hoping that very soon we will find out her back-story, and perhaps after that she will start to shine a little more.
Even the case itself was moderately interesting, especially considering that this is the first case of what is essentially a police procedural starring a mutant. While it started as what seemed to be a simple murder of an activist by car bombing, it eventually un-winded into a twisty web leading to a genetic weapon created for descendants of Genghis Khan. Sure, it was a little far fetched, but at this point I’ll take anything creative in a cop show. Perhaps the most enjoyable part of this story was watching Brian deal with being required to stay in the FBI office while on NZT. See, being an agent ain’t all it’s cracked up to be at first, and watching him prove that he wasn’t an out of control psycho on the NZT was a lot of fun.
There were also some engaging family dynamics at play, with Brain’s dad suddenly becoming suspicious of just what this new FBI job has Brian up to. While this felt a little played out at first, it took a genuinely unexpected turn when it was revealed that Eddie Morra has placed his nurse inside Brian’s house to take care of his father. While Eddie didn’t show up tonight, his presence lingered through the entire episode, with constant flash-backs to his scene in the pilot. Yes, they’re really, really proud that they got Bradley Cooper to play along with them for a bit. Hopefully his constant surveillance of Brian will start to pay off soon.
With it’s second episode, Limitless proved that it is here to stay. While it certainly took a bit of a tonal departure from the first episode, the additional humor made it feel a lot more like it’s own animal and not a remake of the movie. This felt like a brave, fifth season episode of a seasoned vet, and for a second episode of a new baby on the block, that’s a very good sign. I very much look forward to seeing just what Brian gets into with his next case, it’s sure to be dope.