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Limitless finale: Can Brian survive without the immunity shot?

Get scoop on the two-part season finale from EP Craig Sweeny

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David M. Russell/CBS

Brian Finch is about to face his toughest conundrum yet in the two-part Limitless finale.

Kicking off Tuesday (and continuing next week), the finale finds NZT flooding the streets, which is actually good news for Brian (Jake McDorman) after being ousted at the FBI. But the sudden excess of NZT is actually a distraction masterminded by Sands (Colin Salmon) and his NZT-fueled think tank.

Now, Brian and the FBI must prevent the baddie’s organization from profiting off a geopolitical disaster of its own making. But it won’t be an easy feat — the side effects of NZT without the immunity shot “manifest in more potent and powerful ways,” teases executive producer Craig Sweeny. “Brian gets so far gone that he comes to expect that there’s no other possible outcome than death or some form of psychosis.” Read on for more from Sweeny on the finale:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: NZT floods the streets in the penultimate episode. What can you tease of what’s going on?

CRAIG SWEENY: Brian is on the outs from the FBI, as we saw at the end of the last episode. He’s trying as his non-NZT self to still find out what happened to Piper (Georgina Haig). He’s trying to investigate, it’s just not as fruitful as you might expect given he’s got no NZT. Meanwhile, Sands and his people, in what turns out to be a very elaborate ruse with a surprising outcome, release a supply of it on the street in order to divert the resources of the FBI. What you see is a lot of really interesting and fun stuff where the public has more access to NZT than they’ve had before, but also, because it’s out there, Brian is able to take it. It’s Brian freelancing for a bit, trying to find Piper by taking this street supply of NZT.

But that’s a really bad idea, because he doesn’t have access to the immunity shot anymore.

It is a bad idea! His theory is that he’s still within the grace period of his most recent immunity shot where he wouldn’t experience side effects if he takes NZT. Over the course of the two-parter, he tests that theory and discovers that he’s wrong, basically. But, for him, the cost is worth it because he wants to find out what happened to Piper so badly. He’s willing to incur those very serious risks to his life and still continue taking the pill.

Because he’s taken NZT for so long, does rock bottom look worse than we saw in the pilot?

It does manifest itself in more potent and powerful ways. He gets so far gone with the side effects that he comes to expect that there’s no other possible outcome but death or some form of psychosis. Whether that turns out to be true or not, you have to tune in for the two-part finale.

Even though Sands has been arrested, what role is he playing in the final two episodes? It sounds like he’s actually going to go free.

Sands has seven people out there on NZT who are interested in his freedom, so it’s unlikely, if not impossible, that they can keep him incarcerated with that powerful array of people wanting him free.

The logline for the finale says there’s been a stunning betrayal on the team. What can you tease?

That’s more in the first part of the finale. What you’re going to learn is that there’s somebody surprising who has been in league with Sands and his people for some time now in the first part of the finale. The second part is dealing with the fallout of that betrayal.

If you tell me Mike (James Michael Shaw) or Ike (Tom Degnan) has been working with him, I will be very upset.

No, no, no. Mike and Ike are pure, clean, good and innocent.

The logline also says there’s a potential international catastrophe in store. What’s Sands’ endgame?

Basically they want to become the Illuminati, who are able to control events to their liking and profit from events. They have geopolitical fissure that they’re exploiting in the finale. They need to do a few things, they need to kill a few people to make this happen, but if they’re able to succeed in this plan, then not only will they facilitate a geopolitical disaster of their own making, they’ll profit very handsomely too.

Will Morra (Bradley Cooper) play any role in the finale?

Bradley will not be back on screen in the finale, but the character looms large over what everybody is doing, for sure. He influences what Brian is up to, but there will not be an onscreen appearance from Bradley in the finale.

Will Rebecca (Jennifer Carpenter) face consequences from NZT?

It’s impossible to take NZT and not have some kind of longterm — it’s impossible to do that and ever be completely the same again. I wouldn’t say it’s a major part of the next two episodes, but it’s going to be a major part of what the character has to deal with moving forward into future seasons.

Could she get addicted to it?

For Rebecca, her drug is putting away bad guys. To experience a pill that facilitates that as powerfully as NZT, I think she will not be able to resist taking it again down the line, which is a major problem and will be a big complication not in these two episodes, but for the character going forward.

Is there a possibility for Brian to reconcile with his family, or is he too busy in these final episodes to address that?

Oh no, we will see the family. The family story will come to a head just as everything he’s been keeping from Rebecca has and continues to come to a head. We’re by no means done with the story of Brian and his mother, father, and family.

Given the stakes, should we expect death in the finale?

I would expect death. I never like to be cavalier about saying, “Oh, we’re going to kill this character off for shock value.” Certainly, everything is on the table for the finale.

Since the show has not yet been renewed, was there a part of you that was a little worried on how you’d end the season finale?

No, because we never want to do a cliffhanger. I generally love ending an episode on a good cliffhanger, like when Rebecca puts the cuffs on the table and says, “You’re going to tell me what’s going on with you and Eddie Morra.” I love for seasons to feel like complete chapters. For me, I’m not generally looking to design seasons to end on big cliffhangers. Actually, just because the way I like to work and what I feel like is the most effective model for long form TV, I didn’t really have to change what I was planning to do based on not being renewed. Granted, I’d preferred to be renewed right now, of course. But that hasn’t happened yet.

Limitless airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.

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