While most of Limitless’ pilot episode was spent rehashing the movie’s basic plot points — there’s this slacker dude who takes a magic pill and suddenly has brain superpowers — the second episode starts to set the tone for the rest of the series. Most noticeably? Limitless the TV show is a lot lighter than Limitless the movie. Seriously, try to imagine Brian Finch drinking the blood of a Russian gangster (which is something Eddie Morra actually does in the movie). Brian Finch is basically Parks and Recreation’s Andy Dwyer — and his fantasy of what FBI work looks like is straight out of Burt Macklin’s daydreams, complete with baccarat, tuxedoes, and villains named Colonel October. (Only Rebecca can snap him from his reverie, reminding him, “You don’t play baccarat with UNO cards.”)
It turns out that Brian’s real role at the FBI is a lot less exciting, and it includes a lot fewer villains wearing monocles. After the FBI pokes, prods, and tests him to try to figure out why he’s immune to NZT, they finally put him to work. Sort of.
Instead of a badge and a gun, he gets a stapler and a roll of tape, and he’s told that his new job involves staying exclusively in the FBI office. No missions, no field work, and certainly no badge or gun. While Agents Harris and Boyle get to go investigate a suspicious car crash involving a journalist named Stephen Fisher, Brian gets a VHS tape and an instruction to learn Farsi.
That doesn’t take long, so he starts looking into Stephen Fisher. Brian soon figures out someone planted an electronic chip on Fisher’s car and that car crash was no accident. Even better, he’s deduced that someone probably placed a small bomb on Fisher’s car to finish the job, and he’s got a few ideas of what that bomb might look like. Rebecca, however, still forbids him from leaving the FBI office, so he stages a breakout, and after making a quick pit stop in Atlantic City to learn baccarat and rake in some cash, he shows up at the crime scene, model bombs in hand.
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The good news? Brian’s models help link the Fisher incident to previous bombings carried out by a contractor named Taurus. The bad? They lock him back up (after they patch the Brian-shaped hole he put in the wall) and forbid him, once again, from leaving the FBI HQ. Only after the day’s NZT wears off is he allowed to go see his father, who’s finally getting out of the hospital after his liver transplant.
At this point, Brian’s father is really the only meaningful relationship in his life, and while his dad’s been fairly supportive of his son’s new career (how much does being an FBI consultant/NZT lab rat pay, anyway?), he isn’t stupid. After all, it was just a few days ago that Brian’s new employers stopped by his parents’ house to accuse him of drug-fueled murder.
This guilt over lying is clearly weighing on Brian, and by the time he gets home, he’s started to doubt the terms of his arrangement with Morra. Also, he’s just now wondering how often he needs to get those special shots? Shouldn’t that be the first thing you ask, especially considering that if it wears off and you keep taking NZT, you’re definitely going to die? Painfully? I know you were sober when you met with Morra, but c’mon, Brian. Do your homework.
Finally realizing he knows absolutely nothing about the man with his life in his hands, Brian turns to Google and searches for “Senator Edward Morra NZT” — which is when his computer immediately scrambles and shuts off. He tries it again later at his dad’s house, and not only does Morra’s name fry the computer, but it shuts off power to the entire house. While pilot episode Morra seemed more like a benevolent god, what with his magic injections and his Bradley Cooper-blue eyes, second episode Edward Morra is shaping up to be a lot more menacing.
NEXT: Bombs and Genghis Khan