Morra returns — because Brian's life wasn't complicated enough right now
It turns out that if you blow off the FBI, hop on a plane to Russia, and disappear for a few weeks, there are going to be some consequences.
For one, your boss is going to be super mad at you. I don’t know what kind of vacation time Brian gets as an consultant, but I’m guessing the FBI generally frowns on using unapproved vacation days to secretly run away to Russia. As a result, there are some new rules in the CJC office: No more headquarters (exclamation point!), no more Skeletonwitch T-shirts, and no more unsanctioned trips across the Atlantic. Instead, Naz assigns Brian a 24/7 bodyguard detail comprised of two hulking, silent Mike-and-Ike wannabes, whom Brian deems Mr. X and Mr. Y. There isn’t much for Brian to do except wait for things to blow over — and for Piper to finish synthesizing the NZT enzyme — so he decides to toe the line for a little while and help the FBI solve some cases.
The main case on the agenda is the murder investigation of one Mr. Gordon Roper, a billionaire who turned up dead in his apartment, missing one kidney. After a long battle with kidney disease (and a less-than-fruitful stint on the organ waiting list), Roper had invested in a new research company called Biosoma, which specializes in bioprinting. It’s like 3-D printing, except instead of printing things with plastic, you’re printing things with human cells. After electricity-eating bacteria and homicidal robotic arms, bioprinting is the rare Limitless tech reference that’s actually a real thing.
Part of the reason Roper was so eager to throw all his money into bioprinting is because he could really use a kidney. So, when Biosoma actually succeeded in making one, Roper was the first guy on the list. The transplant was recent, but things seemed to be going pretty well. That, however, doesn’t answer the question of why somebody murdered Roper and carefully cut out his kidney.
But before Brian can start digging into Biosoma, he discovers that the FBI needs to check its employee list a little more carefully. His newly hired bodyguard, Mr. Y, chauffeurs him to a creepy, dimly lit warehouse to meet Sands, who is there to give Brian his booster shot and say vague things about how Sen. Morra is going to make things better and safer. “I’ll be working in a different capacity,” Sands adds. Which isn’t ominous at all.
Things get even more ominous when Brian gets a mysterious coded text, which he quickly deciphers as a message from Piper. But before he can call her and reminisce about their time together in Russia, he first has to go figure out why some random guy’s DNA showed up at the Roper murder scene.
That random guy is some dude named Rohan Kumar, and it turns out that Roper was NOT the first person to get a bioprinted organ transplant. At the rate Biosoma’s research was going, the brand new bioprinted kidney wasn’t going to be ready in time to save Roper’s life. The head of Biosoma was getting a little nervous about the fact that if Roper died, his checks would presumably start bouncing, so he bought a kidney from Kumar on the black market, told Roper the bioprinting was successful, and stuck it in Roper. That explains why Kumar’s DNA showed up in Roper’s blood at the crime scene. What it DOESN’T explain is why somebody murdered Roper.
You know what that means. It’s times for the second gathering of everyone’s favorite crime-fighting squad: The Bruntouchables. James even brings his Bruntouchables shirt. Ten bucks says he keeps a spare in his desk just in case the occasion arises.
NEXT: Bruntouchables, assemble (again)
Brian explains the game plan. Murdering someone and then carefully extracting a kidney without damaging it requires a particular set of skills. Medical murder-for-hire isn’t a very lucrative career path, so chances are good that person moonlights by patching up shady wounds in their spare time. To flush out this hitman/doctor, they’re going to need a wound for him to patch up. Preferably a gunshot wound, but a stab wound will work just fine. Stavros the janitor gamely volunteers, telling them that he doesn’t have any feeling in his left leg anyway. And then he promptly stabs himself in his right leg. Stavros, always going above and beyond for the Bruntouchables’ cause.
Stavros’ sketchy stab wound leads them to a sketchy veterinarian, who leads them to Roper’s sketchy wife. Turns out that Roper’s wife was gearing up to divorce him when he was first diagnosed with kidney disease. She promised to stick it out for a while, assuming that she’d get a bigger inheritance check when he finally kicked the bucket, but when she found out that Roper received a transplant, she decided that was too long to wait, and she took matters into her own hands. She staged her husband’s murder as the theft of the first-ever bioprinted kidney, and she fed her husband’s actual kidney to their sheepadoodle. (Which, I learned today, is an actual breed of dog that exists in real life.)
Roper’s murder is solved, but things are far from over for Brian. When he finally makes contact with Piper, she sets up a meeting, and he ditches his bodyguard, Mr. Y, with a potent cocktail of pizza, sleeping pills, and music by Enya. But when Brian gets to their rendezvous point, Piper never shows. Dejected, Brian heads back to his apartment, where he finds that Mr. Y has gone missing. In his place is a bloodstained bracelet belonging to Piper — which is when Brian decides to do something drastic and throw caution to the wind.
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Senator Morra is holding a campaign event at a local church, so Brian shows up with a master plan to infiltrate the church: standing outside and yelling Morra’s name until someone finally lets him in. Somehow, it works, and he finagles a meeting with Morra himself, where Brian spills everything: He lied. Piper isn’t dead. Brian recently flew to Russia to meet with her and help her develop the NZT enzyme because he’s tired of being Morra’s lackey. Now he’s really sorry and just please don’t kill Piper, okay?
Morra’s response: “That is so interesting.”
See, Morra didn’t know that Piper was alive. Only Sands did, which means that he now has Piper AND the enzyme. Sands apparently isn’t working with Morra anymore, so it logically follows that he’s teamed up with another group of people with unlimited access to NZT. Now, when I type all that out it makes no sense, but when Bradley Cooper says it, I find myself nodding along. No wonder he’s such a believable presidential candidate.
Brian, understandably, starts freaking out about the idea of Sands assembling a team of NZT-enhanced super villains, all while Morra is remarkably chill about the whole thing. He’s mostly worried about whether his tie is straight or whether he can get Brian a glass of water. He then bounces to go give a campaign speech/work on super rice/do whatever it is he does when he’s not saving Brian’s neck, leaving Brian to figure out how the heck he’s supposed to stop Sands and save Piper.
He doesn’t get very far, however, because Rebecca shows up at his apartment with handcuffs and an ultimatum. Remember last week, when Brian’s sister told her about Sands bleeding out in his apartment? Well, Rebecca has finally decided to act on that information and ask Brian about his connection to Morra. All of Brian’s lies and sneaking around are finally starting to catch up to him — and Rebecca is finally asking for some answers.