Up to this point, Limitless has focused almost all of its attention on Brian and Rebecca. They’re the ones we’ve spent the most time with, and we’re (more or less) familiar with their histories and family. Much less screen time has been given to their colleagues at the FBI, and for the first time, “When Pirates Pirate Pirates” dives into Naz and Boyle’s backstories.
The vast majority of the episode is dedicated to Naz, who’s headed down to D.C. to raise a little hell and try to figure out who sanctioned Brian’s CIA kidnapping, and she tells Brian that if her meetings go south, he may need to hole up in her apartment and hide from her bosses. It has biometric security, a fully-stocked fridge, and everything you need for a good ol’ fashioned siege.
It turns out that one of the only reasons the top brass at the FBI let Brian stay in New York was because they thought his NZT immunity might come from something in the atmosphere. Medical tests have now ruled that out, and Naz has been sitting on that information. If the rest of the FBI figures that out, they won’t be afraid to grab Brian, ship him off to D.C., and turn him into a lab rat there.
So, Naz leaves Rebecca and Brian (who’s a little sad that their secret code word is a lame fruit like pomegranate) for her D.C. meetings, and she immediately lays it all out on the table. Not only does she want to know the identity of the guy who sanctioned the black op, but she wants his head on a plate. If she doesn’t get it, she’s going to resign and expose the fact that the CIA conducted an unauthorized black op on U.S. soil. Morale of the story: Don’t mess with Naz.
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Meanwhile, Brian is back home bonding with Ike over Mike and Ikes (obviously). It turns out that Ike got his job as Brian’s babysitter because when he first started at the FBI, he was assigned to Alaska — where he fell asleep on a stakeout. Between his pitch-perfect impression of Ferris Bueller’s dad last episode and his Mike and Ike-throwing skills, Ike is quickly becoming my favorite character. If we’re going to do a deep-dive into another character’s backstory any time soon, can it be either Mike or Ike?
Naz comes back to New York having totally kicked ass and taken names in D.C., but her success doesn’t last long, as she’s soon arrested and taken away in handcuffs. In the interim, she’s replaced with ADIC Grady Johnson, and he’s just terrible. He’s the kind of guy whose phone wallpaper is a photo of himself with a gun. So, Brian steals his phone and learns that Naz is being accused of aiding a known terrorist named Felix Durmaz. After a quick pit stop to pick up Brian’s extra NZT (thanks, Senator Morra!) and an embarrassing text to Johnson’s entire contact list, he and Rebecca head to the safe house — but there’s already someone there.
Naz’s daughter Ava is also hiding out there, and she tells them that Naz actually DID give Felix Durmaz $3 million — but for good reason. Ava’s cousin Mitra was kidnapped by pirates in the South China Sea while she was working with the Peace Corps, and Naz paid Felix as a broker to negotiate her safe return.
NEXT: Don’t fear the Schoolgirl Reaper
While Brian and Rebecca are trying to figure out how to contact Felix and clear Naz’s name, ADIC Johnson is busy trying to sidle up to Boyle. While most of the episode is Naz-centric, we also learn a little bit more about Boyle’s backstory. Spelman Boyle was named after his great-grandmother’s alma mater, and in addition to having his master’s degree and a previous career as a decorated Army Ranger, he’s a stickler for protocol. A few weeks ago, he filed a formal complaint objecting to NZT being freely given to an untrained consultant, and although he’s since realized how much good Brian has done, Johnson still tries to butter him up and get Boyle to tell him everything he knows about Brian.
Rebecca, on the other hand, tries to use Boyle as a double agent of her own, giving him Brian’s doctored medical records and telling Boyle to offer them to Johnson as bait. Whoever at the FBI is interested in the records is probably the same person who authorized Brian’s CIA kidnapping.
Back at Naz’s super-secret fortress of security, Felix finally gets in touch with some bad news: The pirates who took Mitra just got THEIR ship pirated. So, Brian channels his inner Liam Neeson and turns to his “particular set of skills” to learn all the languages in the South China Sea and scan AM radios for news about the new pirates. He gets connected with a kid who runs a pirate Tumblr and knows about Mitra’s location. (Are pirate-tracking Tumblrs a real thing? If so, I need to follow some.) He promises to tell them everything they need to know, provided that they promo his page on the official FBI Twitter account. The kid’s a smart businessman.
Thanks to Pradeep and his Tumblr, Rebecca, Brian, and Ava learn that Mitra was captured by a bigger, badder pirate ship called the Wong Sa — and one of the pirate’s ringleaders is currently leading an opium ring here in New York. So Brian stands on a street corner with a sandwich board saying he knows about a snitch in the opium ring and, after playing a game of screw-marry-kill with Rebecca to kill time, waits for a scary guy with face tattoos to come find him. The Malaysian ringleader is about to kill off Brian, but Brian says that if he can get Mitra released, he’ll find him the rarest pinball machine ever made: the Schoolgirl Reaper. Brian, being Brian, manages to track down the guy who currently owns it and convince him to give it up.
Meanwhile, Boyle heads to D.C. to hand over Finch’s medical records, where he meets with executive assistant director of the FBI (and Naz’s supposed friend), Kenneth Paulson. Fortunately, the records were a fake, and Boyle’s old friend Loretta from FBI HQ smuggles him the document sanctioning Brian’s kidnapping. Brian calls in a favor to Senator Morra, who blows open the entire thing and gets Paulson to resign.
So Naz is home safe, and after a few episodes where we weren’t sure if she was firmly on Rebecca and Brian’s side, it’s pretty clear by now that she is. Not only was Naz not the one who signed off on Brian’s kidnapping, but she stuck her neck out to protect him. Heck, she’s even (sort of?) cool with him dating her daughter — as much as that freaks him out.