ORBzine - Limitless TV Review

Limitless

Theatrical Movie

Season 1

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 1] Pilot
Shown 22 Sep 15

Our hero is an average guy in his twenties named Brian Finch, a slacker who works as an office temp in the hope of succeeding as a musician. He meets an old schoolfriend who gives him a special pill named NZT. It boosts his IQ, but when he goes back to get another pill he discovers his friend is dead. So far this is a lot like the original movie, but it is not a remake - it is a follow-up.

Brian ends up on the run from the FBI. To clear his name he must catch the real killer. He starts to bond with the only Fed who even got close to catching him - Special Agent Rebecca Harris ( Jennifer Carpenter ). The other Feds do not agree with her choice to NOT shoot an unarmed suspect in cold blood. However, it turns out she has an agenda of her own.

Everyone wants to manipulate Brian for their own agenda, including the FBI boss ( Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ) who wants to trace the drug to its source, and the source AKA Senator Morra (Bradley Cooper - Alias ) who wants Brian to be an FBI insider.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 2] Badge! Gun!
Shown 29 Sep 15

Brian begins his new life as an FBI consultant. This consists of being observed by doctors who want to observe him so they can find out how the drug affects his body. He goes stir-crazy, and decides to go walkabout to help on a real case. Depite it being her idea to investigate him for using the drug, FBI Boss Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is more than eager to fire him at the first opportunity.

Meanwhile, Special Agent Rebecca Harris ( Jennifer Carpenter ) and the other Feds investigate a high-level assassination. It turns out that the killer has developed a bio-weapon that could kill any males directly descended from Ghengis Khan. This is potentially an act of genocide, because three innocent bystanders have contracted the virus by accident. However, the strange assumption is that it will die off by itself before becoming a massive plague.

The subplot begins to heat up a bit. Brian's father Dennis Finch (Ron Rifkin - Alias ) is recovering from the life-saving surgery. Rifkin an amazing actor, but he is wasted in this lacklustre role. In fact, most of the cast deserve far better. This is a by-the-numbers clicked Unconventional Consultant Police Procedural, like;

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 3] The Legend of Marcos Ramos
Shown 06 Oct 15

Brian and the Feds investigate the murder of a former Federal Agent. They discover it was linked to a Mexican drug cartel, which means Brian gets to liven up the story with some lurid fantasies of 1970s-style narco-thriller scenes.

Brian also bumps into an old flame, and charms her with his drug-enhanced abilities. However, he also has to deal with constant supervision from both the FBI and Senator Morra (Bradley Cooper - Alias ).

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 4] Page 44
Shown 13 Oct 15

Brian's dose apparently lasts him long enough after work to not only pick up a one-night stand, but also to do some online networking with local online scientists. He helps one to give a mouse genetic immortality. Unfortunately, this secret is valuable enough to kill for. Brian has to solve a murder-mystery ... but despite him being an FBI Consultant, this case is off-the-books because it is an NYPD investigation. This makes a mockery of the idea of reducing the whole show to a cliched FBI Consultancy series.

The actual FBI case of the week is one of espionage. A Chinese-American citizen is suspected of selling drone blueprints to Red China. It turns out that the purpose of this storyline is to contrast with Brian's THIRD storyline, the Season Arc ...

Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) gives Brian his orders from Senator Morra (Bradley Cooper - Alias ). They need him to raid the safe of FBI Boss Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio , and copy the files she has on the drug NZT. Brian is very reluctant to do this, partly due to cowardice but also due to misplaced loyalty towards the Feds. This is despite the fact that they care more about controlling the drug than they do about actually helping anyone. In fact, they would probably dissect Brian if they though it would get them an answer. However, despite his massive IQ boost he lets them suck him right in. For the most part this is probably because he has a soft spot for Special Agent Rebecca Harris ( Jennifer Carpenter ), ever since she told him that she thought her deceased father was on NZT. But the FBI top brass may be keeping their own secret files on her dad.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 5] Personality Crisis
Shown 20 Oct 15

Brian starts to externalise himself. Yes, he actually starts to visualise the smarter version of himself that he becomes whenever he on NZT. This is a response to stress over the decision he has to make regarding Special Agent Rebecca Harris ( Jennifer Carpenter ). Should he tell her what he knows about her father? If he does, he will put himself at risk of being arrested for treason. However, SHE is the one who asked HIM to find out about her dad ... and she is his love interest in the show, so he will do anything he thinks will please her.

Brian gets some training in self-defence from the FBI's resident martial arts expert. The guy was Jennifer Carpenter's police buddy in Dexter, and he has a similar role in this show.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 6] Side Effects May Include...
Shown 27 Oct 15

Brian starts to suffer the side-effects of NZT, and he needs a booster shot. However, he has to please Senator Morra. And Morra's messenger Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) says that Brian must use Special Agent Rebecca Harris ( Jennifer Carpenter ) as a scapegoat. Naturally, Brian starts to investigate other sources of potential supply. He discovers her father's supplier, but this creates more questions than it answers.

Rebecca tries to conceal her knowledge from her boss ( Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ). They have to work together on a Red Team exercise, planning strategies that a Chinese-backed hacker team might use to attack the US infrastructure.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 7] Brian Finch's Black Op
Shown 03 Nov 15

Brian decides fake illness, and take the day off work from the FBI. This is the start of a parody of Ferris Beuller's Day Off, However, this is just to bookend the episode. Instead of going off and having cool adventures with Alan Ruck ( Star Trek: Generations ) and Mia Sara , he gets kidnapped by some CIA contractors for an illegal black operation!

The FBI boss ( Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ) is enraged at losing her top asset, even temporarily. She lets her agents off the leash to hunt him down. Luckily, the CIA has terrible security.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 8] When Pirates Pirate Pirates
Shown 10 Nov 15

The FBI boss ( Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ) complains to her boss (James McDaniel - Sleepy Hollow ) about her FBI consultant being abducted by the CIA in the previous episode. The next thing we know, she is arrested for alleged money laundering. Has she been framed by a shadowy conspiracy?

The situation is a lot more complicated than it first appears. The woman had a complicated family situation concerning a niece who went yachting in the third world and got kidnapped by pirates. Worse, the middle-man (presumably at least semi-trustworthy, in order to stay in that line of work) was flagged on the FBI's suspect list. This is illogical, because they would be better off recruiting the man as a CIA informant.

Brian has to do two things. Firstly, arrange the release of the niece held by the pirates. This is managed by a few incredible coincidences. One of the former leaders of the pirate crew lives nearby! Even more unlikely, he has an obscure hobby that Brian's former flatmate also shared. What are the chances?

The second problem is to arrange for the Boss to be cleared of all wrong-doing. To do this he needs leverage on whoever is putting pressure on her. He sets himself up as bait, and hands over a flash drive with supposedly secret data on it. Of course, to formulate this plan he has to reveal his secret NZT stash to Special Agent Rebecca Harris ( Jennifer Carpenter ). Can he trust the Feds who he is working for? And will he trust Senator Morra to pull some weight on the real bad guys?

The most important question is ... what happened to the ransom money? Did the middle-man issue a refund, or did he pocket the lot? Will getting the money back be Brian's next mission, or will this mysteriously be never mentioned again?

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 9] Headquarters!
Shown 17 Nov 15

Brian is sick of being a lackey of the FBI. He wants to be more pro-active and make himself useful. In an effort to prove himself, he decides to catch the suspects on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted list. To do this, he gets to be the boss of the squad for the week.

Many of the suspects have fled the country. Because Brian cannot leave the USA he sends his salt-and-pepper bodyguards. Mike, the black guy, gets sent to Costa Rica. Presumably because he can blend in with other People of Colour. Naturally he cannot speak the language, so he plays a tourist and stands out. Ike, the white guy, is sent to the arctic circle. Despite being the same colour as the locals he cannot pass for one of them. He also complains about the climate, which is strange because at least he has avoided the sunburn and malaria he would have faced in Costa Rica.

The token black guy and the FBI's resident martial arts expert from Limitless [Season 1, Episode 5] Personality Crisis team up to take down a local villain. Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) volunteers to give them back-up. Brian is not allowed to help, so we get to see his fantasy about an action-packed fist-fight like in Limitless [Season 1, Episode 3] The Legend of Marcos Ramos instead of whatever really happened.

Brian and Rebecca close in on a man who was convicted of killing his own wife. After breaking out of prison, the convict decided to stay in New York City. This may seem stupid behaviour, but there is a method to his madness. The man claims he wants to find his wife's REAL killer. And since he is an expert engineer and jail-breaker, he might be a worthy opponent for Brian. Can they work together, or has our hero got an arch-nemesis already?

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 10] Arm-Ageddon
Shown 24 Nov 15

The token black guy's old war buddy, an amputee, claims that his artificial arm had a life of its own and killed his wife. Brian gets called in to see if the arm's wifi connection, apparently the most secure one available, can be hacked.

Brian Finch's father (Ron Rifkin - Alias ) is also his attorney, so Brian was legally allowed to tell him about the NZT trial. Unfortunately that means Mr Finch becomes over-protective of his son. He ignores Brian's wishes and confronts the FBI boss ( Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ).

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 11] This is Your Brian on Drugs
Shown 15 Dec 15

This episode is told from the perspective of the other regular characters in the FBI office. Mike and Ike resent their duties as Brian's bodyguards. This is a bit selfish of them, to say the least. He is a civilian being kept under virtual house arrest, while they are his jailors. Would they complain if they were on guard duty at the White House? Brian may not be the President, but he DID get them involved in field-work on a mission to capture the FBI's ten most wanted. Unfortunately their routine is disrupted when some thieves steal the NZT supply.

The FBI's resident martial arts expert is pressuring Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) to be open about their relationship. He and his SWAT team (never referred to as Hostage Rescue Team, the title of the real FBI SWAT unit) get called in to retrieve the missing pills. Someone swipes a few before they are logged into evidence ...

The SWAT team, including Marc Blucas ( Buffy: Season 4 ), decide to take the NZT pill themselves. However, no good comes of it.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 12] The Assassination of Eddie Morra
Shown 05 Jan 16

Someone on NZT takes a shot at Senator Morra (Bradley Cooper - Alias ). This is almost the longest sniper kill in history, ironic because Cooper also played Chris kyle in American Sniper. Anyway, the FBI investigates the assassination attempt. Brian worries, because he knows that Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) is pretty smart and will probably work it all out. She does not need proof, but if Morra comes to her attention she will join the dots.

Brian's handler Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) orders him to mislead the FBI investigation. After all, if they find the real sniper ( Georgina Haig ) she will tell them about Morra. She has already been implicated in one murder, that of her own boyfriend. And when she lures Brian into a meeting, can he trust her? Who will he side with - the beautiful blonde or the manipulative politician?

The Morra character in this show is quite different from the one in the movie. He is more focused and ambitious, while the old Eddie was a slacker like Brian. It is a pity that Brian has not had to endure the Film Noir level of violence that Eddie Morra was victim to in the original story. Small wonder that Morra wants to keep NZT for use by an elite few of his choosing. After all, he has seen what happens when Organised Crime figures get their hands on it.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 13] Stop Me Before I Hug Again
Shown 19 Jan 16

The FBI team investigate a serial killer. Due to the graphic nature of the subject matter, Brian's subconscious decides to tone it all down by using childish names for it. This censorship is unnecessary, because police procedural shows deal with serial killings all the time. If anything it is a form of mockery of the self-richeous procedural shows. However, it fails to hit the mark as humour. Also, Brian's subconscious is portrayed as an elderly man who used to be Brian's favourite childhood television presenter. In the UK he would be the equivalent of Jimmy Saville or Rolf Harris, who are now associated with violent sex crimes.

The FBI call in an expert profiler - Anthony Michael Hall from Dead Zone . Ike and Mike treat the new guy like a rock star, but the truth is that all he does is what Brian does. This makes a mockery of their wish to be promoted off his team. After all, Brian may have the advantage of NZT but he is still a better profiler.

The profiler asks for Brian to be seconded to the BAU for a week. Real Criminal Minds stuff. In fact, Brian actually identifies a serial killer after only forty minutes of looking at the case files - the same length of time it takes the profilers in the serious show. Brian also decides to give the killers silly names, to make the serial murderer lifestyle a bit less glamourous. He chooses to name them after types of ice cream. This is not necessarily a good idea, since Mister Freezee was a real-life killer in the Seventies. Also, Mister Vanilla sounds like the scariest character who Tarantino never invented!

Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) has Brian swap the Senator's bloodstained coat for one without traces of NZT on it. To do this, he has to break into the FBI's secure evidence storage facility.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 14] Fundamentals of Naked Portraiture
Shown 09 Feb 16

Brian's bodyguards, Special Agents Mike and Ike, audition candidates as a third member of the team - codename Spike. Brian selects the perfect suck-up, who agrees to help in every insane plan. This includes posing for Brian as he creates a nude oil-painting.

Brian tries to convince Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) that the NZT coat swap went without a hitch. However, Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) is suspicious and the clerk got a look at Brian's face.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 15] Undercover!
Shown 16 Feb 16

This episode is told in flashback, narrated by Brian and the other regulars as a series of videotaped interviews with It starts when the NOC list has been stolen from an FBI Director's home. This was a terrible plot-device in the original Mission Impossible movie, because a real-live Agency would compartmentalise its undercover agents rather than put every single name on one big long list.

Brian gets called in to locate the Deep Cover agents in New York City. They are in so deep that their own handlers cannot find them. Worse, the FBI are worried that the national media will broadcast the leaked names of the agents, along with their mugshot photos and whatever else they can get their hands on. This totally ignores the massive list of laws the media would be breaking, but the FBI strategy of damage limitation is to pull all the agents in and prematurely end their investigations.

Brian gets co-opted into joining one of the undercovers on her mission. Lucy Church ( Christina Vidal ) is tasked with infiltrating a high-class escort ring. She lectures Brian on how immoral and exploitative sex is, and yet uses sex to manipulate him so that he will lie for her to the Feds. Remember how reluctant he is to help Senator Morra do exactly that, even though Morra is the good guy?

Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) attempts to hire Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) for Senator Morra's security team. Unfortunately, all this does is make her even more suspicious. What he does not know, what Brian has not told him, is that Rebecca's price is the knowledge of what happened to her father.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 16] Sands, Agent of Morra
Shown 23 Feb 16

Brian and his sister settle in for a night of smoking dope and watching an unnamed TV show that has a lot of similarities to Game of Thrones . Then Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) pops up on his front doorstep, bleeding profusely.

Sands is on a killing spree. However, this is not linked to Senator Morra's operation. No, far worse - Sands is doing some freelance work. And he conscripts Brian into helping.

Sands delivers a version of his origin story. None of it makes sense - a Punk rock band in 1984, a coal mine in Kent, two weeks in police detention without charge or trial, SIS operating in MI5's jurisdiction, an informant promoted to a world-class assassin, a secret airstrip in a low-interest area like northern India ...

Brian helps Sands, but he manages to snag the most important item - information. He gains significant leverage over Sands and Morra. Ironic that someone like Morra, supposedly so perceptive, could allow such a series of security lapses. His sidekick Sands is a complete liability - he may be competent, but he knows far too much and is too open to blackmail. And surely Morra would compartmentalise an operation much better.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 17] Close Encounters
Shown 8 Mar 16

Brian is stressed out. He deals with his issues by popping a spare NZT pill, then wandering the streets of NYC by night and helping random cops solve random crimes. Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) finds out, realises he has been holding back about his spare NZT supply, and decides to put Internal Affairs on him.

New York City has a mysterious power blackout. The FBI assume it was a cyber-hacking attack by Red China. Brian discovers the real source of the problem.

Brian makes one incredible mistake. Even though he already knows about his sister's one-night stand with Special Agent Ike, he still sends Ike and Mike to get all his family together. They meet up and hang out in his parents' house, with his nosy father (Ron Rifkin - Alias ) and bossy mother ( Blair Brown ).

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 18] Bezgranichnyy
Shown 15 Mar 16

Brian is on the run, so he goes looking for Morra's arch-enemy ( Georgina Haig ). She is the only one who has a chance of duplicating the secret serum. Unfortunately she was last seen in St Petersburg, so he goes there and uses alcohol as an excuse for exposition.

Without extra NZT pills, Brian's ability to earn money is limited to busking. Luckily the senior bureaucrat in charge of Prisons is a big fan of Game of Thrones . This comes in handy when it comes to bribing him.

The last ingredient in the secret serum is an oil made from the seeds of a rare plant. In fact, the plant is so rare that Brian and his girlfriend must steal them from a top-security seed bank owned by a Russian oligarch. However, surely if they steal and then crush the seeds then there will be no new plants to create no new seeds. All this does is just increase Morra's overall control of the supply of the rare seeds.

Back in the USA, the FBI have put out an APB on Brian but they have not announced the full seriousness of his crimes. Possessing spare NZT pills is bad enough, but exporting them to Russia is like treason. Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) visits Brian's family, who are upset that he is under investigation. Seriously, they accused him of serious crimes in front of TWO FBI Agents. And Brian's sister continually tells the Feds about his secret visit from Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ). What did they actually expect?

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 19] A Dog's Breakfast
Shown 22 Mar 16

Brian is back at the FBI, and everyone keeps him under top surveillance. However, he is not in the least suspicious of the fact that Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) has apparently forgiven him and is happy to work with him again.

Brian also has to please his handler, Agent Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ). However, he gets a secret message from Piper ( Georgina Haig ) that she has finished the cure. Can he dodge both the FBI and Sands to meet her? After all, he has not bothered to study counter-surveillance methods.

Finally, Brian is in desperate need of some exposition. He gets some face-time with Senator Morra (Bradley Cooper - Alias ), and discovers what has been going on. However, he is left pretty much alone and clueless in order to sort it all out.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 20] Hi, My Name is Rebecca Harris
Shown 05 Apr 16

Rebecca ( Jennifer Carpenter ) corners Brian and forces him at gunpoint to confess his misdeeds. She gets him to help hunt down proof that Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) killed her father. However, she takes NZT herself.

Sands has a sniper on his team. However, the man is clearly not up to the task at hand. Assuming he and Rebecca are both equal since they are both on NZT, his long-range rifle should be a lot more deadly than her personal protection pistol. Remember how Mythbusters debunked the Carlos Hathcock myth that a high-velocity rifle bullet could penetrate an old-fashioned telescopic sight? What are the chances that NZT will allow Rebecca to use a low-velocity pistol bullet to penetrate an ultra-modern telescopic sight?

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 21] Finale: Part One!
Shown 19 Apr 16

After the previous episode, the FBI were able to take Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) into custody. However, they have no clue on how to round up his co-conspirators - the people Brian refers to as the Legion of Whom.

There is a new outbreak of NZT as a street-drug. Unfortunately Sands is not around to take it off the streets again, so low-level crooks start using it for low-level crimes. Later on, lots of people have to go to hospital with side-effects and withdrawl symptoms. However, the pills are basically a force for good.

Brian is now working as a salesman in an electrical goods store - like Chuck . However, despite not having NZT he is still looking for Piper ( Georgina Haig ). He gets some bootleg NZT and tracks down one of the sources.

Without Brian on their team, the FBI meanders in the wrong direction. They forget the risk that Sands presents, and focus themselves on taking down Senator Morra.

Limitless Limitless [Season 1, Episode 22] Finale: Part Two!
Shown 26 Apr 16

Sands (Colin Salmon - Resident Evil ) and the Legion of Whom have outwitted the FBI. They have Piper ( Georgina Haig ) and presumably they will have the immunity shot, but Brian has a simple choice. If he wants to help, either he goes cold turkey or he uses NZT without immunity to the side-effects.

Brian discovers Sands' plan, which involves manipulating the Canadian delegation to the United Nations so he can control a Wall Street scam involving the North-West passage. However, when the trail runs dry he manages a Sherlockian deduction that might take him directly to Sands' secret lair.

Senator Morra (Bradley Cooper - Alias ) is missing, presumably in hiding. He is mentioned in passing, but does not appear. Perhaps he was meant to be a major character in Season Two. Unfortunately the show was not taken up for renewal, so the story will never be completed. The FBI does not seem to have much evidence against Morra, because the paper-trail ends with Sands. Brian might testify against Morra, but Morra could probably talk his way out of it. And until the FBI actually files charges against Morra there is nothing to prevent him from running for President!

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Limitless

Limitless Limitless [Season 2, Episode 1 ]
Shown th October 2016 [Wednesday]

Reviewed in our special supplement Limitless

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