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REVIEW: Limitless 1×02 “Badge! Gun!”

Picking up shortly after where the Pilot left off, the second episode of TV’s Limitless is quick to focus on Brian’s new role as an FBI consultant. Still taking the brain-enhancing NZT pills, Brian is the ideal asset to Agent Harris… to the rest of the FBI? Not so much.


As was emphasized in the Pilot, the NZT immediately makes its user the smartest person in the area, and more likely the world, something that proves to be more than beneficial where Brian is concerned. Despite this, Brian’s newest talents are seemingly wasted when he’s pushed behind a desk as a low-level analyst and given Farsi audiotapes for his first day on the job. Naturally, Brian isn’t all that enthused by being put on desk-duty and placed under watch by glorified babysitters. His taking of the NZT gives him the perfect escape route and he promptly leaves his grey office in search of more exciting prospects.

“Badge! Gun!” is the natural follow-up to the explanatory Pilot. Where the first episode showed what NZT is capable of allowing people to do, the second shows that the user has just as much an impact on what actually will be done. Unsurprisingly, Brian doesn’t exactly follow the Uncle Ben/Peter Parker motto of, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Brian is more of the, “Power means fun,” kind of guy, which isn’t necessarily something that’s conducive with being a consultant to a government agency. He’s reckless with an almost holier than thou attitude that makes him seem like the absolute last person that the FBI would want to have access to NZT. The intellectual high that the drug provides the naturally cocky Brian makes for a rather dangerous combination as we see him get involved with his first legitimate case.


The episode follows the mysterious deaths of three young men by stroke, and the equally mysterious virus that seems to be responsible for the growing number of corpses. The aerosol spray transferring the virus to those with the Ghenghis Khan gene is discovered to be one meant to target an Army General who possesses the swing-vote regarding the continuation of biological weapons research. Brian and Agent Harris manage to find the General before his death and successfully track the virus back to Miles Amos, CEO of Eukaryote Biolab and murderer of three.

It seems as though the second episode of Limitless is one that purposefully chose to distinguish the underperforming and almost melancholy Brian of the Pilot from the far more carefree and jovial Brian that we’ll likely see for awhile (at the very least until whatever big event down the road causes the show to become more dark). He’s no longer the sorrowful individual desperately trying to find a cure for his ailing father and is similarly no longer the twitchy and borderline non-functioning individual that we saw experiencing withdrawal from NZT. Instead, Brian, as mentioned, is an understandably cocky and personable character who is happily thriving in his new life. Despite claiming that the FBI’s offer was an, “Opportunity that I had no choice but to take,” Brian seems to be fully enjoying himself.

This newfound confidence and fun-loving attitude is naturally one that is meant to serve as a juxtaposition to the more serious agents within the bureau. As mentioned, said agents are not happy with Brian’s presence (minus Agent Harris who seems to be pretty solidly in his corner) and don’t appreciate his constant breaking of the rules. “As an object of study, he is invaluable. As a consultant, he’s reckless.” Brian’s skirting of the rules nearly gets him fired on more than one occasion and, though he does manage to keep himself as a member of the FBI, by the close of the episode he still isn’t quite welcome in the bureau.


Despite the fact that by the end of the episode Brian manages to earn his much-coveted FBI badge, there seems to be a rapidly growing line of what information can and cannot be divulged outside of the select people already in the know. It’s unsurprising that Brian is keeping the involvement of NZT in his rapid transition from failing musician to FBI consultant hidden from those closest to him. The stern warning he received from Edward Morra last episode seems to be a looming presence in Brian’s mind as the secrecy of NZT, and his involvement with the drug, is becoming a larger plot-device to the show. His attempt at Googling Morra’s connection to the drug results in more than one fried computer and leaves Brian all the more stumped as to why the senator wants him inside the FBI.

A tense confrontation with his father, who makes it clear that he knows his son is lying to him, adds to the pressure Brian feels as he tries to balance who can know what. By the close of the episode, thanks to a loophole found by Agent Harris, Brian realizes that he can tell his father everything should he hire him as a lawyer. Seems too good to be true.

And it is.

Because just as Brian is about to tell his father the truth, the home nurse sent to the older man by the insurance company is revealed… and it’s the very same woman that was working with Eddie Morra.

Her presence is simultaneously a warning and a threat, leaving Brian with yet another secret that can’t be shared with anyone.


Episode Grade: B+

Update on Brian’s Latest NZT Abilities:

  • Farsi
  • Lip-reading
  • Insane Trivial Pursuit knowledge

Pros of the episode:

  • Now working with the FBI, Brian can be a bit of a d!ck but he’s already more fun to watch than the glum version of himself from the Pilot.
  • Double dose of Brian: having NZT Brian talking to himself to explain things allows for visual explanation, which means less voiceover. ALWAYS a good thing.
  • Some sweeeeeet opening credits

Cons of the episode:

  • Dear Thor WHY do unnecessary voiceovers exist?!?!?! (Though… they are MARGINALLY less unbearable than the Pilot due to the addition of visual cues and information)


What did you think of, “Badge! Gun!”? Is Limitless on the right track? And what the hell is Eddie Morra up to?! Sound off on Twitter or in the comments below!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen