TV

REVIEW: Limitless 1×03 “The Legend of Marcos Ramos”

“Last month I was a temp and now I’m chasing drug dealers.”

This week’s episode of Limitless centers around the death of retired FBI Agent Ray Dixon, who was murdered kudos to a fatal bullet shot by a high-powered rifle. Tasked with piecing together, in the absolute literal sense of the phrase, Dixon’s shredded files, Brian manages to find the first real clue of the case, one that leads him and the FBI to CEO Jeffrey Vox. The clues continue to rack up until it’s discovered that Dixon’s death may have had something to do with a drug cartel known for playing a hand in previous assassinations, more specifically, a cartel member known as Marcos Ramos.

As the episode progresses and Brian builds some to-scale dioramas of various assassinations, we’re led to La Cebra, the much-utilized hit man of one Marcos Ramos. But of course, said notorious hit man is caught during, “Rebecca’s awesome take-down,” halfway through the episode, meaning that he’s obviously not the responsible party behind Dixon’s death.

Who is?

The pigs of course! As in the NYPD task force that’s been in cahoots with the cartel the whole time. In fact, they killed Dixon and Marcos Ramos when it seemed they were on the cusp of outing them as dirty cops. By the close of the episode, Brian is able to figure out how said dirty cops are planning on escaping and the actual agents of the FBI are able to stop them before they get away.

lmtls103.3

The case, interesting in its own right, allows for Brian to work with Agents Harris and Boyle in a larger manner, the latter of which has been his greatest adversary to date at the FBI. Boyle made it pretty clear in episode two that he finds Brian to be a detriment to the bureau… a feeling that’s still held in episode three. Brian’s babysitters, affectionately dubbed Mike and Ike, are just as disinterested in him and have little patience with his cocky attitude.

The sub-plot of the episode surrounds Brian’s attempt at wooing, “the one that got away,” with as much help from NZT as he can get. It’s not surprising that a female side-character was brought in for Brian to show off to. What is surprising is that it took Limitless three episodes to do it. The reintroduction of Brian’s old flame Shauna made for some humorous, if slightly uncomfortable, moments in the show. As someone whose second-hand-embarrassment tends to reach an all-time high when Person A is attempting to impress Person B in the most extravagant of ways, I couldn’t help but cringe a bit as Brian decided to use the NZT version of himself to win back his old flame. That being said, most of the antics were sweet and funny enough to counter the whole, “A former agent was murdered and may be linked to a nefarious drug cartel,” plot of the episode.

lmtls103

It seems that Limitless is actively trying to balance the darker moments (and characters) of the show by using Brian as both comedic relief and plot-pusher. As mentioned, such relief in episode three comes from Brian’s attempted rekindling of his old relationship. Brian takes full advantage of his NZT high and doesn’t waste a second using the drug in a way that the FBI likely wouldn’t approve of: the wooing of his former flame.

Though the whole, “I’m now a superior version of myself and can do a bunch of cool things now,” isn’t exactly a new trope for television, Limitless does manage to make it slightly more interesting by having it serve as a means of highlighting the fact that, despite his constant bravado and cockiness, Brian is still rather insecure about who he was, is, and will be. We’ve spent the past two episodes with a confident and effervescent Brian, out-smarting the FBI at every turn and relishing in the borderline powers that the NZT gives him, meaning that the first version of Brian Finch that we met was easily forgettable.

Which, as it turns out, isn’t something that Brian himself is all that happy about.

Though some may find Brian’s worry that Shauna is only interested in him because of the intelligence that comes from the NZT to be more whiny and irritating than anything, it actually plays a pivotal role in emphasizing the fact that Brian truly is an ordinary person who’s been thrust into an extraordinary situation. His insecurity is one that’s often covered up by the borderline façade that he carries while on NZT, and the combination of his lady troubles and the roadblocks he faces while working on the episode’s case seem to take Brian down a peg or two in, “The Legend of Marcos Ramos.”

“How’s she going to like you when you’re just… Brian Finch?”

The questions, asked by Mike and Ike for the sole purpose of knocking Brian’s cockiness down a few levels, is an important one that will likely serve as a personal driving point for Brian as the season continues. Who is he? Which parts of himself are the ones that are actually worth showing people?

Despite the self-doubt, Brian’s one consistent ally is quick to counter the notion that NZT Brian Finch is better than normal Brian Finch. When asked for relationship advice by the man in question, Agent Harris doesn’t hesitate to say, “There aren’t two Brians. There’s you.” It’s something that needs to be head almost as much as it’s something that Brian needs to hear. The certainty in Rebecca’s statement, and the fact that she doesn’t think for a second before saying it, aids in further solidifying her as the one individual that Brian can truly count on.

lmtls103.4

Naturally the pep talk is just what Brian needs to get his confidence back and realize that, pill or no pill, it’s the user that makes the decisions. The realization provides a false illusion that he actually has some semblance of control. Said realization is shot to hell in the final few minutes of the episode when a mysterious new player joins the fray and reveals himself as Brian’s new boss… more specifically, the second-in-command to, you guessed it: Senator Edward Morra.

The ominous Mr. Sands, though only onscreen for a minute or two, is quick to establish himself as an individual that shouldn’t be crossed. He doesn’t even attempt to make his threats against Brian’s family, friends, and loved ones subtle (welp, there goes that rekindled relationship with Shauna) and instead opts for giving Brian a harsh slap of reality.

“Your life isn’t yours anymore. You belong to Mr. Morra now.”

The episode ends with the harsh realization that Brian has gotten himself in way over his head and, despite his earlier claim that Rebecca is the one person he can talk to, is actually completely alone.

 

Episode Pros:

  • The opening credits are dope… no drug pun intended
  • The tonal shifts between scenes where Brian is and is not on NZT- cool hues when not, warm hues when on

Episode Cons:

  • Guess. Guess what I’m going to complain about this week. THE. VOICE. OVERS.
  • It might be time to put the kibosh on the irrelevant interactions Brian has with strangers for the sole purpose of showing off NZT.

 

Overall Grade: B+

 

What did you think of, “The Legend of Marcos Ramos?” Who the hell is Jared Sands and what are his (and Senator Morra’s) plans for Brian?

Sound off and speculate on Twitter and in the comments below!!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen