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REVIEW: Limitless 1×06 “Side Effects May Include…”

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with Limitless so far is the fact that the show gets a little too complex for its own good. The B stories (and C stories and D stories) often become so convoluted and irrelevant to the main plot that I struggle to maintain interest. However, the show is still pretty kick-ass, and tonight’s episode, “Side Effects May Include…”, demonstrated that Limitless can provide us with an hour of entertainment without relying on subplots for filler. (spoilers ahead!)

In this episode, Brian Finch starts to learn just how rough the side effects of NZT can be. It must suck to be Brian. If he takes NZT, he faces side effects. If he stops NZT, he goes into withdrawal and loses his fancy government job. If he tells anyone about what he’s doing, Senator Eddie Morra and his enigmatic enforcer Sands will kill him. Finch can’t catch a break at all, but being the resilient and good-hearted fellow that he is, decides to stick with NZT, side effects and all.

But he soon learns that the side effects are pretty brutal. He begins to hallucinate and lose his mind as he slowly slips into psychosis. This had to have been my favorite part of the episode. Jake McDorman does an absolutely fantastic job demonstrating Brian Finch’s descent into madness. We see his perspective as he begins to visualize the world in a new perspective, with people turning into zombies and roaches crawling underneath his skin. It’s brutal, it’s gross, and it’s awesome. You truly feel bad for Finch as his side effects get worse and worse.

In the Limitless film, we only got a brief glimpse of these side effects, so it was cool that the show decided to expand more on that aspect. The only issue I had with it was that it seemed to take up a lot of time in the episode. Yeah, it was great finding out the negative effects of taking NZT for a long period of time, but there were moments where the psychosis episodes dragged on a bit. I would’ve preferred more brevity in these instances. Sometimes, it’s about the less you see.

Despite the side effects, Finch still manages to get his work done. His main mission this episode is to learn more about NZT and its creation. He does a little sleuthing and FBI-ing to trace the NZT’s history to a man named Andrew Epperly, who supposedly used the base chemical formula for the drug as an initial solution to Alzheimer’s and dementia. Rebecca Harris’s father, Conrad, got his hands on a supply of NZT and was supposedly sharing it around the city. Now the question is: who is the creator of NZT and did they have a hand in Conrad’s murder?

Speaking of the Harris family, Rebecca has been making great strides in the FBI since last episode. She’s put on an assignment where she is noticed by the director, but she blows off a meeting with him in order to find Finch and see if he’s alright. This goes to show that Rebecca may actually care for Brian and that she sees him as more than just an asset. It could also possibly show a slight romantic interest between the two, though I’m willing to just chalk it up to Rebecca being a compassionate human being who realizes that a friend’s health is more important that a meeting with the FBI director.

Unfortunately, this good deed of hers comes back to bite her in the ass as she’s reprimanded for ditching the meeting. She finds out that the meeting was much more important than a simple meet-and-greet; it was going to help her advance in the FBI so that she could eventually gain clearance to see the files about her father. So no matter what Rebecca does, she gets screwed one way or another. Damned if you do; damned if you don’t.

At least things work out for Brian at the very end… kinda. Guess who makes a surprise return? Eddie Morra! As it turns out, he’s not such a bad guy after all. He was only testing Brian through this whole trial. He claims that he would never let something truly awful befall him. Morra was testing Brian to see if he had what it takes to become a partner. See? I knew Bradley Cooper couldn’t do wrong…

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Now, Morra may not be a bad guy, but there is definitely something shifty about Sands. In the final moments of the episode, we see Sands delivering a package to Andrew Epperly’s house. Five seconds later – KABOOM! Fried Epperly. I knew what was coming the moment I saw Sands’ face, but it still came as a shock. It makes you wonder if Morra orchestrated this explosion or if Sands is going rogue.

“Side Effects May Include…” was a fine episode, but I miss the NZT moments from the beginning of the season and from the movie. I want to see more of Finch going full-blown Sherlock on cases and demonstrating his abilities. I guess this episode was meant to show the more negative sides of NZT. I can only hope that we see the positives again by next week.

Final Grade: B

+ Eddie Morra’s return!

+ I’m glad there wasn’t a convoluted B story to clutter the episode.

+ Jake McDorman really sells his performance of Brian Finch going through the side effects.


– There was just a little too much focus on Finch’s side effects; while it was excellently executed, it felt like there was too much time spent on it.

– Limitless is starting to show less and less of Finch using his abilities to solve cases; I want to see more of him actually going full NZT mode and solving problems.


Extra Thought:

– What is going on with Sands?

What did you think about the recent episode of Limitless? Are you still questioning Eddie Morra’s morality? Tell us what you think in the comments or on Twitter!

About the author

Alex Reale

From a young age, Alex knew he was destined to be a writer. He also harbored a deep infatuation with superheroes and comics. Luckily, he was able to combine these two passions through his role with A Place to Hang Your Cape, where he works as Junior Sidekick and Social Media Hero.

When he’s not writing for AP2HYC or working full-time as a content manager for a small business website, Alex is diligently at work on other creative projects including a fantasy novel collection and an independent comic series.

You can find Alex's first book, Dodger's Doorway, on Amazon!