Features TV

REVIEW: Limitless 1X08 “When Pirates Pirate Pirates”

Limitless’ case of the week got personal in, “When Pirates Pirate Pirates,” as Naz became the focus of an FBI investigation, detained on suspicion of funding terrorism, and Brian and Rebecca are forced to clear her name.

Prior to this episode we as viewers haven’t learned much about Naz other than what we’ve seen through her role as an FBI leader. To date she’s very much been the badge to Rebecca’s gun, serving as the bureaucracy behind the NZT project while her younger protégé runs the city streets with Brian. It’s been one of those standard situations where people in power need to maintain a certain level of detachment where certain cases, and in this case consultants, are concerned.

We saw last week that Naz is willing to stick up for Brian, but this was the episode in which we really got to see the woman behind the title and gain a better understanding of why Naz makes certain calls and how she feels about Brian as a person rather than an asset.

Spoilers ahead!

We start off with the repercussions of Brian’s little jaunt with the CIA last week. Naz is understandably still pissed about it and explains with her classic bluntness that, depending on how her meeting with the D.C. office goes, Brian could be in some serious trouble.

As in, less consulting and more living in a cell and being tested on.


She and Rebecca give him a tour of the nicest safe house in the history of ever and warn him that he is to go there immediately should she ever text him the word, “Pomegranate.” She has what seems like a positive meeting with the FBI’s DC office, laying down her terms and threatening to retire unless Brian can be guaranteed protection and she can get the names of whoever authorized the black ops mission with the CIA.

Of course, the vaguely positive feelings following the meeting are promptly dashed when Naz returns to New York and is arrested for treason.

Shwaaa?! There’s no way she gave money to terrorists! Right?


After noticing that Naz mouthed, “Pomegranate,” while being lead away in handcuffs, Brian and Rebecca make their way to the safe house and are greeted first by a gun and then by Naz’s daughter Ava. Ava quickly informs Brian and Rebecca that actually, yes, Naz did wire $3 million to a known pirate named Felix Durmaz.

But not for nefarious terrorist purposes!

Apparently Naz’s niece Mitra, whilst doing good and serving in the Peace Corps, was kidnapped by modern sea pirates and held for ransom. Naz wired three million big ones to Durmaz so that he would get Mitra back… Unfortunately, Durmaz video calls the safe house later that night and delivers the bad news that Pirate Group #1 was pirated by another group, and Mitra is now being held by Pirate Group #2. Meaning he can’t really get her back anymore.

Oops? Thanks for the money I guess?

What a bummer.

Or, it would be if Brian hadn’t had the forethought to grab his secret stash of NZT. Kudos to Senator Morra!


Rebecca manages to get all of the FBI’s data concerning the pirates and she, Brian, and Ava work diligently through the night. Brian plows through the data, learning nearly every language under the sun in the process, while the women wire up transmitter radios in the hopes that they’ll manage to get in contact with a ship. They eventually do get in contact with a young boy whose desire for more Twitter followers makes for an easy exchange. With the promise of a tweet from the FBI, the boy informs the gang of the name of the ship that now has Mitra hostage. Brian’s NZT brain links said ship with its former captain, who just so happens to be running an opium trade in the Big Apple. Brian sets himself up as bait by standing outside wearing a sign that says he has information for Wan, and is eventually picked up by some menacing thugs who take him to the ex-pirate and current drug-dealer.

The initial attempt of simply asking Wan to contact his old trip and convince them to let Mitra go doesn’t really pan out, so Brian uses his astute powers of observation to use Wan’s greatest weakness against him.

The dude’s apparently crazy into rare pinball machines!

Meaning Brian naturally offers him the most rare of them all in exchange for him getting Mitra back. Wan of course isn’t stupid, asking for proof that Brian is even able to follow through on his promise, which leads the FBI consultant and Rebecca to the owner of the one-of-a-kind game. Turns out, all it takes is a quick selfie with the game to convince Wan to make the call… which he does. Mitra’s on a plane within the hour and team NZT saves the day once again!


There’s still the small matter of Naz being arrested on suspicion of colluding with terrorists.

Luckily Boyle was on the case, working it from the inside after Rebecca told him about the shadiness that was going on in the FBI. Rebecca requested that he take the USB with, “Brian’s full medical history,” (picture those quotes as air quotes coupled with a less-than subtle wink) to Agent Johnson, the ADIC (who’s a dick) that’s temporarily replaced Naz. Harris and Brian previously realized that the only way to clear Naz was to figure out who in the FBI authorized the black ops mission with the CIA, and decided the best way to flush this mystery person out was by offering what they were really after: information about Brian and the NZT trials.

Boyle plays his part perfectly, offering the USB to Johnson and then requesting that he be brought along to D.C. to hand it off in person to the mystery man so desperate for it. Johnson agrees immediately and promises that, if the information is as good as Boyle claims, it’s likely that a promotion is in his future. The two men fly to D.C. where Boyle discovers that the mystery man who approved the black ops mission is actually Agent Paulson, the man we previously thought had Naz’s back.

Turns out the dude was actually stabbing her in the back.

He gets his greedy hands on the USB and opens Brian’s medical history, all pumped and ready to learn about NZT, only to find an animation of Brian dancing in his infamous sweater. Meanwhile, Boyle is already on his way back to New York with the document signed by Paulson approving the black ops mission.

Score 2 for team NZT!

After a brief pow-wow, Rebecca, Boyle, and Brian realize that they don’t actually know what to do with the document now that they have it. Brian makes up some lie about taking it to his lawyer father and actually brings it to Sands, convincing him to get Morra to take it public, gain some points as a crime-fighting Senator, and keep Naz (and by proxy Brian) in her job at the CJC.

Score 3 for team NZT!

Naz returns to work to the sound of polite applause from her staff and Brian gets his appreciative pat on the back.

All in all, this episode of Limitless was another solid one. Far less chaotic than the first quarter of the season, “When Pirates Pirate Pirates,” stuck to a central storyline and didn’t focus on throwing in unnecessary additional components.

Limitless is an interesting and entertaining show to watch and it seems as though the people behind it are realizing that 6 plots aren’t required to keep it fun and entertaining. At this point, the characters are likeable, the weekly cases are strong enough to not need ten other things linked to them, and the overarching storyline seems to be progressing at a steady pace.

The fact that, “When Pirates Pirate Pirates,” actually tied into last week’s episode was even better because it added an element that is sometimes lacking in Limitless. As mentioned, the characters have now been established, given traits unique to them, and having an episode that ties in with another only solidifies the relationships and conflicts that are being established.

Limitless may have officially found its footing and, if the rest of the season progresses as well as the past few episodes, a second season pick-up seems inevitable.

Episode Grade: B

Episode Highs:

  • Another episode where the main plot and sub-plot are cohesive! Limitless has been on a roll as of late with limiting episodes to one central idea and it’s working favorably for the show as a whole.
  • Ike tossing Brian Mike and Ike’s was hilarious and it’s nice to see Brian making friends with his FBI co-workers!

Episode Lows:

  • Oh please don’t make Brian and Ava a thing! It was a fun, “what if,” thing to watch for this single episode but the, “dating the boss’ daughter,” trope is beneath a show as unique as

Additional Thoughts:

  • More Ike please! He was always fun, even as a nameless FBI cutout, but now we’re actually learning stuff about him and he seems like a pretty cool guy!
  • I’m going to hide all of my secret information under delicious looking brownies from now on.

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen