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REVIEW: Limitless 1X11 “This is Your Brian on Drugs”

First off, I have to be honest: it’s lucky I watched, “This is Your Brian on Drugs,” at all because I genuinely thought the midseason finale aired weeks ago. It’s a little weird to have a two-week hiatus before airing the final episode immediately before the winter hiatus but… whatever. That’s something to discuss with the head honchos in the programming department over at CBS.

Anyways…

The final episode of the fall season has arrived and it was grand because it reminded of one of my favorite movies. The episode was shown in a Memento-esque manner, jumping in time through rewinds as each character provided an additional piece of information. And, of all the characters whose point of view was shown, it was Casey Rooks who took up the most screen time.

I said in the first episode Casey was introduced that he could spell trouble for Brian and the rest of the gang and this episode proved that the agent’s frequent sketchiness, and vocalized interest in NZT, actually was something worth being suspicious about. Much like the Naz-centric episode from a few weeks ago, the final episode of Limitless’ fall season focused on the internal dynamics and issues between those within Brian’s close circle and those on the outskirts.

Hint: those on the outskirts wind up dead.

Spoilers ahead!

The big issue in this week’s Limitless was the fact that the FBI dispensary was broken into and a whopping 80 NZT pills have gone MIA. That’s just Problem #1.

Problem #2 is the fact that poor Ike got himself caught in the crosshairs… literally. After taking a bullet to the chest, Ike becomes a motivating factor for Brian and the gang to track down the remaining NZT and stop it from getting into even worse hands. The incident also leads to Brian vowing to take Mike and Ike more seriously, having taken advantage of them since day one (something that the opening scene portrays through a pretty funny montage of Brian’s ridiculous requests), and view them as FBI agents rather than his personal bodyguards.

Problem #3, the big one, is the fact that the pills that were stolen by common criminals, were then re-stolen prior to being returned to the FBI… re-stolen by some of Casey’s good friends and FBI partners, who found out that the pills were NZT rather than Oxy and decided they wanted to experience the mental high that comes with this special drug. The thievery is something that initially bothers Rooks… enough that he chastises his buds for putting his, their, and Rebecca’s jobs at risk. Casey’s not at all interested in popping the stolen pills until he’s on the receiving end of one of the most unfortunate and awkward break-up texts that have ever been sent.

Apparently even tough FBI agents with little visible emotions are susceptible to making foolish decisions after being dumped because Casey proceeds to grab his buds for a night of beer and NZT-fueled shenanigans.

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It’s essentially a ramped up version of the typical post-breakup bro-sesh. No harm, no foul right?

Perhaps… if it weren’t for the fact that one of the buds smelled his wife on another (thanks, NZT you cheater-pointer-outer) and strangled him in a fit of rage.

Yikes.

The murder understandably causes a bit of a panic as all of the men try and figure out their options. Casey decides that popping another NZT is the best way to figure out what to do but, unfortunately for him, Brian gets clued in pretty quickly to the fact that Rooks is riding an NZT high. He of course tells Rebecca immediately, who boots the information up the FBI chain to Naz right before Casey comes in with his gun and essentially takes Brian and Rebecca hostage.

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Rooks and Finch, both of whom are on NZT, put together a plan that could conceivably get the dirty cops out of the building without any casualties. They tear-gas area (luckily they all randomly have gas masks on hand?) and make their way to the control room where they intend on unlocking the building. Unfortunately for the baddies, Boyle pops up out of nowhere and knocks them out, leaving Casey as the only dirty agent left. Rooks has a gun to Brian’s head but Boyle has a perfect shot… and decides to take it.

He puts a bullet in Casey’s head (despite Brian’s plea to give him time to work out another solution) and effectively puts an end to the stand off.

There’s a palpable tension between Brian, Rebecca, and Boyle after the incident, the former two believing that there was another option while the latter remained firm in his belief that taking Rooks out was the only choice, and it’s clear that the shifting dynamics will likely be a focal point of the second half of the season.

The episode closes with Boyle discovering an NZT pill that had been misplaced during the event, and viewers watch as he pockets the drug to presumably use at a later date.

As a midseason finale, “This is Your Brian on Drugs,” was a solid episode in the sense that it stirred up an enormous amount of conflict for the major characters on the show. Brian and Boyle have had their issues throughout much of the season, most of which have stemmed from their discrepancies regarding NZT. Rebecca has often straddled the line, taking Boyle’s side in some cases and Brian’s in others, but her work partner’s killing of her former romantic partner could put her firmly on Team Brian in any future disputes.

Boyle pocketing the pill will only cause problems down the road, especially if he actually ends up taking it (something that seams more than likely considering he’s caring for a sick mother). NZT has served as a focal point throughout the first half of this season, causing problems and ruining relationships left and right, and it’s only a matter of time before Boyle gets found out. The death of Rooks will likely have a significant impact on all of those who witnessed it, and how said people wind up dealing with it may influence the storyline as Limitless progresses.

My main qualm with this episode is, once again, the fact that it aired two weeks after the last one and a full month before the next. Much of the relationships and dynamics had been slightly forgotten during the brief hiatus, and I’m confident that the events and reveals would have packed a far greater punch had this episode immediately followed the last. It seemed almost like a filler episode simply because it kind of was in terms of how it ended up being randomly stuck in a timeslot between two large hiatuses.

Regardless, enough loose ends were tied up to give enough closure while, simultaneously, the slight cliffhanger was enough to keep our non-NZT-enhanced brains trying to figure out where the back half of the season may take us.

Episode Grade: B-

Episode Highs:

  • “You did all this while I was getting my coffee?”
  • Rebecca has officially become the most humorous aspect of the show, something that I really enjoy since she was initially introduced as the straight-laced counterpart to Brian. Her awkwardness with trying to figure out how to break-up with Casey was both relatable and

Episode Lows:

  • Everything moved super quickly to the point where much of the events seemed almost pointless
  • Teasing us in the opening sequence with the prospect of more Mike and Ike and then not having Mike and Ike.
  • Not much happened considering how much happened… if that makes sense.

Additional Thoughts:

  • We all knew Casey wouldn’t be around for long but I kind of assumed he’d be arrested… not shot point-blank by Boyle of all people.
  • If Boyle ends up taking the NZT, I’m curious to see if he’ll become a bit more understanding of how Brian works.
  • I hope Casey wasn’t offed to open up Rebecca to a potential relationship with Brian. I genuinely enjoy watching them as platonic partners who riff off each other so effortlessly, and really hope that this relationship stays as such.

What did you think of Limitless’ midseason finale? Was it a worthy final episode before the winter hiatus? Sound of with your thoughts on Twitter and in the comments below!

Limitless returns with fresh episodes Tuesday, January 5th!

About the author

Silje Falck-Pedersen