‘Limitless’ Season Finale, Part One Review: I NZT, You NZT, We All NZT

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In the first part of the season finale of “Limitless,” we picked up several weeks after the capture of Sands (Colin Salmon), with Piper (Georgina Haig) still MIA and Brian (Jake McDorman) having been let go from the FBI and forced to live a “normal” life sans NZT in the aptly-titled “Finale: Part One!”

Though forgiven by his parents for all the secrets he kept from them and allowed to come back home, Brian’s father (Ron Rifkin) nonetheless insists he get a job, so Brian begrudgingly gets one in retail, at a place called Datavision selling electronics and the like. There, he befriends the slovenly Grover (Jay Klaitz, “Vinyl”), a slacker with little designs on life.

Brian, is still not giving up on Piper and finding out where she is and who the so-called “Legion of Whom” are- aka the shadowy cabal of people Sands is in cahoots with to bring down Senator Morra (Bradley Cooper)- and is working on the side to figure out who the members of that group might be. He also has aspirations to follow his father’s footsteps in the family business and become a lawyer, though his dad is skeptical.

Brian eventually shares what he has come up with to Rebecca (Jennifer Carpenter), who promises to look into it, saying that while the FBI is indeed focused on this facet of the case- even going so far as to retain his nickname for the group- they are admittedly not too concerned with finding Piper at the moment, which doesn’t go over too well with Brian.

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Suddenly, the news hits that NZT is flooding the streets, quickly in danger of becoming a full-blown epidemic. Crimes are running rampant, and people are killing one another to get their next fix. Also, with no antibiotic antidote available, as with Brian, people are getting deathly ill as a result of overindulging in the drug. Further, there are a rash of murders involving pharmacologists, likely from people seeking to find more NZT. But who is behind it all?

Enter DEA agent Adam Bruster (Jacob Pitts, “Justified”), sent along to help the FBI get to the bottom of things. With the leading suspect still Morra, the team needs to prove that the Senator is the one pulling the strings on everything, but have no real hard evidence against him, save Brian’s testimony of his involvement.

One clue may lie in the word “Apocryphon,” which most are assuming is the street name for NZT, but may be something else entirely. Brian recognizes the word, but can’t quite place where he saw it, not being on NZT anymore. His dad does hire a private investigator to help look for Piper, but no one is getting anywhere, and Brian knows that if he can just take NZT one last time, he could figure it out.

So, he goes to Grover for help, who takes him to a NZT-fueled party with all sorts of nifty goings-on, including a hallway made of drinking straws and a Rube Goldberg-style device that dispenses booze. Brian secures some NZT from Alice (Rebecca Naomi Jones, “Nurse Jackie”), am Illuminati Conspiracy Theorist convinced that Taylor Swift is the key to everything, as we overhear in an amusing monologue, which I would have loved to hear more of.

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That much accomplished, with Grover’s help, Brian tries to track down the NZT to its source, working his way down the food chain through various dealers. This eventually leads him to Hades (Dante Nero, “The Blacklist”), who hooks Brian up with a massive stockpile of NZT for the right price. He uses it to put together a distribution map of all the NZT in the city, which he shares with Rebecca, who is upset Brian is using again but takes it under advisement.

The FBI attempt to make a deal with Sands to reveal his cohorts, but he won’t budge. However, he agrees to help a little if they transfer him to another facility so that he can evade Morra’s people, fearing for his safety. He tells them they need to investigate the chemicals used to make NZT and see which chemist is hoarding that particular chemical, which is smart, but you have to wonder why the FBI didn’t think of it.

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Brian comes to the conclusion that “Apocryphon” is a person, not a drug, and narrows down the list of suspects to arrive at Clay Meeks (Robbie Tann, “Elementary”), a local hippie-type chemist. Brian tracks him down and confronts him, and Clay is all too happy to confess, but claims that he isn’t working with Sands- he’s a free agent. He does a little hocus pocus to get away from Brian, who fills in Rebecca on his progress.

Meanwhile, the FBI have narrowed down their own list of suspects to Antoine Jacoby (Alok Tewari, “House of Cards”), who they stage an arrest of in no time. Jacoby confesses, ratting out six other people as his co-conspirators, seemingly to save his own bacon. He also confirms Sands as a member of the “Legion of Whom.”

Rebecca and company confront Sands about all this and tell him the deal they offered previously is now kaput, what with his team now laid low. Sands asks for immunity in exchange for information that can bring down Morra, as well as the location of Piper, who Brian’s dad now is convinced is dead after reports from his investigator.

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The FBI goes to take Morra into custody, but he’s not where he’s supposed to be. Brian suddenly comes to the realization that there’s only one way all of this makes sense- Jacoby and his co-conspirators aren’t Sands’ “Legion of Whom” after all. In actuality, they are Morra’s people and he has gone into hiding as a result. Brian realizes that Brewster was Sands’ inside man and that he was on NZT the whole time, he was just able to hide it well.

All of this was just a plot to bring down Morra’s end of things, thus clearing the way for the real “Legion of Whom” and Sands, who now has full immunity and is free and clear to take over in earnest, thanks to Brewster’s help getting him out. Shortly thereafter, Jacoby and the rest of Morra’s group are killed in an explosion, thus taking them out of the equation altogether and effectively cutting Morra’s team in half at the very least.

This was a fun- and funny- action-packed episode of the show that hit the ground running and did a great job not only setting up the finale proper, but keeping one guessing as to where this was all headed. I liked that we got to get a glimpse of Brian’s life, post-NZT before launching him back into it, only this time with much higher stakes, what with his no longer having access to the antibiotic shot Morra was giving him to counteract the drug’s effects.

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Grover was pretty amusing- loved Rebecca’s instant dismissal of him by name alone: “That’s not a person, that’s a Muppet.” Lol. And Alice’s monologue about Taylor Swift was hilarious and near worth the price of admission alone, as was that party in general, what with all the various stuff going on. Leave to certain people to take the golden opportunity of a “limitless” drug and use it to do party tricks and assemble elaborate drink dispensers.

I also didn’t see the whole Sands’ double-cross coming, though I really should have, given our knowledge of how that guy operates. I should have known he wouldn’t have allowed himself to be taken so easily if he didn’t have a back-up plan. It will certainly be interesting to see what his next move is, especially in regards to Morra- not to mention Piper.

For that matter, it will be interesting to see how Morra reacts to half his team being taken out in one fell swoop. Will he help Brian to bring down Sands, or will he blame Brian for everything that’s happened? Can anyone bring down Sands? I guess we’ll find out next week, though don’t be surprised if Sands manages to squeak out of it in the end. After all, we still need a Big Bad for next season.

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All in all, a worthy set-up to what should be a fun finale- or rather “Finale: Part Two!” What did you think of the episode? Are you excited for the finale? How do you think everything will pan out? Will Morra go down or Sands? Will both? Will Brian find out how to make the antidote so that he can keep working with the FBI? Where is Piper? Make your predictions down below and see you next week for the big finale!