Limitless “Finale: Part Two!!” Review (Season 1 Episode 22)

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On the final episode of the first season of “Limitless,” the team closed in on the notorious “Legion of Whom,” things came to a head with Sands (Colin Salmon), and Brian (Jake McDorman) finally got to the bottom of what was going on with Piper (Georgina Haig), in the aptly-titled “Finale: Part Two!!”

We picked up right where we left off, as the team was still reeling from the news that an explosion had taken out all five members of what they had thought were the “Legion of Whom,” only to discover they’d played right into the hands of the nefarious Sands and had actually put him into the position of taking out the competition- aka Senator Morra’s team- along with a few of their own.

What’s more, they had let a fox into the henhouse, as it were, by working with DEA Agent Bruster (Jacob Pitts), who actually was a member of the “LOW,” and had skillfully manipulated them right into Sands’ hands. Whoops!

But what was their real motive? That is, what were they really after? As Brian mentally pictured a scenario that was equal parts Justice League of America round table meet and like something out of the 80’s movie “Flash Gordon”- complete with the wonky outmoded costumes- the rest of the team needed something a bit more concrete than “take over the world” and “do evil things.”

Brian pitched the thought that they would need money, whatever their plan was, so that perhaps they should start there. Begging to be allowed back into the CJC, if only in the short term, Naz (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) finally relented and agreed to it on a strictly temporary basis, with Rebecca (Jennifer Carpenter) monitoring him at all times for potential side effects.

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Sure enough, no sooner had Brian taken another pill than the side effects began to rear their ugly heads, as he hallucinated Piper and nasty things happening to her, like her face melting, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”-style, only more CGI-heavy. However, he does have one solid notion: that Clay Meeks (Robbie Tann) may be the key to everything, so they need to find him ASAP.

As predicted, Meeks proves to have ties to all of Morra’s team that died, which proves Brian’s theory to a certain extent. They finally track down an alternative address for him and surround the building to bust him, but Meeks gets wind of it and makes a break for it. The team corners him on the roof and that’s all she wrote for Meeks, who surrenders over death.

Meeks admits he was working to bring down Morra’s organization from within at the behest of Sands, but doesn’t know anything concrete, especially in regards to official members of his team. However, he does have a name he overheard Sands mention: Jean-Pierre Morneau (Richard Bekins, “Daredevil”), with whom he has some sort of deal in place with.

The team discovers that Morneau is the Secretary of State of Global Affairs for Canada, and that he’s in town negotiating a treaty at the UN. Brian suspects he might be a member of the “LOW,” but Rebecca is beginning to suspect that the side effects are making his theories, and by extension, Brian himself, less and less reliable as a source of information.

They track down Morneau, but he’s dead, having just taken a header from his room at a local hotel. Brian naturally suspects foul play and wonders if Morneau was actually yet another victim, not a member of the “LOW” as he suspected. Rebecca isn’t having it for now, and insists that Brian get some sleep.

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He agrees to, but wants to visit his dad (Ron Rifkin) first, which she agrees to do in turn. Brian apologizes for lying to him and tries to justify what he’s doing now, even if the repercussions are too great. His dad is dubious, but understanding. After that, he goes home with Rebecca, only instead of sleeping, he takes another pill and gets back to work.

Brian builds another one of his patented elaborate models and pitches Rebecca his latest notion: that there is a new Northwestern Passage about to open up near Canada as a direct result of an ice shelf melting and splitting in two, leaving a canal in between. Said canal will allow traders and importers/exporters to shave off some 5,000 miles on their journey to and from said area.

Control of the canal will be worth billions to whoever gets it, so the question is, who would benefit the most from it? The weird thing is that Morneau was in town to negotiate the treaty to do just that, which, if he were on the “LOW” team, would have made perfect sense, but he’s obviously not, or they wouldn’t have killed him. So, why would the “LOW” do something that seems to be so counterproductive to that goal?

Brian is getting worse by the minute, hallucinating wildly- at one point he sees a finger emerge from a doughnut- and losing time left and right, with no remembrance of what transpired in the meantime. He does, however, realize that “LOW” wants the treaty to fail because they are actually betting against it and will profit from failure of it. There is one way to stop that from happening, which is to protect the man in charge of the treaty, Andrew Inouye (Michael Torpey, “Veep”).

The team arrives at his place, and start to close ranks, but out of nowhere, a man emerges and kills Inouye. The man is Gordon Cooker (Marc Kudisch, “House of Cards”), who we have seen meeting with Sands on the sly earlier in the episode. It seems that Sands has kidnapped his daughter and blackmailed him into killing Inouye. Cooker agrees to talk, but doesn’t know much, so Brian suggests giving him a pill to remember more.

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It works and the team is able to pinpoint his daughter’s location and save her. Brian also is able to narrow down the location of Sands’ NZT factory, where he is producing the drug in massive quantities, in order to flood the streets with it. The CJC assembles a SWAT team to take down the factory, and at first find nothing, but Boyle (Hill Harper) finds a hidden door and demands the workers help him access it or he’ll bash it in.

As to do so would potentially blow them all sky high, due to the flammable nature of the drugs being handled, a worker agrees to let them in voluntarily. Sure enough, there’s a hidden lab inside, and a shoot-out ensues, potential explosions be damned. Of course, there are explosions, and Sands manages to sneak out in the melee, with Rebecca giving chase.

Brian, who was ordered to stay outside on account of his worsening condition, imagines himself as a superhero storming in to save the day- and the girl- and is unable to stop himself from going in, dubbing himself “The Brunisher.” He does find where Piper was being held hostage, but Piper herself is nowhere to be found.

Rebecca corners Sands, who tells her he’s on NZT and will almost certainly kill her if she doesn’t back off. Rebecca being Rebecca, she doesn’t do any such thing and fires on him anyway, shooting him down before he can get off a shot at her. When we last leave Sands, he is down but not completely out, in critical condition but not dead- yet.

Many arrests are made, including that of Agent Bruster, and it’s a clear win for the team, but Brian is upset because they didn’t save the girl in the end. Rebecca demands that he gives things a rest and stop taking the pills before it outright kills him, with the CJC backing her up and insisting Brian go to the hospital to get checked out for his worsening NZT side effects, as well as his subsequent withdrawal, once he stops taking the drug for good.

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Brian agrees to do so on one condition: that he be allowed to say goodbye to his family. Rebecca agrees to do so once again, but lets Brian know that it wasn’t just the drug- that he is a bona fide hero and the most mature person she knows, at least in his own way. Brian arrives home, but I guess the show didn’t have the budget to bring back the rest of his family, as only his father is there, once again.

However, there is another special guest star on hand- none other than Georgina Haig, aka Piper, who had escaped in all the ruckus at the plant and managed to snag her completed antidote in the process. Piper tells Brian she managed to stay alive by stringing Sands along and intentionally messing up the enzyme mix they wanted her to complete. But little did they know, she had already completed it some time ago.

In fact, not only that, but Piper had managed to come up with an out-and-out antidote to NZT that would render Brian forever immune to its side effects, thus allowing him to continue to take the drug for the rest of his life without repercussions. She agrees to give it to him, but on one condition- it’s for his eyes only. Piper is worried that if the government got a hold of it, they would reverse-engineer it and have everyone on NZT in short order and she doesn’t want that.

As such, Piper will also have to leave town immediately, as to stay would be to risk being forced to create more of the antidote, once again against her will, thus putting her right back where she started. So, it was a bittersweet ending in some ways, but all’s well that ends well, and a revived and reinvigorated Brian is able to not only get his job back, but to form his own team at the CJC, which he dubs the “Brian Finch Crime Squad.”

Brian immediately starts looking for recruits, with Boyle and Rebecca automatically accepted- albeit as “equals,” much to the former’s chagrin- along with the long-suffering Mike (Michael James Shaw) and Ike (Tom Degnan), who accept, though they have one demand: to be called by their real names from there on out. We already knew one of them, Ike, was really named Jason- but we also discover Mike’s real name: Darryl.

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We also see a few other familiar faces in the interview process, including janitor Stavros (Musto Pelinkovicci) and Andrea Who Knows Things (Lorianna Izrailova), which is seriously how she is credited on, lol. If those two make the team, it will be fun seeing them come back next season, if there is one. As Brian puts it: #SquadGoals.

That is also where we leave the show for now, and, assuming that it gets renewed, that’s a pretty decent place to leave things. If it doesn’t get renewed, we have a solid enough ending that wraps up just enough plotlines to be satisfying, while nonetheless leaving the door open for more.

After all, Senator Morra is still out there, up to no good, one assumes, and now Brian is immune to the effects of the drug, so he can certainly work overtime to catch him. Not to mention work on other cases that the CJC might need his line of expertise to solve. I can live with that, if the show is to end, but if not, it’s a solid enough place to continue things as well.

The first season of “Limitless” was admittedly a bit all over the place at times, as it struggled to find its voice and decided what kind of show it wanted to be. To be sure, its particular brand of aggressive quirkiness is not for everyone, and indeed, a lot of the complaints I heard leveled at the show centered on how determinedly off-beat and downright bizarre the show was at times.

Ironically, that was precisely what appealed to me personally about the show in the first place. Fearing I was getting into yet another by-the-numbers crime procedural- which, let’s face it, the show could still well become- I was pleasantly surprised to find it evolve into a genuinely inventive show that wasn’t afraid to tweak the genre by experimenting with varied mediums, including animation, Claymation, and black & white sequences.

There were also nods to foreign films, as well as wild fantasy sequences and amusing homages to various source materials, including comic books, movies and even more highbrow inspirations. All in all, it was easily one of the more inventive new shows I saw this season, if occasionally a bit precious at times and perhaps almost a bit TOO tongue-in-cheek.

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But to its credit, it rolled with the punches and actually became, not unlike its protagonist, a bit more mature and grounded in the end, without losing what made it so appealing in the first place- it’s sense of adventure and trying new things with the genre.

In short, “Limitless” was just plain a lot of fun, and CBS could use more of that, so I really hope they keep the show around. (Ditto “Supergirl.”) Only time will tell if that proves to be the case, but I feel like the prospects are solid. Here’s hoping.

What did you think of the first season of “Limitless”? Did you enjoy it overall? What did you think of all the experimentation? Was it amusingly off-the-wall or just annoying? What did you think of the finale? If it proves to be the end of the show, will you be satisfied with that? If it isn’t, what would you like to see on the show, moving forward? Sound off on this and more down below, and hopefully, I’ll see you next season!