Limitless started out last week as a dark sci-fi drama filled with ailing fathers and a botched superdrug that ravages the human body. Last night, its second episode took a sharp turn into light-hearted territory, with comic book-style speech bubbles floating in the air and James Bond fantasy sequences. I’m all about it.
In the same vein as USA’s Psych or Monk, Limitless’s main character Brian Finch is revealing himself to be a quirky savant fueled by crime solving and sleuthing that far outstrip the powers of a mere mortal, while also serving as the show’s main source of humor. There’re still serious moments, especially in the scenes involving straight man and partner Rebecca, who defends Brian to the rest of her buttoned-up coworkers but simultaneously gets exasperated with her goofy, loose-cannon partner. (“Come into my apartment without permission again and I’ll shoot you on sight,” a note she leaves Brian in her living room reads. “Bagels in the fridge!”)
The classic Laurel and Hardy-type dynamic between two detectives who both complement and annoy each other is as familiar as many of the show’s other tropes, like Addictive Magic and I Can’t Believe It’s Not Heroin. Plus, it’s already turning into a monster-of-the-week procedural, with the science fiction flavor toned down too much for my liking. I wanna see Brian morph into a superhero with NZT! I wanna see it cripple him physically and emotionally, too!
Right now, it’s more about the stern FBI chief threatening to fire hoodie-wearing, wise-cracking, rule-breaking Brian. But then his hare-brained theory about Genghis Khan’s bloodline helps them solve this week’s mystery. He proves he’s the most valuable one there, and gets to stick around. We’ve seen this kind of Hail Mary intuitive prowess many many times, from Psych and Monk to The Mentalist and Sherlock.
There were some pretty off-kilter scenes involving computers, as well, that warranted a few groans: When Brian Googles to learn more about Edward Morra—the shady senator played by Bradley Cooper who was the hero in the Limitless film and gave Brian shots that let him take NZT free of side effects—his computer starts cartoonishly glitching and pixelating. Even the lights in the house wildly flicker on and off. Beware, invoking the senator’s name disrupts the balance of the universe! But hey, not all shows can handle technology plot points with the same finesse as Mr. Robot, though maybe there is a supernatural explanation to Brian’s attempts to find more about Morra that we’ll learn of in episodes to come.
If the show is moving away from the darkness of the NZT plotline, I’d rather them move more toward light-hearted Moonlighting vibes than run-of-the-mill crime procedural ones. The James Bond fantasy sequence with Brian playing baccarat with Uno cards? Reminded me of Psych, like I said, one of my favorite shows ever, so I’m down with goofier tones, especially since that’d help differentiate the Limitless show more from the Limitless film, as well.
Where do you guys think the show’s headed?
Top image via CBS
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