Oof. What a mess. The first genuinely bad episode of Limitless. Which is a shame, because last week was the best episode to date. This one had too many new characters introduced with little context, too many subplots, too many strangely coincidental solutions. I’m going to try to recap this as clearly as I can, but who knows? This might just be word salad.
This week’s episode, “When Pirates Pirate Pirates,” doesn’t really even have a case of the week. It functions as an epilogue to last week’s Ferris Bueller episode, in which Brian was abducted by the CIA to help out on a black op.
Brian and Rebecca head over to Naz’s sweet apartment, where she fills them in on what’s happened since Brian’s return. Naz is headed to D.C. to yell at the CIA for kidnapping Brian, but she’s worried that it could head south, so she gives the two of them a few things. One of them is a flash drive containing Brian’s medical file, which nobody else has. Also, if things go south and she sends the word pomegranate, Brian and Rebecca should head to Naz’s place, which doubles as a safe house.
So Naz and her D.C. colleague — a guy named Kenneth Paulson who I don’t recall ever seeing on this show before — head to a conference room to yell at the CIA. The woman from the CIA pledges to find out who sanctioned the black op. Meeting over.
Back at HQ in NYC, Brian and Agent Ike work on their pill-taking technique, gifting us with the gratuitious special-effects shot.
Naz is back from NYC but upon her return, she is promptly arrested for violating national security. What? Sure, okay. Seems like they could have just arrested her in D.C., but okay. On her way out the door, she mouths code word pomegranate to Brian. That's the code word!
Naz is being temporarily replaced by ADIC Johnson (pronounced by some as “a dick Johnson”). He cuts off Brian’s NZT for the time being, which seems like it could be a problem. I’m not saying Brian is useless without NZT, but that is exactly what I’m saying.
On his way out of the office, Brian snags Johnson’s phone and finds a few tidbits of information. One: Naz was arrested on suspicion of sending money to a terrorist named Felix Durmaz. And two: Someone else was also sent the safe-house code word.
Brian also has some fun impersonating ADIC Johnson.
It turns out that the other person Naz sent the code word to was her daughter, Chava. Again, we have never met this character before, but sure, I will pretend to care! Chava reveals that Naz did, in fact, send Durmaz money — a ransom payment meant to secure the release of Naz’s niece, Mitra, who was kidnapped in the South China Sea. For those of you keeping track, that’s two heretofore unknown Naz relatives that the show has introduced in the span of like ten seconds.
Still trying to figure out who handed Brian off to the CIA, Brian and Rebecca ask Boyle to help them with a sting op. Boyle will pretend to have Brian’s medical info, in exchange for going to D.C. with Johnson and finding out who authorized the whole thing.
Back to the pirates: Durmaz finally contacts Brian and Rebecca and tells them that Mitra has been kidnapped by a second group of pirates. Durmaz no longer has the contacts to negotiate a swap. The gang is gonna have to brute-force it. Brian decides to learn a bunch of different languages in order to talk to boats on the radio and track down Mitra. The only problem is that, in order to do so, he needs to take NZT, and that requires him to reveal his secret stash.
He reveals his secret stash, and Rebecca is pissed. “Where the hell did you get that?” she asks. “Look we don’t have time for this,” he responds. “Oh, okay, I won’t bother you about it again,” she says. I’m paraphrasing, but only a little.
In this episode’s lone bright spot, Brian crams on languages in a montage set to Babymetal’s “Gimme Chocolate.” He eventually manages to track down the pirates, the Wong Sa, thanks to a teenager in Indonesia.
Brian has a dumb idea involving a sandwich board? He’s going to wear a sign and hopefully piss off the Wong Sa, and then they’ll kidnap him and then he’ll negotiate? I don’t get it.
Anyway, the plan works, and the Wong Sa guy requests a rare pinball table in exchange for Mitra. They give him the pinball table and Mitra is saved.
Okay. Also, Brian and Chava, Naz’s daughter, flirt, which is both a bad idea for Brian and an unearned plot development. They’ve known each other for about five minutes. Naz is cool with it though, which just makes it weird.
Meanwhile, the con. is. on. Boyle and Johnson head to D.C. to find out who masterminded Brian’s kidnapping and, TWIST, it was Kenneth Paulson, the guy from the beginning of the episode who we had never met before. Boyle gives them the thumb drive supposedly containing Brian’s medical info but actually containing prankz.
Also, a women named Loretta whom we had never met before slips Boyle the authorization letter that Paulson wrote, giving the FBI crew some leverage against the CIA. Good grief, a lot of this world-building episode hinges on characters we have never met before and will likely never see again. Hmm …
Anyway, everything’s fine now. Naz’s niece was rescued, Naz was exonerated (even though she did give money to a terrorist???), and the guy who kidnapped Brian is toast. So really, all of this meant nothing. Wowee-zowee, this was a trainwreck. Better luck next time, Limitless.