Limitless Recap: Electro-Bacteria

Close Encounters
Jake McDorman as Brian. Photo: Michael Parmelee/CBS


Close Encounters Season 1 Episode 17
Editor's Rating 4 stars

Big episode of Limitless this week. A lot of different crap hits a lot of different fans. It’s almost like the season is heading toward a climactic finale, and so the stakes must be raised considerably. That is how TV works: The stakes just keep getting higher and higher forever.

Anyway, we pick up right where the last episode left off with Brian walking the streets at night, trying to clear his head after learning that Sands, his shadow handler, killed the father of Rebecca, his FBI handler. Seems like a big secret! Will it strain their relationship later in this episode? (Yes.)

To get his mind off things, Brian just wanders around, finding crime scenes and flashing his badge. One of the victims he finds works for the city, and has some weird particles on his hand. Will that mean anything? (It means something.)

Eventually, Rebecca tracks Brian down because they have to talk. Rebecca is not happy that Brian has a secret NZT stash. But right as they’re about to hash things out, a blackout hits the city.

Worried about his family’s safety, Brian arranges for Mike and Ike to escort his siblings out of the city to his parents house.

At CJC headquarters, everyone’s worried about a terrorist attack, except for Brian who says something like, “Duh, it’s the wind.” He points to some computer simulations, which suggest the blackouts are following wind patterns. Whatever’s causing them is in the wind. The point is … wind.

At the power facility, Brian and Rebecca find particles similar to the one Brian saw in his murder case from the previous night. Something biological is absorbing the electricity. And if, after 16 episodes of Limitless, “electricity-eating bacteria” sounds ridiculous to you, then I dunno what to say. In week four, you could’ve thrown that idea out and I would’ve said, “Uhh, no way!” but now I’m like, “Cool, sure, classic Limitless.”

The investigation leads Brian and Rebecca to the city’s central records, which contain blueprints of every building in New York City. After some NZT-fueled filing, they discover that records for a facility that disposes mutilated currency are missing.

The running theory is that someone unleashed electric-eating bacteria — again, sure — on New York to cause a blackout as cover, so they could steal a bunch of defaced cash, clean it up, and get rich. Yet again, sure. Before they can investigate that hunch, however, they get taken in by the CDC, which believes that the electro-bacteria is alien.

Brian and Rebecca get sealed in quarantine, which is not great for them because of the secrets and stuff. “Of all the days to get sealed up in a plastic bubble together,” Brian notes correctly. While in the bubble, Rebecca gets a text from agents she tasked with searching Brian’s place. They found some of his NZT pills.

Okay, the next thing in my notes is just an all-caps bullet that says “REAL TALK,” which I think is accurate. Rebecca unloads on Brian for keeping secrets. (She’s right.) Brian unloads on Rebecca for being quote-unquote addicted to him, as in she loves solving crimes and he helps her solve crimes super-good. This argument is less persuasive than Rebecca’s, but there’s a lot of yelling done by both of them.

Could this be the end of Brian and Rebecca? Maybe! They get the all-clear from the CDC and after they’re released, Rebecca immediately requests Brian be transferred to another handler.

Through a deus ex machina introduced via the NSA’s exhaustive phone-tapping operation, Brian finds the scientists who made the electro-bacteria. The doctor created it as a hoax to win a bet about alien life, but his research assistant used the opportunity to steal all the money. Brian and Boyle nab the assistant on her way out of the city.

Case closed, but Brian’s crappy day isn’t over just yet. Remember when I said the apartment raid only found some of his NZT stash? That’s because the rest was taken by Brian’s sister after last week’s adventure (you know, the one where she boinked Ike). She shows the NZT to her mom, who gets worried about what Brian’s got himself mixed up in. When Brian arrives, she stages an intervention and then kicks him out for having all of these secrets. She also indirectly mentions Sands in front of Mike and Ike, which makes them very suspicious. They’re like, hmmmmm.

That night, Brian goes home to his raided apartment. He picks up his bong to relieve some stress, but then has an epiphany. He puts down the bong and suddenly all the lights turn on. It’s very subtle symbolism. The lights symbolize his epiphany. He’s going to try and fix everything.

The next day in Brian’s office, Rebecca finds a note. Brian has fled, with a couple doses of NZT, to find Piper. Remember her? If you’ve forgotten, she’s the woman who tried to assassinate Morra earlier this season.

So to recap this recap, Brian’s presumably on the run from both the FBI and Morra. His family hates him, Rebecca hates him, and the FBI will probably figure out he’s a mole working for a shadowy power broker. Seems rough. Good luck, I guess.

Limitless Recap: Electro-Bacteria