The movie spinoff series from CBS, “Limitless,” pushed the limits of what one man can handle in episode 4. After last week’s vague and mysterious events, the episode tested both the measure of the lead character’s morality and skills.
The episode began with a heartbroken Brian Finch (Jake McDorman) seeking out a one-night stand to help him get over the loss of his ex-girlfriend Shauna (Analeigh Tipton). Unfortunately, thanks to the side effects from the NZT superdrug, Finch doesn’t get as much satisfaction from meaningless one-night stands as he used to. Instead, he turns to the Internet to find similarly gifted intellectuals to chat with. Among the cavalcade of odd minds is a man named Arthur Maciel who was working on a biological way to increase the life expectancy of mice.
Finch’s pity party doesn’t last long as he walks into his job at the FBI the next day to learn that Naz (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) has decided to authorize him for heightened clearance on a case involving a man named Mao Zhang (Phil Nee). The FBI believes Zhang is selling vital secrets to bad people. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to pin anything concrete on him. That’s when they turn to Brian’s NZT brain, which is best used going through Zhang’s trash. Believe it or not, he discovers that Zhang has been sending schematics for a drone through discarded milk cartons that he throws away. This gives Harris (Jennifer Carpenter) the lead she needs to chase after both Zhang and his buyer. While she’s doing that, Brian goes home to find the mysterious stranger Sands (Colin Salmon), who may or may not be working for everyone’s favorite movie character, Sen. Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper). Sands doesn’t waste any time telling Finch that he has to start making himself useful in exchange for more of the drug that makes him immune to NZT’s side effects, which usually ends up being death.
Finch is tasked with committing high treason by stealing every file that Naz has in her office regarding what the FBI knows about NZT. Before Finch has time to process the ramifications of this task, yet another case comes across his desk. It turns out that Maricel’s mouse research had a breakthrough, thanks to Finch’s suggestions. He mutated the mouse’s genes and believes he’ll live longer. Unfortunately, someone broke into his house to steal both the mouse and his research before he could finish it. Maricel tells Brian that he believes his former business partner was behind the crime. That theory goes out the window the next day when Maricel is arrested for the murder of said business partner. Obviously Maricel claims he was framed and that the theft of his research was just a way for whoever is framing him to establish a motive.
For whatever reason, Brian believes his new oddball friend and begins looking into the victim’s past. It turns out he is a wealthy CEO of a research company, meaning a lot of people had a great deal to gain from his passing. However, he publicly renounced the concept of inheritance two months before his death and made arrangements for all of the money that would have gone to his children go to five worthwhile charities instead.
Meanwhile, with the clock ticking on his task from Sands, Brian has a brilliant idea. Sands wants documents to know what the FBI knows about NZT -- meaning he’d have no clue if Finch handed him a bunch of forged documents, which he does. Sadly, Sands isn’t that easy to trick. The following day, Finch gets a call that his father, who he signed on with Morra to help in the first place, is now sick again. It’s unclear exactly how, but Sands implies that his father’s condition is a consequence for Finch’s deception. Realizing that there’s no other choice but to commit the crime and steal the files, Finch begins to launch his plan.
Luckily, he doesn’t have to get started right away, so he has time to keep looking for ways to exonerate Maricel. It takes quite a lot of digging, and solid advice from Harris about his new skills as a detective, but Finch finally tracks down a lead. It turns out that the paperwork for one of the charities didn’t go through. As a result, hundreds of millions of dollars will go to the victim’s children by default. It’s unclear which child is to blame for the crime, so Finch puts the squeeze on the family’s lawyer, who was obviously in on it since he’s the one that sabotaged the paperwork in the first place. Just like that, the case was solved and Brian’s new friend was let off the hook for the murder.
Although it should have been a cause for celebration, the episode ends on a low note. Brian successfully stole the documents from his boss’s office, but decided to take a look at them before giving them up to Sands. While browsing through the NZT files, he spots Harris’ father, and discovers that his partner’s fears were right. Not only was her late father associated with the drug, he may have been in the distribution business.