On this week’s Limitless, all the fancy robotic arms in New York get hacked to commit crimes. The episode’s title? “Arm-ageddon.” I love this show.
It all starts with a flashback to Boyle’s old war buddy getting a futuristic new arm that’s got incredible dexterity and even has precise touch sensors. Fast forward to present day, and the arm suddenly strangles his wife! Meanwhile around town, all the other patients else with the same model of prosthesis has seen the arm spring to life to wreak all kinds of evil deeds, from chopping off fingers in kitchens to shredding priceless works of art. Why are these arms attacking people, with minds of their own? Brian (and NZT) to the rescue!
This week’s episode basically becomes Emerging Technology Theatre, with Brian discovering a whole section of the bureau devoted to engineers brewing up Bond-grade gadgets, with Brian telling the lead technologist, “You’re basically Q. You’re the real-life Q!” His name is “Quincy, actually,” the dude responds. I said I love this show, right?
So to catch the arm hacker, Brian uses NZT to become a hacker himself. (“Did you hack the New York Stock Exchange...?” is a sentence that escapes Rebecca’s mouth at one point.) While Brian’s breaking the fourth wall making fun of “hackers at work” montages in TV shows and movies, he doesn’t subject us to rapid vignettes of overly determined typing; instead, we get Vines of cats. There’s also a great illustrated inner conversation with a multi-eyed sock puppet and Andrew Jackson. (“Andrew Jackson’s goiter is right!”)
Another highlight: Brian framing a suspect who fled to Dubai by sabotaging him with deportable-from-the-UAE offenses, including sending him boxes of sex toys and 12 pounds of bacon (“enough for intent to sell”).
But the most interesting part of the episode? Seeing two characters talk who we’ve never seen interact: Naz and Brian’s dad. Now that Brian told his lawyer father the truth about his involvement with the FBI and NZT, Mr. Finch is on the offensive to make sure nothing happens to his son, and in a tense exchange, tells Naz that if anything happens to Brian, she’s going to jail. It’s a great way of cranking up conflict on Limitless, and now that we’re 10 episodes in, it was about time for an extra layer of struggle and interest.
The most satisfying part of the ep, however, isBrian literally strapping on a jet pack from Q’s compound-o’-innovation and taking off from a NYC sidewalk. Just another week on a show that is literally nothing like the movie it’s based off of. And so far, that’s a creative move that’s paying off.
I’ll leave you with this, the secret phrase for a group of hackers Brian discovered:
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