CBS‘ Limitless Pilot TV Show Review. Limitless, Season 1, Episode 1: Pilot was designed to introduce the viewer to a new Limitless lead and it was successful in that endeavor. Brian Finch (Jake McDorman)’s plight resonated on multiple levels, especially to those: looking for direction in life, overshadowed by sibling’s success, whose parents that have given up on them, etc. The viewer felt sorry for Finch and wanted something good to happen to him, though they already knew that it would because of the structure of the episode. The episode was set up in non-linear fashion during its first act, then became linear in its second and third acts. This format gave viewers a taste of Finch using his NZT skills before seeing him as a regular human being that was down on his luck and without direction in life.
Finch on NZT, using more of his brain than he knew he possessed, made the episode. Throughout the episode, the viewer was waiting to see how Finch would use his new skills and in what fashion. Expanding upon the abilities showcased in the film incarnation, Finch used his skills as a detective might in similar situations, looking at objects and environments in a completely different way.
FBI Special Agent Rebecca Harris (Jennifer Carpenter) was created as a bridge between the tragic effects of NZT, the FBI, and Finch, and once again, it worked, though it could have easily fallen flat. Drug abuse has touched many families in America. Limitless simply transferred cocaine addiction (and all of its fatal ramifications, for example) into something spurious (i.e. NZT) but plot-useful. Agent Harris’ personal perspective on NZT made her the perfect liaison / handler between the FBI and Finch.
Seeing the American Sniper duo back on-screen again was one of the best moments of Pilot. It was The Bradley Cooper Moment. The Bradley Cooper Moment was what fans of Limitless‘ film incarnation had been waiting for throughout Pilot. It did not disappoint. Senator Edward Mora (Bradley Cooper) was far more confident and relaxed than he was through the majority of the film this TV show is spinning off of.
Senator Mora saw the chessboard, all the players and placed his own player onto it, whom he secretly controls. Senator Mora calculated that the FBI would try to use Finch to fight crime even before it occurred to the FBI.
Agent Harris thinks that Brian Finch is the smartest man in the world when he is on NZT. She is wrong. It is most-likely Senator Mora. Finch can’t even grasp the game board he has just stepped onto yet. Senator Mora sees the world that Finch has just entered and the major threat he will eventually have to contend with within it. That, other threats, and Senator Mora’s big secret are why the senator demanded total anonymity (hence, their meeting never happened). It’s the smart play but then Senator Mora knew that already.
Bradley Cooper’s presence, his return to television, ups the Limitless TV series above and beyond what it might normally be: a ordinary film-to-TV spin-off with little to no connection to the source material. Though his presence on the show will surely be sporadic, that will have the effect of making his appearances that much more important to the narrative of the series.
Along with all the new characters, and one old one, Pilot also introduced the direction that the show will take: an episodic procedural where Finch takes down a threat while a growing danger looms and bites from the shadows. That aspect of the show is standard-fare. NZT is not.
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