To distract himself from the loss of Shauna, Brian has thrown himself into a round of NZT-fuelled one night stands. But hang about – I thought the point was that he got one capsule a day, which wore off at about 9pm, so unless he’s going out on the pull at about 7.30…? I probably shouldn’t overthink this, particularly because Rebecca’s being remarkably tolerant of Brian, which in due course might lead to a ship I can get behind.
Anyway, Brian is read into the top secret investigation of Mao Zhang, an employee of a defence contractor, who is suspected of selling intel to China, specifically drone technology. As it happens, although this is ostensibly the Case of the Week, there isn’t very much that is whodunnity about it; its function is to provide a counterpoint to Brian’s own acts of treachery. Because Sands has started to flex his muscles: he wants Brian to break into Naz’s office and find out what the FBI knows about NZT, or Morra will decline to allow Brian his next anti-side-effects shot. And when Brian stalls by fabricating FBI files, Sands arranges for Brian’s father to be infected with a virus which requires him to be taken back into hospital.
If that weren’t enough, Arthur, an eccentric scientist who Brian first meets online, claims to have developed an immortal mouse. Arthur asks for help when the mouse is stolen, perhaps by his former business partner, who then turns up murdered with Arthur’s fingerprints all over him.(Somewhat distractingly – and I have no idea whether this was deliberate – the baddie’s name in the Case of the Week sounds a little like “mouse”: there’s a point when Rebecca is after “mouse contact”, or possibly “Mao’s contact”.) Brian suspects it’s a fit-up and decides to try and prove that Arthur isn’t guilty, although it would have been remarkable were his intervention actually necessary to ensure that at least one piece of exculpatory evidence – the DNA under the deceased’s fingernails – was taken into account. Still, it’s highly entertaining.
And there’s more: Rebecca’s dead father was an artist, and his dealer doorsteps Rebecca to tell her that he left three paintings behind, and would she like them? Rebecca declines, but later goes to see them in a gallery; this coincides with Brian reading through the FBI’s NZT files, and ends the episode with a double-WHOA moment.
‘Page 44’ is remarkably busy. But I watched it during a 50-minute train journey, roughly the same length as the episode, enjoyed every second of it, and disembarked feeling uplifted. I don’t want to damn Limitless with faint praise – which I sometimes do with network procedurals – nor do I want to build it up into something it isn’t. But once again the abundant wit – verbal and visual – of previous episodes were on full display, with a sense that the writers are able to confidently juggle the sombre and the silly. A show which has me smiling pretty much all the way through – even at Brian’s ridiculous T-shirt – is something to be treasured. I think Limitless is seriously good.