In Limitless’s homage to Ferris Bueller, Brian Finch’s Day Off turns into Brian Finch’s Black Op as our man on NZT is kidnapped by CIA-hired mercenaries and pressed into service on a off-the-books mission that turns out to be something very dark indeed.
While our hero tries to make the best of it – working things out with plenty of help from himself, his, er, other self, and Imaginary
Sloane Rebecca – his FBI buddies, a little surprisingly but genuinely touchingly, raise merry hell trying to get him back safely. I mean, we know Brian’s important to Rebecca, so her role in Operation Bring Back Brian is a given, but it’s nice to see he’s important to Boyle and, I think, Naz too. Even if her motives are always a bit cloudy, I don’t think she was faking that.
Of course, homages can be a bit tricky – they need to be “homagey” enough to tickle fans of the original while also standing on their own to ensure folk who think Ferris Bueller is some kind of accountancy firm can enjoy them as well. As someone somewhere in the middle of the Ferris spectrum – I last saw the movie about 20 years ago, enjoyed it, but couldn’t have told you any of the other characters’ names till after I saw this ep – I think it worked reasonably well. I imagine it will have scored more points with true Ferris devotees, but Limitless’s trademark humour and intelligence laced with darkness, moral ambiguity and pathos meant there was also more than enough to the episode to entertain everyone else. I liked it a lot.