We’ve talked before about the “Two Brians” question: is NZT Brian becoming a separate personality from Normal Brian? Is spending time as NZT Brian, with all the power and possibility that involves, turning Normal Brian into a different person the rest of the time too? To what extent can this be a good or a bad thing?
On the last question at least, the show has been pretty ambivalent at times – NZT Brian had to kill in a way that deeply troubled Normal Brian, NZT Brian was leaning towards betrayal of Rebecca in a way that Normal Brian steadfastly refused to – but seems to have moved towards the Team NZT side of things for now, as both this episode and the previous two have highlighted the overwhelmingly positive rather than any negative effects.
As with ep 8’s rescue of Naz’s niece, “Arm-ageddon” has Brian stepping in to help a friend of a friend on the team: Boyle’s old army buddy is accused of killing his wife but has something of an unusual defence involving a rogue prosthetic limb. Or, as Brian puts it:”you’re saying you’re innocent, but your arm is guilty?”
Because he is the nicest person on tv, Brian doesn’t burst out laughing but listens calmly and sensitively to the man’s story, before reassuring Boyle that “he’s your friend, I’ll help.” Because Limitless is the most fun show on TV, that help involves heading to the company which “invent(s) cool gadgets and then (hands) them out to people on missions” and is run by “the real-life Q!” Both Brian and I are utterly, utterly delighted by this – I mean, I don’t even like James Bond, but the show’s Quentin/Q ref is genius – and it’s just one of a number of lovely, lovely touches in another wonderfully uplifting and joyous episode. I loved everything about it. Brian learns to hack. Brian plays “Where in the world is Kenny Sumida?” Brian gives us a short lesson in authentic keffiyeh styles. Brian tries to avert “Armpocalypse Now.” (HEE.) And Brian devises his own juvenile, but completely marvellous punishment for the episode’s villain that just made me laugh and laugh.
I know I say it every week, but I LOVE Brian. And obviously Brian’s dad does too but, while I think Brian is incredibly kind and smart and generally awesome, his dad thinks Brian is (as he has been most of his pre-NZT life) weak, irresponsible, drug-addled and in need of his dad to rescue him yet again. Can all those things, the good and the bad, be true at once? Possibly. But at the moment, at least, Brian, Rebecca and Naz, rather than Brian’s dad, are right – NZT is helping him be the best he can be and that is someone very special. Someone who has more than earned the elation of spending a weekend with a jet pack, running like the wind. WHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!