Why Limitless Went With Brian's Big Twist

Limitless spoilers are below.

A two-part finale with installments actually called “Finale: Part!” and “Finale: Part !!” definitely needs to deliver on the big moments to justify splitting things up in the first place, and Limitless delivered a second half that completely turned around everything we’d seen in the recent past as far as Brian’s future is concerned. Instead of continuing on a path that forks away from his time at the FBI, Brian was surprisingly brought right back into the federal fold after injecting a special formula that makes him immune to the NZT side effects permanently. Showrunner Craig Sweeny offered up some insight on why the show went this route to open up a potential Season 2, should CBS ever order it.

I think we felt like we had told the story of Brian under the thumb of Eddie Morra and Sands, and needing to get those clandestine booster shots. We wanted to move forward from that, basically, and we felt like the beats would get repetitive if we were telling more stories where, ‘Oh, Brian needs to get his booster shot’ or ‘Oh, he needs to get this file or he won’t get this booster shot.’ We did a lot of things like that, which worked really well. But we really wanted to have Rebecca and Brian move forward on an honest footing with each other. The need for the immunity shot for Brian, and the layers of deception that go with it, we cleared the deck to explore a relationship between Brian and Rebecca in a more meaningful and honest way.

We had seriously just gotten used to the idea of Brian not continuing on with the FBI in Season 2, considering Sweeny just recently implied Brian’s Season 2 path would be outside the perimeter of the FBI, though still connected to Rebecca. Now there’s no reason to ponder how he could possibly still help her out from his position in last week’s episode, as just about everything has changed for him now. The fact that NZT has gone public creates an obvious conflict for these characters to tackle, too.

Assuming CBS does pick up Limitless for Season 2, Sweeny should be congratulated for figuring out a solid way to both change up the story and excise an overused element. While Season 2 is kind of early to put Brian in God Mode as far as NZT goes, it’s better than having to see the booster shot routine carry on for way too long, and now we’ll get to see him and Rebecca on more equal footing when it comes to sharing information. At least, until some other secrets come up and make things difficult. Now that Brian is putting his own team together, he might have to worry about people hiding things from him later on. 

Sweeny also shared with TV Insider what viewers could expect from this newly motivated Brian.

But I think in Season 2, the character, without losing the sense of fun that everybody loves, we’re going to see a slightly more grown-up more version of Brian. You see it at the end of the episode, when he’s like, he’s choosing to be at the FBI now; he’s not being forced to be there. That’s not to say he will ever become a straight-up G-Man. But I think you’ll see him embrace the mission with a little more fervor in Season 2.

He’s like that friend that used to get massively shitfaced in high school that now has a better and more important job than anyone you know…while still getting shitfaced sometimes. 

Plus, it’s not like Brian could start going back to Sands for his shots, since Rebecca finally got to exact her revenge on the man that killed her father. It’s unclear if he’s actually dead or not, but we can assume he won’t be doing anything important from his hospital bed. Sweeny says that though Sands’ story may be complete with this finale, there will still be much to come from his Legion of Whom as a response to him getting shot. 

And will Brian’s big changes affect Bradley Cooper reprising his role from the original film? Presumably not much, according to Sweeny, as Cooper’s presence all depends on his schedule elsewhere in his career anyway. His character was apparently in the finale at one point in the creative process, but then got left out when everyone agreed they didn’t want him to overpower everything else going on.

With ratings that went from encouraging to discouraging over the course of its freshman season, Limitless is not the biggest shoe-in for a renewal, but CBS’ boss has said in the past that all of the network’s first-season shows were getting renewed. It just hasn’t gotten around to it yet. But somebody needs to get on that, especially now that Season 1 has wrapped up in such a way that the future only looks brighter for Brian and his brain.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.