Saturday, November 21, 2015

The X-Files - S7:E6 "The Goldberg Variation"

[ S7:E5 "Rush" <<< Season 7 >>> S7:E7 "Orison" ]

The Goldberg Variation (the title most likely referring to a Rube Goldberg machine, the best pop culture example of which I can think of off the top of my head being the device that makes Pee-wee's breakfast in Pee-wee's Big Adventure) starts out with an intriguing concept - a man who inadvertently wields impossibly good luck - and an entertaining opener, in which what appears to be a total dweeb manages to swindle a bunch of gangsters out of a hundred grand in a game of poker, is then shoved off the roof of a skyscraper in Chicago, and not only manages to survive, but walks away from it without much more than a proverbial scratch. Unfortunately, the episode only goes downhill from there, and mostly squanders its interesting premise. This is another "light" episode of The X-Files (by the writer of last season's The Rain King, and the mediocre Alpha), that seems to want to be funny, but isn't very good at it. It throws in some dramatic schmaltz at the end, involving a sick little boy, but that isn't very effective, either. It seems like it wants to make some commentary on the ramifications of cause and effect, but for an episode that broaches the subject of determinism, Henry Weems is no Clyde Bruckman - not by a long shot. The best thing the episode accomplishes is playing with the idea of what constitutes good and bad luck - how hard it is to tell the difference, and how it sometimes really depends on your perspective. But by the time the episode decides to throw in that "everything happens for a reason" tripe, I've already checked out.

Memorable quotes:

Scully: C'mon, Mulder, this guy just got lucky. There's no X-File here.
Mulder: Maybe his luck is the X-File.

Scully: What the hell happened here, Mulder?
Mulder: Cause, and effect.

Mulder: How does it feel to be the luckiest man in the universe, Henry?
Henry Weems: It's a nightmare. You've no idea.

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