29 August 2007

Season 7: The Goldberg Variation (7X02)

Written by: Jeffrey Bell
Directed by: Thomas J. Wright

When Henry Weems is thrown off the roof of a building by mobsters he won $100,000 from in a card game and survives the fall. Chicago FBI agents staking out the mobsters witness the unidentified man's miraculous escape and bring it to the attention of Mulder and Scully who decide to investigate. Mulder theorises that the man has some kind of special healing ability although Scully believes he just got lucky.

A theory supported by the discovery of a cart filled with towels in the area the man landed. The discovery of an artificial eye in the cart leads them to Weems, who had made an appointment to get a new artificial eye fitted. They arrive at Weem's apartment building to question him, and go to the aid of the building superintendent, who requires assistance in turning off her water valve due to a leaky sink problem. However the valve breaks showering Mulder with water and causing the floor to give way beneath him, dropping him in to the apartment below, where Weems is in hiding.

Mulder returns his artificial eye but Weems refuses to testify against the mobster Jimmy Cutrona. Scully warns Weems that Cutrona will try to kill him again. Shortly after the agents leave a hitman arrives to kill Weems but is later found hanging by his shoelaces from the ceiling fan.

A background check reveals that Weems survived a plane crash in 1989 and has been 'blessed' with good luck ever since. Only it appears that when Weems has good luck someone else suffers bad luck as a direct consequence.

Rueben (Rube) Lucius Goldberg (1888-1970) was a Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, sculptor, and author. A trained engineer and accomplished artist, Goldberg's "inventions" were known for making simple tasks amazingly complex by utilizing dozens of arms, wheels, gears, handles, live animals, etc to accomplish something as simple as squeezing orange juice or closing a window. The name Rube Goldberg has become associated with any convoluted solution to perform a simple task. The board game 'Mousetrap' utilises a Goldberg device as it's main feature.

This episode was too short, so they had to add a scene after the fact - the one where Mulder and Scully are in the car discussing the case. However, Gillian Anderson had already cut her hair signficantly shorter for the next episode (at the end of ''The Sixth Extinction II: Amor Fati'' we can see her with the hair already shorter), so she had to wear a wig for the scene.

Scully: Organised crime. The Bureau's been trying to build a racketeering case against him for the past few years. Gambling, extortion, murder.
Mulder: Which is why last night there were two agents parked across the street in surveillance. They witnessed a man being thrown from Cutrona's roof at 10:40 pm. This man fell for 30 floors, plus the distance down this shaft, because these doors just happened to be open — straight through, nothing but net.
Scully: Ouch.
Mulder: I'm guessing that's what he said. After, he got up, climbed out of here and scampered off into the night.
Scully: Mulder, you keep saying 'this man'. Who is this man?
Mulder: No idea. He got away. The agents gave chase, but no clear description.
Scully: Was this basement thoroughly searched?
Mulder: No. Technically, falling 300 feet and surviving isn't a crime.
Scully: And your theory is?
Mulder: What if this man had some kind of special capability? Some kind of genetic predisposition towards rapid healing, or tissue regeneration?
Scully: So, basically, what if we were looking for Wile E Coyote? You're saying that he is invulnerable, right? You know in 1998, there was a British soldier who plummeted 4,500 feet when his parachute failed and he walked away with a broken rib.
Mulder: What's your point?
Scully: My point is, that if there's a wind gust, or a sudden updraft, and plus, if he landed in exactly the right way, I mean, I don't know. Maybe he just got lucky.
Mulder: What if he got really, really lucky? That's your big scientific explanation, Scully? I mean, how many thousands of variables would have to convene in just the right mixture for that theory to hold water?
Scully: I don't know.
Mulder: No? Thousands.

Scully: Mr. Weems, why were you hiding in a vacant apartment?
Henry Weems: Not hiding — avoiding.
Scully: Avoiding whom?
Henry Weems: You people. Now that you found me let's just get it over with. No way am I testifying against Jimmy Cutrona.
Scully: Last night, Cutrona had you thrown off the roof of 1107 Hunter Avenue — is that correct?
Henry Weems: You didn't hear it from me. I'm not letting you people move me to Muncie, Indiana, to milk cows.
Mulder: More to the point, you survived a, uh... 300-foot fall essentially un... harmed.
Henry Weems: I don't know. Maybe... The wind was just right and I landed on a bunch of towels — no biggie.
Scully: You got lucky?
Henry Weems: Yeah, I guess, except... you should look at my... bruise.
Mulder: Oh...

Scully: So, let me get this straight. This is the man who initially won the money?
Maurice Albert: Mm-hmm.
Scully: And once you and he ascertained that the accident victim was still alive this man fled on foot?
Maurice Albert: Mm-hmm.
Scully: Afterwards, the man who was hit by the truck handed you the lottery card, and said...
Maurice Albert: 'Maurice, I want you to have this.''
Scully: Mm-hmm. Thank you, Mr. Albert. I think that will be all.

Highlights from ''The Goldberg Variation''

Episode Number: 145
Season Number: 7
First Aired: Sunday, December 12, 1999
Production Code: 7X02

No comments: