Theatre of the Mind ~ The Goldberg Variation

1. I'm really hoping this is not a game of strip poker.

2. Hey, I know that guy! He was Roach in "The Walk" (Season 3). He still looks like Pee Wee Herman.

3. I guess this is a form of strip poker; someone is going to lose his shirt!

4. Drawing 5 cards to a straight flush? Somehow, the term "lucky stiff" comes to mind.

5. Good luck to anyone trying to figure out the timeline of this one. Common sense tells us it should be in the December January time frame, but no coats in Chicago in winter?

6. I see a trend developing here. This is the third episode in a row where Mulder is already on the crime scene and Scully comes to meet him. (I'd like to think perhaps he just let her sleep in at the hotel, but in this case he asks her if she's in Chicago, so I guess that's just wishful thinking on my part.) More than likely, it's just a chance for some snappy (and flirty) repartee. I didn't say it was a *bad* trend.

7. Since Henry's nose-dive happened around 11 p.m. the night before, and it's only 9:17 a.m. now, I'm not quite clear on why Mulder would have to rush off to Chicago without Scully in the first place. Maybe she had a *very* early appointment at the fertility clinic ...

8. Anyway, anytime we get a "Mulder, it's me," it's okay in my book.

9. GPM: Did you really think it wouldn't be?

10. TWC1: I'll say one thing. The man knows how to make an entrance. (And Scully's glad to see him.)

11. "Hey, nice outfit." Well, he is color blind, don't forget (which might explain his own brown/blue ensemble). Anyway, it's nice of him to finally notice, since she's been wearing the same outfit for the past three years.

12. "Nothin' but net," or just a lucky shot?

13. Two FBI agents can't catch a man on foot who just fell 30+ stories? I'm sensing a new physical fitness program is in order.

14. Scully is obviously a big Roadrunner fan (and I don't mean the Season 8 episode), since she mentions Wile E. Coyote in this ep and in "Hollywood A.D." Mulder likes the analogy. Beep beep.

15. Hey, Mulder! Watch me pull a Rational Explanation out of my hat! (I think she got that one from Ripley's Believe It Or Not Scientific Freefalling Facts.)

16. If I were Mulder, and Scully was talking about guys getting lucky, I would pay more attention.

17. The Flirty Flashlight Dance!, with lots of smiles and giggles. These two are *so* doing it.

18. Quit sticking that finger in things! You could put an eye out with that finger! Oops.

19. Let's take a vote: Who wants to find Wile E. Coyote? The "eyes" have it! (Come on, you *saw* that one coming, didn't you?)

20. TWC2: Love the little Mulder!Shuffle going on outside the apartment building.

21. Mulder does work fast! Only an hour later, and he knows that Henry Weems was the only person in Chicago missing an eye.

22. Best Scullyism that Coulda Been a Mulderism: "Maybe he can't see his way to the door." Bravo! (Mulder obviously enjoyed it too. His reaction clearly screamed "Hey! Scully told a joke!!")

23. "Come on, Scully. I'm feeling lucky." :::sigh::: If only that were true. I don't suppose today's forecast was calling for raining sleeping bags?

24. Scully, thanks for pointing out that you aren't plumbers. I'm sure Maggie thought you were.

25. With wrench in hand, I can only think of one thing: Hey baby, I'm your handyman.

26. I wish Scully would say something to the effect of wanting Mulder's butt back in bed.

27. Scully's smirk must be a commentary on Mulder's poor sense of direction (except driving).

28. I guess we know now why Mulder didn't take up plumbing as a career and had to settle for the FBI.

29. Wet!Footwear and Wet!Mulder! Does it get any better than this?

30. Notice how quickly Scully's amusement turns to concern. (She doesn't want any damaged goods!)

31. "My ass broke the fall," and a fine ass it is too. I believe Dr. Scully should check it for bruises. Now.

32. Blackbeard the Pirate? Patch from Days of our Lives? (Well, he said "Guess who I found".)

33. Perhaps they could have gotten Mulder a bigger towel. I think he should get out of those wet clothes before he catches his death of cold, don't you agree?

34. Sqeamish!Mulder is repulsed, yet fascinated, as "Cinderfella" tries the glass eye on for size.

35. Totally OT: I have a coworker who has a glass eye who delights in using it for practical jokes. Once we were outside preparing for a festival, and one of our coworkers was setting up video equipment to tape the event. While he was unloading his car, he said to my friend, "Can you keep an eye on this?" And he came back to find ... well, you get the picture.

36. How do you suppose Henry had enough money to even get into a high stakes poker game? Best not to question, I guess.

37. As Mulder takes a gander at the machines in Henry's apartment, it's a good time to point out that the title of this episode could be the result of two influences. Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Reuben (Rube) Lucius Goldberg's (1883 - 1970) whimsical insights into modern inventions earned him a place in our vocabulary. He began his cartoonist career in 1904 satirizing complex inventions that were supposed to save time and increase efficiency. For the next half-century his drawings illustrated machines that were a "symbol of man's capacity for exerting maximum effort to achieve minimal results." The "Goldberg Variations" is the last of a series of keyboard music J. S. Bach published under the title of "Clavierübung," and is often regarded as the most serious and ambitious composition ever written for harpsichord. The pieces were written at the request of Russian Count Keyserlingk who was sickly and often had trouble sleeping; his friend Goldberg, a brilliant harpsichordist who studied music under Bach, played the amazing compositions to help the Count get through his sleepless nights. I live for Bach.

38. That Flowbee haircut Mulder got while in the nuthouse doesn't look any better when wet.

39. I don't blame Henry for saying no to testifying. He's obviously *seen* M&S protect witnesses.

40. I saw those Mulder eyebrows waggle when Scully mentioned changing his clothes.

41. I believe Scully's "plan" has something to do with what happens *after* sunset ... and I think it involves Mulder getting lucky.

42. TWC3: Woo-hoo! Except for the hair, there's a lot to be said for Wet!Mulder.

43. Cause and effect. It's like I've always said: the purchase of an ironing board can only lead to anarchy.

44. Next time we get a hanging crotch shot like that, it better be of you-know-who!

45. The Chicago police don't find Mulder any funnier than the D.C. police do. ("So, you get many of these?")

46. TWC4: Watching the Mulder!HeWrote version of what happened (including that little "whaa gaa" kicking in of the door) and I can only say one thing: Holy Flaming Cow!

47. Oooh, Scully's good. She picked up on the fact that Richie was a sports fan right away.

48. "I like baseball too." I just bet you do, hon. If I got a lesson in the batting cage like you did, I'd be at a tryout with the Orioles right about now.

49. Richie says all things happen for a reason ... Scully sees an opportunity to write and direct.

50. Almost as amazing as Leaping!Mulder is Diagnosing!Scully, who appears to have diagnosed Richie's condition just by looking at him.

51. Mulder drip dries rather nicely, but what is up with Scully's poofy hair in this scene in the car? (Well, I'll tell you. This episode was filmed early in the season, but was then put on hold for airing later. Once TPTB finally got an edited version of the episode that they liked, it was four minutes too short. So as filler, they shot some more footage of the Rube Goldberg contraptions, and the additional scene of M&S sitting in the car discussing Henry's back story. By the time this new scene was filmed, GA had cut her hair, so she had to wear a wig. I guess they spent the big bucks on building the machines and couldn't buy a good wig.)

52. The Cash Cow Lottery. What a fitting name! (No Season 9 bitterness here!)

53. Isn't that always the way? You win the lottery and you have to get it in installments.

54. How the Punk was injured - my medical opinion? BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.

55. Actually, I think Scully should get the winning ticket. It was her idea, after all. (And a hundred grand would certainly help pay for those fertility treatments.)

56. Leaping!Mulder recognizes cause and effect again. When good things happen to Henry, bad things happen to others.

57. Those Little Ass Flashlights are sure getting a workout in this episode!

58. Reminder: Splitting up is never the best option for you two.

59. See, Mulder? When I'm right, I'm right.

60. Season 7 *is* the Season of Lurve, but apparently also the Season of Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Only the sixth episode and Mulder's been in the hospital four times already.

61. TWC5: But, hoo boy! Any excuse to unclothe him down to a tee shirt is okay by me.

62. Do you think a game of strip poker is in the cards *this* time? "I think you know." (My favorite phrase!)

63. Woo-hoo! Mulder says, "Woo-hoo!!"

64. You know what they say, Mulder. Unlucky at cards, lucky at love. (wink, wink)

65. Moose & Squirrel should have figured out Henry wanted the money to help Richie *way* before now.

66. At least Scully waited till Henry left before taking Mulder to the woodshed for his behavior. But I think she should be taken to task as well for letting Henry walk out of the hospital when, as she points out, "he has had three attempts made upon his life."

67. Mulder gets Instant Panic Face when he realizes that Scully beat Henry in the card game. After all, he knows Scully is not generally the luckiest girl in the world. (But love how he passes his jacket over her head as he bolts for the door and bids her to get those little legs moving!)

68. Make that *four* attempts. (Henry should get some Poly-grip for that eye.)

69. Now if Richie had turned that interesting shade of yellow before, I could have been Diagnosing!Polly.

70. Oh, I get it now! This is the Sopranos Files (if you can't beat 'em, join 'em). In which case, I haven't said the "F" word nearly enough in this TOTM.

71. Mulder's coming to the conclusion that all things happen for a reason. Sorry DD, GA's already got dibs on that episode.

72. Scully, you *are* trapped in one of those contraptions that Henry built. You just can't see the forest for the trees.

73. TWC6: But it's a nice trip to the forest anyway! Yum.

74. Eenie, meanie, chili beanie, Mulder's finger is about to speak.

75. This is the scariest part of the episode: Locked in laundry hell! I'm covering my eyes! Tell me when it's over!

76. You knew Henry would get "off the hook" in just such a way, didn't you?

77. If one little power surge can cause all the lights to flicker in the city of Chicago, it's no wonder that Mrs. O'Leary's cow was able to start the great fire just by kicking over a little lantern.

78. The lights going out to spell R-I-C-H-I-E was a little hokey, but then you do have to spell it out for some skeptics.

79. TWC7: Mulder shows up just in time to look amazingly excellent and to discover that these stairs look suspiciously like the ones in his building basement that lead down to his incinerator where people burn books and rip their hearts out of their chests.

80. The mobster is a perfect match for Richie! What are the odds of that happening?

81. Okay, nobody likes a math geek, Mulder.

82. Everything happens for a reason whether we see it or not. Okay we get it. A lot, a lot, a lot.

83. Richie's "Goldberg" toy is started, the ball pops into the basket, Scully smiles up at Mulder, and everyone lives happily ever after. I bet Scully likes basketball, too.

84. "The Goldberg Variation" wasn't a great episode. "I had fun, though." Lucky for us it had two things going for it: Mulder and Scully. The comfort continues as they seem to really be enjoying each other's company. And I'm sure they must be gettin' some, cause they are both so darn relaxed. I'd like to continue this discussion, but I've gotta go. I have a sudden urge to play a good game of "Mousetrap."

Now you know the secret of the TOTMs: Cause and effect. An episode happens, a TOTM gets written. It's just dumb luck really. And I know what you *really* say when you receive them (and it's not "Ah, that's craftsmanship"). More like, "Oh, crap. Not again." Oh well. With a little bit of luck, you might get another one soon. Whether that's good luck or bad luck ... I think you know.

Apologies, as always,