The X-Files: Season 7, Episode 6

The Goldberg Variation (12 Dec. 1999)
"The X Files" The Goldberg Variation (original title)

TV Episode  |  TV-14  |   |  Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 1,167 users  
Reviews: 2 user | 1 critic

A man is tossed off the top of a 29 story building by gangsters. Amazingly, he gets up and walks away unscathed. Mulder and Scully investigate when Mulder suspects this man may have ... See full summary »



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Title: The Goldberg Variation (12 Dec 1999)

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Episode credited cast:
Henry Weems
Maggie Lupone
Joe Cutrona
Richie Lupone (as Shia La Beouf)
Nicholas Worth ...
Mr. Haas
Dom Magwili ...
Mr. Ng
Mr. Jank
Ernie Lee Banks ...
Maurice Albert
Billy (as Chip Fogleman)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dominique DiPrima ...
Megan McLean
Bobby Moynahan ...


A man is tossed off the top of a 29 story building by gangsters. Amazingly, he gets up and walks away unscathed. Mulder and Scully investigate when Mulder suspects this man may have paranormal abilities. The man in question may just be the luckiest man on Earth. Written by Muldernscully

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

12 December 1999 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is a dual reference to Rube Goldberg machines and the Goldberg Variations by Johann Sebastian Bach. See more »


When Mulder and Scully enter the basement about seven and a half minutes in, Mulder says the line: "No technically falling 300 hundred feet and surviving isn't a crime", and his mouth is clearly seen closed, not moving. See more »


Mulder: [to a crime-scene photographer while looking up at a man hanging in a fan in the roof by his shoe laces] So, do you get many of these?
See more »


References The Sting (1973) See more »

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User Reviews

My a** broke the fall
29 October 2008 | by (Sandy, UT, United States) – See all my reviews

The Goldberg Variation is about a very large a complex "Golberg" machine of life. I think its interesting how much thought and double meaning goes into the titles of some of these episodes and I think that understanding the titles help us to really see what the author was trying to get across. The obvious connection here is to Rube Goldberg who created the "Mouse Trap" type machines to represent cause and effect. All kinds of seemingly random individual acts come together so that we can see the chain of events. When I think of goldberg machines I always think of the giant one that is all over the ceiling of my local planetarium and takes forever to carry out its full course. The other reference in the title is to The Golberg Variations written by Bach as a means of teaching his students how to play the piano. I'm not sure what the connection is but I believe there is one intended.

The main character in this episode is a man who seems to have tapped into dumb luck. No matter what happens, the universe seems to be conspiring in his favor. He wins amazingly at poker with a straight flush and survives being tossed off a 30 story building by falling into a laundry crate. His luck appears to be taking its toll on those around him however as the balance issues cause very unfortunate things to happen to those around him whenever he takes advantage of his ability. This is seen with the kid who gets hit by the truck after stealing the lotto ticket, his neighbor played by Shia LeBeouf having liver disease and such a rare blood type that the chances of finding a donor are nil, and overall in the demise of the mobster and his gang. It is fun to watch how the events of the episode all conspire together and eventually lead to the death of the mobster who just happens to have a perfect match of liver for the sick boy.

A couple personal things I liked about the episode. I enjoy some of the humor of the episode and Mulder and Scully's playful nature. I like when Mulder falls through the floor and says his a** broke the fall. I think its great that Shia LeBeouf shows up in this episode which was way back before anyone knew who he was. Sometimes when I watch The X-Files now years after the episodes aired its almost like watching "Before They Were Stars" or something. So many actors did their earliest work on this show. Also, I can't quite pin it down but for some reason the mom in this episode reminds me of my own mom and for this reason I feel a very close personal attachment to her character and every time I see her get kidnapped it affects me emotionally probably a lot more than it should. For those of you who are familiar with the show Freaks and Geeks, I tend to have the same kind of emotional attachment to the mother on that show. I don't know what it is about them. Anyway, this is definitely one of the better episodes from season 7 in my opinion although not one of the better ones of the series. I enjoy this one every time I see it so I will give it an 8 out of 10.

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