Here we are, at the end of a new beginning.
It’s satisfying and sad to come to the finale of Back to the Rock, which has given us a baker’s dozen of terrific episodes and (hopefully) a new audience of Fraggle fans. Since this season has been serialized, it makes sense that we’d get an actual ending, with a nice little bow to tie up all our loose ends.
I’d love to compare this to the first season finale of the original Fraggle Rock, but Fraggle Rock didn’t really do all that much to commemorate the completion of season one. The season finale “New Trash Heap In Town” is a fun one, but not all that different from any other episode. It’s a bit of a stretch to try and explain how Mokey taking the place of the Trash Heap is the culmination of any sort of overarching storyline, which means that the only natural comparison is the series finale, “Change of Address.” And it’s not even worth comparing these two because there’s big difference between a season finale and a series finale, and we’re holding out hope that there’s more to come from Back to the Rock.
All of this is to say: Despite Back to the Rock being so similar to the original Fraggle Rock, the mere fact that it’s able to have a season finale to wrap up its overarching storylines makes it stand on its own as a terrific and wholly original series.
That said, both of those endings share the theme of unity, culminating in cramming differing characters into a metaphorical stuck elevator until they bond and become unlikely friends. But also, that’s pretty much what Fraggle Rock is all about. So, good on them for staying on target.
There’s a lot for our characters to wrap up, too. There’s the water crisis, the Craggle and Merggle refugees, and the fact that the Fraggles could get thwomped by Junior Gorg at any time. Think they can manage it all in 22 minutes???
Gobo starts out by jumping the gun and trying to complete the character arc that previously took him five seasons to accomplish – he wants to befriend the Gorgs. He figures that if they’re going to succeed, it’s going to take “all of us” (hey, that’s the title of this episode!), but also it’s a great tactic to enlist the most powerful creatures they know to help divert the underground water supply. It’s sort of like our overuse of plastics – we can stop using drinking straws all we want, but real change comes with the corporations take a stand and help save this planet on the macro level. Hey kids, it’s a metaphor!
Of course, nobody takes Gobo seriously (okay, so they legit laugh in his face), and he heads to the Gorgs’ garden to confront Junior directly. Aaaaand he immediately gets captured. In another extremely apt analogy, the one-percenters only have their own interests at heart.
While Gobo’s off being imprisoned, the other Fraggles lay out their plan. Boober doesn’t have the plans because he’s been busy making snacks (something light, like a radish pizzette), so Red lays out the scheme:
- Step 1: Draw up plans (which are expertly and suprisingly illustrated by Barry Blueberry)
- Step 2: The Doozers project a giant image of Pogey in the Gorgs’ garden
- Step 3: While the Gorgs are distracted, the Doozers destroy the Gorgs’ fountain
- Step 4: Water returns to the Fraggle waterfall
- Step 5: Dance party!!
Needless to say, they don’t exactly get past step 1.
So yeah, the whole plan goes to pot, the Gorgs turn heel, and the Fraggle Five are trapped. Thankfully, Gobo convinces Junior to turn that 180 into a 360 so he’ll destroy the fountain, divert the water, and return the Fraggles safely home. Yay.
The benefit that the finale of the original Fraggle Rock has is that it allows for a definitive ending – the Fraggles and the Gorgs and the Doozers and the Silly Creatures are all friends, and harmony has come to the Rock. But here, we have a slightly different ending – Gobo and Junior have found some common ground, but with the hope of a second season renewal, we can’t just wrap everything up with a pretty bow. Instead, we get a generous dose of hope, but with a sprinkling of fear. What will Ma and Pa Gorg do next? What other Fraggle sects are out there? What else can be found around any given unexplored cave?? With any luck, we’ll find out in season 2!
Strongest Moment: There are a lot of strong moments in this episode, but Traveling Matt takes the cake (desserty pun intended) when he claims to have invented pudding. Delicious!
Weakest Moment: The end, simply because it means that this episode is the last episode (for now). Gimme more Fraggles!
MVF (Most Valuable Fraggle): Not a Fraggle, but Junior Gorg goes through an incredible transformation in this episode. From his sadness over the loss of Junior Junior to his openness over Gobo’s request for help, and then his whiplash turn after his father’s influence. He showed a sense of desperation and self-assuredness that we rarely see from the big galoot.
Classic Musical Moment: The Fraggle Five sing “Follow Me”, which was originally sung in the first episode of the original series. It’s one of my all-time favorites, and it’s a treat to hear it get a new life with all our Fraggle pals together.
New Musical Moment: “One Heart”, which is a catchy song sung by Gobo to help convince Junior to come back over to their side. It’s no “Follow Me”, but it’s pretty unfair to compare anything to a classic Balsam and Lee song.
Coolest Puppetry Effect: Seeing Gobo interact with Junior is fascinating. He goes from full-sized puppet to a subtly computer animated character to a miniature puppet, and the transitions are seamless. I didn’t even notice the tiny Gobo until my second viewing.
Darkest Moment: After being trapped by Junior, Red says, “Look on the bright side. This is as bad as it can get.” Boober responds, “Hey hey hey. Don’t say that. It can always get worse.” Always look on the dark side of life, Boober!
One More Thing…: This is the second episode to not immediately start with theme song, after the pilot. Is that interesting? Probably not!
Okay, One More Thing…: Gobo confirms that Fraggle is his surname, and not just his species. Does that mean all the Fraggles have the same last name? What’s the point of surnames at all at that point??
Click here to end with a dance party on the ToughPigs forum!
by Joe Hennes – Joe@ToughPigs.com