Considering this episode was randomly assigned to me for review, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself relating to “Deep Dive” more than any other Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock episode this season. Like Red, once I’m awake, I’m ready to pop out of bed and Get. Things. Done. While my “stuff” is certainly not as athletic as Red’s (unless you count trying to make the bed while your partner is still in it–not an easy physical feat, I assure you), I definitely relate to having a to-do list that you’re eager to tackle.

Red wants to solve all of Fraggle Rock’s problems, but she feels like she can’t accomplish anything until she has had her traditional morning dip–something the current Fraggle Rock water crisis prevents her from partaking in. This is also very relatable to me, as I don’t feel like I can do any sort of project unless I have taken certain steps first (in my case it’s dealing with all my emails and tidying up my workspace). Stripped of her routine, Red starts to wonder who she is. To some this may seem overly dramatic, but for many, the loss of a hobby or familiar habit comes with a real sense of grief that can make us question our identity. Red’s energy resonated with me so much that as soon as Mokey sat down to help her mediate away her antsiness, I said aloud “meditation is not going to work for her! People like us can’t simply clear our heads.” 

This was also where I started to relate to Mokey. She wants everyone to be healthy and content, and when she sees a friend struggling, she’s going to do everything she can to try to help them. The only catch is that she’s going to try the method that always works for her and it’s hard for her to see outside her own experience. This leads to a similar loss of identity. Who is a helper if they aren’t actually helping?

The Doozers sublot also deals with problem-solving in different ways. The Doozers continue to face the challenge of the pink goo rendering their constructions unpalatable to Fraggles, and while most of them have agreed to step away from the problem and participate in group therapy, Cotterpin is determined to find a solution. Cotterpin becomes increasingly stressed and eventually gives in to taking a break and recombobulating. 

“Deep Dive” does a great job of addressing some psychological hurdles we are all faced with at times and exploring some of the challenges related to anxiety and stress — and it’s all done in a way that’s a little more subtle than, say, Wembley’s wembling.

Strongest Moment: Wrench Doozer says something profound to Cotterpin: “Sometimes you gotta put your tools down and come back later with fresh screws.” As someone who likes to solve problems, I appreciate the reminder that sometimes you need to step away for a beat.

Weakest Moment: I didn’t really care for the Merggle hiccups subplot. Why do the Merggles have no agency? Why do they need the Fraggles to solve their problems? Shouldn’t they know what cures their own hiccups? It makes them seem more like pets, especially when we see them sitting in wash tubs like pet fish. Also, I’ve used the same hiccup remedy since it was introduced to me in 1988 and it has never failed me or anyone who has gotten hiccups in my presence (drinking out of the opposite side of a cup while bending your torso/diaphragm. The recent Shark Tank product HiccAway replicates this effect!) 

MVF (Most Valuable Fraggle): Mokey. I know how disheartening it is to want to help someone, but your methods just don’t work for them. I’m proud of her for realizing that Red needed to forge the path for her own self-help.  

Classic Musical Moment: “Once Upon a Time (I Knew My Name)”. Although I’ve seen people online argue the exact opposite point, I felt Gobo’s version in the original series first season episode “Gobo’s Discovery” was more somber than this one. It seems more like there’s still hope for Red here than there was for Gobo there, in part due to the puppetry; Gobo sang much of the song with his head down, while Red gazes up in a more wistful way. Jerry Nelson’s voice is also just so sad and sweet in the original. This rendition is further improved by the addition of cave creatures singing backup.

New Musical Moment: “No Two Paths” is an important song for people like me to hear: there is more than one way to achieve a goal, and your way isn’t necessarily the better or right way (but it COULD be!! Hmm, maybe I should watch that again). 

Coolest Puppetry Effect: I rewound to appreciate again the nonplussed face that Karen Prell’s Red makes when Gobo is about to read yet another letter from Uncle Traveling Matt (speaking of which, how does Matt buy postage and mail postcards?)

Darkest Moment: It is really disheartening watching Junior Gorg so desperately try to gain the acceptance of his abusive/neglectful parents. It seems like he has adopted blissful optimism as a coping mechanism and I just feel so sad for him in every Gorg scene. I feel like this new series hasn’t given enough exposition on the Gorg world and that the writers might be relying on original viewers employing background knowledge. I hope to see some more development with those characters if there’s a second season. 

One More Thing…: One of my favorite lines goes to Boober when he expresses concern as the Merggle crisis continues: “And I may never get my tubs back! Which is a secondary issue. But it’s not not an issue.”

Okay, One More Thing…: I watch everything with subtitles, so I see how everything is spelled. I’m sorry, but “Merggles” shouldn’t be spelled with two “G”s. “Fraggles” has that structure because the “A” is making its short sound and there is a doubling rule at play. “Merggles,” however, has an r-controlled digraph (er, ar, ur, ir), which would only necessitate one consonant to follow it (think “gargle”). Thank you for coming to my Red Talk.

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by Staci Rosen

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