Review: Back to the Rock Season 2 – Episode 13 ‘Hope and Socks’

Published: June 27, 2024
Categories: Feature, Reviews

After twelve episodes, we’ve finally made it to the season two finale of Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock! So what great message have we been building up to? Something to do with the value of teamwork? A reminder of how our similarities outweigh our differences? A warning about the dangers of urinating in the ocean? It turns out it’s only one word: “hope.” That’s it. The whole season’s conclusion is four letters long. It seems pretty abstract, but as we’ve learned in all our time in Fraggle Rock, things can be more complex than they seem.

The episode opens with Red still waiting for wind to power the turbine to the composting machine, which will provide the garden with nutrients it needs to begin growing crops again. But so far, the air is calm, and that’s not good news for Red. But she’s not one to quit, so she rallies the Fraggles and Doozers to come up with a solution, and they do! Using Cotterpin Doozer’s Gustie Sucker, they wrangle the gusties in Whistling Hollow and build a channel to get them to the windmill. But the gusties dissipate before they reach the Gorgs’ garden, draining Red’s optimism, which spreads throughout Fraggle Rock. Hope certainly can be fleeting. Who hasn’t felt that sting when your best just isn’t enough? Is that the best message to send to kids? It sure feels like they’ve put Red in an emotional corner, but who could help bring her out of it?

Red goes to get some lessons in being “the captain of nope” from Fraggle Rock’s eternal pessimist, Boober, and gets more than she expected. Turns out when all seems hopeless, Boober takes to his washtub and gets to cleaning socks, even though Fraggles don’t wear them. Still, Boober keeps doing it because he hopes someday they will. Suddenly, the message of the episode comes into focus. It’s not about “hope” the concept, it’s about “hope” the action! Real hope requires effort and maintenance, whether it’s something small like washing socks or something big like volunteering for a cause. It’s not easy, but it’s essential to keep your mind one step ahead of the doom and gloom of the world.

Marjory, Philo and Gunge have that idea down pat as they continue to collect materials to compost in the hopes that the machine will eventually work, inspiring Red to keep tackling the problem. They can’t control when the wind comes, but they can find a better way to get it to the windmill. Once again Marjory is right as she reminds us that hope is contagious. Sometimes all it takes is someone to show the way, and others will follow. As one becomes many, that hope magnifies, and it can turn into something wonderful.

But it turns out that the Fraggles aren’t the only ones with a wind problem. Doc is having trouble creating a high-output wind turbine of her own, as her design keeps falling down in heavy winds. There’s a funny thing about hope: sometimes it can come back around to you in ways you couldn’t imagine. Thanks to Lanford helping the soil, Doc’s garden sprouts a tree with two crowns, which inspire a design that better catches the wind and keeps the turbine stable. Now that she can gather data, she lets the fan run, which sends the wind back into Fraggle Rock. With the improvements they’ve made, the gusties make their way to the windmill and the machine works! Gobo and Junior finally reconcile, the garden starts to heal, and all is well once more.

But since this is a season finale, of course we’ve got some cliffhangers to get us craving a third season! Doc comes one step closer to figuring out what’s happening in that mysterious hole near the vent as she discovers Uncle Traveling Matt’s backpack, which Sprocket pulled off of him as he escaped back into Fraggle Rock. And it seems like after 500 years, Junior Gorg’s not going to be an only child much longer, as Ma reveals she’s pregnant. Big things are coming to Fraggle Rock… at least, I hope so. You see, I wrote this review all the way back in March, before the show was released to you folks. And frankly, three months ago-Matthew isn’t terribly optimistic about this show getting renewed. I’m a Muppet fan in the streaming era, where renewals are rarer than finding a copy of “Of Muppets and Men” that sells for under a hundred dollars. But you know what? I’m taking a page from Boober’s book. (And I pray it’s cheaper than a used copy of “Of Muppets and Men.”) I’m going to hope. Maybe in the three months between me writing this review and it getting published, people will see how great this show is, and word of mouth will get more folks to watch this show. Maybe Apple will realize what a great thing they have and keep the magic going.

I have to say, I applaud the writing team for coming up with an episode that really speaks to what’s going on now. Given that the United States is about to have the most important rerun in recent history as Joe Biden and Donald Trump once again compete against each other for the Presidency, there’s a chance we could have someone who could threaten America’s very democracy, not to mention global security, back in the White House. Frankly, that possibility leaves me full of dread. And if it does ultimately happen, what’s there to do? The only thing to do is foster hope and keep trying to make today better than it was yesterday. And hopefully, that hope can spread to others, and we can realize we’re stronger than our circumstances. Wow, it turns out four letters can say a whole lot!

Strongest Moment: Finally taking that leap of faith, Red does one heck of a dive from the Gorgs’ well as she rallies the Fraggles back into hope. But it should also be noted that when she’s in “nope” mode, Red does a heck of a Boober impression as she tries to emulate her pessimistic friend.


Weakest Moment: I felt like Gobo and Junior making up didn’t quite have the punch it needed to be a really memorable scene. It was fine, but it felt like it got cast aside in favor of the bigger story arc.

MVF (Most Valuable Fraggle): Boober’s shockingly hopeful perspective on things really adds depth to his character. I didn’t know he had it in him!

Classic Musical Moment: “Get Goin’,” from “Gobo’s School for Explorers,” gets an energetic remix courtesy of the episode’s special guests. More on that below!

New Musical Moment: “The Hope We Build Together” is our big finale song this time around. It’s not quite as catchy as “One Heart” from last season, but it’s solid.

Coolest Puppetry Effect: Gotta love Fraggles bouncing on their tails! Also props to Pogey having some puppets of their own as they explain how the Fraggle horn helps the wind move at a greater velocity. Their lip sync is darn good!

Special Appearance By…: The update to “Get Goin’” comes courtesy of K-pop group aespa, who appear in Uncle Traveling Matt’s postcard. I really loved their take on the song, and they certainly look like they’re having a great time as Matt gets involved.

Fraggle Lore: There’s not much, but Marjory does mention rock hockey, and we learn that points are referred to as “pickles.”

One More Thing…: With a baby on the way, will a new mouth to feed cause yet another reset in the Fraggle/Gorg dynamic? I think it’s time to expand the garden.

Okay, One More Thing…: So… what happens when Doc has her data and turns off the fan? Forget it, that’s a problem for another season. (I’m already diverting plot holes to another season? This hope thing is easier than I thought!)

Click here to tell Matthew where to find an affordable copy of “Of Muppets and Men” on the ToughPigs Discord!

by Matthew Soberman

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