Review: Back to the Rock S2 – Episode 9 ‘The Great Radish Ball’

Published: May 29, 2024
Categories: Feature, Reviews

Look, I’ll be honest. Over the past two years, I’ve kind of soured on Back to the Rock. The original Fraggle Rock is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. It would be truly impossible for a new version of the show to live up to that. Back to the Rock comes so much closer than I expected. Back in season one, that felt like a miracle. Thirteen brand-new episodes of Fraggle Rock! What a thrill!

But as time passed, I found that I didn’t have much interest in revisiting the show. I still watch the original series fairly often, but I didn’t go back and revisit any of Back to the Rock season one.  Fraggle Rock was already a perfect show. What did I need some new version for? By the time season two premiered, my primary thought was “Why bother? It isn’t even the real Fraggle Rock.” I didn’t get around to watching any of it until this past weekend, because I didn’t think it could surprise me.

But guess what? While they’re celebrating the Great Radish Ball, the Fraggle Five discover a tube in the ground. Naturally, in true Fraggle fashion, they decide to jump in. 

And guess what else?! It sends them back to the beginning of the party! That’s right, it’s a time loop episode! And good Gorg, do I love a time loop episode! 

Much like me watching season one of this program, the Fraggles are initially delighted with their ability to jump back in time. They experience the party again and again, trying different variations of the same scenario. But soon, everyone except for Boober gets tired of it. They decide they want to head back to the next morning, just like how I decided to move on to other things instead of rewatching Back to the Rock.

Meanwhile, Doc’s plotline mirrors the main story pretty closely. When we first see her and Sprocket, they’re hanging out in a pillow fort, wearing their pajamas. Even though she has a lot of responsibilities, she decides to ignore them in favor of building an even bigger pillow fort. It’s really a testament to Lilli Cooper’s skill as a performer that is completely charming and never feels too juvenile. She feels like a real person who just doesn’t want to deal with the world that day.

Doc and Boober eventually learn the same lesson – you can’t stay stuck in one moment. You need to move on and experience new things. And you know what? I learned it too, because watching this episode reminded me how lucky we are to have Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock. This is a brand new Fraggle Rock story, and my beloved Cotterpin shows up just to tell Boober something important. Why wouldn’t I want thirteen more of those?! 

This show is a gift, and I’m so happy it exists.

Strongest Moment: In the middle of the episode, there’s a montage of our heroes restarting the time loop for a variety of petty reasons, and it’s an absolute hoot!

Weakest Moment: The Architect Doozer tells Cotterpin “Let me be frank” and then does a whole bit about how he also has a character named Frank that he plays sometimes, but he doesn’t mean that. It’s incredibly unfunny!

MVF (Most Valuable Fraggle): It’s a Boober episode, and it’s such a joy to focus on him.

The Grand Return Of…: Jamdolin is back for his 4th appearance. Just one more and he’ll be in as many episodes as the original Cantus.

Classic Musical Moment: Jamdolin and Boober lead the Troubadours and the crowd in “Fun is Here to Stay,” a song that originally appeared in Sidebottom Blues, which will be coming up in our 40 Years Later review series in about two years.

New Musical Moment: Boober also takes the lead on the new song “Over and Over,” and it absolutely rules. It just makes me so happy that Dave Goelz is getting wonderful new material in the year 2024.

Coolest Puppetry Effect: I like it when we see an Inkspot carrying a stack of trays. It looks like hard work for the little guy!

Fraggle Lore: Just like in the 1993 classic Groundhog Day, we don’t find out why or how the time loop works. It just does! 

Darkest Moment: When he gets stuck in a different timeline from his friends, Boober is worried that he’ll be stuck at the party forever.

One More Thing…: I’m not sure why Boober wouldn’t just eventually meet up with his friends the next morning if he stayed in the “party” timeline without going back in the tube. Time is still passing for him, right?

Okay, One More Thing…: I gotta learn not to nitpick time travel stories. It’s just a show, I should really just relax!

Click here to build a pillow fort with Sprocket on the Tough Pigs Discord!

by Anthony Strand

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