Fraggle Rock: 40 Years Later – “The Finger of Light”

Published: March 29, 2023
Categories: Feature, Reviews

Original air date: March 28, 1983

Hello, readers of ToughPigs. It is I, your benevolent ruler, appointed to the position by a divine mandate from above. Just because that mandate manifested as a snowflake landing on my tongue is immaterial. Also, ignore that bit of rabble-rousing you may have read a week ago. A single and perpetual head of state is the one, true way to manage a website and all of its readers.

Now that you all have recognized my authority, it is time for my declarations for the betterment of all. First, watch the Finger of Light episode of Fraggle Rock. Next, contemplate the different levels of power each of the characters exhibit and their reactions to others who wield power. I’ll save my third command for after you’ve completed the first two.

Do your see yourselves in these characters? Are you hankering for control? Wanting to rule in spite of others? Taking back power after someone has thrust their whims upon you? Wishing to remain a casual observer? If you said that last, the episode should indicate that there is no such thing as a bystander when it comes to making decisions and choosing whether to accept others’ decisions regarding our actions. Everyone has a hand in how they live. No matter how much Mokey wishes she hadn’t been chosen to give commands and knows that this is a game, she feels a great responsibility. This weight is magnified after she is made to feel that she has wasted her first two commands.

She hears the pleas of the people, she seeks wisdom from outside advisers, she goes into exile and finds that no one can agree on anything. She either needs to accept her power and the burden of making decisions that might not be perfect or she has to overthrow the system.

After doing a little song searching, she has made her decision and attempts to woo the people into working together by engaging their shared love of song. Though the other Fraggles are pacified for the duration of the song, giving hugs to Doozers even, they fail to seize the power that she is giving them, instead continuing to demand that Mokey engage in the game. She is swayed by the masses, proving that you cannot avoid your predetermined fate.

And so, dear readers, though it brings me little joy to be in such a position, I must not abdicate my responsibility. I must issue my third command. Someone bring me a pickle. After watching this episode, I’m hungry.

Strongest Moment: At the end of Time to Live as One we get to see all of the Fraggles doing what they do best, working together in song. Wembley hugs a Doozer and a saxophone dominates the instruments, which must be helping the cabbages and petunias in Fraggle Rock grow. I love all the little connections that you don’t always see the first time.

Weakest Moment: Gobo and Red singing Yucky feels extremely out of place. They just went on a harrowing journey with friends and when they’re not chosen to be Ruler of the Rock they think their day is ruined? I don’t buy it.

MVF (Most Valuable Fraggle): While Mokey makes a play for the spot with her valiant rethinking of whole societal structures in a song, World’s Oldest Fraggle has to take the prize. He’s got the best lines in the episode and is being carried around on a palanquin by four Fraggles dressed in what appear to be scrubs, including one with a stethoscope.

First Appearance Of…: Marlon Fraggle and World’s Oldest Fraggle. Both of these characters have a lot to unpack both as their characters continue and as what they represent in this episode. And a third person with a lot of power: Ned Shimmelfinney’s hand.

Most Classic Moment:  Maybe no one else does this, but whenever someone asks, “Where are we going?” my answer is, “The Echo Hole.” So far, everyone gives me raised eyebrows after I say that. No one has continued the proper chant.

Musical Highlight: Time to Live as One is a soft ballad sung mostly by Mokey as she attempts to change the world in a song, which encapsulates the trajectory of the show. Unfortunately, at the end, the Fraggles still demand a declaration for the betterment of all, showing they’ll still need another few seasons to catch on.

Coolest Puppetry Effect: There are two different shots of the Fraggles as they cross the Echo Hole. One uses the animatronic puppets and though it shows just how precarious the situation is, the stiff movement detracts from the scene. However, the shots where the Fraggles hover over the hole as their feet step to the edge and their voices echo back to them, really helps sell the oblivion.

Darkest Moment: I appreciate the pause over the Echo Hole to contemplate just how far down it goes and what that means for anyone who might fall. And we should all heed Boober’s warning that hearing one’s own voice can do strange things to the brain. Something that should be avoided for fear of psychic damage.

Fraggle Lore: The World’s Oldest Fraggle’s declaration that “he’s got a feeling in my bones” that it’s Ruler of the Rock Day speaks to some obscure and ancient knowledge that, if investigated, probably coincides with something rather mundane in outer space. But his delineation of the rules plus the catchy ritual chanting give this game the proper gravitas.

Obscure Character Watch: The Pipebangers and their pickle-shaped hats make an appearance to announce the coming of the World’s Oldest Fraggle.

One More Thing…: The Fraggles are holding up signs to hopefully influence Mokey’s commandments. We see one with the solemn mark of the Fraggle, one with a clock that appears to be asking for a 5-minute work week instead of 30, one that pleads for no more radishes, Red’s sign which indicates everyone should wear their hair like she does, another with what appears to be a picture of a Fraggle with wings strapped to their back, and finally a sign calling for Gorg and Fraggle equality. This episode was really pushing the agenda.

Okay, One More Thing…: Boober simultaneously showing us how important it is to wear masks 40 years before it was cool and then showing us how not to do it when he talks and his mouth is no longer covered by the mask.

Click here to assume the awesome responsibility of command on the ToughPigs forum!

by Katilyn Miller

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