Serpentville kicks the action up a notch when we are finally introduced to Toni Topaz (Vanessa Morgan), Sweet Pea (Jordan Connor), and Fangs Fogarty (Drew Ray Tanner). Toni won my heart when her first line of dialogue was Jughead’s given name; Forsythe Pendleton Jones III. He corrects her, “it’s Jughead”, but I was super excited to hear his real name spoken for the first time on the show! Toni takes him under her wing and warns him about the Goolies, a rival gang who are responsible for the distribution of Jingle Jangle. Jughead is hesitant to associate himself with the Serpents, but when one of the Goolies works him over after hours at school, Jughead sits his ass down at the lunch table. I mentioned this last week, but I really like the way they’re playing out this idea that the Serpents act as a family, looking out for one another. And I’m hoping when all is said and done, they’re a little more West Side Story and a little less Sons of Anarchy. Vanessa shines as Toni; a welcome addition to the cast. I really enjoyed her interactions with Betty and how easily she and Jughead became friends.
A little context, Red Circle Comics is an imprint of Archie Comics that published non-Archie titles, specifically superheroes in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It was here you would find characters like The Hangman, The Fly, The Shield, and… you guessed it… The Black Hood. Fangs Fogarty is a character from the Little Archie comics. He was a bully who often harassed Archie, Jughead, and Reggie. He would come back later as a teenager to apologize for being awful as a kid. Toni Topaz appears for the first time in Jughead Double Digest #176, in 2012. She’s a tough girl with pink hair and purple jumpsuit whose eating skills rival Jugheads. Sweet Pea doesn’t appear in the comics, but his name makes me think maybe there’s a connection to a certain serpent lawyer we met last week, Penny Peabody. In the comics, Penny is Fangs Fogarty’s girlfriend… maybe she’s one of their mothers? Or not. And what about the Goolies? Well there was a The Sabrina the Teenage Witch Show spinoff titled Groovin Goolies on CBS between 1970-1971. The animated show featured a group of hip monsters residing at Horrible Hall, a boarding house for monsters on Horrible Drive. They looked and sounded like classic horror-film monsters and were a singing pop group. Yeah. So. That’s probably just a name drop thing with no context to its origin; though we can’t help but pick up all the Sabrina references being laid in our laps.
Gold Star of the episode goes to Casey Cott, he gives a pretty magnificent performance this week.
- Fred to Archie: “This is not the Wild West.”
- The Black Hood: “I am the wolf, you are the flock. This is the bloodletting.”
- Polly: “I am an unwed mother carrying my cousins babies. I am the poster child for sinner.”
- Veronica to Hermione: “Just remember, you are the one who welcomed him back.”
- Toni Topaz to Betty: “Wynonna Rider form Beetlejuice.”
- Kevin to Betty: “Except for when you’re exploring your BDSM sexualtity.”
- Hermione to Veronica: “The King will always keep her at arms length.”
- Veronica: “I want to be in the room where it happens.”