Riverdale‘s season four premiere was a special tribute to one of its own. In the season opener titled, “Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam,” the town of Riverdale mourns Fred Andrews, played by the late Luke Perry. The episode pays tribute to not only the character of Fred Andrews, who was and is arguably the best parent on the show, but also Perry, who became a mentor to the young cast and a friend to everyone on the show. Hollywood and the world were in utter disbelief at his passing back in March and Riverdale‘s production was put on hold for a few days. The remainder of the show’s run is dedicated to Perry. Leading up to the premiere, multiple cast members posted tributes to their costar on social media, making the day an emotional one. Continue reading to see just how the show honored one of the most-loved actors and characters of our generation.
— Archie Comics (@ArchieComics) October 9, 2019
The episodes starts off how most Riverdale episodes start: Jughead (Cole Sprouse) narrating and sitting down at Pop’s, explaining what the audience has missed since time has passed. Kevin (Casey Cott) seems to be back to his normal self after The Farm, jogging with his dad (Martin Cummins). The town is getting ready to celebrate the 4th of July and how after some debate, there will indeed be an Independence Day parade on Main Street, Riverdale’s first in three years but there will be no fireworks over Sweetwater River. Betty (Lili Reinhart) is reading a story Jughead wrote and thinks it’s good enough to win a contest he’s submitting the story in. Veronica (Camila Mendes) and Archie (KJ Apa) are cuddling in bed, wanting to stay in bed but Archie knows that they should finish building their float that’s going to be in the parade. Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) is reading The Riverdale Register to Jason’s (Trevor Stines) corpse, finding out that the parade is moving forward. The Core Four is at Pop’s building the float when Cheryl drives up, telling them that there shouldn’t be a parade because the holiday is a day of tragedy for the town because of what happened to Jason. She makes it a point to say that she will be going to the parade to protest.
At Pop’s, the gang is talking about going camping while eating breakfast. Betty says that this will be one of the last times they’ll be able to do something like this because the following year they’ll be getting ready to go to college. Jughead says there’s no need to be scared of bears since Archie’s survived multiple attacks. Just then, Archie gets a call from his dad. After a few seconds, he steps away from the booth and after listening to the call, drops the phone and falls to his knees. Jughead, Betty and Veronica run to him, seeing if he’s okay.
Back at the Andrews residence, Sheriff Jones (Skeet Ulrich) is explaining to Archie and Mary (Molly Ringwald) about what happened to Fred: He was driving home to Riverdale one night, pulled over to help someone that was stalled on the side of the road, another vehicle came way too fast and he was struck by it. Archie asks if the other car stopped and FP nods his head no, indicating it was a hit and run. Archie wants to find out who did it but FP tells him the Sheriff’s Department will take care of it.
Mary and Archie are talking to someone about costs for a funeral and transportation of Fred’s body. She says that since they’ll be transporting the body from upstate, there’s an additional cost of $9,000. Veronica, who is showing her support, offers that money at no cost. Because of the holiday, they won’t be able to transport it until the 5th.
Archie, Veronica, Jughead, Betty, Kevin, and Reggie (Charles Melton) are hanging out in Archie’s backyard, sharing their memories of Fred. Betty tells a story of a father-daughter potato sack race and how Fred stepped in to do the race with her since her dad wasn’t around, Jughead tells a story of how FP was drinking and Fred would take care of the both of them and ask Jughead how he was doing and if he’s eaten anything. Kevin mentions how Fred built and donated sets for the musicals. Archie tells a story of going to Sears with him just so he could ride the tractors. He mentions how Fred taught him everything; how to play guitar, how to play baseball, football, practically every sport. They fixed up the jalopy together, bought him his first guitar, and sound-proofed the garage.
That night, Archie dreams that he’s seeing his Grandpa Artie, who asks where Fred is. Archie says that he should already be with him and Grandpa Artie brings him to the dining room where friends and family are sitting around a table. Archie wonders where his dad is and Grandpa Artie tells him he was supposed to bring him. Archie wakes up and tells Veronica, who was laying next to him, that he needs to get his dad, he needs to bring him home.
Reggie gives Archie keys to a hearse that’s been sitting on the auto lot for two years, saying that no one wants to buy it. Archie apologizes to Jughead and Betty for calling them so late, that he didn’t want his dad to be in some random town, he couldn’t wait until after the holiday to bring him home. The Core Four drive up to Cherry Creek and Archie and Veronica go to the police department. Archie asks a Deputy if they’ve found the person responsible for Fred’s death and the Deputy said they have a description of the car, make and model but no plate number. Archie asks about his dad’s car, being told that it’s still at the accident site and asks for directions.
The Core Four get to the funeral home and Archie says he wants to bring his dad home, saying he wants to be the one to bring him home. The funeral home director says that’s not possible. Archie calls Mary and he tells her that he’s in Cherry Creek to pick up his dad. He tells Mary that the funeral home won’t let him because he’s underage and Mary talks to the funeral home director and gets everything sorted. Archie asks to see his father to confirm that it’s him. Archie couldn’t do it so he asks Betty and Veronica to make sure that it’s him. Archie asks Jughead to write the obituary. Betty and Veronica come back and confirm that it’s Fred and Veronica has his belongings.
Back in Riverdale, Cheryl and Toni (Vanessa Morgan) are at the Andrews’ house with Mary, giving their condolences. Cheryl tells Mary how she felt when Jason died, feeling alone and not wanting her or Archie to feel anything remotely like that. Cheryl tells Mary, with her blessing, there’s something she wants to do for them for when Archie returns.
The Core Four drive to the accident site in Cherry Creek, where Fred’s car is still on the side of the road. Archie goes through things in the truck, seeing pictures, ads, and the like. A car drives up and out steps a woman, played by Perry’s Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Shannen Doherty. She says she’s just paying her respects and after asking Archie who he is, says that Fred told her, revealing she was the one he helped; her tires blew and people kept driving by, nobody would stop but Fred did, talking about Archie the entire time. They were working on the tire and a car came out of nowhere, speeding. She froze in its path and Fred pushed her out of the way, saving her life. She says that although there is nothing she can do to ever repay him, she would like to say a prayer, and says a prayer with the Core Four.
At a diner, Archie wonders why his dad had to be a hero, why did he have to stop. Betty says it was because he helped people, that’s just who he was. Archie says he died on the side of the road, no family, no friends, it’s not heroic, it’s senseless. Archie leaves the diner to get some space and gets a call from Sheriff Jones. FP tells him that they found him, the guy that killed Fred, and he turned himself in but made bail. FP promises Archie that Fred will get justice and Archie makes the same promise, going to a phone booth and finding the address of the guy that killed Fred.
Getting to the guy’s house, Archie immediately pins the guy against the wall, telling him that he hit his father and drove off. The guy’s son comes out, saying that he’s the one who did it. He took the car when he wasn’t supposed to. Jughead, Betty and Veronica find Archie, saying that FP called Jughead because he had a bad feeling. Archie says that he confronted the guy, but how the son actually did it, and it’s something Archie would’ve done, take out the car without permission, his dad protecting him. Archie says all he ever did with his dad was fight with him and that he’s ashamed. Veronica tells him that his dad loved him more than anything and that he was proud of him. She tells him that he’s gonna finish what he started: He’s going to bring his dad home.
The hearse is all loaded up, Betty and Jughead taking the truck and Archie and Veronica taking the hearse.
Driving back into Riverdale, they’re stopped by Sheriff Jones, who asks if he can give Fred a police escort. Driving down Main Street, the road is lined with people, holding up signs for Fred, saying they’ll never forget him and welcome home, waving the American flag. Once they get home, they’re greeted by Mary, Kevin, Tom, Josie (Ashleigh Murray), and Sierra McCoy (Robin Givens). Archie said that he couldn’t leave Fred there, he brought Dad home. Mary tells Archie that she’s proud of him, and he would be too.
At the funeral, Josie is singing “Amazing Grace” while Archie, Jughead, Kevin, Reggie, FP, and Tom are carrying the casket. Everyone is putting a single rose on it. Archie gets up to say some words, but it takes him a minute to find what to say. He says on the drive over, he was thinking just how much of Riverdale his dad built. He said one day if he’s lucky enough to have a son or daughter of his own, he will show them a building that Fred built and say, “Your grandpa made that, with his hands.” Archie said he remembers this one 4th of July, the fireworks show was canceled and he was so bummed. Fred came home with fireworks, enough to burn a house down, and they lit them in the backyard. Archie said he was there for every high and every low and that it hurts that he never got to say goodbye, he’ll never see him again or talk to him. “But his spirit and his memory lives on in this town and everyone he’s met. Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale.”
Sitting at home, Jughead writes Fred’s obituary. “How do you sum up the life of a guy like Fred Andrews?” Starting with the facts, saying when and where he was born and to whom, his high school sports life, took over the family business, got married, had a son. That he was always willing to open his home to others. “Fred left Riverdale better than when he found it. That’s his legacy.”
The gang lights up fireworks in the backyard for 4th of July, just how Archie described it. Archie goes into the garage, finding little things that he did with his dad, clips showing up of Fred soundproofing the garage, fixing up the jalopy. The final thing we see is a picture of Fred and Archie, with “In Loving Memory Luke Perry 1966-2019” on the screen afterwards.
A beautiful episode to honor a truly beautiful soul. Luke Perry, we will never, ever forget you and your legacy. Happy Birthday and rest in peace.