Riverdale Reveals How Fred Died in Season 4 Premiere

Riverdale returned tonight for its fourth season, but while season premieres generally mark the start of a new mystery for the popular The CW series tonight's "Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam" marked an end instead. The episode saw Riverdale say goodbye to Fred Andrews as well as saw the cast and crew pay tribute and say goodbye to Luke Perry, the iconic actor who played Fred until his sad passing earlier this year. While the last episodes of Season 3 following Perry's death gently worked around things by sending Fred out of town, tonight's Season 4 premiere saw Fred's story come to an end with Archie and all of Riverdale forever changed by his passing.

Spoilers for tonight's Season 4 premiere of Riverdale, "Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam," below.

Following Perry's death, Riverdale opted to send Fred out of town on business, but tonight as Archie and his friends prepare for Riverdale's first Fourth of July parade and celebration since the death of Jason Blossom in Season 1, Archie (KJ Apa) finds out that Fred will never be coming home. While having breakfast with Jughead, Betty, and Veronica at Pop's, he gets the devastating phone call that is father is dead. At the Andrews' house, FP Jones comes to talk with Archie and his mother, Mary, explaining how Fred died.

An emotional FP explains that Fred was on his way home from Cherry Creek when he came upon another motorist stranded on the side of the road. Fred stopped to assist them, but another vehicle came upon the scene going too fast, striking and killing Fred. The car that hit and killed Fred did not stop, making it of little comfort to Archie that his father died trying to help another person.

That feeling changes for Archie, however, when he decides to make the trip to Cherry Creek to collect his father's body himself. While going to the site of the accident to collect Fred's truck, Archie and his friends come across a woman (Shannen Doherty) bringing flowers to the site. It's soon revealed that she is the woman that Fred stopped to help, but his heroism didn't stop with him simply trying to help her. She reveals that her car's tire blew out and Fred did stop to help. When the other car sped towards them, however, it was she and not Fred who was in its fatal path. Fred pushed the woman out of the way, saving her life even though the act cost him his own. She tells Archie how much Fred loved him as well as how grateful she is for what Fred did for her.

It's Fred's goodness as a human that also comes into play a bit later when the driver who hit Fred comes forward, though he bails out of jail and goes home. Archie tracks him down and confronts the man only to discover that he wasn't really the man who killed Fred. Instead, the man taking the blame was just a father looking out for the real driver -- his underage, unlicensed son. Archie sees himself and Fred in that father and son.

Archie ultimately makes his own sort of peace with the situation and drives his father's body back to Riverdale, but before he can get into town, FP stops him to give Fred a police escort home -- and instead of the Fourth of July parade Riverdale envisioned, the whole town comes out to show love for and say goodbye to Fred Andrews, lining the streets with messages of love for the man who was the heart and soul of Riverdale.

Perry died in March at the age of 52 after suffering a massive stroke. Following Perry's death, his Riverdale costars spoke out with their own memories and tributes to the actor, with Apa, who plays Archie, talking about how Perry's legacy will live on in those who knew him.

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"His legacy is gonna live on in the lives around him, that he worked with, you know?" Apa said earlier this year. "I'm never gonna forget him and I think it's still very fresh and we're all still dealing with it... We're definitely gonna obviously have to address it at some point. [Possibly] that [means] Molly stepping in as more of an active parent for Archie, but that all depends on the availability of the actors around us. So, you know, we'll do what we can."

Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.