Riverdale's fourth season began tonight on a somber note, as it paid tribute to the onscreen and offscreen life of series star Luke Perry. Perry, who portrayed Fred Andrews on the series since its premiere, passed away in March of this year at the age of 52, after complications tied to a stroke. The actor's sudden passing led to production on the series briefly being shut down, and the fate of Perry's character not being addressed onscreen for the remainder of Season 3, as the cast and crew worked to determine the best way to honor him. Tonight's premiere, "Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam", pays tribute to the lives of both Perry and Fred in some heartfelt and tear-jerking ways, and here's what you need to know about it.
The episode opens with the town preparing for their 4th of July celebration, after the terrors of The Farm and Griffons and Gargoyles faded from the spotlight. The town agrees to hold a 4th of July parade, but without fireworks. Cheryl prepares to read the paper to Jason's bloated corpse, finds out that the Core Four are responsible for putting on the parade, and confronts them about it outside of Pop's. She threatens to protest the parade.
The Core Four eat breakfast at Pop's and plan an upcoming camping trip. Archie suddenly gets a call and learns that Fred has died. At the Andrews' home, FP tells Archie and Mary what he learned -- that Fred was hit by a car while trying to help someone on the side of the road. Archie wants to investigate who was responsible for the hit and run, but FP tells him not to worry about it. The family meets about preparations for the funeral, which Veronica offers to help pay, but they learn that Fred's body can't be transported until after the 4th of July. Later, the kids sit together and recall positive memories they have about Fred. Archie gets choked up and asks if they can call it a day.
Later that night, Archie has a dream about how he needs to pick up Fred's body and drive him home. Reggie lends Archie his hearse, and the Core Four drive to pick up his body. When they arrive, Archie asks a police officer if they know who committed the hit and run, but they haven't found anything yet. Archie learns that Fred's truck is still parked at the site of the accident, and is given the location of where that is. They arrive at the funeral home, but are initially told they can't bring Fred home because Archie is a minor. Mary calls the funeral director, who quickly agrees to let Archie transport Fred. Archie asks to see Fred's body and confirm his identity, but ultimately asks Veronica and Betty to do it instead, and they confirm that it's him. Archie asks Jughead to write Fred's obituary, and he agrees.
The Core Four visit the site of the accident, and Archie gets into Fred's truck and goes through his belongings. A woman arrives at the scene with a bouquet of flowers and reveals that she was the one who Fred helped on the side of the road. She says that Fred talked about Archie the entire time, and that he ultimately died saving her from being hit by the car. She offers to say the Lord's Prayer for Fred.
The Core Four eat at a nearby diner, as Archie questions whether or not Fred really died a hero. Archie takes a call from FP, who reveals that the man behind the hit and run turned himself in. His name is George Augustine, and he already made bail. Archie finds Augustine's address in a nearby phonebook and confronts him. Augustine's teenage son, Jeffrey, reveals that he actually was the one who hit Fred.
Jughead, Veronica, and Betty find Archie outside of Augustine's house, and he explains what happened and how he sympathizes with Jeffrey, because George was protecting him the same way Fred would have protected him. Archie believes that Fred would be ashamed of him, but Veronica reassures that that isn't the case. Veronica convinces Archie to finish what he started, and they work together to bring Fred home. Once they get into town, FP offers to give a police escort. They make their way through town, where Cheryl and Toni have repurposed the parade into a memorial for Fred. They arrive home, and Archie and Mary embrace.
Fred's funeral is held, were Josie performs "Amazing Grace". One by one, everyone lays a rose on Fred's casket. Archie gives Fred's eulogy, and remarks about how much Fred helped build the town of Riverdale, and how his memory will live on in the people he impacted.
After the service, Veronica meets with the funeral director, who reveals that Hiram paid the entire bill for the funeral. Betty visits Hal's gravestone, which is littered with graffiti about him being the Black Hood.
Jughead writes Fred's eulogy, which people across the town read and get choked up about. Archie, Mary, and all of the teenagers gather to watch fireworks lit in Fred's honor. Archie tells Veronica that he's going to honor Fred's memory every day of his life. He goes into the garage, and remembers all of the things that he and Fred did together.0comments
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8/7c on The CW.