Riverdale finally aired the first episode of Season 4 on Wednesday (Oct. 10), and gave Luke Perry’s character Fred Andrews a touching sendoff in the process.
The teen drama took a momentary break from the onslaught of out-there murder plots and sarcastic quips to honor Perry, after his untimely passing and offered a tender, moving end for Fred and a new beginning for Archie.
Warning: This article contains spoilers for Riverdale Seasons 3 and 4.
Perry passed away at just 52 after suffering a stroke earlier this year. Ever since then, the Riverdale crew has been devastated by the loss, as they’ve struggled to move beyond the hole he left in the show as well as their hearts. He portrayed Archie’s (KJ Apa) father Fred Andrews, who offered a constant source of support and wisdom to his fictional son, making his departure from the show even more heartbreaking.
The episode offered a sensible conclusion for Perry’s storyline on Riverdale, as Fred Andrews had previously been “out of town” for most of season 3.
During the first episode of season 4, Archie receives a life-changing phone call: he learns Fred has passed away after being hit by a car. His body was transported to a funeral home in another town, and as such would be there until after the 4th of July holiday. Archie had to make a trip to Cherry Creek with friends in tow to pick his father up, which made for some of the most heart-wrenching viewing ever for Riverdale fans.
Without getting too much further into the story so fans can process their grief as the episode unfolds, the episode handled Perry’s departure in a sensitive and touching way. The sadness was palpable, with real tears, real sadness, and a tenderness that you rarely see in teen dramas.
Showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa previously announced that the show would be honoring Perry with an episode dedicated to him, and that it would be “the most important episode” of Riverdale the cast will create this year, “if not ever.” After getting a chance to take it all in, we’d absolutely agree.