Riverdale Season 4 Premiere: In Memoriam

Season 4 of Riverdale began last night at 8 p.m. EST, bringing in diehard viewers and new viewers since this season premiere episode was also a tribute in memory of Luke Perry. Perry played Mr. Andrews, Archie’s dad, in the show previously, but his role in life came to an end on March 4, 2019 when he died of a stroke in real life at the young age of 52-years-old.

**Spoiler Alert**

Pancakes, tattoos, and young love.

Everything is hunky dory, and that’s when you know it’s going to crash and burn. Which is exactly what happens when Archie answers the phone while sitting at the diner. He finds out that his father, Fred, was driving home from Cherry Creek when he pulled over to help someone on the side of the road. Jughead’s dad F.P. Jones shares that another vehicle came up on them too fast and hit Fred, then leaving him on the side of the road in a hit-and-run.

All of Archie’s friends get together and reminisce about treehouses and picnics with potato sack races. Betty and Jughead speak about how Mr. Andrews was often the honorary father in their lives, standing in when they needed someone. Reggie, Veronica, and Moose are there as well. Veronica encourages Archie to share something. He goes on to say that he remembers his dad taking him to Sears so he could ride the tractors. That his dad taught him everything from playing sports to fixing up cars, bought him his first guitar and then soundproofed the garage. The memory circle in Archie’s yard ends up being too much for him and he calls it a day. But that night he isn’t able to sleep. He’s haunted. In his sleep he sees his Grandpa Artie, and Grandpa Artie tells him that his dad has not passed over to the “other side” because Archie was supposed to get him. When Archie wakes up with a fright, he tells Veronica that he wants to be the person to bring home his father’s body from Cherry Creek.

Is this what closure feels like?

That night, Reggie shows up with a hearse. Veronica, Archie, Jughead, and Betty drive out to retrieve Fred Andrews’ body. During this time, Archie asks Jughead to be the person to write the obituary. This moment is when viewers feel their stomachs drop because secretly we have all been hoping that Luke Perry is still alive, but he’s not. 

Cast & creators panel at SDCC 2017

When Archie goes to his dad’s truck, he meets a woman who stops to pay her respects. The woman is Shannen Doherty, and she says that Archie’s father pulled over to help her after one of her tires blew. She was the one he was helping, and she cries by the side of the road, sharing that Fred spoke about Archie the entire time they were working on the tire. He told her that he couldn’t believe that a man like him could have been blessed by such a thoughtful and kind boy.  She offers to say a prayer and the four teens stand by her side as she recites “Our Father.” The tears which pour are real, because all of these people worked closely beside Luke Perry in his various roles as an actor. This is a real loss, and they are truly grieving. So you know as I am typing this, my tears are also flowing.

We meet the speeding stranger

Archie struggles to cope with the loss of his father. He feels that the death was senseless, that his father should not have tried to play the hero. While he’s going through this thought process, he leaves his friends at the diner to “get some air,” which is when Archie’s phone rings for the second time during this show. FP is calling to say that the guy who killed Fred has turned himself in at the station. Archie immediately wants revenge on this speeding stranger, George Augustine, especially when he finds out that George didn’t stay in jail because he made bail. Archie looks him up in the phone book and heads off without letting his friends know.

Fortunately, during the commercial break which follows this flurry of emotions, I already knew that writers would make sure FP called his son Jughead to give him a heads up. Jughead, Betty, and Veronica would then know exactly where Archie was heading. They would get there just in the nick of time to talk him off the revenge ledge.

Archie wants to know why, as he slams George Augustine against the wall. As he’s yelling, Jeffrey, an unlicensed teenage boy, begins sobbing saying that it was him who hit Fred. Of course this stopped Archie from pummeling anyone, and he sat outside crying until his friends indeed did show up. He says he is ashamed of himself for showing up wanting revenge and that his dad would be ashamed of him too. Archie’s friends assure him that he was a great son and that his father was always very proud.

Fred will always be a part of Riverdale

As the hearse comes around the corner heading back into Riverdale, FP provides a police escort. As they drive through town the entire community is out with signs, saying that they will miss Fred. It was really a sight to be seen. The entire high school, Pop from the diner, everyone is there to honor Fred Andrews, to honor Luke Perry.

Archie says a few words at the funeral through deep breaths and tears. He shares that his dad had built or fixed up much of Riverdale, including the houses and office buildings, that he helped to build the town, and that he hopes that one day if he has a son or daughter of his own, he will be able to say, “Your grandpa made that with his hands.” The funeral is held on the 4th of July, and Archie remembers a 4th when it was raining and the fireworks were cancelled, but his dad came home with fireworks, and they lit them in the backyard.

“My dad was there for every high and for every low. He was the greatest man I have ever known. It hurts me that I never got to say goodbye and that I won’t get to see him again or talk to him. But his spirit and his memory lives on in the town and in everyone he has met. Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale.”

Betty walks over to her father’s tombstone and finds that it has been spray painted with the words, “Blackhood burns in hell.” Yes, well, I’m sure this will continue to be a part of the series, but it was only six seconds of this particular episode. Poor Betty.

Knight in flannel armor

The scene ends with Jughead typing the obituary on his laptop and not knowing where to start. As the keys begin tapping, he shares that Fred was always on the frontline fighting and defending the underdogs. “Fred Andrews was the Good Samaritan or George Bailey or the knight in flannel armor and, by the way, he was a hell of a good tipper, and that is his legacy.”

Watch again next Wednesday on the CW, or tune back in on The Painted Lines for our recap.