'Riverdale' Honors Fred's Legacy in Luke Perry Tribute (RECAP)
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the Season 4 premiere of Riverdale, "Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam."]
"Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale."
And Riverdale is all the better for it. The Season 4 premiere serves as a goodbye and tribute to both Luke Perry and his character, and rightfully so, most of the craziness of the town is forgotten. (Cheryl does still have her dead brother's body in her house.)
But just as everyone is beginning to get back into the swing of normal life, tragedy strikes. And no longer does it matter if there's going to be a Fourth of July parade or fireworks over the river. Instead, everyone bands together to say goodbye to a beloved member of the community.
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He Died a Hero
The Core Four is enjoying a meal at Pop's when Archie's (KJ Apa) phone rings and his world falls out from under him. As FP (Skeet Ulrich) explains to Archie and Mary (Molly Ringwald), he was driving home from Cherry Creek when he pulled over to help someone with car trouble. Another vehicle came on them too fast, and Fred was struck and killed in a hit and run. Though Archie wants to catch the person responsible, FP assures him that he'll make sure that's taken care of.
The kids gather in the Andrews' backyard to share memories of Fred. Reggie (Charles Melton) recalls the tree house he built for them. Betty (Lili Reinhart) remembers him joining her for a father/daughter potato sack race when her father wasn't around in grade school. Jughead (Cole Sprouse) reveals Fred helped out when FP's drinking got bad and checked in on him after bringing his father home from the bar.
"He taught me everything," Archie says. He bought him his first guitar and soundproofed the garage.
That night, Archie hears a noise downstairs and finds his grandfather — and everyone else — waiting for Fred. "You were supposed to get him," his grandfather says, and Archie wakes up from the dream. He then decides that he can't wait for someone to transport his body on July 5; he wants his dad home now. And so he, Betty, Jughead, and Veronica (Camila Mendes) set out in a hearse Reggie lends them from his father's lot.
Archie does briefly run into trouble at the funeral home — he is underage — but Mary quickly resolves the problem (after realizing he's not, in fact, upstairs at home). He wants to see his father to make sure they didn't make a mistake, but when he can't do it, Betty and Veronica identify his body. While the funeral home director readies Fred for transport, the teenagers head out to the accident site, where Fred's truck is.
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There, Archie is surprised when a woman (Shannen Doherty) leaves flowers to pay her respects. She's the person he stopped to help that night, and as he did, he talked about Archie, "how he couldn't believe a man like him was blessed with such a thoughtful, kind boy." They were working on her tire when the car came out of nowhere. She froze, and Fred pushed her out of the way. The kids join her in a prayer for Fred.
Honoring Fred Andrews
"Why did he have to be [a hero]?" Archie asks the others as they sit in a local diner, all unable to eat (except Jughead, of course). It was who he was, Betty points out. But Archie sees him dying on the side of the road, without his family and friends, as senseless.
When he steps out for air, FP calls to tell him the local sheriff caught the guy responsible and gives him his name. When Archie learns he's out on bail, he seeks justice — only to learn that the man is covering for his teenaged son, who was the one driving.
It was something he would've and has done, taking the car out without permission, and his father, too, would've protected him, Archie tells his friends. He worries he's a terrible son for going into the man's house like he did, but Veronica assures him he isn't and his father would've understood. "Your dad loved you more than anyone and anything else," she promises. "Whenever he looked at you, there was pride in his eyes. He was proud of you."
All that's left to do is bring Fred back to Riverdale, and Fred gets the reception he deserves: a police escort from FP and the residents of the town lining the streets to welcome him home. When Archie gets home, Mary tells him she's proud of him, and Fred would be too.
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Josie (Ashleigh Murray) returns home for the funeral, where she sings "Amazing Grace."
"Earlier, I was thinking on the drive over here, how much of Riverdale my dad built or just fixed up, houses, office buildings, a bit of everything. He helped build this town," Archie says. "And one day, if I'm lucky enough to have a son or a daughter of my own, I'll be able to point to a building or even just a brick in a building and say, 'your grandpa made that with his hands.'"
He continues the eulogy by detailing how his father made up for a canceled fireworks show with a display in the backyard one Fourth of July. "My dad was here for every high and every low," he concludes. "He's the greatest man I've ever known. It hurts me that I never got to say goodbye, that I won't get to see him again, 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. I love you so much, dad."
After the service, Veronica is surprised to learn that her father took care of the entire bill. And Hiram (Mark Consuelos) and Hermione (Marisol Nichols) in prison, FP in his office, Alice (Mädchen Amick) wherever she is, and others then read the obituary Archie requested Jughead write for his father: "How do you sum up the life of a man like Fred Andrews? ... While others were rushing to get out of Riverdale, Fred was setting down roots. When our town saw a pariah and closed its doors, Fred saw a lost soul and opened his. There was always room in his home for others. Whenever our town was under attack, Fred was on the front line fighting for it, defending it. He was our good Samaritan, our George Bailey, our knight in flannel armor. ... Fred left Riverdale better than when he found it. That's his legacy."
And the episode ends with the kids and Mary gathering in the Andrews' backyard for a fireworks display. Archie declares his plans to "honor [Fred's] memory every day" before taking a moment in the garage and remembering his father as we see flashbacks of Fred.
They're not bad guys. They're not good guys. But they're always fun to watch.
Like Archie said, "Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale."
Riverdale, Wednesdays, 8/7c, The CW