Riverdale recap: Season 4, Episode 1, “Chapter Fifty-Eight: In Memoriam,” Aired Oct. 9, 2019
The passing of Luke Perry shocked people all over the world, hitting family and friends the hardest – including the cast and crew of Riverdale. Luke’s passing happened March 2019, during production of season 3, therefore, the show made the creative decision that it was not the right time to address his death. Being as season three’s storyline focused on the Gargoyle King and Farm, there was fear that the situation wouldn’t have been acknowledged in the way that Luke deserved, therefore, the season continued with Fred working away.
After the season three finale, the gang had defeated the Gargoyle King, Black Hood and the Farm – at least so we think/hope – making the season four opening episode the perfect opportunity to pay respects to Luke Perry and his beloved character on the show, Fred Andrews.
We find out through FP that whilst helping a stranger change a tire on the side of a road, filled with traffic, Fred is struck and killed saving said stranger in a freak hit-and-run accident. The tears began flooding for me at this point, watching Mary in tears and FP trying to keep it together himself whilst giving Archie and his mum the news.
When Archie decides to collect Fred from Cherry Creek, knowing full well that his father would want to be home during the July 4th weekend, I was so proud of our boy and it felt right having Archie bring our hero home. The show did an outstanding job with showing the full insight as to how much of a hero Luke/Fred was to everyone and the legacy that will carry on in honour of him.
Shannen Doherty was a great addition to the episode, being a long-term friend of Luke’s, baring in mind Luke had previously mentioned he wanted Shannen on the show somehow – it’s just a heart-breaking shame that these were the circumstances to bring her in to the Riverdale world. Shannen was the perfect person to step in to help bring closure for herself, Luke’s fans and all of his co-workers. If anyone knew what a talent and incredible person Luke was, Shannen was the one.
KJ Apa had me so proud of him throughout the entire episode – he portrays Archie’s cycle of grief, anger, denial and acceptance beautifully, making me not only sympathize with Archie, but also for KJ himself as well. When Archie found out who had been driving the car that killed Fred, the Archie that we’ve all come to know came out for a split second again, causing trouble where he shouldn’t be, however that thankfully didn’t last too long and he showed his vulnerable side once more.
The whole cast in general had me proud, as not only was their characters grieving the loss of Fred, the actors were also grieving the loss of Luke.
A scene that really touched my heart and made me smile was when the gang, alongside Reggie and Kevin, sat in Archie’s back yard, reminiscing on their favorite memories of Fred, supporting one another to speak up. I imagine that the cast and crew did the same, sharing memories of Luke and remembering the wonderful man he was.
Although every second of this episode was a hard watch, I think the hardest for me, personally, was knowing every single tear that these actors shed, were real. None of the tears in this episode were down to acting. They were genuine and raw tears filled with pain and grief for Luke Perry. I respect everybody so much for plucking up the courage to help bring this episode to life, whilst also processing the death in their personal lives as well. I applaud them all so much.
Two more shout-outs regarding honoring Fred Andrews so perfectly was having Sheriff FP Jones escort Archie and Fred back in to town, where you can see hundreds of people lining down the street with banners filled with words of love to the town’s hero. It was a stunningly poignant touch that although we were most likely drowning in our own tears at this much, still had the power to make us smile. The last shout-out goes to the gorgeous funeral held for Fred, in which we see many of our favorites rest a red rose on his coffin, during Archie’s speech, that again, had me in floods of tears.
The perfect, personal touch to bring the episode to a close was our brief encounter with some old photographs of Fred, of course, passed on from Luke’s family and the small flashbacks we got of him, whilst Archie finally took a breather and had processed everything that had happened. I knew as soon as Archie broke down, that was going me to following suit and after how strong Archie had been through that episode, I think he – and KJ – needed that moment to let all of his grief out and allow himself to hurt. Archie always wants to get justice for everybody in his life, however he never ever processes his feelings anymore and I think we need more episodes like this one, to allow our teenagers to just feel.
“His spirit and memory lives on in this town and in everyone he’s met. Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale.”
It has been a pleasure to watch Luke Perry portray Fred Andrews over the past three years and it was an honour to have been able to witness an episode in which we pay tribute to an extremely loved man, who has touched all of our hearts in one or another. May his legacy now live on forever. Rest in peace, Luke. We all love you very much.
Riverdale airs Wednesdays on The CW and Netflix.