Luke Perry

Luke Perry died on March 4 before season 4 began filming.

Wednesday night’s season premiere of the CW channel’s hit show “Riverdale” wasn’t like the show’s past debuts. This episode was a memorial to cast member Luke Perry, who played Archie’s father. 

Earlier this year, Perry passed away due to a stroke, so “Riverdale” fans were curious to see how the writers would decide to handle the news. In the show, Fred Andrews gets killed by a hit-and-run driver on a busy street. Since Season 1, Archie has always been close to his dad and considered him a role model. His reaction to his father’s unexpected death was to fall to the ground in disbelief. The episode continues with Archie and his friends mourning over the tragedy.  

They visit the location where his father was hit and meet a woman who explains that Fred was helping her fix a flat tire when he pushed her out of the way of a speeding vehicle. Archie then finds out it was a young boy without a license driving the car, even though his dad took all of the blame for hitting Fred. After an emotional memorial in which all of Riverdale stands on the sidewalk in tribute while Archie drives his father’s coffin to the cemetery, the episode concludes with Fred’s funeral.

 

Although many deaths occur throughout this show, this was the most heartbreaking one of all. Perry played a character who was loved by everyone on the show. He had a construction company and basically built the town. It’s what made him a well-known part of the Riverdale community. Outside of the show, he made a big impact on the lives of each of the cast members as well. On social media, many cast members were posting about how much they miss the actor and dropped hints about the theme of this episode by mentioning dedicating the premiere to Perry. 

 

Fans are also anxious to see how this will impact future episodes. They’ll likely reference Fred often due to the importance of his role. Also, Archie’s mother — played by Molly Ringwald — may possibly become more of a main character, since Archie is only 17 years old. This might make Archie want to skip college and follow in Fred’s footsteps by taking over the family construction business. There are many ways his death can affect the direction of the show.

Viewers are still curious as to what the season will be about, but the show did leave some major clues in the Season 3 finale. The only concept that’s obvious is that it’s the kids’ senior year, but last season ended with some cliffhangers that’ll need to be resolved. 

When Betty returns home after escaping The Farm, a man stands in the living room of what was the Cooper’s house with Jughead and introduces himself as their brother Charles. The couple was a little skeptical about this after the confusion with Chic in Season 2, who also said he was their brother but actually killed their real brother. As they talk to Charles, he tells them that Alice is at The Farm undercover for the FBI. This made them question everything because Alice seemed so dedicated to the Farm. 

This season may not turn out the way viewers expect, especially for Jughead’s story, because in the final episode of last season, Betty, Veronica and Archie, all covered in blood, throw their clothes into a fire, including Jughead’s infamous beanie, though he’s nowhere to be found. Perhaps, it’s a sign of things to come.

While the premiere didn’t go too much in depth of what the four of them might encounter this season, it still made an impact on the series. The writers did a great job of delicately producing such an unfortunate and unexpected episode. Perry was an incredible asset to the show; he was perfect for the role of Fred Andrews and will surely be missed by many fans of the series.

Contact Gracie Brogowski at brogowsx@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.