Riverdale paid tribute to late actor Luke Perry with its Season 4 premiere, revealing his character, Fred Andrews, sudden passing. The CW drama series kicked off its new season with special episode honoring Luke Perry's character's legacy on the series, after Archie (KJ Apa) and his loved ones found out the news of his death. Like Fred's usual actions, his death is revealed to be the direct result of his heroism.
Spoilers ahead for Riverdale Season 4 Premiere: "In Memoriam"
The episode begins in the usual Riverdale happenings, with Archie, Veronica (Camila Mendes), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse) working together on a float for the newly reinstated 4th of July parade in town.
One person not happy with celebration is Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch), who pledges to sabotage the festivity's as retaliation for the town bringing back the celebration which set the stage for the death of his brother three years earlier.
The friends brush off Cheryl's threats and plan their future plans for the summer at Pop's when Archie gets a call from his father. We cannot hear what the call says but Archie steps out of the booth and walks away but starts to collapse after hearing the devastating news of his father's death.
F.P. (Skeet Ulrich) visits the Andrews' home where Archie and his mother Mary (Molly Ringwald) sit as he tells them what happened to Fred.
He says he talked to authorities in a neighboring town and reveals Fred was driving home to Riverdale when he pulled over to hep someone whose car had stalled at the side of the road. While he was helping, another car came rushing through the road and hit Fred, seemingly killing him instantly.
Archie asks if the driver pulled over, but F.P. confirms it was a hit and run.
Later in the episode, Archie and the group head to the town to retrieve his father's body. They run into the woman (Shannen Doherty) he helped and share a prayer with her by his truck in the street. Archie later finds out from F.P. that a man turned himself in for the crash.
He gets the man's address from the yellow pages and pays him an aggressive visit, searching for answers about what happened. The confrontation is interrupted when the man's son admits he was driving the car after having taken it without permission. His father turned himself in to protect the young boy.
Archie seems to let his anger go after the reveal, realizing the incident could've happened to him.
Creator Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa previously said filming the episode was a tough experience for the cast and crew.
"We kind of knew this was going to be brutal on the cast, especially KJ [Apa], who was Luke's main scene partner," he told TVLine ahead of the premiere, adding that — while it was a challenge — "everyone was really proud to gather to tell this tribute to Fred, and to Luke."
Riverdale airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.