George Segal Honored in 'The Goldbergs' Season 9 Premiere

When The Goldbergs returned with its ninth season premiere Wednesday night, the beloved ABC sitcom bid a touching farewell to one of its own. Following the March death of series star George Segal, who passed away at the age of 87 from bypass surgery complications, the series took a moment to honor the famed actor and his onscreen counterpart, Albert "Pops" Solomon, in an heartfelt episode documenting the Goldberg family as they dealt with their grief.

Titled "The Goldbergs' Excellent Adventure," the Season 9 premiere opened in its typical season premiere fashion with a movie tribute. An adult Adam Goldberg, voiced by Patton Oswalt, narrated the beginning of the episode, telling the audience, "back in the '80s, my grandpa Pops was the greatest guy ever. He was my partner in crime-sometimes literally-and was always up for an adventure. Everyone loved Pops, which is why we had such a hard time when he passed away. But months later, we were finally moving on. Sort of..." However, after Pops sadly passed away in his sleep, the Goldbergs were still far from moving on, with Beverly calling herself an orphan, Erica struggling with wedding decision making, Barry reacting in anger, and Adam carrying around a he plans to green-screen Pops' face onto for their unfinished movie, Pops & Adam's Excellent Adventure.

As the family struggles with their grief, family friend Bill helps Murray concoct a "secret plan" to help them heal, involving a fake letter from Pops with instructions to spread his ashes in his favorite place. The remainder of the episode followed the Goldbergs as they journeyed from the racetrack to a jazz club and even a diner, meeting important people in Pops' life along the way, as they attempt to figure out where his favorite place was. Towards the end of the episode, Beverly realizes the letter was fake, and Murray admits he was involved in the scheme, admitting to his family that he is also struggling. He said, "the guy who gave me my business, my family, my happiness, he's gone forever. And I don't know the first thing to do." The whirlwind journey however, did serve to help in the healing process, and by the end of the episode, the family travels to the tree where Pops proposed to his wife. As the family spreads Pops' ashes, Adam says a line from Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure "that sums up how Pops lived his life and how he'd want us to live ours...' Be excellent to each other, and party on!'"

Speaking to Entertainment Tonight about the tribute, Wendi McLendon-Covey said the episode "manages to be funny and heartwarming and tear-jerking, but it's a tribute to the character of Pops, what a beautiful man George Segal was. And we will never stop mentioning him." Segal portrayed the beloved character since 2013, starring in more than 160 episodes of the series. His final appearance came in the April 7 episode "Couple Off." New episodes of The Goldbergs air Wednesday nights on ABC.