The Riverdale episode that every fan knew would leave them in tears finally aired, and just as expected, it was a truly emotional gut-punch. The teen drama's Season 4 premiere centered on the death of Fred Andrews, serving as a tribute to the late Luke Perry. The episode was filled with touching, tear-filled moments, but it hit its emotional peak when Archie delivered the eulogy for his father. Archie's eulogy for Fred on Riverdale definitely had every viewer sobbing, and it was such a touching tribute to both Luke Perry and to his work on Riverdale.
Spoiler alert: This post contains spoilers from Riverdale Season 4 Episode 1, "In Memoriam." Although Luke Perry died of a stroke earlier this year in March while Riverdale was still in the midst of filming its final episodes of Season 3, the cast and crew of the show decided it would be better to hold off on bringing up the death until they had the time to devote a whole episode to Perry. I mean, those final episodes of Season 3 were so full of dark twists and plotlines that it would have felt bizarre to try to squeeze in the emotional tribute Perry deserved among all the Gargoyle King stuff.
Instead, the Riverdale team devoted the whole Season 4 premiere to remembering Luke Perry and saying goodbye to his character, Fred Andrews. In the episode, Archie learned that his father was killed in a hit-and-run while he was on the side of the road helping a woman with a flat tire. To make the moment extra sentimental and special, the woman Fred was helping was played by Shannen Doherty, Luke Perry's longtime friend and Beverly Hills, 90210 costar.
Doherty's character led Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead in a prayer for Fred at the site of his death, and soon after that, it was Archie's turn to turn everyone into a puddle of tears. After bringing his father's body back to Riverdale for the funeral, Archie delivered a eulogy that was both incredibly personal to the character and also a meta memorial to Luke Perry himself. You can read Archie's eulogy in full below:
Earlier I was thinking, on the drive over here, how much of Riverdale my dad built, or just fixed up: houses, office building, a bit of everything. He helped build this town, and one day, if I'm lucky enough to have a son or 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." It's the Fourth of July. I remember this one Fourth, it was raining, the fireworks show was cancelled, and I was so bummed. I remember sitting in the back yard just bawling... until my dad came home with all these fireworks. I mean, enough to burn a house down — remember that, mom? And we light them in the back yard; it was just the best night. My dad was here for every high and every low. 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 or talk to him, but his spirit and his memory lives on in this town and in everyone he's met. Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale. I love you so much, dad.
OK, now I'm crying all over again. As a final, emotional touch, the episode ended with all of Archie's friends setting off fireworks in his yard, recreating the story he told in the eulogy. After a few flashback moments of Fred played, the episode faded into a card reading "In loving memory of Luke Perry, 1966 - 2019."
After this episode, Riverdale will return to its regular, off-the-walls stories about mob bosses, biker gangs, and supernatural-seeming spooks, but in this earnest Season 4 premiere, the show delivered a perfect memorial for a great actor and friend.
Riverdale Season 4 continues on Wednesday, Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.