Wednesday night's new episode of Riverdale had a ton of action, a lot of spookiness, and some seriously unexpected twists, but it also included one particularly sad scene. The latest episode marked Luke Perry's final appearance on Riverdale since the actor abruptly died of a stroke about a month and a half ago, and fans tuned in to see Fred Andrews one last time. Luke Perry's final Riverdale scene was a short but incredibly sweet moment that truly encapsulated the loving comfort of Fred Andrews.
Spoiler alert: This post contains plot details from Riverdale Season 3 Episode 19, "Fear the Reaper." Since Luke Perry's death on March 4, Riverdale fans have been wondering how the series will deal with the sudden absence of one of its stars. Perry had already filmed a handful of upcoming Riverdale episodes prior to his death, but showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa revealed in the days leading up to this week's new episode that Perry's final appearance would be in the newly released Season 3 Episode 19. Aguirre-Sacasa also promised that the final Fred Andrews scene would center on Riverdale's only good parent sharing a beautiful bonding moment with his son, Archie. And the brief but emotional scene certainly did not disappoint.
Luke Perry's final scene came early on in Wednesday night's new episode of Riverdale. At the end of last week's episode, Archie was left standing over the unconscious body of his boxing opponent Randy Ronson after dealing a knockout punch. Of course, Randy had been overdosing on the dangerous Fizzle Rocks strain known as "G" prior to the fight, which is what was really responsible for his death, but Archie was going to have a tough time proving that considering the optics of Randy dying immediately after Archie's punch.
Archie goes home to freak out over the situation for a bit, and that's where his dad steps in to offer some calming words of wisdom. Fred assures his son that Randy's autopsy will prove that he was on drugs and that Archie was not responsible for his death. And although Fred's advice is sensible, Archie still feels guilty that he chose to continue the fight despite knowing that Randy was high on drugs. In the end, Archie is able to make things right by giving his prize money plus some extra cash to Randy's family.
Sadly, Fred's brief chat with Archie is the only time we see him in the episode, meaning that it is Luke Perry's final television appearance ever. That does not mean that Fred Andrews will not play a large, unseen role in the rest of the season, though. The show still has yet to provide any details on how it will explain Fred's absence in future episodes, which seems like it will be a uniquely tricky situation. Will the show kill Fred off so soon after Luke Perry's actual death, or try to find some way to force him out of town and separate him from his son forever? The synopsis for next week's episode reveals that Archie's mother Mary (played by Molly Ringwald) will return to the show, so perhaps Mary will become more than just a sporadic guest role moving forward.
Fans will just have to wait to see how the show deals with Fred Andrews' disappearance, but at least we got this final posthumous Luke Perry scene to remember him by.