Riverdale is back! And so am I! It’s been a long summer of going through withdrawl from my favorite CW show. How did I manage? A steady diet of Gossip Girl (aka Veronica: The New York Years) and the latest Riverdale novel, Get Out of Town.

If you haven’t watched this week’s episode, warning, SPOILERS abound. And if you haven’t watched Riverdale at all, please check out my three season primer, which should bring you up to date on the show.

Unlike last season, things are looking up for Archie and his gang at the start of season 4. They’re having fun. Betty is editing Jughead’s writing. Archie and Veronica are having a lot of sex. Things are good.

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Well, mostly good. Cheryl, all in white, is talking to her dead brother, Jason. Not his spirit, his actual dead body, propped up in a chair. She reads him the paper and is not happy when she finds about about the 4th of July parade. All I can think is that room must stink so bad.

Of course Archie is shirtless while the gang builds their parade float. Cheryl shows up unhappy. She points out that Jason Blossom died on July 4th three years ago and she wants to keep July 4 a day of mourning in town. The gang isn’t hearing it and proceeds with their 4th of July plans.

Later, at Pops, Jughead suggests a camping trip. Next summer they’ll all be leaving for college, Betty points out, so this summer might be their last summer to all get away together. The planning is interrupted by a call from Archie’s dad. As soon as he answers the phone, “Dad?”, I get all the feels. Whatever news Fred is telling him isn’t good. Archie drops the phone and falls to the floor. I start to think that wasn’t Fred on the phone.

Sheriff Skeet pays a visit to Archie. He tells Archie that Fred was driving home to Riverdale and pulled over to help someone in a broken down car. Another vehicle came upon him way too fast. Fred was hit by a hit and run driver and died. Okay, but why was someone calling to break this news from the dead man’s phone?

Archie wants to catch whoever did this hit n’ run. It happened up in Cherry Cheek, out of Riverdale jurisdiction. Skeet tries to talk sense into Archie, but that’s like trying to talk sobriety into a bottle of vodka.

Archie and friends tells stories about Fred in the backyard over beers. Betty tells a story about Fred stepping up to enter the dad daughter potato sack race with her at a town barbecue when her dad was nowhere to be found (aka he was killing folks, am I right?). Jughead talks about Fred always checking in on him when Skeet was out of the picture.  Archie reminisces about his dad, but gets too emotional and needs to call it a day. Veronica spends the night, snuggling with him.

Archie wakes up in the middle of the night and finds a man standing at his front door. It’s grandpa, who says “Get your dad. Everyone’s waiting.” His friends are all at the funeral/wake in his living room for his dad. Grandpa says, “Archie, you were supposed to get him.” Archie wake with a start and says “I have to go get my dad.” If Archie follows every nightmare he has, I’m starting to understand his bad decision making over the years. Veronica does a good job of having him not go get Fred’s body in the middle of the night.

Oh wait, Reggie shows up in a hearse in the middle of the night. I guess Veronica didn’t talk him out of it. Hey Arch, I don’t think the coroner’s office is open now. Geez, you really are dumber than you look. The gang of four, Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead drive up to Cherry Creek. It’s daylight when they get to the police department, so it must be a further drive than I assumed. But still.

Archie wants to check out the truck at the accident site. This seems like a bad idea. But when it comes to Archie, they all seem like bad ideas.

The funeral director says they can’t release Fred’s body to Archie. Molly Ringwald gets on the phone. I’m not sure how early it is. She’s still in her bathrobe and thought Archie was sleeping, but the funeral home is open for business. I guess she could have been sleeping in.  After the call with Mollie, the funeral director relents. I have to say, I’m really happy that Molly Ringwald is on the show now. I just wish it was under different circumstances. The funeral director says he needs three hours to prepare the body. Archie wants to see the body, hoping it’s someone else.

But Archie can’t do it, so he asks Veronica and Betty to check. They don’t show a Fred Andrews dummy onscreen, thankfully, but Betty and Veronica do verify it was Fred who died in that accident.

Cheryl and Toni comes over to console Mrs. Andrews. Cheryl wants to do something for the family. Hopefully it’s not buy a chair for Fred’s corpse ala Jason.

The gang drives out to the truck, which is still ins just as Fred left it when he pulled over. Fred’s jacket is in the car.

SHANNON DOHERTY SHOWS UP WITH FLOWERS! BRENDA! Archie wants to know what’s up, why she’s here. It turns out Fred was helping her when he died.

Shannon Doherty leads the gang in the lord’s prayer. It’s moving. As ridiculous as this show can be, and it reminded us just how ridiculous when it showed Cheryl talking to dead Jason at the start of this episode, they’re doing a great job paying remembrance to Luke Perry.

Skeet calls Archie. The hit and run driver turned himself in, but he got off on bail. Skeety gives Archie the driver’s name, George Augustine, and I say, “Why would you do that?” Archie looks up the guy in the white pages and goes to his house. Aw man, Archie, this isn’t a good idea. He knocks. George Augustine answers the door. Archie slams him into the wall. Archie…
A teen begs Archie to stop. It turns out George’s son Jeffrey was behind the wheel. The dad took the fall trying to protect his son, aka doing exactly what Fred would do. That gets Archie right in the feels.
Jughead, Veronica and Betty come to get Archie. Skeet had a bad feeling and warned them Archie might do something rash.. Maybe have that bad feeling kick in earlier and not give Archie the dude’s name, Skeet.
Archie’s friends tell him Fred was always proud of him. Veronica says they have one more job to do, take Fred’s body home.
Skeet stops Archie on the way into town. He wants to give Fred a police escort on the way home. The procession of the Fred’s police car, Reggie’s hearse, and Fred’s pick up truck makes its way through town. The whole town shows up. This is Cheryl’s gift to the Andrews family. Toni, Pops, JB, Reggie, everyone, is there. It’s ridiculous, but it’s nice.
Conspicuously absent from all this was Fred’s old lover Hermione Lodge.
Archie, Jughead, Kevin, Mr. Keller, Reggie and Skeet serve at pallbearers at funeral. Josie sings. No one at the funeral is sobbing more than Cheryl. Maybe because she has a dead body hanging out in her living room?
Archie gives the eulogy. He says that Fred helped build this town. And it’s true for the show as well, Luke Perry helped build Riverdale. He was often the only parent on the show worth a damn, and the show is less after his passing.
After the funeral, Veronica talks with Ms. Fisher. Veronica was going to pay for the funeral, but finds out from Ms. Fisher that Hiram paid the bill in full. She’s surprised and so am I.
Betty visits her dad’s grave. It’s a huge gravestone, maybe it’s only that big so that someone could spray paint on it “THE BLACK HOOD BURNS IN HELL.”
Jughead ends the episode eulogizing Fred Andrews in his writing. Hermione cries in her jail cell reading Jughead’s article. That explains why she wasn’t at the funeral. As does Hiram. Aww, they’re wearing matching orange outfits. Alice Cooper, Pops and Skeet also read Jughead’s eulogy. Wait, doesn’t he write for the student paper?
The gang lights off fireworks in the backyard in honor of Fred. These aren’t bottle rockets. They’re professional grade fireworks. But I guess when it’s being bankfolled by Veronica and Cheryl, this should be expected.
 
Archie vows to honor his dad’s memory every day, to be a better person. Inside the garage, Archie spies the old jalopy he was working on with his dad. The episode ends with a fade to black on a photo of Fred and Archie and a silent memoriam card that reads of In Loving Memory, Luke Perry, 1966 – 2019.
Despite Archie’s angry attack on George Augustine, and Cheryl’s reading the paper to her dead brother, this episode was a nice break from the usual craziness of the show. All the cliffhangers from last season were put on hold so that the show could pay its respects to Luke Perry, who was a cultural icon long before he joined the cast, and made the show better for his presence. I’m glad they didn’t make Fred Andrews a victim of the killer of the season, as I thought they would heading into last season’s finale. This was a nice episode, but I get the feeling the season really starts next week.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Once past the shock of seeing a gritty twisted version of beloved Archie characters in the very first episode of the first season, I’m sorry but I can’t find it in me, I have zero motivation to watch any more of Riverdale.
    I forced myself through the first season, meandering plots, forgettable characters with very little charisma or personality, forced teen angst…
    I mean, come on, is anyone still watching ? How many mysterious killers can there be?

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