By: Ariss Durazo

Put your mind to ease, the wait for Riverdale’s return is finally here! For those who don’t know, the series follows Archie Andrews’ life in the small town of Riverdale as the town’s hidden darkness within starts to unravel. The American teen drama debuted its first episode of season 4 on Wednesday October 9, and it did not come without its tear-jerking moments as the episode surrounded a powerful dedication to recently passed co-star, Luke Perry. 

Before we dive into the episode, let’s recap on what’s been going on in Riverdale. Season 3 ended with Jughead, Archie, Betty, and Veronica vowing to stop involving themselves in chaotic cult rivalries and murder mysteries to enjoy what’s left of their high school experience. But just as the final episode comes to a close, we get a glimpse of the future that shows an unexpected turn of events, leadings these four lifelong friends to go their separate ways. It looks as though it may be their only option for whatever is about to come! 

The first episode of season 4 kicks off with Jughead dedicating more time to his writing and to his relationship with Betty, Archie and Veronica’s relationship still going strong, and the town preparing for a Fourth of July parade after 3 years of not celebrating it. All seems well, until the heartbreaking reality kicks in. 

A few minutes into the episode, Archie gets a shocking phone. He finds out that his dad, Fred, had stopped to help someone off the side of the road and ended up getting struck by another car, killing him. 

Overcome with grief, Archie eventually heads to confront the person who hit his father. It’s revealed that the driver had actually turned himself in while covering for his son, who had ended up taking the car without his dad’s permission, hitting Fred then fleeing the scene. It’s under these circumstances Archie realizes similar immature mistakes he himself has made in the past. He thinks to himself that if his father was there, he would have done the same for him. 

We all knew this episode was coming, as Luke Perry, who played Fred’s character, had passed away March 2019 after suffering a stroke. It was only appropriate that the entire first episode of the new season be dedicated to Luke. The storyline follows the cast mourning the loss of Luke on-screen while also honoring Fred as they reminisce about the good deeds he had accomplished throughout the series. Archie’s character even meets the woman that Fred saved from the car (played by Luke Perry’s previous 90210 co-star, Shannen Doherty). 

Towards the end of the episode, the Fourth of July parade ends up turning from something the townspeople of Riverdale avoided into a celebration of Fred’s life. As Archie and Veronica bring Fred’s body from Cherry Valley back to Riverdale, they are greeted by a parade of supporters holding signs praising Fred and honoring his memory. After, Archie and his friends continue the celebration with a small fireworks display—symbolic of when Fred would give Archie his own fireworks show. This was definitely a powerful way to start season 4.

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