Riverdale is doing something very unusual tonight. There will be no review of past episodes. Instead, they are focusing on something important — a tribute to the late Fred Andrews (otherwise known as Luke Perry). So there will be jumping back and forth from one story to another. There will be no snarks from me. I owe it to Luke Perry who provided me with many hours of viewing. The only thing that will be in this recap will be the story and as the show begins, no prelude but Jughead writing in his diary.
Jughead has spent the summer writing. Veronica has spent the summer with Archie. The gang is building a float for the Riverdale 4th of July parade. Cheryl still has his brother hidden in the house where she learns about the parade. As Archie, Jughead, Veronica, and Betty work on the float, Cheryl arrives and is not happy that there is going to be a parade. She is upset because it should be a day of mourning due to Jason’s death. Jughead, Archie, Betty, and Veronica discuss going camping and Archie’s phone rings.
Expecting his father, he hears a voice he doesn’t know and learns his father has … died. Of course, Archie is in shock.
Enter FP who tells Archie that he talked to the Sheriff from Cherry Creek and Fred had stopped to help a car in trouble. Fred was struck by another car who left the scene and died. Archie and his mom are both in shock. The family is being told about the funeral expense. Because Fred died out of Riverdale, it is going to be $9,000 to bring him home. Outside the house, our Riverdale four plus Kevin and Reggie remember all that Fred did for them when they were young. He took Reggie to the hospital when he fell out of a treehouse. Fred served as a father figure to Betty. Veronica remembered how helpful he was to all. For Jughead, Fred was there to talk to him about day to day things during his darkest hours. Kevin talks about his willingness to give. When Veronica asks Archie for memories, he talks about the commonplace things he and his dad did and how Fred taught him everything — football, baseball, and other sports. They fixed up the jalopy together. Fred got him his first guitar and sound-proofed the garage. The memories affect Archie who needs space to himself.
That night, Archie hears the wind and laughter. He gets up and goes out into the hall. Downstairs, he sees his grandfather, Artie, at the door. Grandpa Artie invites Archie to join the gathering but there is no Fred. Artie tells Archie that he was supposed to bring Fred home. He wakes from the dream and tells Veronica he is going to get his father and bring him home.
At the Cherry Creek Sheriff’s office, Archie has questions. The truck is at the accident site and Archie is going to get it. All of Fred’s possessions are at the funeral home. Archie tells the funeral director that he has come for his father. As a minor, they can’t release Fred to Archie but his mom talks the director into doing it.
Archie decides to identify his father but at the last minute, he just can’t go into the room. Veronica and Betty do it for him. They are in pain as they acknowledge that’s it is Fred. Archie asks Jughead to write the register/obit as Betty and Veronica come back with Fred’s belongings. (Excuse me while I cry!) Meanwhile, Cheryl and Toni visit Mary. Cheryl has something special she wants to do for the family when Archie gets back.
Archie and the gang have now made it to the accident site. Archie goes to the truck and sees Fred’s jacket. He gets in and finds his father’s belongings. As they are there, a car pulls up behind. Archie gets out of the truth and a woman (Shannon Doherty) arrives with flowers. She’s paying her respects and knows Archie’s name. She’s the one who was stranded and Fred stopped to help. Fred was the only one who stopped and he talked about Archie the whole time. The car that hit Fred came “out of nowhere and was speeding.” Fred saved her life because he pushed her out of the way. Once again, Fred was the hero. She wants to pray for Fred and the gang to join her. She leads them in the Lord’s Prayer as the sun itself seems to pay tribute to the man.
Back at a diner, no one can eat. Archie talks about how his father saved that woman’s life and died for her. Archie questions why his dad stopped. The gang tells Archie that’s what his dad did. Fred was always there for people. Archie’s having a hard time dealing with this. He goes outside to his dad’s truck and his cell phone goes off. FP is on the phone and tells Archie they found the guy who killed his dad. The guy turned himself in and made bail. Archie is upset and plans to make the man, George, pay.
Archie finds his phone number in a phone book and takes off to find the guy. At the driver’s home, Archie confronts him. Archie wants answers but George is crying. George has a son who committed the hit and run. Jeffrey, the son, did it and was afraid to confess. George took the blame to protect his son. Sounds like something Fred would do to me and Archie realizes it. There are two families in grief.
Archie is outside when the rest of the gang arrives. FP had called Jughead and they took off. Archie told them what happened and that the kid who hit Fred was a stupid, terrified kid. Archie realizes that he would have also taken the car out without permission. George did what Fred would have done, protected his kid. Archie can’t believe what he is doing. He feels like a terrible son. Veronica tells him that he’s not a terrible son. Archie remembers the fights and lies he did to Fred. Veronica tells Archie that Fred loves him and she saw pride every time Fred looked at Archie. Veronica tells him that it is time to go get the hearse and take his father home.
As the convoy arrives at the Riverdale town line with Fred’s body, FP is waiting to give them a police escort back into town. There is no one on the road but the street is lined by everyone paying their respects (major cry number two). Cheryl is there as is the rest of Archie’s friends. As the hearse pulls up to the house, Mary comes to Archie and hugs him. He has brought his father home and Mary is proud of him.
At the graveside funeral, Josie is there to sing “Amazing Grace.” Archie and his friends, plus FP, are the pallbearers. We watch Mary, Cheryl, and Betty lay a rose on the coffin. Archie delivers the eulogy and breaks down. Archie talks about how much Fred had fixed up or built buildings in Riverdale. Fred helped build the town. Archie tells everyone that he will be proud to point to a building sometime in the future and tells his children that their grandfather had a hand in creating that place. Archie talks about a previous Fourth of July. It was raining and Fred arrived back with fireworks. He, Mary and Archie shot them off in the back yard. Fred was the greatest man Archie had ever known and Archie hates that he will never have the opportunity to tell Fred goodbye. Archie says Fred’s spirit and memory will live on in the town known as Riverdale.
After the funeral, Veronica goes to the funeral director and offers to pays for the funeral but learns that Hiram already has paid for the service. Jughead is writing a history of Fred’s life. Hermione is reading the obit in her jail cell in tears. Hiram reads it in the prison yard. As each adult who is no longer in town (Alice) reads the obit, we see Mary going through her memory box of pictures. Archie comes in and escorts his mom outside. There are all of Archie’s friends with the backyard decorated. Cheryl sets off fireworks as “Going Home plays.” (Cry number three).
In the garage, Archie looks at the jalopy Fred helped him build. We get the memories that flash through Archie’s eyes of Fred soundproofing the garage, Archie sharing the car. Archie smiles and sobs. The scene fades to a place card remembering the amazing actor who played Fred Andrew and made us fall in love with Dylan McCay (Luke Perry).
I want to offer my sincerest thanks to the creative forces and actors who did this memorable tribute to Luke Perry. What you may not know is that the pictures Mary looked at toward the end of the scene were lent by the family for use in the show. You could feel the pain of all those who had worked with Luke as they “lived” this tribute to the man, not the actor’s, life. Their love for the man came through. For that, I say, “THANK YOU” from the fans.
Linda Martindale writes about "Riverdale" and other things television-related at TelevisionChangesBlog.com.