Riverdale explains Fred Andrews' heroic death in emotional Luke Perry tribute episode

10 October 2019, 12:39 | Updated: 10 October 2019, 13:32

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

How did Fred Andrews die? Just like he lived... a hero.

Riverdale season 4 returned last night (October 9) with the most important episode it will ever air – a tribute to beloved cast member Luke Perry who passed away in March and his character Fred Andrews.

Unlike the previous season openers, episode 1 (titled 'In Memoriam') was without any cliffhanger reveals or usual melodramatic town drama. Instead, it was a standalone episode where we learned about what happened to Fred and watched as Archie brought him home to lay him to rest.

READ MORE: When is the next episode of Riverdale season 4 on Netflix?

Ever since his passing, fans have been wondering how the show would handle Luke's absence. Instead of squeezing in a tribute to Luke at the end of season 3, show-runner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa made the decision to honour him properly and thoughtfully in a beautiful episode.

Through an incredibly emotional guest appearance by Luke's friend and former co-star Shannen Doherty, we learned how Fred died helping a stranger at the side of the road.

How did Fred Andrews die? Riverdale pays moving tribute to Luke Perry in first episode
How did Fred Andrews die? Riverdale pays moving tribute to Luke Perry in first episode. Picture: The CW

The episode opens with the town getting ready for their 4th of July celebrations before Archie receives the devastating news via an incoming phone call from his dad's phone.

While on his way home to Riverdale, Fred stopped at the side of the road to help a woman with her flat tire. As he was changing it, a speeding car came out of nowhere, struck him and then drove off. Fred later passed away from his injuries.

Archie heads to Cherry Creek to bring Fred's body home and meets the woman (played by Doherty) who then tells Archie that Fred saved her life by pushing out of the way of the oncoming car.

Basically, Fred died as he lived... a selfless hero.

Later in the episode, Archie learns about the identity of the person who hit Fred and, in true Archie fashion, heads over to his home to seek answers. After attacking the man who opened the door, he then discovered that it was a father who had taken the blame to protect his teenage son, who had taken the car without a license.

Archie later realises that the boy's reckless actions were something he would have done, and that Fred would have also done whatever it took to protect him, too.

After arriving back in Riverdale, Fred is then given a police escort from FP as Archie follows through the middle of the 4th of July parade where everyone is holding banners celebrating his father's life. At his funeral, Archie delivers an emotional eulogy where he proudly says (in a fitting tribute to both the character and Luke himself), "Fred Andrews will always be a part of Riverdale."

via GIPHY

In the final scene of the episode, one of Archie's lines was actually inspired by something KJ Apa said about Luke Perry to Aguirre-Sacasa during a break from filming.

The line ended up making it into the show, changing Luke's name to 'my dad'. "Imagine if everyone was even half as good as my dad was", Archie says to Veronica as she answers, "You already are, Archie." Archie then pledges to honour his memory every day.

Ahead of the episode, Luke's co-stars began sharing their memories of him on social media. Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, Madelaine Petsch, Mädchen Amick and Skeet Ulrich all posted tributes to Luke with moving captions.

Aguirre-Sacasa also shared an image of Luke with KJ, Cole and Skeet, writing: "It’s an episode that’s bursting with sadness, but even more so with love. I’m humbled by the outstanding, heroic work everyone did on it. I hope you like it, Luke."

Our thoughts are with the cast of Riverdale and Luke's family and friends.