This post contains heavy plot spoilers for Riverdale Season 4 Episode 1
It’s possible that Riverdale is something of a guilty pleasure for Hils and Lindsey. Starting in the US on 9 October, and in the UK and Ireland on 10 October, we’ll be reviewing and recapping the series as it airs.
To be honest, it’s hard to know what to expect from Riverdale‘s fourth season. This show is completely fearless about jumping the shark, and Season 3 ran the gamut of an organ-harvesting cult, a prison-based ‘fight club’ and a Dungeons and Dragons-style game that involves rather more actual death than we like in our role-playing games. At the conclusion of the last series, Lindsey’s favourite character, mob boss Hiram Lodge, was incarcerated in his own prison, while Hils’ favourite, Cheryl, survived the Farm, and is currently one of the powers behind the Pretty Poisons.
Season 4 Episode 1 is called In Memoriam which, honestly, should have been a clue for how we were going to feel. Following Luke Perry’s untimely death, there was probably little question as to the fate of Fred Andrews, the character he played so wonderfully for most of three seasons of Riverdale. It’s possible that Lindsey has referred to Fred as the only good man in Riverdale, and this episode absolutely rams that message home.
In a show that sometimes borders on the ridiculous, and occasionally fully embraces it, there were questions over how they would handle the sensitive matter of the fate of Fred Andrews following Perry’s death. What the show delivered was a beautiful and poignant sendoff that paid tribute to Perry as much as it did the character he’d played for the previous three years.
Hils and Lindsey watched the episode together, despite living in different countries so some of their discussions will be featured as we go along.
To start, a recap of season three, which Hils only finished a few weeks ago but somehow had managed to forget.
Hils: Oh yes how could I forget evil D&D
Oh yeah and Betty’s mom got raptured
Lindsey: no wonder this ‘previously on’ is taking so long EVERYTHING HAPPENED IN SEASON 3
With the recap over we launch with Archie, Veronica, Betty and Jughead getting ready to celebrate July 4th. Of course, whenever there is manual labour to be done, there is an excuse for Archie Andrews to remove his shirt.
Lindsey: gratutious shirtless archie count: 1
WITH a utility belt
Hils: Achie has his shirt off after less than 5 mins 😂
Cheryl, who lost her brother on this day three years previously, is unhappy at the lack of respect and uses her spectacularly barbed tongue to make her feelings known.
Lindsey: INSUFFERABLE SMURF
Hils: I love Cheryl so much
Lindsey: her flawless lipstick
The lighthearted tone of the episode soon changes when Archie receives a phone call and learns that his father has been killed in a hit and run.
Lindsey: poor fred. i think that it makes most sense to have killed him off. he was irreplaceable
Hils: Oh for sure
Having already seen how Archie reacted when his father got shot at the end of the first season, Lindsey and Hils were braced for a repeat.
Lindsey: hit and run. way to hit archie’s vengeance kink.
Hils: Oh god I hope we don’t do all that again
But instead of anger and revenge we were given a surprisingly gentle scene where the kids of the town sat and shared their stories of Fred. It was a touching tribute that not only showed how beloved the character was, but also indirectly the actor as well.
Lindsey: oh my god everyone sitting around talking about fred i love it
Hils: This is so sad
Lindsey: because it’s absolutely a surrogate for talking about luke
Hils: I’m legit crying
I grew up watching 90210
Despite the emotional nature of the episode there was still space for levity for the viewers.
Hils: So he takes his shirt off for no reason but wears one in bed?
Lindsey: i was just thinking that!!
Because, of course, it being Riverdale there is always time for a creepy dream sequence no matter what else is happening. Archie sees the ghost/spirit of his grandfather and gets led into his dining room where all the dead people of Riverdale are sitting around his table.
Hils: This is creepy
Lindsey: THIS IS SO CREEPY
IT’S A DINNER TABLE OF CREEPY ASS DEAD PEOPLE
nothing like a creepy dream to kick off a season of riverdale
Archie is told his father isn’t with them because Archie is supposed to have brought him. Archie wakes up and announces he has to go and collect his father’s body rather than wait for the Riverdale funeral home to do it.
Hils: I can’t believe we only just got to the title screen
Because it’s Riverdale of course Archie was able to locate a hearse in the middle of the night and rally all his friends to go with him.
Lindsey: of course reggie has a hearse
SOMEONE HAD TO
Hils: Road trip in a hearse
The local police wisely does not give Archie any information about the suspect in his father’s death, which is probably the first and only time this show has correctly followed police procedure.
We then move on to a beautifully understated scene in the funeral home where Archie asks to see his father to confirm that it’s actually him.
Lindsey: they’re capturing that denial part of grief really really well
In the end Archie decides he can’t do it and asks Betty and Veronica to go in his place. All credit to the cast in this scene. Everything is gentle and soft which just makes the overpowering feeling of grief all the more palpable.
A special mention has to go to Madelaine Petsch whose short scene with Molly Ringwald reduced both Hils and Lindsey to tears. Although Cheryl didn’t know Fred as well as the others, Petsch shows us a character still grieving for her brother, and who has just had that wound violently ripped open.
It’s a scene reminiscent of The Body, an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer which first aired in 2001. Following the unexpected death of the Buffy’s mother we see the various characters struggle to come to terms with what happens. Anya, a former demon, who has never had to deal with the realities of death before finally breaks down as we are shown that grief impacts everyone regardless of how well they knew the character who is gone.
In another poignant scene, among the many this episode has offered, Archie returns to the scene of his father’s accident and meets the woman he was helping when he was hit by a speeding car. Who else could have played this woman but Luke Perry’s former Beverly Hills 90210 castmate Shannen Doherty.
After learning that his father died by pushing Doherty’s character out of the way of the oncoming vehicle, the characters say a prayer for Archie’s father. It’s a beautiful tribute to both the character and the actor who played him.
When Archie receives a call from FP he is told that the person who hit Fred turned themselves in, but had been released on bail at the time, both Hils and Lindsey were shouting at this lapse in judgement.
Lindsey: ARCHIE STOP IT
Hils: FP DON’T TELL ARCHIE THE DUDE’S NAME
Lindsey: like RULE ONE of dealing with archie andrews
However, having slept on it, we have to consider that this wasn’t a lapse in judgement. Yes, the police in Riverdale seem to have a very loose notion of how the law works, but Fred Andrews was FP Jones’ best friend. It’s entirely possible FP gave up this information because he wanted Archie to confront the perpetrator.
While the scene where Archie confronts the person that killed his father is dramatic, Hils was still able to find space in her heart for some gentle mocking.
Hils: Archie marches up to the front door full of rage and then politely knocks
He then finds out that the man who confessed to hitting Fred was covering for his teenage son, who had taken the car without permission. Archie leaves, saying ‘it’s something I would have done’, and notes that taking the blame is something his dad would have done.
Hils: Is this…character growth?
Lindsey: YES I THINK SO
Archie finally takes his father’s body home, only to be met on the outside of town by FP Jones who insists on giving them a police escort. As they drive through the town Cheryl has re-purposed the 4th of July parade to welcome Fred home and at this point Hils can barely see the screen because she is full-on sobbing.
Hils: Cheryl’s idea. That’s my girl
And in one final twist the revelation comes that Hiram Lodge paid for Fred’s funeral from jail. A final testament to the impact Fred Andrews had on every character in this show.
Lindsey: our two faves came through in VERY DIFFERENT WAYS
The episode ends with Archie having a private moment of grief with the car he and his dad helped restore and build together, with a few pieces of old footage of Fred playing.
We’re not going to rate each episode that we recap but it is worth noting that both Hils and Lindsey thought this episode was perfectly executed and a fitting tribute.
Lindsey: what an excellent episode.
Hils: That is hands down the best episode of Riverdale there has ever been
Hils and Lindsey will be back next week to recap the next episode of Riverdale.