Archie confronted his father's murderer, Cheryl planned to shut down the Independence Day parade, and a town celebration paid their respects to Fred on Riverdale Season 4 Episode 1.
Below, TV Fanatics Meaghan Frey, Becca Newton, Jasmine Peterson, and Paul Dailly debate their favorite moments from the tribute episode, Hiram's decision to pay for the funeral arrangements, and their hopes for Riverdale Season 4.
Cheryl planned to protest the return of the Independence Day celebration in Riverdale. Was her reaction to the parade unreasonable or justified?
Meaghan: Cheryl has such a flair for the dramatic. Everything always has to be extreme for her. However, her dramatic flair significantly paid off with the parade tribute to Fred.
I made it through most of the episode with only a few tears shed, but the moment that Archie drove through the town lining the streets both welcoming Fred home and sending him off, that pushed me over the edge. I was a blubbering mess.
Becca: Unreasonable. Cheryl doesn't have the right to enforce her will on the entire town. That said, her overreaction was intriguing because it was another example of Cheryl refusing to move on from her brother's death.
Her inability to move beyond the denial and anger stages of grief has become really unhealthy.
I did like how her reaction not only set up her arc for the episode but also what seems to be her arc for the season (or at least a few episodes) of whether or not she can let go of her grief before it destroys her.
Jasmine: Unreasonable, but it was also quintessential Cheryl. She does have a flair for the dramatic. She always comes through when it counts though, and her turning the parade into a Fred tribute was a moment that got to me.
Because from the Serpents to Pretty Poisons, from Pops to Grandma Blossom, everyone loved Fred Andrews.
Paul: I agree. Cheryl may love to be the most impulsive teen in Riverdale, but she does have a soft spot.
Riverdale chose to write out Fred Andrews by him saving the life of a stranded driver in a hit-and-run accident. Share your thoughts about this storyline.
Meaghan: There could not have been a more perfect send-off for Fred Andrews. Fred has always been arguably one of the only truly good people on Riverdale. The fact that he died to save someone else's life felt true to who Fred as at the core.
Becca: It was the right choice. Incorporating Fred's death into Riverdale's larger mysteries would have been a mistake.
I also appreciated the show deciding against natural causes as the reason for two reasons. One, it was good they didn't completely mirror real events in how they chose to write Fred's passing. And two, since it was established Fred's father died early from illness, having Fred die exactly as his father would have been too depressing.
One of Riverdale's major themes is whether or not you're fated to become your parents. It was important that Fred's death could somewhat illustrate the point of being able to avert living and dying exactly like your parents.
Jasmine: I agree. There was no other way to do it. It stays true to both the character and the actor.
I think that's what made it more emotional. You couldn't tell where Fred Andrews ended and Luke Perry began.
"Our knight in flannel" was the perfect description of him, and the whole thing gave me the sniffles.
Cheryl: Well, well, well. Stop the presses! The Riverdale rag finally reported a story accurately. Not only is there going to some hideous janky parade snaking its way through town, you four are the architects of this outrage.
Veronica: What’s your problem, Cheryl?
Cheryl: My problem, Veronica, is that the Fourth of July is a day of tragedy for Riverdale. Not celebration. Or have you forgotten what happened to my poor brother Jason?
Betty: Cheryl, Riverdale hasn’t held a parade out of respect for what happened to your brother in like years. It’s time.
Jughead: I mean, you don’t have to come.
Cheryl: Oh, I’ll be there, Insufferable Smurf. Front and center. With a sign of protest in one hand and a horn of compressed air to silence any revelry in the other.
Paul: It was perfect. Fred had the kindest heart in the entire town, so having him go out this way perfectly fit the character.
During the course of the tribute episode, was there a moment or character reaction that connected to you the most? Why?
Meaghan: The parade. It was such a moving moment and something that Archie needed. His father was someone who had touched so many lives. Riverdale is a fractured town the majority of the time, but at that moment, they were united.
Becca: It was a toss-up between the teens sharing Fred stories and Archie's scene in the garage after the fireworks, but the latter won out.
The flashbacks broke me. Revisiting those past Riverdale moments and knowing we won't have any more (new) moments with Fred (and Luke Perry) was a gut punch.
Jasmine: I agree about the parade and how he was someone who brought people together. They were all so great. I'm also going to go with the montage of people crying.
From prison to offices, everyone had their silent moment of grieving this man who touched so many.
Archie: I have to go get my dad.
Veronica: What? What do you mean?
Archie: I have to bring him home.
Paul: Definitely the parade. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. Bringing everyone together was something Fred strived to do.
Hiram paid for Fred's funeral arrangements. Why do you think he did it?
Meaghan: My first reaction was, "What the hell is Hiram planning now?" After giving it more thought though, I think that Hiram at the end of the day, despite their differences, respected Fred as a person.
Hiram may be awful at showing emotions, but using his money, the thing he values most outside of power, he was able to show how he felt.
Becca: Hiram never acts altruistically. He paid for the funeral as a power move; as a way to show to Veronica and Archie that he can still pull strings and manipulate them from prison. It's also something he can use to torment them about; though, I hope we don't get any scenes of him gloating about it.
Hiram has plenty of other material he can use to taunt Veronica and Archie; leave Fred's funeral out of it.
Jasmine: I really do believe that this was a genuine and sincere act. He respected Fred. I think he admired him. He has a warped but solid view about family and what that means.
It was like honoring a formidable opponent, except Fred never was an opponent, per se. And old school sign of respect.
Paul: Hiram has never been one to make gestures of goodwill like this, but Fred's death probably resonated with him. Hiram has cheated death numerous times, while Fred has never done anything to make him earmarked for death.
Hiram likely felt somewhat sad about it all and responded by paying. Will he use it as a bargaining chip in the future? Probably.
Shannen Doherty was revealed to be the person Fred saved from the accident. React!
Meaghan: That was a great nod to Luke as a person. As a fan of 90210, it was so nice to see Brenda be able to get to say goodbye to Dylan.
Becca: Riverdale usually does give me what I want to see on the show, but it's usually in a way that has me thinking, "Be careful what you wish for." Not this time.
When the news of Shannen Doherty appearing in the Luke Perry tribute episode broke, I speculated she should be the person with Fred in his last moments, so the role she played was perfect casting.
Jasmine: It was a beautiful and touching scene. It felt like the episode came to a standstill, and it felt so real. It felt like a real moment of the actress saying goodbye to her friend. It was such a touching scene.
Archie: You were with him when he…?
The Driver: We were working on a tire and a car … it just came out of nowhere, speeding. [Tears up] Sorry, I just … I froze and it sped and your Dad … he pushed me out of the way. He saved my life and if he hadn’t done what he did, I wouldn’t be here right now, I know that. I am so sorry! There’s nothing I can do to ever repay him, but I would like to say a prayer for him. Maybe you’d like to join me?
[The driver conducts a prayer holding hands with Archie, Veronica, Jughead, and Betty.]
Paul: It was a better tribute than what BH90210 did, that's for sure. The addition of Doherty was a good one, and it made it all the more touching.
What are your hopes for Riverdale Season 4?
It completely went off the rails during Riverdale Season 3 with Griffins and Gargoyles, The Gargoyle King, and The Farm. It did have its moments that shined, but overall, the storylines were way too over the top to get invest in.
The flashforward to the spring break incident during Riverdale Season 3 Episode 22 left me hopeful. I just hope that they planned what the end game with that scene was before they aired it. Otherwise, it will suffer from the same issues that other mystery shows have had.
Becca: I have the standing wishes of better plot resolutions, better pacing, and more character focus. Specifically for Riverdale Season 4, the details revealed so far indicate a lot of similarities with Riverdale Season 2, so I'm really hoping the writers will execute the stories in a better way this time around.
Regarding the flashforward, I think it's going to reveal Jughead killed someone and the core four have to cover it up, but I really really want to be wrong about that.
While it's unlikely Shannen Doherty will return, it would be nice if she made another appearance later on in a "give Archie hope during his darkest hour" scenario.
Also, I'm not just hoping, I'm begging! Please don't let Alice be instantly forgiven and have everything she wants handed to her on a platter once she's rescued from The Farm. She needs to face repercussions for the hell she put Betty through.
Jasmine: I completely agree with Meaghan. I need it to get back to its roots. I would like a more grounded storyline for Archie and to see how his grief influences him from this point forward.
I want more concise storytelling and to not feel like I'm on Jingle-Jangle while watching it. I hope they have a plan for how they're getting to that flash-forward.
Jughead: And if anyone is scared of bears, well don’t be because Archie’s been attacked by, like what, multiple times and still survived? [Laughs]
Archie: Hey. I wear my scars proudly.
Paul: I want Riverdale to age with the characters. That means we need some more mature storytelling, and something tells me Riverdale Season 4 will do that.
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Justin Carreiro was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. He retired in October 2020. Follow him on Twitter.