The Riverdale season 4 premiere was stuffed full of emotion from start to finish, now that there was any surprise with that. This was an hour dedicated to the amazing work and life of one Luke Perry, and as difficult as it was to fathom, the only thing that made sense was for the character of Fred Andrews to die. He wasn’t the sort of person to abandon his son; that wasn’t what he was about. The only way to tell a story that makes a certain degree of sense was to just remove him from the equation and have this death leave a mark on the show for some time to come.
So what did go into the difficult choice to say goodbye to Fred in this way? Speaking to Entertainment Weekly after the fact, executive producer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa passed along the following message:
“Very early on, we landed on the idea that Fred should have a heroic death and that would be impactful for Archie … It felt like that’s a way that Fred could have gone. After that, we said this episode really isn’t going to launch any huge stories for this season. It was really going to be focused on that and the emotional effects of that passing for everyone.
“There have been sadly a lot of tribute episodes in television — one of my favorites is the Friday Night Lights episode where the football player’s father dies, called ‘The Son.’ … We wanted to tell a very grounded, truthful story. That became the organizing principle or the marching orders.”
As for the decision to have a cameo from none other than Shannen Doherty during the episode, much of that stemmed from a desire to bring in someone who was personally connected to Luke to have that much more emotional resonance behind the story. There had been conversations previously about her coming on, but the moment never felt right. On the show, she played the woman Fred was trying to help when he was struck by a car. Fred died trying to help someone else, and this is a message that Archie may remember and apply to the rest of his own life. That’s at least the hope coming out of a hope like this.
What do you think about the way in which Riverdale decided to write out Luke Perry’s story overall? Be sure to share in the comments below, and remember to stick around to get some other news. (Photo: The CW.)
This article was written by Jessica Carter. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.