The CW series, which resumed production on Wednesday after two days off, ended its first episode following Perry's death with an "In Memoriam" card. Now comes the tough job of figuring out how to write out Perry's beloved Fred Andrews character and filling the void he'll leave behind. "Riverdale viewers realized a few years ago: that Perry possesses — possessed — a soulfulness and savviness and untouchable cool that perfectly equipped him for the scare-quoted melodrama of the teen soap," says Charles Bramesco, who adds: "Perry’s absence creates a crisis for Riverdale on both a practical and existential front. For one, the writing staff now must figure out how to contour the production to this sudden and unexpected speed bump...Which poses the second, more complex issue of how this show will grieve and process the loss of Perry and the eventual loss of Fred Andrews. He’ll create a vacuum that it’d be cruel to ignore, that will shake Archie as the latest in an ongoing series of lifelong traumas, that will further destabilize any sense of security that remains in the town, that imbues a terribly real sadness in a show that may not be mature enough to handle it."
UPDATE: Jason Priestley posts a tribute to Luke Perry: "It’s taken me a couple of days to figure out how to write this... My dear friend of 29 years, Luke Perry, was one of those truly special people who really cared," Priestley wrote on Instagram early Thursday morning. "Luke was not only a star, he was an incredibly bright light that was extinguished far too soon... and that is why I, and so many others, are in so much pain today... If you had the good fortune to know Luke, or to have ever crossed his path, I know you are sad today as well... the candle that burns twice as bright only burns for half as long... you burned oh, so brightly Luke... Goodnight Sweet Prince."
With Luke Perry's Fred Andrews, Riverdale felt a little more grounded and a tad more balanced: "It might sound platitudinous, that his heart of gold made the absence of his character felt whenever he wasn’t in the frame," says Trey Alston. "Perry's honest portrayal of Fred Andrews helped the character become more than a knowing father to Archie Andrews and a voice of reason to the main cast, but also a patriarch for viewers at home who are just trying to live their lives just a little bit better. His piercing gaze looked for the truth in Archie’s lies, and in doing so, he saw into our souls too."