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‘Riverdale’ Graduation Episode Includes Emotional Luke Perry Cameo — and a Lot of Breakups

Warning: This story contains spoilers from the Wednesday, February 3, episode of Riverdale.

Hope you had your tissues ready for the graduation episode of Riverdale. Not only did the CW series air its final episode before the time jump, every single couple on the show decided to separate — from the adults to the kids.

Related: Luke Perry Through the Years

The most emotional moment of the episode, however, occurred only three minutes in as Archie (KJ Apa) dreamt of his late father, Fred (Luke Perry). In the dream, Fred and Mary (Molly Ringwald) stook together and took photos of Archie, Veronica (Camila Mendes), Betty (Lili Reinhart) and Jughead (Cole Sprouse).

“I can’t believe we’re here. Archie, you’re graduating,” Fred said to his son. “I didn’t think I’d live to see this day.”

Riverdale Graduation Episode Includes Emotional Luke Perry Cameo
Molly Ringwald and Luke Perry in Riverdale The CW

Perry died in March 2019 after suffering a stroke at age 52. The cast of Riverdale had been in the middle of filming the third season at the time. The show paid tribute to the star in the season 4 premiere, which aired in October 2019. Archie found out during the episode that his dad had died in a hit-and-run car accident. Perry’s former Beverly Hills, 90210 costar Shannen Doherty guest-starred in the episode.

During the graduation episode, Fred was mentioned many times as Archie and Mary he could have been there to see his final year of high school. Betty even acknowledged that not all of their parents were alive to see the service during her valedictorian speech.

Related: How TV Shows Handled Stars’ Deaths: ‘Riverdale,’ ‘Glee’ and More

Elsewhere during the hour, every couple chose to call it quits. Archie and Veronica had already been pretending they were still together since prom when she found out that he kissed Betty. Still, they spent the night together on the last day of school. Archie then chose to enlist in the army, much to her disappointment.

Betty also revealed the kiss to Jughead, who assured her he still loved her. However, when it came time for them both to go away to college, they chose to focus on themselves instead of their relationship, promising that they still loved each other.

Cheryl (Madelaine Petsch) ended her relationship with Toni (Vanessa Morgan) and decided to stay in Riverdale to get her family back in order. Meanwhile, FP (Skeet Ulrich) and Alice (Mädchen Amick) went their separate ways as he left town to protect Jellybean (Trinity Likins), and Hermione (Marisol Nichols) left Hiram (Mark Consuelos) to join the Real Housewives.

Riverdale Graduation Episode Includes Emotional Luke Perry Cameo 1
KJ Apa as Archie Andrews in Riverdale The CW

Although the core four promised to meet back at Pop’s one year after leaving town, in a flash-forward at the end of the episode, Jughead was the only one who showed up.

“It would be six years before I saw my friends again,” he said in a voiceover, teasing the time jump to come. “We’d be different people, each of us, brought together by, of course, a new crisis and mystery. But that’s another story for another day.”

Related: Aging Out! TV Stars Who Played High School Students Well After Graduation

The first three episodes of season 5 were intended to air in May 2020 as the end of season 4 but were delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The next episode will be seven years after graduation, with Archie returning to what is left of Riverdale and ultimately reaching out to the rest of the group for help.

Riverdale airs on The CW Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

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