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October 11, 2017 at 09:00 PM EDT

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from tonight’s Riverdale season 2 premiere. Read at your own risk!

The cliffhanger that’s had Riverdale fans on edge all summer was finally answered in the season premiere: Luke Perry’s Fred Andrews survived his gunshot wound. The father of Archie (KJ Apa) was touch-and-go for much of the episode but pulled through in the final moments. Not so lucky was Miss Grundy (Sarah Habel): Archie’s music teacher and lover was shockingly killed in the final moments by the Black Hood.

EW talked to Perry about surviving to season 2 and what Hiram’s arrival means for Fred.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: When did you first learn Fred would be shot?
LUKE PERRY: We were about three or four days into the episode and what [show creator and EP Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa] wanted to have happened at the end of the season, for various reasons, he wasn’t able to get it together and had to come up with a new ending. He had to come up with something else and he came to me and he goes, “This is what I’m thinking is going to be compelling.” And I said, “Alright!”

He told me that he was planning on introducing Hiram but they couldn’t find the right actor.
Yep, that was what it was. I was like, “Hey I know how this works: I saw Game of Thrones and people get their heads cut off on TV! You can’t scare me! I’m not afraid of that s—, Roberto!” That’s what I said.

Did he tell you that you would still be alive though?
I didn’t want him to tell me. I wanted him to leave the door open for what he creatively thought was best and if that means one thing then that’s what it means and if it means something else then that’s what it means. I like to take the creative chance and I don’t like to operate from a place of fear. I was like, “Let’s see where this goes.”

How did they keep this a secret in getting you on set? You have so much paparazzi now.
They’ve been disguising me as Madelaine [Petsch, who plays Cheryl Blossom]. Long red wigs and stuff like that. I told them [the hair] needed to be long enough to cover the beard so we went with Mads.

Dean Buscher/The CW

This whole episode reminded me of an old Beverly Hills, 90210 episode when Dylan crashed his Porsche and had all these weird dreams in the hospital. Was that an homage?
I don’t know. I never know with Roberto. He has such a comprehensive knowledge of television and the history thereof. It very well could have been. That episode was called “The Dreams of Dylan McKay” — I remember that. It was like all his bad dreams were coming true for him.

So now that we know Fred is alive and awake, how will this change him?
I think Fred is traumatized. I really do. I think he’s sort of going through the motions and he hasn’t connected back into what his life is. I can only imagine if something like that were to happen to you, you hit the pause button in your life and it makes you think about a lot of different things. He definitely comes out of it a different guy.

What’s his relationship going to be like with Hermione (Marisol Nichols) now that Hiram (Mark Consuelos) is back?
Well you know with triangles they get a little pointy! That’s what happens. We’re gonna start digging into that here pretty soon. She’s the one with the problem — she was the one who was married. I didn’t do anything wrong.

Do you know what the Black Hood’s endgame is? He’s clearly targeting people in the Andrews’ circle based on Fred and the murder of Miss Grundy.
I do not. Harkening back to a question you asked me earlier about how do we keep everything such a secret, Roberto keeps it a secret from us! I think again, with all the technologies and opportunities to have your story blown up today, he’s protective over his material.

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

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