Written by Raelle Tucker and directed by Charles Beeson, Roadkill wasn’t initially one of my favorite episodes, but on rewatch I was struck by how good it is. It’s not a feel good episode – it’s sad, tragic – but that is so well done. I feel for Molly, so it’s not an episode I tend to want to rewatch, but damn, the acting and writing are top notch. It’s a little bit of a Sixth Sense homage too, which always makes me happy since I was in that movie. (And it’s a great film, of course). Sure, I have zero lines and I’m just sitting in the auditorium audience but hey, I’m still in it.
The THEN reminds us that our boys are “smack in the middle of” the storm that’s coming, and that Dean especially is focused on “saving people, hunting things”. But we’re also reminded that the brothers are not entirely on the same page, as they both struggle with how to interpret their father’s mission and how much of it they want to take on.
Dean: If it’s supernatural, we kill it – that’s our job.
Sam: No, Dean – our job is hunting evil.
Well done THEN sequence, because that’s the crux of what Sam and Dean are trying to figure out right now, and they’re having a pretty epic brotherly tussle as they do it.
In a memorable opening, a car drives along a dark road at night as House of The Rising Sun plays on the car radio and the couple argue about being lost and turning around, the guy looking at the map (remember maps? I remember maps….and the days before your phone could just helpfully direct you where to go). Their arguing is good natured, and the guy offers to make it up to the woman, kissing her neck although they’re driving and uh oh, this is not a good idea when you’re in the opening sequence of a Supernatural episode.
The woman, Molly, pushes him off, which takes her eyes off the road just as a man appears on the road. She tries to avoid him and ends up crashing into a tree, the windshield shattering. Uh oh.
Molly wakes up, the car smoking, David nowhere to be found. She crawls out of the car, calling for him, walking through dark and creepy woods as we all hold our breath, waiting for the other shoe to drop.
She finally sees a house with a light on in the woods and though it seems like a bad idea once again, she knocks on the door and then goes inside. There are knives on the wall and blood on the counter, and a man with his back turned.
Molly recognizes the man she almost hit, reaching out to see if he’s okay, though we as viewers can see that he’s not – his stomach is impaled and bleeding way too much to actually be alive, in fact.
Molly: Sir, are you hurt?
He turns around and opens his mouth – and his teeth start to fall out, mouth bloody, stomach wound gaping. It’s a Sixth Sense like reveal, and it’s so well done that it’s super creepy and scary. Season 2, Supernatural really was a little horror movie every week – so good!
The SUPERNATURAL title card pops up and lets us know our boys will be appearing soon. Perfect time for the logo of that season.
Molly screams and runs through the woods, terrified. It’s filmed in slow motion, adding to the terror of will the dead guy catch her or won’t he, and then she runs right onto the road. A car is coming as she yells Stop! Stop! The car skids to a halt – and we see that it’s the Impala.
Dean: Holy– (The ‘shit’ is silent because CW)
Molly is totally freaked out, banging on the window and asking the boys to help her. Sam and Dean exchange a glance as she explains about the scary guy.
Dean: Did he look like he lost a fight with a lawn mower?
Molly: How did you know that?
Dean: Lucky guess…
The boys agree to take Molly back to her car, but when they get there, the wrecked car is gone.
Sam and Dean exchange raised eyebrows like what should we do?
They agree that they need to get her away from the scary guy, Greeley.
Dean: What are you gonna tell her?
Sam: The truth?
Dean: She’s gonna take off running in the other direction!
At the time, we think it’s just because they’re thinking of telling her that ghosts are real, but it turns out to be a lot more of a bitter pill to swallow than that. Molly finally agrees to let them drive her to the police station and the climb into the Impala. She still has her side spotlight and she’s so pretty in the dark, just sayin.
Molly: Right before, we were having the dumbest fight…the only time we ever really argued, when we were stuck in the car.
Sam laughs and looks at Dean: Yeah, I know how that goes.
Dean gives him a look.
Suddenly the radio goes staticky and then starts playing House of the Rising Sun. Sam and Dean exchange a “did you do that?” look.
Dean: I was afraid you’d say that.
Molly: This song…it was playing when we crashed.
Sam and Dean exchange an uh oh look as the radio tunes in and out and then Greeley’s voice insists ominously “she’s mine.”
A second later, Greeley is standing in the road.
Dean floors it and drives right through him; he disappears, much to Molly’s astonishment.
Sam tries to reassure her, telling her not to worry, that everything’s gonna be all right.
The Impala starts to shake violently.
Dean: Spoke a little too soon, Sammy.
The Impala sputters and dies, and Dean coasts her to the side of the road. She is so pretty in this episode, on the wet road, her shiny black paint gleaming.
Sam and Dean open the trunk full of weapons and Molly backs away, frightened. Understandably – I love outsider pov on Sam and Dean, because they would totally seem like dangerous serial killers or something!
Sam finally tells her the truth to get her to stay – that it wasn’t a coincidence that they found her.
Dean: We weren’t just cruising for chicks when we ran into you, sister. We were already out here. Hunting.
Molly: Hunting for what?
Sam: (possibly with an eyeroll) Huh? Don’t sugarcoat it for her!
They explain that Greeley was a local farmer who was killed on the highway fifteen years ago and on the anniversary of his death, he haunts the road. Molly asks if he made her car disappear too, which is a good point that we don’t understand at this point.
Dean: Crazier things have happened, huh?
He slaps Sam’s arm.
They explain that every year Greeley finds someone to punish for the accident, and this year, it’s Molly. She protests that she didn’t do anything, and Sam answers seriously.
Sam: Some spirits only see what they want.
She finally agrees to take them to the cabin where she saw Farmer Roadkill, so they can dig him up and salt and burn his corpse. Ah, early seasons Supernatural, gotta love it!
Molly: Oh, naturally…So this is really what you guys do – you’re like Ghostbusters?
Dean: Minus the jumpsuits.
Sam is gentle with Molly, but Dean is pissy, reminding them to move it along and constantly giving Sam looks. It’s clear that something is not being said, that the brothers are having entire silent conversations, but we don’t know what it’s about yet. And neither does Molly.
They go in search of Greeley’s grave, but Molly is lured away by a voice she thinks is David and predictably Greeley grabs her.
Dean (shooting him with rocksalt): Whoops.
They walk through the dark woods, illuminated by their flashlights, and see a creepy house.
Dean: You know, just once I’d like to round the corner and see a nice house…
It’s a beautifully creepy house, still filled with all kinds of old stuff which happens all the time in horror but hardly ever in real life. Sam and Molly look upstairs and Molly finds an old photo album with photos of Greeley and his wife, filled with love letters.
Molly: My god, it’s beautiful. How could a guy like this turn into that monster?
Sam explains – he explains a lot in this episode, all sorts of exposition about hunting but it’s well done. He explains that spirits like Greeley are like wounded animals, lost and in so much pain that they lash out, some part of them keeping them here, some unfinished business – revenge, love, hate.
Sam: They’re trapped. Caught in the same loops, replaying the same tragedies over and over.
Sam expresses empathy, but Dean refuses.
Dean: Sammy’s always getting a little J. Love Hewitt when it comes to things like this. Me, I don’t like ‘em. And I sure as hell ain’t making apologies for ‘em.
Dean notices something behind a little hidden door. He tosses the flashlight to Sam, who catches it seamlessly, and then kicks it in. He actually backwards kicks it, like a badass, and has to kick it twice to get it open – I bet that was an Ackles adlib!
Dean: Smells like old lady in here.
(They see a long dead corpse hanging from the ceiling)
Dean: That would explain why…
Sam insists that they cut her down, asking a reluctant Dean to give him a hand. Dean looks long suffering, but sighs and helps Sam.
Sam: She deserves to be put to rest, Dean.
He shakes his head, but reluctantly helps.
But he puts his arms around the corpse while Sam stands on a chair and cuts her down.
They bury her, and admit to Molly that they don’t really know what happens to spirits they manage to put to rest. Dean snarks that’s above their pay grade, that it’s enough that they don’t come back. Sam hopes they go someplace better, but admits they don’t know.
Sam: My dad used to say that’s like death for ghosts (salt and burns) but the truth is, we still don’t know. Guess that’s why we all hold onto life so hard. Even the dead. We’re all scared of the unknown.
He looks at Dean.
Molly just wants to see David again. Back at the house, Sam and Dean argue about whether they should tell her about her husband, and we realize they know a lot more about Molly than we realized.
Sam: Dean, it’s cruel, letting her pine for him like this. I don’t like keeping her in the dark.
Dean: It’s for her own good. Man, I know you feel guilty, all right? But let’s just stick to the plan, get her out of here, then we’ll tell her.
Molly overhears and accuses them of not caring about her, asking them to tell her, but then House of The Rising Son starts to play on an ancient radio that’s not plugged in. There are lights outside and the window suddenly frosts up, the words SHE’S MINE appearing. Dean, Sam and Molly all stare, while all of us watching start yelling at Molly to get the hell away from the window!
Predictably, Greeley breaks through it and grabs her. The boys run through the woods with flashlights but can’t find them.
Back at the house, smart Sam figures out there’s a tree that wasn’t in the old photographs and realizes it’s a grave marker.
Dean: You’re like a walking encyclopedia of weirdness.
Sam: Yeah, I know.
All of us: Iconic line!!
Greeley strings Molly up and tortures her, wanting only revenge. Sam digs around the tree while Dean goes inside, blasting Greeley in the head with another blat of rocksalt in a great scene where Dean is revealed when Greeley’s head explodes.
Molly: Oh thank god!
Dean: Call me Dean.
Greeley tosses Dean across the room and cuts his face as Sam keeps digging. He lands painfully against the far wall, as Greeley slowly advances on him.
Greeley makes a knife fly to him and attacks Dean with it, Dean trying to hold him back as we all start yelling ‘Hurry up, Sam!’
Finally Sam lights a match and tosses it into the grave just in time.
Greeley screams and bursts into flame, disappearing. The knife clatters to the floor.
Dean grimaces. Ouch.
They walk to the car, and Dean greets her affectionately.
Dean: Ah, Baby, it’s been a long night.
(Is this the first time he calls her Baby??)
They finally tell Molly that David is still alive, and promise to take her to him. She’s relieved, and so happy, and it’s all really heartbreaking when you know what’s coming.
She’s confused as they pull up to a nice suburban house. An older David is inside, in a bathrobe, pouring coffee. A woman comes in and he kisses her.
Molly: Who is that?
Sam: That’s David’s wife. I’m sorry, Molly. Fifteen years ago, you and your husband hit Jonah Greeley with your car. David survived. There isn’t just one spirit haunting Highway 41. There are two – Jonah Greeley and you. Molly, it’s 2007.
She gasps, and then we get a Sixth Sense style flashback of what was really happening, seen through a different lens now that we know the truth. Sam and Dean finding the newpaper articles from 1992, David telling them that Molly was cremated.
Sam sadly saying that some spirits only see what they want. Molly banging on the Impala’s window. Dean saying ‘I don’t think she knows she’s dead.’
Molly realizes the truth.
Molly: So that’s why he won’t let me off the highway. Because I killed him. I killed us both.
Sam and Dean both look sad; there are tears in Molly’s eyes. As dawn breaks, Molly asks them why they didn’t tell her when they first saw her.
Dean: You wouldn’t have believed us.
Molly: And you needed me for bait.
She wants to talk to David, but the boys convince her that she doesn’t belong here.
Sam: Haven’t you suffered long enough? It’s time, time to go.
Dean watches Sam, listening to the speech he’s giving, and now he looks truly sad too.
Molly finally accepts it and walks away slowly. The brothers watch her go.
The light envelopes her and she walks toward it, closing her eyes and looking peaceful as it swallows her up and she vanishes.
Dean: I guess she wasn’t so bad, for a ghost. You think she’s really going to a better place?
Sam: I hope so. Doesn’t really matter, Dean. Hope’s kinda the whole point.
Dean: All right, Haley Joel. Let’s hit the road.
He smacks Sam on the shoulder, a gesture of comfort between the brothers. They get back in the car as it starts to rain, a very Vancouver setting.
The cinematography in this episode is beyond gorgeous, and it’s intimate and claustrophobic, just the brothers and their Impala, helping a ghost who’s in the back seat. Quintessential Supernatural.
The ending was poignant, both Jared and Jensen doing an amazing job showing us the characters’ emotions. Sam genuinely upset, empathic, wanting to comfort. And Dean, initially not caring, but he’s affected by Sam’s empathy and sadness, and it changes his mind by the end. Also a great performance by Tricia Helfer as Molly, especially that powerful ending.
Caps by spndeangirl
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4 thoughts on “A Supernatural Homage to The Sixth Sense in ‘Roadkill’”
Dean’s ‘not caring’ was simply the armour he wore to do the job, we see as he lowers his guard just how profoundly he cares, the cost to him when he does, but it was also balanced with his very understandable and justified hurt of what the supernatural community did to his family. Righteous anger you could say.
Sam has had some respite from the hunting life, several years in college, as a child he was afforded Dean’s dedicated protection, although he had a difficult childhood, he wasn’t drawn into the hunting world until he was around age 9. Time to form a different outlook in life. San has perspective.
Dean, we later find out actually witnessed Mary’s horrific death, the fall out of that death meant he had to take up John’s slack to avoid the family being split up. A gun was put in his hand around age 6, when he was only grasping the basics of right and wrong, given a prime directive, protect Sam at all costs, he had no reliable adult to guide him consistently and the burden and responsitilities he felt became incorporated into Dean’s personality and ceased only when he died. Hunting full time from 16 he witnessed terrible atrocities, we are told he witnessed several dead children as as late as season 15 when he was still a child, hunting down monsters kept Dean from becoming another victim. Kept him sane in a crazy world, gave him purpose. Dean’s sympathies were with the victims. Always. Molly was something of a curve ball because she was still hurting people, she left a trail of injured in her wake, from Dean’s pov she was just another monster until they got to know her. Then Dean could empathise because he could see her as a victim.
I enjoyed the sympathetic way Molly was shown even though she was a ghost. Greeley and Molly went the opposite ways (not by choice) and the differences are so obvious-she looking forever for David and Greeley looking for her and revenge.
Winston Rekert has been been on a lot of Canadian shows (Adderly was one of my favourites and Neon Rider too) and I was happy to see him in one of my favourite shows even if he was a creepy ghost but he was great as Greeley.
This episode went out of its way to show the differences in the brothers’ reactions to “monsters” and it also showed a lot of Dean’s attitude as bravado covering himself (older brother vibe?). It also revealed a bit about the tough guy in his dads jacket being part dad and part himself. Knowing where he ends up, (being good with who he is) makes this journey so interesting.
You make a great point Kelly, from being the very painfully self aware young man who at 26/27 was telling Jo he was “twisted” an already weary young man who understood exactly how much of an outsider he was, to grow into the man he became despite of, or because of his tough life, to see him being comfortable in his own skin, despite having suffered so much , that he somehow managed keep his heart intact no matter what was thrown at him, was a big deal and a highlight of the show.
This has always been one of my favorite episodes! I’m such a huge fan and I own the complete series. But I find myself rewatching the the first couple of seasons (especially 1 thru 5) a lot. There’s something about the writing, acting and ambiance of the earlier seasons that draws me in over and over. Now that I have the rest of them I do a lot of rewatching. Kevin Parks move over! You’ve got yourself some competition on the “who, what, where and when”!😅.
I could go on and on, talk for hours about our “little show that could” so much to discuss, so many questions. But I digress. I apologize.
I loved the way that episode made me feel. The lighting was awesome! Really gave it a creepy feel. And the “hope” at the end and seeing Molly disappear into the light, made me definitely tear up. It’s one of those shows I would’ve loved to have seen on the big screen. Thanks for putting this out there to discuss.
Love you all!❤️