Killer and victim
Haunt each other on a road;
The twist in Roadkill was clearly Supernatural’s tribute to The Sixth Sense: that Molly, the woman who stopped the brothers on the road begging for help, was herself a ghost, unaware of her own state. The episode structure, revealing near the end that the boys had understood Molly’s nature from the beginning, was beautifully executed, giving an entirely different flavor to all the earlier scenes. Kudos to writer Raelle Tucker and director Charles Beeson. We discovered along with Molly that she had killed a farmer in a car accident, and that the farmer, now an angry spirit, haunted the road on the anniversary of his death, chasing and torturing the ghost of the woman who had killed him. Greeley, the farmer, was bound to earth by revenge, while Molly was equally bound by her love for her husband, and the fear that their last argument in the car just before the accident would be the memory of her that he would carry to his own death. The Winchesters dealt with
Even though Roadkill was clearly designed as a stand-alone episode, it continued to carry and advance several of the themes of the
Showing how far Dean has come, however, was that he risked his life for Molly even knowing that she was a ghost. When Greeley had Molly strung up for torture in the cabin, the boys already knew that both of them were ghosts, playing out a scene in which Greeley would earn another annual installment of ultimately unsatisfactory gratification from tormenting the woman who had accidentally killed him, and thus led to the suicide of his wife. The boys could have worked together on opening the grave and salting and burning the bones to destroy
Sam, in turn, seemed as much to be facing his own fears as counseling Molly. In the cabin, after discovering the
Throughout the episode, I was forcibly reminded of In My Time of Dying. Dean doesn’t remember his own out-of-body experience, his own moment of truth to choose between accepting death – letting go of his unfinished business, his need to cling to and protect his family – or becoming a spirit not unlike Molly or Greeley, but the echoes of IMToD were everywhere. In Molly, we saw a variation on the classic “angry spirit.” Molly was frightened and confused, not remembering anything from one year’s appearance to the next, clinging to her need to find her husband, apologize to him, and make clear that she loved him. Molly wasn’t angry, Molly wasn’t deliberately hurting people; but between Molly and Greeley both haunting that road for one night each year, other people were hurt and killed, because they lost control of their cars when their travel intersected with the ghostly pursuit. Unintended consequences of unfinished business. Would Molly have continued to reappear each year, still looking for her husband although no longer pursued by
The closing scene, the exchange between the brothers after witnessing Molly’s passage into the light, marks one of the principal differences still between them. Dean accepts that what is, is, and that he’ll find out what happens afterward when he gets there. Dean takes what comes and deals with it, not flavoring it with expectations, and still not assigning any major role to faith. Sam, on the other hand, can’t help but wonder and worry about what the future holds in store, and not just in terms of winding up in heaven or hell. But in Roadkill, Sam seemed to find an offset to the fear that was drowning him in Playthings, that he won’t be able to resist becoming something evil. He is clearly still afraid, but it doesn’t seem quite so overpowering – not when there is hope.
After all, as Sam put it, Hope’s kinda the whole point.
It certainly is for us.