Monday, July 20, 2009

Classic Episode Review: "Roadkill"

Sergei Bachlakov/The CW

I'm not a dumb person. I've seen The Sixth Sense. But I'll readily admit, I didn't see this coming.

Maybe I was too dazzled by the extra beauty in the episode. Supernatural is loaded with hot chick guest stars, mostly those with that slick, plastic-type beauty that makes them so hard to differentiate from each other, even if the acting is decent. Tricia Helfer is one of the few females on the show who's a big cut above. (Side note: I watched her on Warehouse 13 recently and had to turn up the air conditioning.)

I planned to watch this episode again before writing my post, but a jam-packed schedule last week rendered it impossible. So I'm just going to talk about the things that left an impact on me, one big enough to recall a year after I last watched the episode. Then you guys can fill in the blanks with what I missed. :)

By this episode, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki have been working effortlessly together for a long time. Their chemistry, present from the beginning, is almost a living presence. Tricia Helfer had the rare experience to not only be in almost every scene with them, but to in fact have more screen time than they did. And she made it completely worthwhile.

Throughout the episode, I noted the things they did differently, and appreciated them as a departure from the norm that nonetheless stayed grounded in the show's normality. Sam and Dean had done research, knew about the deaths along the road, and the ghost, but we didn't have to see them doing the research. Later I realized we were really seeing everything through Molly's eyes, a unique way to show a typical vengeful spirit story. After all, certain types of stories can be told over and over, it's just the characters and how they do things that make them worth experiencing.

It was very cold while they were filming, poor Tricia didn't have as many layers as the boys did, and their breath had as much screen time as anyone else.

Jared had a cold, I think. He certainly sounded plugged up, especially during that very compassionate moment when they tried to hit me on the head with what was happening, and I ducked. (That was when they sat on the bed and he said "Some spirits hold on too tight...can't let go.")

My favorite line was when Dean told Sam he's a walking encyclopedia of weirdness, and Sam just agrees. I loved that. There's so often tension between them regarding the ways they're different. Early in season one, they did research equally, and Dean knew as much as Sam. But Sam--the scholarly, academic one--eventually took over more of that, and Dean seemed to let him. Sam became the "smart" one, even more than had already been established, and Dean constantly picked on him for it. So this easy, acknowledging moment when Sam just takes Dean's teasing at face value just feels good.

The moment I figured out what was going on was, of course, when they took Molly to David and he was in the house. It didn't make any sense. Even on my big TV, it was hard at first to tell that he looked so much older, but his behavior certainly didn't match a guy whose wife had disappeared. But we saw David, then Molly, then the boys, then Molly, and it hit me that she was dead. I'm sure plenty of people saw it coming, and some might have felt manipulated or deceived. But I felt like the writers were watching the dawning recognition on my face, the joy that I had been fooled so deliciously, and that they were giggling behind their hands at their success.

When they started the montage of flashbacks, I had a second of disappointment. I didn't need everything rehashed for me. But then, seeing everything turned around, from their perspective, and of course, new pieces we hadn't seen because Molly hadn't seen them, just enhanced the whole experience.

In the end, this episode hit the top of my "feel good" list. Instead of anger or self-recrimination, we got compassion and hope. And a taste of just how damned good the writers can be, even without straying too far from show parameters.

Supernatural reuses a lot of its guest stars (Anita Brown was Lindsay in "Skin" and Hope in "Wishful Thinking"; Keegan Connor Tracy was Karen Giles in "The Usual Suspects" and Sera Siege in "The Monster at the end of this Book"). I don't know if that's because there's a limited pool who will go to Vancouver for a guest role, or what. But they can reuse Tricia Helfer any time, and I won't even scoff at how she's too distinctive to do that with.

Your turn! What did you love--or dislike--about "Roadkill"? Favorite lines? Agree or disagree with my love of TH? Fill up the comments! :)

FYI, the commenting issue seems to be related to OpenID, is inconsistent across blogs and posts, and is not something Blogger seems to have addressed in any way as of yet. So if you get error code "bX-m9h15s" please try a different log-in method, and shoot us an e-mail to let us know. Thanks!


MJFredrick said...

My favorite line was, "It smells like old lady in here. And that would be why."

I liked the twist, but it's not one of my favorite episodes. Maybe in the middle of the pack somewhere.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

LOL Yes, I love that line, too! And the moment before it, when Dean tried to kick in the door and it wouldn't go. :)

phouse1964 said...

This has always been one of my favorite episodes and I think it's for what you said. I was left with a feeling of hope at the end. Everything was ok when it was over with nothing really looming.

I loved how Jared and Jensen played off each other in this episode. It really did feel natural, almost organic. Maybe part of that was Tricia. It's one of the few roles that she isn't all sexed up and I think it really showed off what a really good actress is.

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Hey, phouse, good to see you! :)

I agree, about TH, and actually found her even more attractive in this role than I'd ever seen her.