For all these years, people have been going to church and doing charity to save their souls — when all we really had to do was just sing karaoke?
Over its first two seasons, HBO’s “The Leftovers” has shown us some strange things — but rabid dogs, National Enquirer magazines and slaughtered goats seem like kids play compared to what the Season 2 finale brought fans on Sunday (Dec. 6).
Did we really just watch Justin Theroux play a dead man dressed as a cop who has to sing Simon & Garfunkel if he wants to live?
Normally, there’d be a warning to only read the rest of the article if you’re okay with spoilers — but even after watching the bizarre, powerful scene several times, there’s still some major uncertainty as to what the heck is going on. One thing that can be said with some certainty, however: There’s never been anything quite like that before on TV.
In a series of plot points that would leave David Lynch scratching his head, Theroux’s Kevin Garvey has spent the last few episodes dying, going to purgatory (represented by a hotel) and then being reborn if he makes the correct choices.
In the Season 2 finale entitled “I Live Here Now,” the craziness begins again when John (Kevin Carroll) shoots Kevin, thinking he’s responsible for his daughter’s disappearance.
Kevin wakes up in a hotel bathtub — stuck once again in limbo. “Oh my God!” he screams in disbelief, scrambling for the TV remote so he can speak to his dad through the static. “I’m not doing this again!” he shouts.
But this time, when he goes to the closet to select his clothing, Kevin doesn’t go for the 007-like garb; instead, he chooses his old policeman’s uniform. Immediately, the phone rings and he is told that another police officer is involved in an altercation in the lobby, and he runs downstairs to help. What he finds is the mysterious man who put a noose around his neck in their previous purgatory encounter.
“If you want to get out of here,” the man tells him. “All you have to do is sing.”
“I don’t believe you,” Theroux replies. When asked why, he says: “Because it’s stupid.”
“You pushed a little girl into a well, but you won’t sing?” the mystery man answers.
Sure enough, Kevin sheepishly gets up on the stage, spinning a giant Elvis Costello-like wheel of song titles. Raise your hand if you were hoping it landed on “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey. But instead, Kevin finds himself belting out an off-key version of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Homeward Bound.” Give credit to Theroux — what begins as a silly, Lynch-ian moment of oddity evolves into one of the most naked, heartbreaking scenes in the show’s history.
As clips from the first two seasons coincide with certain lyrics — cigarettes and magazines, indeed — the connection with Kevin’s life becomes apparent. By the end, Kevin has tears streaming down his face as he imagines his family and attempts to hit the high notes.
Sure enough, the stranger’s words are correct. By singing the 1966 Simon And Garfunkel classic, Kevin seems to have sufficiently entertained whatever deity is overseeing that sadistic hotel. He wakes up alive again, in a pool of blood — while those of us at home reach for the rewind button and ask: “Did we really just watch that?”