If you make it through all four hours of "Leaving Neverland," you'll see the credits rolling next to images of a bonfire consuming a sequined glove, a red leather jacket and the cover of an album that sold more than 66 million copies. The flames give a quiet command. Go gather up whatever you have and throw it in. You certainly have something. He's Michael Jackson. Now let's be done with him.
And if you give "Leaving Neverland" your full attention, you'll want to be done with him.
Dan Reed's harrowing documentary film - which began airing in two parts on HBO Sunday night - recounts the alleged sexual abuse that Jackson inflicted on Wade Robson and James Safechuck as children in such excruciating and incriminating detail, there's no turning your head the other way. It's unbearable to watch. But you should. And then?
How do we make the most famous entertainer our world has ever known instantly and permanently disappear? We don't. We can't. Even if we toss every last copy of "Thriller" into that fire, we still have to breathe the fumes. Jackson's music has dictated the contours of 21st-century pop music, so we're hearing him even when we aren't actually listening to him.
And whether or not you want to listen to another Michael Jackson song in your life, it's not really up to you. There will still be house parties, and wedding receptions, and karaoke contests, and barbecues, and Friday nights on dance floors where "Billie Jean" makes the room spin. Maybe we won't hear these songs as frequently now, but there will always be fans fluent in the finest details of Jackson's music who refuse to hear the big, horrible truth about who he really was. (Jackson's estate has come out strongly against the documentary, suing HBO for $100 million and releasing a statement that denies Robson's and Safechuck's allegations.)