Music rang through the Upper and Lower East Sides this week, hung over the Hamptons, and emerged from a mass grave on sunny Los Angeles’s darkest block. As fall settles in, show tunes seem to be taking a turn for the moody, but don’t worry, we’ve made sure to include some upbeat numbers in there and one very unexpected Betty White shout-out. See our picks below! (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS follow!)
The song: Little Dragon, “Twice”
The episode: “Guilt” (105)
The hook: No show is delivering moody ambience these days quite like Revenge. In the episode’s closing scenes, Daniel found himself cut off from his trust fund and rushed into the arms of vengeful heroine Emily — and into her trap. At the same time, Emily’s partner in crime Nolan discovered footage of a violent confrontation between recently (and very suspiciously) deceased socialite Lydia and the man whom society queen Victoria Grayson bid to “handle her.” With the piano strains of Swedish electr-mo foursome Little Dragon’s “Twice” providing an aural landscape, the show juxtaposed sex and violence in a masterful way.
GOSSIP GIRL (The CW)
The song: The Duke Spirit, “Don’t Wait”
The episode: “Memoirs of an Invisible Dan” (504)
The hook: Suffice it to say, Lonely Boy Dan Humphrey took a lot of artistic license with Upper East Side roman à clef Inside. The results varied from hilarious (making Nate gay) to tragic (offing Chuck in the most lonely, dreadful way possible). Somewhere in the middle resided some serious steam between Dan and Blair’s fictional stand-ins. For sure, not everyone appreciates this odd couple, but for those who have been enduring the will-they-or-won’t-they tension between them since their unlikely friendship began last season, the build-up to the chorus of “Don’t Wait” was appropriately urgent and orgasmic.
Watch it! The full episode isn’t available online, but you can hear the song on The Duke Spirit’s official YouTube.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY (FX)
The song: Carina Round, “For Everything A Reason”
The episode: “Murder House” (103)
The hook: AHS turned in another spine-tingling ending Wednesday that left viewers questioning if there is anyone to root for in its terrifying universe. After the creepy former inhabitant of his home did Ben a homicidal “favor” by connecting a shovel to the face of Ben’s pregnant mistress Hayden, Ben had a decision to make: Tell the truth or bury the evidence. Down into the earth went Hayden’s body. Over her went a pile of concrete and a DIY gazebo. But we received the first tip-off that no spirit remains dead and buried in this Story when Ben’s maid Moira wept as Ben covered up the grave, which also contained the remains of another woman and a delicate piece of lace (like that on a maid’s uniform). Lingering behind all this, Round’s chilling lyrics — “For every ending, a new beginning… those who loved before will be brought back together… My house is haunted by wrong desire… For every lie, honey, the truth lay underneath it” — foretold the inevitable reverberations of Ben’s choice.
HOW TO MAKE IT IN AMERICA (HBO)
The song: Lady Saw, “No Long Talking”
The episode: “Money, Power, Private School” (203)
The hook: At its best, How To Make It in America is like a double shot of espresso. These guys are constantly hustling, and pro skater Wilfredo Gomez is the newest hustler on the block since his introduction in last season’s finale. As banter buddy of Rene, Wilfredo’s plots are among the funniest moments in the show. The the hard-hitting dancehall star’s track was a nice background to Wilfredo’s skateboard trek through Manhattan and Brooklyn — not to mention a cheeky choice since Wilfredo’s run-in with a Jamaican man will likely be the key to Rene’s viral video success for Rasta Monsta energy drink.
RINGER (The CW)
The song: Transit, “Always Find Me Here”
The episode: “A Whole New Kind of Bitch” (104)
The hook: Yes, the show did featured Betty White and Luciana’s “I’m Still Hot” on Tuesday, but it was Transit’s moody track that struck the right notes for the end of the episode. Siobhan’s friend Gemma (a.k.a. the wife of Siobhan’s lover) has gone missing. In a head scratcher of a fakeout, Bridget planted evidence to implicate herself in the misdeeds, hoping that would in turn deflect suspicion from her because she planned to keep posing as Siobhan. Confused? That’s exactly what Ringer wants. Fortunately Transit’s eerie piano was there to lull us as it underlined the deepening connection between the twins. As the words “Time goes by/ But you’ll always find me here/ You’ll always find me here” play, it was obvious that Bridget’s increasing, Inception-like plunge into the levels of Siobhan’s life would entangle the sisters irrevocably.
THE SING-OFF (NBC)
The song: “Video Killed the Radio Star,” originally by The Buggles
The episode: “Top 10 Groups: Guilty Pleasure Music” (305)
The hook: On Guilty Pleasures night, Afro Blue’s all-over-the-map rendition of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” did have some Soul Train-y dance line goodness, but it was front-runner Pentatonix who turned in the performance of the night with a cover the MTV-launching synth pop hit. The routine was stellar if only for the awesome ’80s neon green accessories and rockin’ robot dancing. Add to that their always killer beatbox effects, a sweet drum ‘n’ bass breakdown, and runs for days, and you’ve got the final product that judge Shawn Stockman rewarded with a standing ovation and the guess that the group may have been “sent back from the future to save a cappella.”
Watch it! Get your a cappella on at NBC’s Sing-Off site.