Christmas was in the air this week, and so was tragedy. From car crashes (Gossip Girl) to motorcycle busts (90210), things were sad, y’all! Even when we were laughing, we were crying (How I Met Your Mother). But, with a new year only a few weeks away, there was a bit of hope as a long-simmering relationship made headway (Hart of Dixie), old friends were reunited (Glee), and Kalinda Sharma just kept on being awesome (The Good Wife). See our picks for this week’s best “show” tunes after the jump. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS follow!)
GOSSIP GIRL (The CW)
The song: Florence + The Machine, “Heartlines”
The episode: “Riding in Town Cars With Boys” (510)
The hook: Despite some hilarity involving Blair’s bridesmaid tryouts this season, nothing about Blair and Prince Louis’s relationship has come close to bringing the fireworks of her chemistry with Chuck Bass. And what fireworks there were on Monday’s midseason finale. Florence + The Machine’s jungle drum-thumping track from Ceremonials provided a propulsive beat as Blair and Chuck’s limo was chased by paparazzi through Central Park. The song, about self-assurance and destiny, was thematically brilliant for the moment when Blair chose Chuck over Louis, abdicating her chance at royalty in the process. In a cruel twist of fate, it would become her Princess (Di) moment as the limo careened into a partition. Just as the lovers’ lives hang in the balance, Florence Welch’s primal scream hangs in our heads and hearts.
Watch it! The chase begins at 35:54 on Gossip Girl‘s official site.
The song: “We Are Young,” originally by fun. Feat. Janelle Monáe
The episode: “Hold on to Sixteen” (308)
The hook: The episode ender this week was an emotional reunion as the Troubletones (who lost Sectionals) were folded back into the New Directions. The New York-based rockers’ lyrics, “Tonight, we are young, so let’s set the world on fire. We can burn brighter than the sun” expressed the Gleeks’ youth and vigor and recalled the episode’s title line from John Mellencamp’s “Jack & Diane.” After a particularly serious couple of episodes for Santana, the Cheerio dropped her guard in a beautiful solo, joining hands with Rachel and singing, “Carry me home tonight.” It was a poignant moment but also a free-spirited one when kids were just kids and friends were friends once more.
Watch it! Fox won’t post the full episode online until Dec. 14, but they did post the performance of “We Are Young” on their YouTube. See what Abby West thought of the arrangement in her recap, then hear the original on fun.’s official site.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
The song: AC/DC, “Highway to Hell”
The episode: “Symphony of Illumination” (712)
The hook: Ted cued up the Australian metalheads after he noticed Robin was feeling down. He set up a spectacular Christmas light show in her apartment, timed to the least Christmas-y song of all time, and told her, “You can never stop me from trying to cheer you up. It’s a fact of life, and you’re just going to have to deal with it.” Robin, who had been informed she’d be unable to have children, was deeply touched by Ted’s familial gesture and couldn’t stop the tears as she melted into his arms. Cue a Saget-over about Robin’s eventual accomplishments: She was a famous journalist, businesswoman, world traveler… even a bullfighter. “But there was one thing your aunt Robin never was — she was never alone.” Even Angus Young’s catscratch voice couldn’t stop viewers from grabbing their hankies during this improbable tearjerker.
NEXT: Hope for Hart of Dixie, Velvet-y Revenge, a hipster holiday on 90210, and Kalinda Kills it on The Good Wife