Seduction. Solidarity. Suspicion. Swagger. Stolen goods. Secret twins and… spirits distilled in the basement? The last two weeks have served up some tear-inducing moments, both of the so-sad variety (goodbye, Chuck!) and of the laugh-’til-you-cry ilk (hello, Jess and Nick almost-kiss on New Girl that we never would have seen coming!). Our favorite TV shows have featured a man on fire (How I Met Your Mother), an elaborate group waltz (The Vampire Diaries), a winner-take-all footrace between elementary school children (Raising Hope), and a long-awaited vindication (The Good Wife). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, show tunes fans. We’ve also got musical moments from Revenge, The Lying Game, Royal Pains, The Secret Circle, and Ringer. Check out our picks below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)
The song: Beirut, “Goshen”
The episode: “Chuck Versus the Goodbye” (513)
The hook: While shippers of Chuck (Zachary Levi) and Sarah (Yvonne Strahovski) are likely still reeling from a series-ending relationship retrospective set to The Head and the Heart’s “Rivers and Roads,” that moment wouldn’t have been possible without Beirut’s piano-tinkler-as-rallying-cry that set it up some 40-or-so minutes earlier in Chuck‘s two-hour finale. With wife Sarah’s memory stolen by evil spies, Chuck’s friends gathered ’round to encourage him to muster up all his spy know-how and get Sarah to remember and love him again. Chuck was self-deprecating about the mission. In any other show, Beirut’s graceful ballad would be employed for utmost sap factor. In this instance, though, its slow build paralleled Chuck’s sadness as he transitioned from defeat to hope. Leave it to Chuck to go out swinging, turning music-on-TV tropes on their head along the way.
NEW GIRL (Fox)
The song: Rusted Root, “Send Me on My Way”
The episode: “The Landlord” (112)
The hook: There are hardly words to describe the cringe-larious near three-way between Jess (Zooey Deschanel), Nick (Jake M. Johnson), and their landlord Remy (deliciously creepy Jeff Kober). Imagine the most nightmarish seduction scenario possible, from foreplay that included animal blood shout-outs to a shoulder massage from a guy who makes basement cheese, then add to it this wildly inappropriate track from the Pittsburgh jam band who put the sex in sextet. Oh yeah, and throw in some spastic Jess dancing. I’ve said time and again that New Girl is one of the best show there is for tweaking our musical expectations, but this week took the cake (and almost Nick’s underpants).
Watch it! “The Landlord” is available only to Hulu Plus subscribers until Feb. 15 (it’s worth the subscription), but you can check out “Send Me on My Way” on Rusted Root’s YouTube while you read our recap.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW)
The song: Ed Sheeran, “Give Me Love”
The episode: “Dangerous Liaisons” (314)
The hook: As was only befitting a grand ball, last night was chockablock with outstanding music. Though there was plenty of intrigue and betrayal, it was the whirlwind of sexual politics that provided the most musical fodder. In two back-to-back sequences, Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder) breathlessly watched Elena (Nina Dobrev) enter the party to the aptly named “Devotion” by Hurts, and Klaus (Joseph Morgan) set his sights on Caroline (Candice Accola) to Trent Dabbs’ “Wrap My Mind Around You.” Of course there was that moment when Damon ravaged minxish Original vampire Rebekah (Claire Holt) to the tune of “Up in Flames” by She Wants Revenge. But the winning song selection of the night went to Yorkshire singer-songwriter Sheeran’s beautiful acoustic melody, which provided the basis for a gorgeous set piece as 1,000-something-year-old Klaus invited partygoers to partake in what music supervisor Christopher Mollere called ” a very Pride and Prejudice-style waltz.” The moment was intricately visually choreographed, jumping between two Salvatore brothers with Elena, then to Caroline, back to Damon with Klaus’s vengeful sister, and around and around the floor. Every character got his or her moment, and the roiling relations between the various characters played out Sheeran’s lush vocals.
Watch it! “Dangerous Liaisons” won’t be available online until next week, but you can listen to a stripped down (just like Damon and Rebekah) version of “Give Me Love” on YouTube as you read Mandi Bierly’s recap.
NEXT: Trick in a box on Revenge, The Good Wife dance music, sunglasses and swagger on Royal Pains, and a Lying Game heart-to-heart