What a long, strange trip it’s been this season, Jukeboxers. After this week’s column, we shut down for the summer and welcome the onslaught of depressingly music-free reality TV. But first! We’ve got a spate of “show tunes” playing through makeups, break-ups, big reveals, and tearful goodbyes.
So, if you’ve been wondering “What’s that song?” while watching your favorite shows, we’re here to tell you. Check out our picks and the Spotify playlist below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW)
The song: Cary Brothers, “Belong”
The episode: “Graduation” (423)
The hook: TVD‘s May 16 finale featured bittersweet tracks from Olivia Broadfield, Liz Lawrence, and S. Carey, but Brothers’ soaring tune about possessive love cut to the core of the dynamic between Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) as she finally admitted she loved him, sire bond or no. Of course, that meant Stefan (Paul Wesley) was out of the picture… for now at least. According to music supervisor, Chris Mollere, he chose the track for its “utter sadness.” He liked that “the song guides us through this emotional roller coaster — we have no idea what’s going to happen during the conversation” and that, after Elena confessed, it contrasted “this great moment in one brother’s life and, at the same time, a heartbreaking moment in the other brother’s life.”
GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC)*
The song: John Legend, “All of Me”
The episode: “Perfect Storm” (924)
The hook: While last night’s Grey’s finale featured previously Jukeboxed songs by The National and Sara Jackson-Holman, it was a world premiere by R&B charmer Legend that caused fans’ internal power surges. As Legend sang, “What would I do about your smart mouth, dragging me in and kicking me out?” Alex (Justin Chambers) and Jo (Camilla Luddington) finally resolved the push-and-pull of their relationship with a declaration of love and a steamy smooch. Elsewhere, April (Sarah Drew) offered all of herself to Avery (Jesse Williams) — just don’t tell her fiancé! On the other hand, Cristina (Sandra Oh) realized she and Owen (Kevin McKidd) would never achieve such a level of commitment and enchantment. Bittersweet, yes. But two out of three ain’t bad.
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)*
The song: The Shins, “Simple Song”
The episode: “Something New” (824)
The hook: Eight seasons in the making, Monday’s closing moment at last revealed Mother (Once Tony nominee Cristin Milioti). The Shins’ sweet 2012 ditty — about imagining the love of your life then finally connecting with her — was a perfect soundtrack for the reveal of Yellow Umbrella Girl, not to mention a tuneful set-up for HIMYM‘s final season. After years of complications and false reveals, it should all be “Simple” from here.
Read Sandra Gonzalez’s recap, then check out Tanner Stransky’s exclusive Burning Questions with co-creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas and his exclusive behind-the-scenes look into how Milioti snagged the role of Mother
THE OFFICE (NBC)
The song: Creed Bratton, “All the Faces”
The episode: “Finale” (925)
The hook: Though newlyweds Dwight (Rainn Wilson) and Angela (Angela Kinsey) shared a rollicking first dance to Mötley Crüe’s “Angela,” and reconnecting spouses Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) swayed and hugged to Tom Petty’s “Here Comes My Girl,” it was the shadiest Office character (Bratton) who unexpectedly brought the weepies with a series-closing acoustic composition that underscored each of the characters bidding their goodbyes to Dunder Mifflin and America. Now that‘s a Creed song I can get behind.
Read Hillary Busis’s recap and Erin Strecker’s ranking of Best Office episodes ever, then weigh in!
The song: Beady Eye, “Dreaming of Some Space”
The episode: “Heroine” (124)
The hook: A B-side by Oasis’s everyone-but-Noel offshoot closed out the procedural’s first season last night as Sherlock (Jonny Lee Miller) captured — legally — then let go of — emotionally — Irene (Natalie Dormer). Sparking shippers, he displayed his allegiance to Watson (Lucy Liu) by naming a new species of bee after her. As the odd couple admired Sherlock’s discovery, Liam Gallagher sang, “Got the whole world in our hands, c’mon take a chance and start anew — me and you.”
THE MINDY PROJECT (Fox)*
The song: M83, “Midnight City”
The episode: “Take Me With You” (124)
The hook: The music-supervisor favorites’ 2011 hit played May 14 as Mindy (Mindy Kaling) tried to create her own rom-com moment with boyfriend Casey (Anders Holm), then again as she began to realize her meet-cute might still be in progress with colleague Danny (Chris Messina), who likes her just the way she is — terrible new haircut and all.
The song: Stevie Wonder, “Higher Ground”
The episode: “White Hat’s Back On” (222)
The hook: As season 2 wrapped, it seemed all was right with the world — in that twisted, morally relative way Scandal has so addictively perfected. Liv (Kerry Washington) was getting her strut on after instructing Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) to grovel at Mellie’s (Bellamy Young) feet; David (Joshua Malina) was assuming the U.S. Attorney post he’d procured through blackmail and deal-brokering; Jake (Scott Foley) — poor Jake! — was put in a box marked “For Very Bad Assassins,” and Cyrus (Jeff Perry) was finally destoying that damn(ing) cytron card. And then, boom! Reporters swarmed Liv to get the dirt on her affair with POTUS — the one she believed would never be leaked. If Fitz and Liv’s affair is fair game, what else will come out in season 3? Suddenly, Wonder’s buoyant 1973 hit became a bitterly ironic indictment of all our (anti)heroes’ horrible actions over the last two seasons. And suddenly we were shaking our fists the next season is several long months away.
NEW GIRL (Fox)*
The song: The Vaccines “I Always Knew”
The episode: “Elaine’s Big Day” (225)
The hook: After Rednex’s techno-trashy “Cotton-Eyed Joe” gave Cece (Hannah Simone) a truly unorthodox bridal procession Tuesday, another relationship upshift — between Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and Nick (Jake Johnson) — found its potential love theme in the London foursome’s exuberant ode to kismet.
90210 (The CW)
The song: OneRepublic, “I Lived”
The episode: “We All Fall Down” (522)
The hook: Featuring Mr. Little Jeans’ “Oh Sailor” and Beech’s “London Riots,” Monday’s final installment was exceptionally Jukebox-able. But Ryan Tedder’s arena rouser — also used in The Office‘s series finale promos — played out the Bev-Niner gang as Liam (Matt Lanter) proposed to Annie (Shenae Grimes), finally vindicating diehard LAnnie shippers. Or, as Naomi (AnnaLynne McCord) put it, “It’s about damn time!”
The song: Black Sabbath, “End of the Beginning”
The episode: “Skin in the Game” (1322)
The hook: Cop rawk! Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Iommi, and Geezer Butler (a CSI superfan, it turns out) brought the heat in Tuesday’s Dante’s Inferno-themed season finale. The band made the world premiere of the second single from their first studio album since 1995 during a concert under investigation by Sabbath superfan Ecklie (Marc Vann) and Russell (Ted Danson) — admittedly, more of a Deadhead. Said, EP Don McGill, “Seeing as [Black Sabbath’s upcoming] album is titled 13, and this is the finale of CSI‘s season 13, it seemed like the perfect match.”
Not finales, but still pretty darn good…
The song: Lonesome Animals, “Sunrise”
The episode: “A Picture from Life’s Other Side” (120)
The hook: Wednesday’s ep saw the end of several dysfunctional relationships as Scarlett (Clare Bowen) told Gunnar (Sam Palladio) she couldn’t be with him if he carried on with his “outlaw” lifestyle, and then as Juliette (Hayden Panettiere) wept while watching a news report about the lurid deaths of her mother (Sylvia Jefferies) and Dante (Jay Hernandez). The Midwestern folksters may have urged the ladies to “dry your eyes,” but it doesn’t look like the floodgates will be closed any time before next week’s season finale.
THE GAME (BET)
The song: Emeli Sandé, “River”
The episode: “Blank Canvases” (609)
The hook: There may have been a few hiccups in the courtship between NFL wide receiver Blue (Jay Ellis) and former child star Keira (Lauren London), but the pair went with the flow by the end of Tuesday’s installment when Keira took a very adult step and gave her virginity to Blue. The Brit songbird’s romantic rumination on floating along with the currents of love added a pitch-perfect touch of romance as it set up next week’s season finale.
THE BIG C (Showtime)
The song: Great Northern, “Stop”
The episode: “Quality of Death” (403)
The hook: After a triumphant — if walker-assisted — sashay down a fashion show runway, cancer patient Cathy (Laura Linney) returned to her hospice and looked at the clock ticking down her life. As she marveled at a collage representing her life on the ceiling above, Deathany (a cat living in the hospice, who had developed a reputation for gravitating towards patients just before their deaths) headed toward Cathy’s bed. With only one episode left in The Big C, the L.A. rockers’ mournful piano ballad imparted equal parts resignation and tension to the inevitable end of Cathy’s journey.
NIKITA (The CW)
The song: Digital Daggers, “The Devil Within”
The episode: “Invisible Hand” (321)
The hook: With its stealthy, spooky lyrics (“I will keep quiet. You won’t even know I’m here. You won’t suspect a thing. You won’t see me in the mirror. But I crept into your heart. You can’t make me disappear ’til I make you….”) and slow and purposeful tempo, the electronica duo’s latest struck exactly the right ominous note as Nikita (Maggie Q) readied herself for her final mission — to kill the president of the United States.
The song: Folly and the Hunter, “Ghost”
The episode: “That Girl Strikes Again” (306)
The hook: Nothing brings out the flesh like Halloween, and Tuesday’s Boo Day-themed ep had skin aplenty. But it was an emotionally naked moment between “Hot List” regular Matty (Beau Mirchoff) and girlfriend “Not List”-er Jenna (Ashley Rickards) that had the most impact as the teen loves strengthened their relationship by negotiating what the Montreal indie band described as their “distorted sights” of each other.
MAD MEN (AMC)
The song: Friend and Lover, “Reach Out of the Darkness”
The episode: “Man With a Plan” (607)
The hook: If any words jump to mind that describe Mad Men‘s sixth season, “darkness” is certainly at the top of the list. And such was the irony of this doggedly upbeat ’67 hit, which closed out Sunday’s ep. Instead of implying that Don (Jon Hamm) will emerge from his gloom, the “groovy” tune, when played over his Don’s refusal to comfort a crying Megan (Jessica Paré) as she heard the upsetting news of RFK’s assassination, made it clear that it’ll be a long time before a change is gonna come — both in Don’s life and the world at large.
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