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The song: ''Rumour Has It/Someone Like You,'' originally by Adele
The episode: ''Mash Off'' (306)
The hook: So many glorious Glee numbers, so little time! Everyone from Tom Jones to Stephen Sondheim has figured into this fall's line-up, but the emotional wallop delivered by the fiery blend of two of the British chanteuse's most evocative cuts tops for 2011, just like Adele herself. The performance was on-point plot-wise, outstanding vocally, and choreographically exciting (thanks to Zach Woodlee). First, Adele's drum-pounding ''Rumour Has It'' zestily summed up Sue Sylvester's mud-slinging congressional campaign, then Santana's heartwrenching belt of the otherwise crying-into-your-pillow delicacy of ''Someone Like You'' conveyed the jeerleader's deep anguish after her own Mean Girling backfired and forced her out of the closet.
Watch it! EW just happened to offer a sneak peek of the mash-up before the episode's Nov. 16 air date. Don't forget to check out Abby West's rundown of the night's highlights!
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The song: Lionel Richie, ''Hello''
The episode: ''Geography of Global Conflict'' (302)
The hook: Richie's classic blind-girl stalker anthem as an absurdist counterpoint to an ongoing war of wills between Britta (Gillian Jacobs) and new security guard Chang (Ken Jeong)? Why, of course. Seeing that an old friend had been imprisoned in Syria, Britta got a taste for civil insurrection and resolved to stir up trouble at Greendale's Model U.N. Not on Chang's watch! They faced off several times during the episode, each of which was played over Richie's melodic crooning as Britta chewed up paper and spit it out, declaring, ''And that's how we do that!'' or blurted, ''Are we Facebooking this?'' as Chang dragged her protest cage out of a room. Ridiculous...ly awesome. It was the first of several musical motifs seen on the show this season, not to mention one wonderfully agonizing performance of ''Kiss from a Rose.''
Watch it! You can read Christian Blauvelt's recap while saying ''hello'' to ''Hello'' at 4:39 on Community's Hulu, then I command you to watch Richie's original 1984 video, which appears to have been set at a community college, too. Connections!
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The song: Little Dragon, ''Twice''
The episode: ''Guilt'' (105)
The hook: No show has delivered moody ambience this year quite like Revenge. In the Oct. 19 episode's closing scenes, Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman) found himself cut off from his trust fund and rushed into the arms of vengeful heroine Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) — and into her trap. At the same time, Emily's partner in crime Nolan Ross (Gabriel Mann) discovered footage of a violent confrontation between recently (and very suspiciously) deceased socialite Lydia Davis (Amber Valletta) and the seamy detective whom society queen Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) 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.
Watch it! Fast forward to 39:56 on Revenge's Hulu page, and don't forget to read the recap by our own Darren Franich.
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How I Met Your Mother (CBS)
The song: Crooked Fingers, ''Heavy Hours''
The episode: ''Tick Tick Tick'' (710)
The hook: HIMYM's Barney and Robin have kept us grinning, guessing, and gritting our teeth all season long, from an impromptu (but somehow gloriously choreographed) dance to Deee-Lite's ''Groove Is in the Heart'' in the season opener, to their long-awaited reunion kiss set to the tune of the Pixies' ''Hey''. But the music in the final moments of Nov. 14's ''Tick Tick Tick'' brought la douleur exquise to fans of the off-again couple. As Robin made her decision to go with nice guy Kevin instead of rakish Barney, Fingers' founder/frontman sang, ''Waited for you/ You didn't come/ You never do.'' When Robin arrived at MacLaren's with Kevin, Barney realized he had lost her and was crushed. He squinted back tears as she said ''I'm sorry.'' What was a seemingly mundane statement to the rest of the gang was the deathblow for Barney, who went home and cleared roses meant for Robin off the bed.
Watch it! The devastation begins at 19:38 on CBS.com. Read Sandra Gonzalez's recap and weep through the exquisite pain.
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The Vampire Diaries (The CW)
The song: Greg Laswell, ''This Woman's Work''
The episode: ''Ghost World'' (307)
The hook: Kate Bush's late-'80s song has been covered by everyone from Maxwell to Gwyneth Paltrow, but Laswell's 2009 version was especially well-deployed in the climactic battle of Oct. 27's Vampire Diaries. As ghosts with unfinished business laid siege to Mystic Falls, it was up to good witches Bonnie (Katerina Graham) and her ghostly grandmother (Jasmine Guy) to expel the spirits. Laswell squeezed every drop of emotion from the line ''make it go, make it go away'' while the witches let loose their incantation, Elena (Nina Dobrev) took the reins in restoring the lapsed soul of her vampire boyfriend Stephan (Paul Wesley), and vampiress Caroline (Candice Accola) dispatched of dozens of vampire ghosts -- save for Anna (Malese Jow), who was touchingly reunited with her mother for their return journey to the other side. In a rare instance where the women of Vampire Diaries saved the day instead of men, this slow-burn song about females facing crisis couldn't have been more stirring.
Watch it! The ghost-be-gone-ing starts at 35:30 on The CW's official Vampire Diaries page, and Mandi Bierly dissects the montage in her recap.
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Dancing With the Stars (ABC)
The song: ''Prelude'' from Pyscho
The episode: ''Round Four'' (1304)
The hook: Season 13's third-place finisher Ricki Lake seemed thisclose to breaking down during rehearsals for Oct. 18's ''Movie Night'' performance show, but when she took the stage on Monday night, she needed only 90 seconds to prove her star quality — and redeem herself for Mrs. Winterbourne along the way. Let's overlook Derek Hough's flesh goatee and focus on the musicality in his choreography and his evocative silhouette staging. Did Lake stumble a few times? Yes. Were her scores (the first two 10s of the season courtesy of Carrie Ann Inaba and Bruno Tonioli) overly generous? Perhaps. But when Dancing's choreographers skip the half-baked pop covers, the results are often magical (see: ''Hedwig's Theme'' from season 12). Say it with me now... ''Go Ricki! Go Ricki!''
Watch it! The Psycho-tically good tango begins just after the first hour mark on Dancing's Hulu. Read along while you watch to Annie Barrett's recap.
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Jersey Shore (MTV)
The song: Wallpaper., ''#STUPiDFACEDD''
The episode: ''Situation Problems'' (411)
The hook: Jersey's resident ''Blast in a Glass'' Deena Nicole Cortese was on fire with desire on Oct. 20. Desperate to ''do sex'' with DJ Pauly D, she took to da club and got crazy-wasted in hopes that her inhibitions would rub off on Pauly. Wallpaper.'s electro-pop club thumper hilariously underscored Deena's epic fail at sobriety and love, and lyrics like ''Super Soaker filled with Four Loker, plus SoCo, real gross, yo'' matched Deena's own verbal poetry as she lobbed one come-on after another at her uninterested housemate.
Watch it! Deena barrels toward her ''white girl wasted'' nadir at 6:11 on MTV.com, and see what philosophical meaning Darren Franich derived from it all in his recap.
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Parks and Recreation (NBC)
The song: Gabe Dixon Band, ''All Will Be Well''
The episode: ''End of the World'' (406)
The hook: Poignance emerged from Pawnee when April (Aubrey Plaza) challenged husband Andy (Chris Pratt) to make plans as if it were their last night on earth. Inspired by Andy's bucket list, they made some amazing grilled cheese and flashed some cash for funsies, but the real payoff arrived when the couple took the greatest risk of all and drove to the Grand Canyon. Dixon sang about ''the promises you've given to yourself'' as they took in the canyon's beauty, and even tart-tongued April had to admit, ''I'm trying to find a way to be annoyed by it, but... I'm coming up empty.'' Andy hugged April and told her, ''I would have never done this without you.'' A beat later, lest we forgot what show we were watching: ''Where's all the faces?... The presidents?''
Watch it! The road trip begins at 20:05 on Parks and Rec's Hulu. See what else went down in Pawnee on Nov. 3 by reading Dan Snierson's recap.
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New Girl (Fox)
The song: Phil Collins, ''A Groovy Kind of Love''
The episode: ''Wedding'' (103)
The hook: Starting a tradition of delightfully off-kilter musical moments on fall's favorite new comedy, New Girl's Oct. 4 episode found its lovable weirdos expressing themselves as only lovable weirdos can: through the dance. Jess (Zooey Deschanel) and her boys went to a wedding where roommate Nick (Jake M. Johnson) had to confront the ex who broke his heart. After a series of misadventures, Nick found closure and took to the dance floor to let his freak-flag fly to Collins' synthed-up 1988 cover of the Mindbenders' 1965 original. Never has a chicken dance been so endearing and, dare I say, cathartic.
Watch it! Fox only keeps five episodes of New Girl online at a time, and it's not currently in rotation, but you can read the ''Wedding'' recap and watch the original video for the song, featuring Collins chain-smoking as he glumly watches scenes from his 1988 flop Buster.
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Once Upon a Time (ABC)
The song: The Black Keys, ''Howlin' for You''
The episode: ''Pilot'' (101)
The hook: Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, The Evil Queen and Co. may run the show in Storybrooke, Maine, but in her first scene of Once Upon a Time, Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison) showed that she calls the shots in Boston. She was decked out in a sexy red minidress for a blind date — or at least that's what the guy sharing a table with her thought their meet-up was. In fact, she Emma there to nab the unlucky lowlife in her official capacity as a bailbonds(wo)man. Of course her date ran, and of course she took him down — in killer heels, no less. The Black Keys' bass-driven rocker was an awesome musical expression of her take-no-prisoners, all-business persona -- not to mention a strong start to what has turned out to be one of fall's best shows.
Watch it! The takedown commences at 6:35 on Once's Hulu. See what happened in Storybrooke with Shaunna Murphy's recap, then check out Ken Tucker's review of the pilot and see if you agree! (The Keys' original video for the song is also worth noting. Does it feature Todd Bridges in a priest outfit talking about choking out a chupacabra? Why yes, yes it does.)
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Sons of Anarchy (FX)
The song: AWOLNATION, ''Burn It Down''
The episode: ''To Be, Part 1'' (413)
The hook: Though Ryan Horne's ''Terrible Tommy'' made an elegant appearance at the end of the first half of Sons' season finale -- when once-powerful Clay was relegated to a hospital bed (Ron Perlman) -- it was a hard-driving action sequence as the guys of SAMCRO rode to the rescue of Tig (Kim Coates) that stood out as a true moment in the spirit of Sons. Bent on avenging Clay's shooting, Tig found himself in the sights of rival gang the One-Niners. L.A. rockers AWOLNATION's screeching ode to destruction — with lyrics about ''looking down the barrel of today'' — was a killer choice to play while Jax (Charlie Hunnam) and Co. roared down a gridlocked highway. For a club threatened by division throughout season 4, it was also a kick-ass moment of unity that was literally forged under the gun.
Watch it! FX hasn't posted the full episode online, but you can listen to ''Burn It Down'' on YouTube as you find out Ken Tucker's verdict on part one of the finale.
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Breaking Bad (AMC)
The song: Apollo Sunshine, ''We Are Born When We Die''
The episode: ''End Times'' (412)
The hook: After drug kingpin Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) threatened to kill Walter White's entire family, Bad's meth-cooking antihero (Bryan Cranston) took a moment to sit by the pool at his house so he could reflect upon the choices that led him to such a low point. The Boston-born band's contemplative track, with its simple lyrics (''Why say goodbye? We are born again when we die'') lilted as Walt played a couple of practice rounds of Russian roulette, spinning a gun around on the table before himself three times. Two out of the three times, it came to a stop pointing at him.
Watch it! Breaking Bad is not available online, but you can read EW's recap by Melissa Maerz and hear the song on Apollo Sunshine's YouTube.
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The Good Wife (CBS)
The song: Sleigh Bells, ''Riot Rhythm''
The episode: ''Marthas and Caitlins'' (305)
The hook: At first this track from Brooklyn-based duo Sleigh Bells might have seemed an odd choice to underscore the structured, color-inside-the-lines life of Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies). But that's exactly why the Bells' yowling noise pop worked so well. In the song's first appearance, it seemed like obvious sonic mise en place when Alicia met with her daughter's tutor (real-life ''street dancer'' Anne Marsen) to discuss the dangers of filming YouTube videos in midday traffic. But then the song played again as Alicia visited disturbingly charismatic wife killer Colin Sweeney (Dylan Walsh) to negotiate a trade-off for his testimony. Unable to keep these fringe figures out of her life, the tune drove home Alicia's need to push her boundaries in dealing with people who function on the periphery of civilized society. Add to that the lyrics, ''Straight A kids like a treat/ She stands up and takes the heat.'' Sound like anyone we know?
Watch it! The ''Riot'' first occurs at 11:57, then at 27:06, on CBS's official Good Wife page. Read along with Melissa Maerz's recap.
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The Big C (Showtime)
The song: Straight No Chaser, ''Auld Lang Syne''?
The episode: ''Crossing the Line'' (213)
?The hook: The Big C has been masterful in its combination of comedy and poignance throughout its two seasons on air. In the second season finale, cancer-stricken Cathy (Laura Linney) decided to compete in a New Year's marathon. In the very last minutes of the episode, she reached the finish line to find her family, friends, and even the ghosts of her past standing in the freezing Minneapolis winter to support her. With its upbeat delivery, this version by Straight No Chaser (former members of the same-name Indiana University a cappella group who landed a recording contract) at first seemed to underscore Cathy's personal victory and her hope for the new year as she said proudly, ''You all came!'' Then Cathy's son Adam (Gabriel Basso) said off-handedly, ''Yeah, except Dad's not here yet.'' The only problem? Cathy could see her husband Paul (Oliver Platt) next to other friends of hers who had passed. Cut to paramedics trying to revive Paul as Cathy underwent the devastating realization that Paul was now among the ghosts. Her breakdown imbued a song that was comforting just a moment ago with a sense of tragedy.?
Watch it! The Big C is only available to Showtime subscribers, but you can listen to Straight No Chaser's rendition of the New Year's classic here.
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Happy Endings (ABC)
The song: ''Torn,'' made famous by Natalie Imbruglia
The episode: ''Yesandwich'' (203)
The hook: Sure, it's not ''Love to the Power of Love,'' but it was a Happy coincidence that Megan Mullally is a certifiable triple threat. Playing mom to Penny (Casey Wilson), she put her singing, dancing, and acting chops to the test after a week of bickering found the mother and daughter patching things up over — what else? — 1990s pop. Whether it was the sparkly lapelled unitard-y goodness, the duo's hilarious interpretative dance, or the fact that it all took place at a boat show, one thing was for sure: We heart Two Hartz Beat as One.
Watch it! The cringe-y sexy mother-daughter dancing begins at 19:30 on Happy Endings' Hulu, and you can check out Aly Semigran's take in her recap.
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American Horror Story (FX)
The song: Carina Round, ''For Everything a Reason''
The episode: ''Murder House'' (103)
The hook: On Oct. 19, AHS turned in another spine-tingling ending that left viewers questioning if there was anyone to root for in its terrifying universe. After Larry, the creepy former inhabitant of Murder House (monstrously and deliciously played by Denis O'Hare), did Ben (Dylan McDermott) a homicidal ''favor'' by connecting a shovel to the face of Ben's pregnant mistress Hayden (Kate Mara), 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. The chilling moment of human forsaken was also the first tip-off that no spirit remains dead and buried in this Story when Ben's maid Moira (Frances Conroy) 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 haunting 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.
Watch it! FX posts limited episodes on AHS online, and ''Murder House'' is not in the current rotation, but you can read Jeff Jensen's recap and listen to ''For Everything a Reason'' song on Round's official site.
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The song: Richard and Linda Thompson, ''I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight''
The episode: ''The Weekend'' (104)
The hook: It was only right that the Thompsons' 1974 ode to busting out of the daily grind played at the end of an episode called ''The Weekend.'' Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) hoped to throw her troubles away when she invited ex-husband Levi (Luke Wilson) for a canoeing trip. Alas, we all have different ways of ignoring our problems. While former rageaholic Amy's coping primarily consisted of hippy-dippy, feeling-centric searches for clarity, Levi's involved muddying his mind with drugs and alcohol. After Amy dumped Levi's drugs and spurred a major fight, they decided to agree to disagree — basically the emotional equivalent of a weekend retreat. The song played as Amy drove home from with the new realization that you can get away from what weighs you down... but not for very long.
Watch it! Enlightened is available online only to HBO GO subscribers. Everyone else can listen to the Thompsons' tune on YouTube.
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The Secret Circle (The CW)
The song: The Kills, ''DNA''
The episode: ''Pilot'' (101)
The hook: This witchy CW show found an appropriately badass song from transatlantic duo Alison Mosshart and Jamie Hince (a.k.a. Mr. Kate Moss). Long before alpha witch Cassie (Britt Robertson) embraced her power, bad girl Faye Chamberlain (Phoebe Tonkin) tested the waters with her own magical incantation, calling forth a violent thunderstorm. The growly thrum of ''DNA'' played as Faye strutted down a pier with destruction in mind, perfectly encapsulating her devilish plans and immediately establishing the show's air of danger and desperation.
Watch it! The Secret Circle's pilot is no longer available on the CW's website, but you can hear ''DNA'' on The Kills' official site.
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How To Make It in America (HBO)
The song: Martin Solveig Feat. Dragonette & Idoling, ''Big in Japan''
The episode: ''I'm Good'' (201)
The hook: Sometimes an on-the-nose reference is just what's needed, musically speaking. Such was the case with Solveig's song in Oct. 2's ep of How To Make It in America. This all-hustle, heart-thumping anthem practically propelled Ben (Bryan Greenberg) and Cam (Victor Rasuk) forward as they visited Japan to peddle a line of T-shirts they designed. If I were pounding the pavement in a foreign country, I'd definitely turn my iPod up to 11 and jam out to this.
Watch it! The show is available online to subscribers at HBO GO. Everyone else can listen to Solveig's track on YouTube.
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The Sing-Off (NBC)
The song: ''Killer Queen / Bohemian Rhapsody / Somebody to Love,'' originally by Queen
The episode: ''Top 7 Groups: Superstar Medleys'' (307)
The hook: Though ultimate winners Pentatonix turned in many a showstopper during The Sing-Off's third season, the Dartmouth Aires ridiculous medley of Queen hits on Oct. 31 was off the charts. From the falsetto to the song selection, it was all there. The buildup to lead singer Michael Odokara-Okigbo's climactic line in ''Somebody to Love'' was so strong, in fact, that Sarah Bareilles grabbed fellow judge Shawn Stockman's arm in breathless anticipation. The Aires' performance was fun enough that I almost didn't notice the nightmarish collision of glitter, lamé, and velvet known as their wardrobe. Then again, they were paying homage to the theatrical rockers' flashy, unitard-prone frontman Freddie Mercury. The King of Queen would have approved.
Watch it! Relive the ''Rhapsody'' on NBC's Sing-Off page.
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Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
The song:: Benjamin Francis Leftwich, ''Atlas Hands''
The episode: ''Free Falling'' (801)
The hook: Grey's has made an art of capturing weepy lightning in a montage-alicious bottle, and they've made no exception with this strumming anti-paean. Both of the show's power couples faced loss in the season 8 opener: Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) with baby Zola, and Yang (Sandra Oh) and Owen (Kevin McKidd) with their unborn child, whom Yang tearfully decided to abort. Leftwich's sighful singing (''I've got a plan, I've got an atlas in my hands, I'm gonna turn when I listen to the lessons that I've learned'') expressed the depths of the couples' despair and the heavy ''lessons'' they'd be painfully gaining through loss.
Watch it! Things get sob-eriffic around 33:30 on Grey's Hulu page. Tanner Stransky's recap