By Lanford Beard
January 13, 2012 at 08:54 PM EST
ABC

The latest spate of first-run episodes certainly kicked off 2012 with a bang, and boy have we got a supersized Jukebox for you this week, music fans.

Despite how messy things were on screens, the music underpinning them all ended up falling into fairly neat categories. We’ll start with the juiciest hook-ups from The Vampire Diaries and Body of Proof; unfortunately, every relationship must end, and that’s where Jersey Shore and Californication enter the fray.

Somewhere between all that making out and breaking up, fights raged across the networks on Suburgatory, CSI: NY, Mob Wives, The Game, and Once Upon a Time. Peace was made on How I Met Your Mother, Nikita, Grey’s Anatomy, and CSI: Miami. That leaves only Queen V — Victoria Grayson.

The deliciously diabolical Revenge puppet-master belongs in a category all her own. How did music ranging from indie rock to rap figure into all this coming together and falling apart?  Keep reading… (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW)

The song: Ross Copperman, “Holding on and Letting Go”

The episode: “The New Deal” (310)

The hook: Last night’s Coldplay moment between Tyler and Caroline was pretty heart-wrenching, but let’s be honest. Nothing can hold a candle to that kiss from Diaries‘ Jan. 5 midseason premiere. It was a moment two and a half seasons in the making, and Copperman’s meditative melody was a stunning accompaniment as Damon finally gave in to his temptation for Elena. The second half of the season opened with a dramatic episode in which several characters nearly died and Elena was forced to tearfully ask Damon to compel her younger brother Jeremy to leave Mystic Falls in order to save Jeremy’s life.

Moments later, Damon comforted Elena on the Gilberts’ front porch and grappled with his own familial guilt about his persistent feelings for her — “his brother’s girl.” It came to a thrilling climax in classic Damon style as he declared, “No. No. You know what? If I’m gonna feel guilty about something, I’m gonna feel guilty about this.” The passionate kiss left Elena happily stunned as Virginia-born Copperman sang, “The quiet rush of one breath is all we’re waiting for/Sometimes the one we’re taking changes every one before/ It’s everything you wanted, it’s everything you don’t/ It’s one door swinging open and one door swinging closed.”

Watch it! The whole sequence begins at 37:33 on The Vampire Diaries‘ CW page (though, if you aren’t patient enough to wait, the kiss itself is closer to 40:33). Read Mandi Bierly’s take on the “Finally!” moment, plus her interview with Diaries‘ EP Julie Plec.

BODY OF PROOF (ABC)

The song: Ryan Adams, “Do I Wait?”

The episode: “Falling for You” (211)

The hook: There was no brotherly love in Philadelphia on the Jan. 3 episode of Body of Proof. It’s appropriate that a jilted groom ended up being the perp, since a team member’s broken heart set the scene for the ep’s most emotional moment. Endearing oddball Ethan had fallen hard for coworker Dani, only to realize she was just not that into him. Adams’ lulling love song may have played over the scene as Dani made her move on resident ladies’ man Peter, but the North Carolina alt-country crooner’s tune of unrequited amour showed the underpinning sadness felt by Ethan. (Luckily Geoffrey Arend, the actor who plays Ethan, is much luckier in love.)

Watch it! Don’t wait to watch the post-letdown hook-up starting at 39:27 on Body of Proof‘s Hulu.

JERSEY SHORE (MTV)

The song: Friends of Emmet, “Coming Apart”

The episode: “Hurricane Situation” (501)

The hook: Sometimes a guido’s just gotta emo it out. When an extremely homesick Vinny spiraled downward and threatened to leave the Shore House, neither Ronnie’s offers of strippers and hookers, nor the promise of Deena’s cuca provided any consolation. The Cali-by-way-of-Dublin outfit was an unusually contemplative choice for the typically beat-beating Shore soundtrack, which made their inclusion all the more effective.

Watch it! Vinny loses it starting around 38:16 on Jersey‘s official site. See what Darren Franich made of the fall of the last sane person in Jersey in his recap.

CALIFORNICATION (Showtime)

The song: The Doors, “Love Me Two Times (Infected Mushroom Remix)”

The episode: “JFK to LAX” (501)

The hook: Californication‘s fifth season premiere was bookended by two transformative moments underscored by the tweaky remix of The Doors’ 1967 rocker. The tune revved up a second time at episode’s end when womanizing writer Hank Moody got a call that his New York apartment was on fire, but it was the episode-opening use of the song that was definitively rock star. The show kicked off with Hank smoking, pacing, and practicing what sounded like dialogue from one of his scripts. In fact, they were the hackneyed lines he would feed Carrie, his girlfriend of a year, as they sat down for a frank talk about their relationship status.

When asked what he saw them becoming, Hank told Carrie, “I see us becoming… incredibly close… great friends eventually….” Yeah, that’s not what you want to hear. Hank called himself damaged, then told Carrie, “You’re amazing, a goddess, a gift from on high. You deserve the white dress and the happy ending. I’m just not the guy to give it to you.” The song, which had faded into the background, now cranked back up, accentuating Hank’s color-by-numbers attempt to let Carrie down easy. She believed the half-hearted shtick about as much as he did and ended up throwing a drink in his face, declaring him a monster to the whole restaurant, giving him a double-barrel flip-off, and storming out as Morrison yowled, “Love me two times. I’m gone away.”

Watch it! Californication‘s premiere episode is available for a limited time on Showtime’s official site, and the scene in question starts at right at the top.

NEXT: Brawls from Staten Island to the steam room, Maine to the MMA ring…

SUBURGATORY (ABC)

The song: Gogol Bordello, “60 Revolutions”

The episode: “Driving Miss Dalia” (110)

The hook: The band’s Gypsy punk stomper was a hilarious inclusion during an Eastern Promises-style steam room fight over — of all things — country club admission. After non-club member George was kicked out of the steam room, he relied on Noah for sponsorship. Noah’s subsequent slacking inspired George to launch an escalating campaign of retaliation, including but not limited to using Noah’s shampoo and his deodorant. George finally stormed into the steam room fully clothed and spat at Noah that his shampoo “robbed my hair of body and stripped it of shine.” Not to be insulted, Noah called George a “G-bag.” Cue the altercation, where the “60 Revolutions” in question were the men going ’round and ’round in the least manly fight ever while at least two other naked dudes looked on.

Watch it! George gets all steamed up at 12:15 on Suburgatory‘s Hulu.

CSI: NY (CBS)

The song: Black Veil Brides, “The Legacy”

The episode: “Clean Sweep” (810)

The hook: Direct hit! The Hollywood glam metal bangers’ rip-roarer was a delightfully on-the-nose sonic slam underneath a mixed martial arts fight at the beginning of the episode. If you’re going to have to hear the thud of bodies and the crunch of bones take place in the brutal MMA ring, what better soundtrack that a song about “chrome and battle scars”?

Watch it! Fight night begins right at the top of the hour on CSI: NY‘s official site.

MOB WIVES (VH1)

The song: Gary Clark Jr., “When My Train Pulls In (Live)”

The episode: “Hell on Heels” (202)

The hook: The Staten Island “socialites” got off to a tray-throwing, blood-drawing start this season when Renee’s “Celebration of Life” party was quickly dominated by shrieks of “I’m gonna f***in’ kill you!” The day after the bust-up, rivals Karen, Drita, and Ramona were hungover from the brawling and liquor, singing a more understated tune. Producers set the uncharacteristically introspective montage to Clark’s acoustic piece: “Everyday nothing seems to change. Everywhere I go I keep seeing the same old thing, and I, I can’t take it no more. Oh, I would this town but I ain’t got no where else to go.” Staten Island is just that — and island — and these broads are stuck with each other.

Watch it! VH1 hasn’t posted the full episode of Mob Wives online yet, but you can listen to “When My Train Pulls In” on Gary Clark Jr.’s official site.

THE GAME (BET)

The song: Wale, “Triumph”

The episode: “The Truth Pact” (502)

The hook: Baby mama drama! Hubbies and hopeful parents Derwin and Melanie picked right back up where they left off last season, grappling with the bombshell revelation that Melanie once had an abortion. Derwin was beginning to make peace with the lost baby (and the fact that it was his rival Trey’s, not his) as Bon Iver’s meandering “Lost in the Woods” played in the background of a birthday party. Melanie sent Derwin outside to fetch a present, he came face to face with Trey, and things took a dramatic turn. Derwin knocked a brother out. It was as surprising to us as to Trey. Cue Wale’s horn-hollerin’, drum-bangin’ bumper as the MC rhymed, “Ladies and gentleman, I ain’t tryna be politically correct. I won’t rest ’til I’m given my respect.” From Bon Iver to BAM! in the kisser. It was a powerful music set-up for the conflicts that will play out this season.

Watch it! BET hasn’t posted The Game online yet, but you can hear “Triumph” on Wale’s YouTube.

ONCE UPON A TIME (ABC)

The song: Sonic Youth, “Kool Thing”

The episode: “Desperate Souls” (108)

The hook: Distortion was the name of the game on last week’s Once as Emma struggled with her own integrity amid a Storybrooke election that was complicated to say the least. After a conflict with the town’s authoritative mayor Regina Mills that cost Emma her sheriff’s badge, Emma appropriately turned to the garble and grunge of Sonic Youth’s 1990 breakout single. Sometimes a girl just needs to drown her sorrows in booze and noise rock.

Watch it! Emma’s bender begins at 7:38 on Once‘s Hulu. You can find out what became of her badge by show’s end with Hillary Busis’s recap.

NEXT: Birth, death, reconciliation, and all the music in between

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)

The song: The Elected, “Time Is Coming”

The episode: “Tailgate” (713)

The hook: As new year forced Marshall and Lily to reconcile their pasts with their future together, the strum of “Time Is Coming” and its conciliatory lyrics (“Time is coming to heal our wounds… time is coming to get through”) was an appropriate backdrop. When Marshall’s graveside memorial for his father turned into a full-out tailgate party, Marshall was angry and frustrated. Only after a friend of the family mistakenly called Marshall his father’s name did Marshall realize he should embrace his father’s spirit and enjoy the celebration. Elsewhere, Marshall’s wife Lily saw her father reappear in her life unexpectedly to deliver her a teddy bear for her unborn baby and a congratulations that covered many events he’d missed throughout her life. Long-held wounds healed, Marshall and Lily were finally ready to prepare for parenthood in earnest.

Watch it! The amends-making starts at 19:21 on the show’s official site, and you can see what else happened with Barney, Robin, and Ted in Joseph Brannigan Lynch’s recap.

GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC)

The song: Snow Patrol, “New York”

The episode: “Suddenly” (810)

The hook: By all accounts, it’s was soul-crushing couple of days for Seattle Grace as Grey’s kicked off its spring episodes, so it’s fitting that the climactic song reminded us, “If our hearts are never broken, well there’s no joy in the mending.” After 39 hours on call, Meredith was fading as she waited for the pizza guy. When the doorbell rang, she opened it to find the surprise of her life — and a light at the end of the tunnel. Janet the adoption agent was giving Meredith and Derek back baby Zola for good. Who better to call on than perennial Grey’s favorites Snow Patrol, who proved once again flawless at evoking smiles through tears as Gary Lightbody sang, “There is no where else that I belong. Come on, come out, come here, come here.”

Watch it! Sob while smiling at 41:35 on Grey’s Hulu, then take it all in again with Tanner Stransky’s recap.

CSI: MIAMI (CBS)

The song: Patty Griffin, “Forgiveness”

The episode: “Friendly Fire” (1012)

The hook: Sunday’s episode — about cancer-stricken tech developer Matthew Stone, who staged his own murder to expose a high-stakes weapons cover-up — was chockablock with twists and turns, but the final scenes were as clear as Griffin’s stunning voice. The song played over a video Stone had recorded shortly before his death, and Griffin’s piercing soprano provided an aural analog for the message of the video: Forgiveness. “We make choices every day,” Stone philosophized, “Some we’re conscious of, others we’re not. These choices, they affect others, not just ourselves, and not always in good ways.” Stone sought his own vindication for his part in the weapons conspiracy, but his words resonated with Wolfe as he looked back at Samantha, especially as Stone noted, “I know I’m not perfect… but then none of us are.” Meaningful glances were exchanged all around as Griffin soared, “Let’s take a walk on the bridge right over this mess… Everybody needs a little forgiveness.” Concluded Stone, “Your time is now.”

Watch it! Stone starts his sermon at 40:26 on the show’s official site.

NIKITA (The CW)

The song: The Boxer Rebellion, “Caught By the Light”

The episode: “Pale Fire” (211)

The hook: A season full of conflict between Nikita and former protégé Alex finally moved toward resolution Jan. 6. Amid disheartening revelations about Alex’s parents (that her mother may never have loved her), the spy-in-training had to realize that sometimes family is the people who have your back, not the ones with whom you share DNA. The London-based indie outfit’s atmospheric tune played as Alex sought maternal comfort in Nikita. Singer Nathan Nicholson’s may have insisted plaintively that “Time leaves you alone, lone, lone, lone,” but, for now, Alex isn’t alone.

Watch it! Alex begins her path to reconcilation at 40:20 on Nikita‘s CW page.

NEXT: A smile that sent shivers down our spines

REVENGE (ABC)

The song: Lissie, “Nothing Else Matters”

The episode: “Duress” (111)

The hook: With the take-down of mentally unbalanced con man Tyler by authorities, it seemed all the monsters in the Hamptons had been dispatched. And yet! Illinois folk rocker Lissie’s growling cover of Metallica’s 1992 original stood beside a montage that saw “Amanda” realizing there is more to the story of David Clark, Emily snuggling Daniel as she realized her insinuation into his life is complete, and finally Victoria discovering she has soon-to-be-ex-husband Conrad on the hook for millions because she can render their prenup null and void. As a positively diabolical smile crept across Victoria’s face, Lissie lulled, “And nothing else matters.” In case you didn’t get the memo, this is Victoria’s world, and we’re just living in it. Some kind of monster, indeed.

Watch it! See what and who does matter in the Hamptons starting at 40:05 on Revenge‘s Hulu, then read about all the machinations leading up to this moment with Christian Blauvelt’s recap.

Read more:

TV Jukebox: ‘Boardwalk Empire,’ ‘A Gifted Man,’ ‘CSI: Miami’ feature our favorites songs on TV

TV Jukebox: ’90210,’ ‘Glee’ feature our favorite songs on TV this week

TV Jukebox: ‘Ringer,’ ‘Hell on Wheels’ feature our favorite songs on TV this week

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