'Chuck,' 'Vampire Diaries,' 'How I Met Your Mother': TV Jukebox
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
The song: M83, “Wait”
The episode: “Perception” (114)
The hook: The stars of Revenge were listening to M83 when they teased jaw-droppers from the second half of the season for our Jan. 27th cover story, so it’s only appropriate that Anthony Gonzalez’s song would underlay one of the show’s most shocking cliffhangers yet (and, for this addictively soapy drama, that’s saying a lot). The melancholic ballad provided texture to Charlotte Grayson (Christa B. Allen), who was dejected after discovering the man she believed to be her father was not, in fact, her biological dad. It also complemented the complicated mix of longing and betrayal felt by Jack (Nick Wechsler) for his childhood sweetheart. At its crescendo, the French songster’s plaintive primal wailing gave sound to what must have been going on in the mind of vengeful, scheming Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) when she realized her Pandora’s box of intel and ammo had been stolen from its secret hiding place. Gonzalez invites listeners to “give your tears to the tide,” and when Emily’s fiancé’s body is found near the Hamptons surf next week, surely that’s what she’ll do.
Watch it! “Wait” begins at 39:32 on Revenge‘s Hulu, but you’ll need to know the ins and outs of this week’s multifaceted betrayals to grasp the moment fully. Luckily, Christian Blauvelt’s recap is here to help you out!
THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
The song: Audra Mae, “Here I Go Again”
The episode: “Another Ham Sandwich”
The hook: After legal nemesis Wendy Scott-Carr (Anika Noni Rose) outplayed herself in the season-long case against Will Gardner (Josh Charles), he was off the hook from a looming possible indictment and ready to celebrate. Will, who recently split with Alicia (Julianna Margulies), took his business partner Diana Lockhart (Christine Baranski) for a spin on the dance floor, and it was a fresh start in many ways. Mae’s stripped bass-bound, tambourine-clacking cover doesn’t offer as much bluster and bang as White Snake’s 1982 hair metal original, but in this case that was entirely appropriate — Will has taken a beating this season, but he’s building back up and moving forward with assurance.
ROYAL PAINS (USA)
The song: Theophilus London, “All Around the World”
The episode: “My Back to the Future” (313)
The hook: Mark Feuerstein made his directorial debut on Pains‘ Feb. 1 ep. It was time to go big or go home, to prove that he was the real deal. The Brooklyn MC’s swag joint was a pitch-perfect, propulsive choice for a scene when Evan (Paulo Costanzo) helped pinch-hit doc Paul Van Dyke (Kyle Howard) get his game face on before an appointment with Hank’s demanding client Ms. Newberg (Christine Ebersole). You can almost imagine Feuerstein going through a similar ritual as he readied himself to go behind the camera. If you were going to choose a song to pump yourself up, wouldn’t it be this song?
Watch it! Though the full episode isn’t up online, EW’s own Sandra Gonzalez happened to get an exclusive preview of this scene.
THE LYING GAME (ABC Family)
The song: Julia Othmer, “Pull Me Back”
The episode: “Reservation for Two” (116)
The hook: Like many of its sister shows on the teen-friendly network, The Lying Game is often packed with radio-ready rockers or overwrought emo tracks that bang home the emotional subtext of any given moment a little too neatly. This tune from Monday’s installment was the exception that proved the rule as simply accompanied a conversation between Laurel Mercer (Allie Gonino) and former rough-and-tumble foster kid Emma Becker, who has been masquerading as her secret twin Sutton Mercer (both played by Alexandra Chando). Emma had been raked over the coals for Sutton’s misdeeds, and it was a nice moment when Laurel offered herself as a shoulder to cry on. Othmer’s lyrics (“a spider’s weaving her web outside of my window, she’s looking in the rain’s screaming down, what does she have to hold onto”) expressed Emma’s moral dilemma at lying to Laurel while also bringing a bit of understated nuance because, without Sutton and the Mercers, Emma would have nothing. As she broke down and Laurel pulled her in for a hug, Othmer trilled, “Pull me back into the fold with you.”
Watch it! Tears and fears start at 14:33 on The Lying Game‘s Hulu.
NEXT: A fiery rocker on How I Met Your Mother, Ringer twinanigans, Raising Hope raises the ante, and witchy “War” fare on The Secret Circle
HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)
The song: Blue Öyster Cult, “Burnin’ for You”
The episode: “The Burning Beekeeper” (715)
The hook: The Long Island rockers’ 1981 hit was a cheeky choice to play in the background of a complicated HIMYM episode in which we saw the same five minutes play out in three separate rooms of a housewarming party thrown by Marshall (Jason Segel) and Lily (Alyson Hannigan). Long — and very complicated — story short, Barney played a prank on Lily’s apiarist father that resulted in Marshall’s fired-up boss (Martin) actually going up in flames. Let this be a lesson, kids: A kerosene-doused beekeeper’s suit and an oven full of kugel don’t mix. Cue the blazing boss running through the party to the line, “I’m burnin’, I’m burnin’, I’m burnin’ for you!”
RINGER (The CW)
The song: The Ambience Affair, “Devil in the Detail”
The episode: “What Are You Doing Here, Ho-Bag?” (112)
The hook: Forgetting the fact that this episode has the best title ever, its closing scene was a real doozy. Last week’s final moments, featuring Eelke Kleijn & Astrid Kunst’s “Cold Hands,” put the pressure on Siobhan (Sarah Michelle Gellar) to come clean about her twinanigans with Bridget (also Gellar). In order to prove herself to lover Henry (Kristoffer Polaha), Siobhan summoned him for a little Bridge-veillance. As Siobhan stood by Henry’s side, her secret twin emerged from a car in the distance. Henry knew Siobhan had been hiding something, but this was an eye-bulging, five-alarm reveal. But wait! Siobhan wasn’t finished. With this devilish detail still sinking in, Siobhan told Henry her unborn baby (the baby he’d assumed was Siobhan’s husband’s) was his. Cut to black as the urgent strumming and drum thumping of the Dublin trio punctuated Shiv’s one-two gut punch.
RAISING HOPE (Fox)
The song: Curtis Mayfield, “Superfly”
The episode: “Gambling Again” (212)
The hook: Time and again, Hope has done a brilliant job deconstructing the modern family unit and showing that even the most dysfunctional tribe can function just fine. Such was the case on Jan. 31 when Virginia (Martha Plimpton) staged her own high-stakes venture despite flipping out when recovering gambler husband Burt (Garret Dillahunt) fell off the wagon. In order to recover keepsakes Burt had wagered away and extract the family from a sick cycle of gambling, Virginia preyed on the weakness of fellow GA attendees. How? By orchestrated a horse race-style sprint… between elementary school children. “Super Fly” was the theme to a 1972 Blaxploitation film about a cocaine dealer trying to make his way out of the underworld. Now simply replace a pimp-suit wearing kingpin with a pig figurine-loving suburban 40-something grandma, and you’ve got one sublimely absurd musical choice.
Watch it! Virginia hits up the ugly bettees at 15:45 on Raising Hope‘s Hulu.
THE SECRET CIRCLE (The CW)
The song: The Raveonettes, “War in Heaven”
The episode: “Medallion” (113)
The hook: Great Danes! The Raveonettes’ dreamy yet pulsing rock meditation played during a stage-setting montage ending Circle‘s Feb. 2 episode. The insistent thrum of the guitars expressed the mounting tension as Melissa (Jessica Parker Kennedy) spiraled into a drug problem, a witch hunter murdered an informant, and Adam (Thomas Dekker) received a creative birthday present from off-again girlfriend Diana (Shelley Hennig). The song really kicked into action as wicked witch Faye (Phoebe Tonkin) allowed herself to give in to temptation for former flame Jake (Chris Zylka). (Last night’s morning-after hate hook-up, set to “Car Song” by Spank Rock Feat. Santigold kept up the hotness.) By the time the final element of the montage began — teen witch Cassie (Britt Robertson) grappling with the surging dark energy she inherited from her mystery-shrouded father — the song mimicked the gusting winds in a mystical, musical denouement.
Watch it! The witches wage “War” beginning at 38:31 on The Secret Circle‘s official site.
How I Met Your Mother
Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lilly remind us all of the joy of slap bets