Old-school tracks were the name of the game more often than not these past few weeks. Whether your definition of “old-school” translates to proper Mad Men-era tunes heard on the AMC hit, Scandal, and Supernatural, or ’80s classics as seen on Happy Endings and One Tree Hill, this week’s Jukebox offers up a retro rave fit for anybody. Of course there were plenty of contemporary jams, too: MCs from London and the Bronx on Breakout Kings, CSI: NY, and 90210, TV darlings Sleigh Bells on The Vampire Diaries, and Portland indie rockers Novosti on Missing, plus “show tunes” from GCB and Gossip Girl. Check out our picks below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)
SUPERNATURAL (The CW)
The song: The Yardbirds, “Turn into Earth”
The episode: “The Born-Again Identity” (720)
The hook: The jangling, thumping background of “Turn into Earth” was like a marching song for Castiel (Misha Collins) — the angel who was brought back from the dead in Supernatural‘s March 23 ep — as he charged on a mental hospital where Sam Winchester (Jared Padalecki) was being held. In doing so, Castiel unleashed on a crowd of guard demons, causing dramatic beams of light to shoot from their heads. As the light flooded out, Castiel’s erased memories flooded back in. Unfortunately, Castiel’s complicated history with the Winchester brothers meant that those memories ran the gamut — the good, bad, and murderous. The flashes of light on screen stood in contrast to the 1966 blueser’s moody lyrics “I feel my mind turning away to the darkness,” which was exactly what Castiel was doing as he was reminded of his dark past.
Watch it! Castiel takes a harrowing trip down Memory Lane starting at 34:25 on Supernatural‘s Hulu. EW’s own Super-fan Sandra Gonzalez set up the stakes of Castiel’s twisty return a couple weeks ago, and posted her reaction to the ep right after it aired.
The song: Sam Cooke, “Nothing Can Change This Love”
The episode: “Sweet Baby” (101)
The hook: For the better part of Scandal‘s series premiere, political fixer Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) was tough as nails. Then, to the tune of Cooke’s velvety 1962 piano tinkler, she fell apart. It was beautiful — and necessary. The hyper-romantic song was a smartly textured choice for a scene that saw Olivia’s colleague Finch (Henry Ian Cusick) finally propose to his girlfriend while Olivia broke down a room away. She had just discovered that her ex (and the love of her life) had lied to and betrayed her. Did I mention that he is also now the President of the United States, and his duplicity nearly cost a woman her life? With its winner-take-all stakes and on-point musical choices, Shonda Rhimes’ newest offering proved as strong as Olivia — who, by episode’s end, pulled herself back together and threatened to take POTUS down if he ever lied to her again. Nothing can change this love, but it would seem nothing will stop Olivia Pope either.
MAD MEN (AMC)
The song: Dusty Springfield, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”
The episode: “A Little Kiss, Part 2” (502)
The hook: The long-awaited fifth season of Mad Men swept in on the tides of change as African-Americans picketed for dignity and jobs at the beginning of the second half of March 25’s double-stuffed premiere. By the end of “Part 2,” a slew of African-American applicants had made their way inside the reception area of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce no thanks to a prank ad the boys placed in the New York Times. The joke was on them when turning away dozens of willing-and-able applicants would most certainly incite a picket… or worse. It was no coincidence that Don Draper (Jon Hamm) was suffering his own private tension with his volatile wife Megan (Jessica Paré) in the preceding scene. Playing Men out, the British chanteuse’s sweeping and mournful 1966 ode (“it wasn’t me who changed but you”) tied together the show’s shifting landscape beautifully.
Watch it! A change is gonna come — whether Roger Sterling (John Slattery) wants it or not — at 1:34:30 on AMC’s official Mad Men page. You can catch up on both hours of the season premiere with Jeff Jensen’s recap.
NEXT: U2 sends off One Tree Hill, Madonna provides a Happy ending, and GCB puts the “fun” in fundraising
ONE TREE HILL (The CW)
The song: U2, “One Tree Hill”
The episode: “One Tree Hill” (913)
The hook: One Tree Hill may have seen some complex plots during its nine years on TV, but the answer to wrapping it all up was simple: Start where it all began. Indeed, the Irish rock gods’ jubilant 1988 track inspired the show from day one. So, with just minutes left in the series, music supervisor Lindsay Wolfington queued up “One Tree Hill” for a pitch-perfect coda. Wednesday’s flashforward that showed the characters a little older, a little wiser, and as happy as they’ve ever been as they shared their parting words and the plot strains all came together “like a river runs to the sea.” Said Wolfington, “We are so grateful to have been able to use some incredible music on the show the past nine years. … It was an honor and delight to be able to feature ‘One Tree Hill’ over the last visuals of our cast. It felt meant to be.”
Watch it! Get your hankies ready for when the episode uploads this weekend. Until then, you can listen to “One Tree Hill” on U2’s YouTube as you read April Daley’s reminiscence about the last nine seasons.
HAPPY ENDINGS (ABC)
The song: “Like a Prayer,” originally performed by Madonna
The episode: “Four Weddings and a Funeral (Minus Three Weddings and One Funeral)” (221)
The hook: Iron Maiden’s “2 Minutes to Midnight” got the party started — that and the hilarious yellow tux grooms Eric and Derrick forced upon Jane (Eliza Coupe) — but Max (Adam Pally) and his Madonna cover band kept it going well through the end of the credits for Endings‘ season 2 finale on Wednesday. From Damon Wayans Jr.’s ridiculous dance moves to the cone-bra-and-platinum-ponytail realness one of the band members was bringing, it was a glorious moment harkening back to a glory age that even Madonna herself is reveling in at the moment.
The song: Sheryl Crow, “The Gospel According to Me”
The episode: “Forbidden Fruit” (105)
The hook: Sassy Sundays are in full effect thanks to the Texas-set show’s ability to re-appropriate church-tinged classics and inject them with a little bit of edge. The action on the April 1 episode may have centered on a church fundraiser, but a remodeled parish wasn’t all that was at stake. When a fierce rivalry developed between frenemies Cricket (Miriam Shor) and Heather (Marisol Nichols), Cricket tried to undermine Heather’s status by making her the chair of a committee that hoped to raise a seemingly impossible sum of $3 million. Emphasis on the seemingly because Heather’s boyfriend Andrew (Tom Everett Scott) pulled a few strings and booked nine-time Grammy winner Sheryl Crow to perform. Although I wish Crow had retooled her 1993 breakout hit and sung “All I wanna do is have some fundraising,” her country-gospel fusion was the sweetest just desserts fitness fanatic Cricket never asked for.
NEXT: A copycat killer on CSI: NY, plus Missing and mourning on 90210
CSI: NY (CBS)
The song: SBTRKT Feat. Sampha, “Trials of the Past”
The episode: “Flash Pop” (814)
The hook: London DJ Aaron Jerome’s eerie electronica set an appropriately grizzly tone on March 30 as two sets of detectives from two eras investigated a killer and his copycat. It all began with an artfully arranged corpse on a snowy stoop. Cue a series of multi-decade crosscuts as the track played over the search for clues. Sampha’s lilt about “the ghoulish enemies that come floating through the walls, the ghostly enemies that come floating your door” proved a haunting subtext, and a synchronized visual-lyrical moment juxtaposing “the light inside you glows green” of the song with a shot of glowing green paint was, well, chilling.
Watch it! There’s no business like snow business at 9:12 on CSI: NY‘s official page.
The song: Novosti, “In Our Song”
The episode: “Ice Queen” (103)
The hook: After a thrilling March 29 episode that saw a kidnapping, a speedboat chase, and a sniper bullet to the titular queen’s head, former CIA agent Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd) was frustratingly back “right where [she] started,” as Portland-based singer-songwriter Jov Luke put it. Now realigned with the CIA, Becca was only marginally closer to finding her kidnapped son. As she sent her friend Mary (Aunjanue Ellis) back home to the U.S. from Italy, you can only imagine Becca had herself was thinking these lyrics: “Take this broken heart and guide it home. Lay this weary soul to rest oh Lord.” It’s only three episodes in, Becca. You’re going to need some NoDoz, girl.
Watch it! Becca’s search carries on at 40:33 on Missing‘s Hulu.
90210 (The CW)
The song: Wretch 32 Feat. Josh Kumra, “Don’t Go”
The episode: “Blue Ivy” (320)
The hook: Betrayals, proposals, and thievery all figured in the Cali soap’s closing montage on March 27, but it was a solitary shot of grieving Ivy (Gillian Zinser) running into the perilous surf that hit hardest. Since the death of her husband Raj in the last episode, Ivy struggled to cope. After a beachside memorial for Raj, Ivy stayed back with a singular notion in mind. Despite being warned that the water was too choppy and any attempt to surf a death wish, Ivy declared, “Nothing lasts forever,” and sprinted off on a seeming suicide mission. Kumra’s aching chorus reflected not only Ivy’s thoughts about Raj but also the plea from her still-living friends: “Don’t go. Don’t leave. Please stay.”
Watch it! Ivy breaks the waves at 37:42 on 90210‘s official page.
NEXT: Saws and seduction on The Vampire Diaries, Breakout Kings, and Gossip Girl
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW)
The song: Sleigh Bells, “Demons”
The episode: “The Murder of One” (318)
The hook: Brooklyn noise rockers Sleigh Bells have become music supervisor shorthand for badassery. Witness: A scene in which the Salvatore brothers (Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder) and Alaric Saltzman (Matt Davis) broke out the big-boy toys to craft Original vampire-killing white oak stakes. Later in the hour, fellow New Yorkers the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Shame and Fortune” provided an equally distorted undercurrent to a sexily sadistic scene when Original Rebekah (Claire Holt) discovered the brothers’ plot and took it out on sometime lover, all-the-time manipulator Damon (Somerhalder). Clearly he had to be shirtless for this. Our thanks to Rebekah.
BREAKOUT KINGS (A&E)
The song: SCRiBE the Verbalist Feat. Outlaw, “Rapid Rain”
The episode: “Cruz Control” (204)
The hook: For an episode that began with an escape from a prison auto shop, it only made sense that some subwoofer-straining, gearhead-approved music would follow. Look no further than Bronx MC SCRiBE the Verbalist, whose erudite flow and down-and-dirty beats shook the floor as Erica Reed (Serinda Swan) went deep under cover March 25 to swipe intel from some neck tat-rocking, black market-fueling grease monkeys.
Watch it! Erica whips out her tightest white tank top and her brightest red lipstick at 12:00 on Breakout Kings‘ official site.
GOSSIP GIRL (The CW)
The song: Mr. Little Jeans, “Angel”
The episode: “Con-Heir” (518)
The hook: Love in an elevator! When a first attempt to bring their long-simmering relationship to a boil was “the least sexy thing since Courtney Stodden,” Blair Waldorf (Leighton Meester) and Dan Humphrey (Penn Badgley) were on the verge of breaking up this Monday. After trying (and failing) to bring the heat in various bedrooms and hotels across New York City, only Elisha Otis could help Dair find their mojo, not to mention join the 54-Story High Club. There weren’t only “two hearts on fire,” as the Rushmore-inspired songstress put it. I’m pretty sure there were some flaming loins up in there, too.
Watch it! Living it up while going down starts at 30:31 on Gossip Girl‘s official site.