By Lanford Beard
May 04, 2012 at 09:38 PM EDT
AMC

Mother’s Day may be next weekend, but there’s no shortage of mama drama in the latest Jukebox. Mom’s got through (and even started) some trouble on shows including Make It Or Break It, Private Practice, Missing, and The Game.

Which isn’t to say the dads didn’t get in on the action, too, creating waves on The Killing, Revenge, and The Client List. The last few weeks also saw a steamy encounter (The Good Wife), a heartfelt tribute (Glee), and an ambush (Person of Interest), plus more music-on-TV moments from The L.A. ComplexGirls, and Mad Men.

Check out our picks below and make sure to click through to the final page to listen to a track-for-track Spotify playlist of this week’s “show tunes.” (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)

MAKE IT OR BREAK IT (ABC Family)

The song: You Say Party! We Say Die!, “Heart of Gold”

The episode: “Dream On” (305)

The hook: Olympic hopefuls Kaylie Cruz (Josie Loren) and Kelly Parker (Nicole Gale Anderson) were put to the test on April 23. Tasked with performing qualifying routines for their coaches in which one bobble could crush their dreams, Kelly was especially under the gun — no thanks to her manipulative, overbearing gym mom Sheila (Kathy Najimy). As she approached the mat, it weighed heavily on Kelly’s heart that Sheila seemed more concerned with managing an Olympic gold medalist (be it Kelly or someone else) than being a parent. As Kaylie gave her friend a pep talk and the girls began their routines, the Canadian emo outfit’s uplifting anthem underlined that sometimes a “Heart of Gold” matters more than gold around your neck.

Watch it! It’s Games on at 28:48 on the show’s Hulu.

PRIVATE PRACTICE (ABC)

The song: Tyler Lyle, “I Will Follow Love All the Way Home”

The episode: “True Colors” (520)

The hook: While Addison Montgomery (Kate Walsh) struggled to care for her adopted baby, her sister-in-law Amelia Shepherd (Caterina Scorsone) broke down as she had to sign over the organs of her unborn baby, whose brain hadn’t formed in utero. As Addison learned how to take care of one life, Amelia moved through her grieving process by allowing another to flourish where her child couldn’t. The Atlanta folkster’s emotive acoustic song, with its lyrics about life’s ups and downs, expressed both journeys every step of the way.

Watch it! Addison and Amelia do what’s best for their children at 40:05 on Private Practice‘s Hulu.

MISSING (ABC)

The song: Feist, “Caught a Long Wind”

The episode: “A Measure of a Man” (107)

The hook: The mistakes Becca Winstone (Ashley Judd) made during her CIA service caught up with her on Missing‘s April 26 episode, and Canadian chanteuse Feist’s disquieting tune kicked in at the point when Becca’s present collided with her past. The song plays beneath a flashback sequence as Becca acknowledged to her husband (Sean Bean) that she’d lost herself in the job. Flash forward to Becca’s present as she was tracked by a now-grown boy to whom she once showed mercy — and who is unlikely to do the same for her. The somber tune and the lyrics “Where will we go? Keep ourselves afloat” express Becca’s desolation and despair as the walls closed in around her.

Watch it! Becca fights to stay afloat at 39:25 on Missing‘s Hulu.

NEXT: Fathers don’t know best on The Killing, Revenge, and The Client List

THE KILLING (AMC)

The song: Trailer Trash Tracys, “You Wish You Were Red”

The episode: “Ghosts of the Past” (205)

The hook: With the rain drilling down on Seattle and 18 days since Rosie Larsen went missing, The Killing‘s April 22 episode saw Rosie’s aunt Terry (Jamie Anne Allman) retreat to her room to wallow in Gemma Ray’s “Flood and Fire” as Rosie’s father Stan (Brent Sexton) stood outside listening, impotent to help any of the women in his life. Later in the hour, Stan once again heard music from Terry’s room, now U.K. alt rockers Trailer Trash Tracys’ haunting siren song. He made his way inside and leaned in for a taboo, complicated kiss. The tune was a perfectly gloomy underscore of two people desperate for a single moment of release from their increasingly dismal lives.

Watch it! Episodes of The Killing aren’t available online, but you can hear “You Wish You Were Red” on YouTube.

REVENGE (ABC)

The song: Warpaint, “Stars”

The episode: “Absolution” (119)

The hook: Do we have a choice in our fate, or are our destinies written in the stars? Underscored by the L.A. art rockers’ contemplative song, Wednesday’s Revenge seemed to argue for the latter. Both propelled forward by the sins of their fathers, Emily Thorne (Emily VanCamp) and Daniel Grayson (Joshua Bowman) contemplated their next steps. While Emily looked backward to deepen her vengeance quest, Daniel advanced in step with his scheming family. More inextricably linked to the past with each move forward, the ill-fated fiancés also found, just as singer Emily Kokal sang, “here we are apart again.”

Watch it! The “Stars” align against Emily and Daniel at 39:46 on Revenge‘s Hulu. Christian Blauvelt can fill you in on the rest of the characters’ stories.

THE CLIENT LIST (Lifetime)

The song: Ray LaMontagne & The Pariah Dogs, “This Love is Over”

The episode: “Ring True” (104)

The hook: Though Kyle Parks (Brian Hallisay) left wife Riley (Jennifer Love Hewitt) weeks ago, he played a major role in Monday’s ep as an event the couple regularly attended crept up. Riley didn’t want to risk exposing the broken marriage she had been hiding but was ultimately roped in. When Riley’s brother-in-law (Colin Egglesfield) anonymously bought her a big-ticket auction item, the Texan socialites got clucking. Riley finally realized that another lie would only lead to dozens more. She told everyone and went home that night with bittersweet relief, crying it out to the sounds of the strummy singer-songwriter LaMontagne’s cathartic melody. It wasn’t necessarily a happy ending for Riley, but it was the right one.

Watch it! Riley reconciles at 39:01 on The Client List‘s Hulu.

NEXT: Kalinda steams up the screen on The Good Wife, tension and trip-hop from Person of Interest, and Brooklyn rock with a view of The L.A. Complex

THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)

The song: EMA, “Breakfast”

The episode: “The Penalty Box” (321)

The hook: Sunday’s Good Wife season finale ended with a stunning gun-in-hand scene of Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) preparing to face down her ex-husband to the tune of Beach House’s “Real Love”, but the cagey lawyer’s growing anxiety in this make-or-break cliffhanger wouldn’t have been nearly as effective without a set-up scene from the previous week. After an associate threatened Kalinda’s life, she paid a visit to FBI agent Lana Delaney (Jill Flint) to try to convinced her to drop her investigation. In a moment of exquisite sexual tension, Kalinda employed all her feminine wiles to win over the by-the-book Lana, and the breathy, yearning tone of “Breakfast” from South Dakotan singer-songwriter Erika M. Anderson, a.k.a. EMA, was spot-on. Anderson may have been singing, “You feel just like a breeze to me,” but I was feeling more steam, personally.

Watch it! Kalinda and Lana bring the heat at 19:19 on The Good Wife‘s official site. Learn about the narrative foreplay in Breia Brissey’s recap, then read what show creators Robert and Michelle King told Mandi Bierly all about the almost-too-hot-for-TV scene.

PERSON OF INTEREST (CBS)

The song: UNKLE, “Lonely Soul”

The episode: “Matsya Nyaya” (120)

The hook: The trip-hop duo’s thumping 1998 track bored into the action as dirty CIA operative Mark Snow (Michael Kelly) and his partner Tyrell Evans (Darien Sills-Evans) headed to a hotel room to ambush agent-on-the-lam John Reese (Jim Caviezel). Instead, they were ambushed by Snow and Reese’s former partner-in-crime Kara Stanton (Annie Parisse), whom Snow had set up to be killed just moments before in the April 26 episode. Verve singer Richard Ashcroft’s howling line “I’m gonna die in a place that don’t know my name” was especially pointed as Stanton took out Evans and — as her talk of “catching up” implied — prepared to shuttle Snow off for some unsanctioned interrogation. In an occupation built on lies and suspicion, everyone is a lonely soul.

Watch it! The episode isn’t available online, but you can hear UNKLE perform “Lonely Soul” live on the band’s official YouTube.

THE L.A. COMPLEX (The CW)

The song: Monogold, “Ivory Teeth Golden Tusk”

The episode: “Down in L.A.” (101)

The hook: The Canadian-imported drama’s debut was full of “show tunes,” but the Brooklyn band’s buoyant anthem stood during a scene between Abby Vargas (Cassie Steele) and Connor Lake (Jonathan Patrick Moore). Amped up on ecstasy and alcohol, the new-to-L.A. actress and the up-and-coming heartthrob stood on a rooftop and saw the sparkling city — not to mention each other — as full of promise. Music supervisor Michael A. Perlmutter noted, “I fell in love with the band’s evocative, moody sound, melodies, and voice. The lyrics [about “lustful songs in our hearts”] in this song seem to reflect a bit of what was going on. The song felt woozy and sexy and worked with the late- night feeling. It was an instant match.”

Watch it! Abby and Connor are on top of the world — and at the height of their buzz — at 15:15 on the show’s Hulu.

NEXT: A captivating tribute to Whitney Houston on Glee, Jennifer Hudson brings vulnerability to The Game, the Girls do it solo, and one Mad Men goes on a very strange trip indeed

GLEE (Fox)

The song: “How Will I Know,” originally by Whitney Houston

The episode: “Dance With Somebody” (317)

The hook: Glee‘s April 24 musical tribute to Whitney Houston was hands-down its best single-performer episode since season 1’s “The Power of Madonna.” Though there were lots of fun moments, the stunning, simple a capella rendition of “How Will I Know” — inspired by an unbacked original vocal that gained popularity online after Houston’s sudden death in February — was the highlight of the night. The gorgeous, heartfelt four-part harmonies by Mercedes (Amber Riley), Rachel (Lea Michele), Santana (Naya Rivera), and Kurt (Chris Colfer) gave viewers chills from minute one.

Watch it! The song starts right at the top on Glee‘s Hulu. How will you know what happened in the rest of the ep? Read Erin Strecker’s recap.

THE GAME (BET)

The song: Jennifer Hudson, “Giving Myself”

The episode: “Fits and Starts” (516)

The hook: It was a tough transition for Type-A Tasha (Wendy Raquel Robinson) and Pookie (Rockmond Dunbar) as they explored taking their friendship to the next level on April 24. Their first kiss was, well, pretty terrible, and Tasha didn’t help things by blowing Pookie off. In reality, she was terrified of giving in to her feelings, risking their friendship, and losing Pookie as a father figure for her son. Hudson’s song about surrender and vulnerability played in perfectly with all the emotions bubbling up under Tasha’s cool exterior. The track began as the friends made a second attempt at their first kiss and provided a romantic undertone as Tasha dropped her guard and sparks finally flew.

Watch it! Tasha and Pookie kiss and make up at 16:15 on The Game‘s official site.

GIRLS (HBO)

The song: Gang Gang Dance, “Mindkilla”

The episode: “All Adventurous Women Do” (103)

The hook: Though Hannah (Lena Dunham) threw herself a stellar pity party to Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” at the end of Sunday’s Girls, it was the party of one in an art gallery bathroom that really got the episode grooving. Hannah’s roommate Marnie (Allison Williams) had been fighting tooth-and-nail against the withering of her college relationship and needed some serious release. A cocky artist (Jorma Taccone) was happy to offer it, but Marnie managed to weakly rebuff his come-on. That didn’t mean she wasn’t tempted. Moments later, she shut herself in the gallery’s bathroom for a little “alone time” as the New York-based group’s surging electro number pulsed underneath her undelayed gratification.

Watch it! Girls is available online only to HBO Go subscribers, but you can hear “Mindkilla” on YouTube.

MAD MEN (AMC)

The song: Beach Boys, “I Just Wasn’t Made for These Times”

The episode: “Far Away Places” (506)

The hook: On April 22, Roger Sterling (John Slattery) dreaded the fuddy duddy dinner party with his wife Jane (Peyton List). Oh, but this was not your dad’s dinner party. It was an LSD-dropping psychedelic exploration. Just as Roger really started to delve into the Inception-like levels of his psyche, the surf rock icons’ 1966 ditty began to play (and was later overlaid with another, older song about a couple drifting apart that spoke directly to Roger’s relationship with Jane). The Beach Boys’ song about the loss of innocence not only nailed the implications of Roger’s first experience with mind-altering drugs, but also had deeper resonance in an episode — and a season — that saw Men‘s various characters frightened by unavoidable, frightening and having to address them head-on.

Watch it! Mad Men episodes aren’t available online, but you can catch up with Adam B. Vary’s recap while you listen to the Boys on YouTube.

Read more:

TV Jukebox: ‘Don’t Trust the B– in Apartment 23,’ ‘Magic City,’ ‘Girls,’ and more music-on-TV moments

TV Jukebox: ‘Mad Men,’ ‘Supernatural,’ ‘Missing,’ and more music-on-TV moments

TV Jukebox: ‘The Secret Circle,’ ‘The Voice,’ ‘Switched at Birth,’ and more music-on-TV moments

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