By Lanford Beard
May 25, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT
ABC

The end has come, Jukeboxers! There’s an apocryphal story that the Inuit people have hundreds of words for snow. These past few weeks, we at Jukebox probably could have used about that many synonyms for cliffhanger. Between planes crashing, kidnappings, births, deaths, weddings, reunions, and dance parties, it’s been a groovy goodbye to the 2011-2012 TV season. 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 these “show tunes.” (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: MAJOR SPOILERS ahead!)

REVENGE (ABC)

The song: Florence + The Machine, “Seven Devils”

The episode: “Reckoning” (122)

The hook: Did they really just do that?! After a fight almost to the death, statutory rape, a broken engagement, and a surprise pregnancy, it didn’t seem possible Revenge could have any more jaw droppers in store. And then Florence Welch’s ominous warble began to thrum underneath Wednesday’s closing scenes: “Holy water cannot help you now.” It was on. Over the next five minutes, scheming matriarch Victoria Grayson (Madeleine Stowe) boarded a plane after betraying her husband, and Welch sang, “See I’ve had to burn your kingdom down.” Conrad (Henry Czerny), who previously took part in a plane downing, told her, “If you board that plane, it’ll be the last thing you do.” Cue Welch, “I’m gonna raise the stakes. I’m gonna smoke you out.” Indeed, it appeared he had made good on his threats as news reports showed the flaming wreckage of Victoria’s aircraft. Meanwhile, the eerie tune continued, showing that no one in the Hamptons would be safe with “seven devils all around you, seven devils in my house” as another Grayson — Victoria and Conrad’s daughter Charlotte (Christa B. Allen) — took a possibly lethal dose of pills. Sang Welch, “I’ll be dead before the day is done.” EP Mike Kelley told Tanner Stransky, “We needed an epic feel. We needed something that felt really dangerous and really emotional and raw and frightening.” Mission accomplished.

Watch it! What goes up must come down at 37:23 on Revenge‘s Hulu. After Christian Blauvelt picked his jaw up off the floor, he recapped the diabolically delicious events that led to Victoria’s rapid descent.

ABC

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (The CW)

The song: Sigur Rós, “Dauðalogn”

The episode: “The Departed” (322)

The hook: Flashes back to the death of Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) family played throughout the May 10 season ender. They served both to foreshadow a moment when Elena once again crashed into a river and also to set up a stunning, four-minute climax set to the Icelandic emo kings’ soon-to-be-released single. “The absolute gorgeousness of Sigur Rós’s music exudes emotion to the highest level,” said TVD‘s music supervisor Chris Mollere. “With the underwater elements and the emotion we were trying to accentuate — the death, the goodbye, the sadness — ‘Dauðalogn’ played with a very cinematic quality.” The tranquil vibe of the song, while seeming to clash with the life-or-death stakes, ultimately echoed Elena’s self-sacrifice. All that’s without mentioning the breathtaking last-minute twist that quite literally blew Elena out of the water — and into the world of the undead.

Watch it! Elena makes a life-altering decision beginning at 37:39 on Diaries‘ official page. Still gasping? So is Mandi Bierly.

CASTLE (ABC)

The song: Andrew Belle Feat. Erin McCarley, “In My Veins”

The episode: “Always” (423)

The hook: After seasons of back and forth between Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic), it seemed like their spark had fizzled for good on May 7 as Beckett rebuffed Castle’s declaration of love. But then, as the episode neared its end, Castle was the only person Beckett could think of during a near-death moment. Forced to let down her guard, she showed up, rain-soaked, on Castle’s doorstep as Belle’s tune soared, “Everything will change. Nothing stays the same. Nobody is perfect… Oh, you’re in my veins, and I cannot get you out.”

Watch it! Beckett makes her move at 40:01 on Castle‘s Hulu. Find out why the couple’s time had finally arrived after four seasons in Katic’s interview with Sandra Gonzalez.

NEXT: GleeHow I Met Your Mother, and New Girl — our favorite comedies get serious(ish)

GLEE (Fox)

The song: “Roots Before Branches,” originally by Room for Two

The episode: “Goodbye” (322)

The hook: Graduation arrived Tuesday, and it was up to Finn (Cory Monteith) to make a tough, grown-up decision: To let his fiancée Rachel (Lea Michele) be the star she had always dreamed of becoming. He had to let her go. As she said goodbye to her first love and boarded a train to New York, Rachel sang the L.A. band’s poignant pop track with power and panache. But it wasn’t just a goodbye to Rachel. Michele’s star power put Glee on the map and sustained the show these last three seasons, so the ballad about finding oneself and a place in the world was a layered ode to the show itself.

Watch it! The episode won’t be available online until May 30, but you can see the sequence on Glee‘s official YouTube then check out what Erin Strecker thought of the rest of the McKinley grads’ farewell songs.

HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER (CBS)

The song: Cat Stevens, “The Wind”

The episode: The Magician’s Code, Part 2 (724)

The hook: It may not have been the highly anticipated reveal of Mother, but it was pretty darn satisfying when Robin (Cobie Smulders) was revealed to be the one meeting Barney (Neil Patrick Harris) at the altar. Stevens’ 1971 meditation on the power of fate and the guidance of the heart was a fitting resolution to the will-they-or-won’t-they tug-of-war between HIMYM‘s most willful, wonderful couple. At last we knew: They will!

Watch it! The bride wore white (and the groom wore a duck tie) at 41:27 on HIMYM‘s official site. Were you as happy as this girl? I know Sandra Gonzalez and Michelle Profis were. Exactly how long has executive producer Craig Thomas been keeping this secret from fans? He spilled to Tanner Stransky the next day.

NEW GIRL (Fox)

The song: AC/DC, “You Shook Me All Night Long”

The episode: “See Ya” (124)

The hook: Nick’s (Jake Johnson) looming departure hung heavy on the hearts of the roommates,  especially Jess (Zooey Deschanel), leading up to the May 8 finale. Through a serious of truly idiotic events (none of which involved Max Greenfield’s Schmidt!), the roommates ended up in the desert having a dance party — thanks to an early ’90s mix tape made by Nick — to Deep Blue Something’s “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” OMC’s “How Bizarre,” and the Crash Test Dummies’ “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.” But they couldn’t stay in the desert forever and so headed back home the next day without Nick. Well… not for long. He had second thoughts about leaving and made his grand re-entrance by cranking up the mix tape, cued to the opening strains of the Scottish legends’ 1980 classic. The barroom classic lightened the mood and gave the roommates — each in his or her own room — a chance to show off their hottest dance moves in an unintentionally sweet show of solidarity.

Watch it! Jess busts out the “grocery cart,” and Nick may or may not have sprained something at 20:26 on New Girl‘s Hulu. Check out our recap to see how a night in the desert and a coyote run-in led up to this moment.

NEXT: House, Grey’s Anatomy, Bones, and CSI: NY — just what the doctor (or forensic scientist) ordered

HOUSE (Fox)

The song: Warren Zevon, “Keep Me in Your Heart”

The episode: “Everyone Dies” (822)

The hook: Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) spent eight seasons ripping his colleagues apart, both mentally and physically, so it was a fitting moment when he brought them all back together by faking his own death. “You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse,” sang Zevon, and a montage of the show’s main player bore that out as they each functioned independently, yet inextricably linked to one another. But this wouldn’t be House without a little zing. After Zevon’s heartfelt folk, House met Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) for a motorcycle ride. Wilson was feeling wistful about his cancer diagnosis, to which House gruffed, “Cancer’s boring.” The two of them put on their helmets and zoomed away to Louis Prima’s “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).”

Watch it! The episode won’t be online until May 29, but you can hear Zevon’s tune on YouTube as you read Sandra Gonzalez’s recap of the finale that Ken Tucker called “an unabashedly sappy ending, and yet a satisfying one.”

GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC)

The song: The Paper Kites, “Featherstone”

The episode: “Flight” (824)

The hook: Feist’s “Graveyard” set up a shocking cliffhanger in the May 10 episode: An airplane containing several doctors from Seattle Grace went down. The next week’s season finale was uncharacteristically short on music, which only made the Aussie folksters Paper Kites’ inclusion all the more weighty. As the doctors’ lives hung in the balance (except Chyler Leigh’s Lexie Grey — RIP, girl!), their friends and spouses moved forward, unaware of the crash. Even though they weren’t fighting their own mortality, that didn’t mean that folks back at Seattle Grace weren’t having their own major “wake up” moments. From a firing to an engagement, as many finished their residencies and were offered jobs in new cities, they all reached their own turning points. Very little was resolved, which was exactly the point. Witness, the final words from Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo): “This is the starting line. This is our arena. How well we play? That’s up to us.”

Watch it! Endings beget beginnings at 36:53 on Grey’s Hulu. Tanner Stransky recapped the harrowing episode, while Sandra Gonzalez may or may not be breathing yet after watching how things went down. And don’t forget the woman who started it all: See what creator Shonda Rhimes had to say about the departures of two of her “favorite people” from the show.

BONES (Fox)

The song: Sleeping At Last, “From the Ground Up”

The episode: “The Past in the Present” (713)

The hook: It’s been a big year for Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz). Following the birth of their daughter Christine, Bones has been embroiled in an investigation that threatened her freedom — and maybe her life. But it was Christine’s life that mattered for one rare moment of calm on May 14. “One by one the knots we’ve tied will come undone,” sang Sleeping At Last frontman Ryan O’Neal just after Bones’ father (coincidentally played by a different Ryan O’Neal) told her to “Take a minute, forget about everything except Booth and Christine.” So she did, pausing for an intimate baptism ceremony. The song’s lyrics foreshadowed how the delicacy of the moment belied Bones’ next step: Fleeing the church with baby Christine to save herself from arrest. In preparation for this unbelievable cliffhanger, the family’s moment of peace was an essential break interlude.

Watch it! Bones it doing it all for her baby at 35:48 on Bones‘ Hulu. What did Mandi Bierly think of the cliffhanger? Read here, then find out how Bones creator Hart Hanson sees this shocker impacting next season.

CSI: NY (CBS)

The song: Macy Gray, “Coming Back to You”

The episode: “Near Death” (818)

The hook: When the May 11 finale began, Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) was bullet-riddled and on the verge of death. He spent the episode in a dream state, imagining friends and coworkers from his past and present. With only minutes to spare, Mac’s shooter was identified and arrested, but would Mac make a full recovery? Flash forward six months: Mac made his triumphant return to the field as Gray sang, “I’ve been here before. I’ll be back for more. Maybe this time I can stay forever more, forever more.” It was a precise, on-point sentiment for a show that faced down possible cancellation and, in the end, an appropriate capper as CSI: NY will live to see another year.

Watch it! Mac hugs it out at 42:54 on CSI: NY‘s official site.

NEXT: Music to make lust to on Scandal and Hart of Dixie, plus a “Wonderful” farewell to Desperate Housewives

SCANDAL (ABC)

The song: The Album Leaf, “The Light”

The episode: “Grant: For the People” (107)

The hook: The San Diego alternative outfit’s 2006 track threaded throughout the desire-laden last two episodes of Scandal‘s abbreviated first season. Oscillating between past and present, the song underscored a key moment of sexual tension between Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her boss Fitz Grant (Tony Goldwyn), soon to be the President of the United States. The undulating instrumental’s chill vibe played subtly under four different scenes, shifting to complement the push-and-pull dynamics between Liv and Fitz. It was a deliciously understated yet ever-present expression of their dips and peaks, their years of mutual longing.

Watch it! Get our your fans and your tissues as the desperate longing begins at 20:26 on Scandal‘s Hulu. Liv and Fitz weren’t the only ones with something to hide. See which other character lived up to the show’s name in Mandi Bierly’s recap.

HART OF DIXIE (The CW)

The song: Matt Nathanson Feat. Sugarland, “Run”

The episode: “The Big Day” (122)

The hook: Even without the rain, the heated interactions between Zoe (Rachel Bilson) and Wade (Wilson Bethel) have been steamy since Dixie started last fall. But, indeed, it was a rainstorm that drove the clashing neighbors together on May 14. After scrapping for most of the hour, they acknowledged the sexy elephant in the room, resolved to get the tension out of their systems, and moved in to seal their deal with a kiss — only to be interrupted. A long car ride home simmered thanks to Josh Abbott Band’s “Touch,”  and the odd couple went their separate ways. For a little while at least. Their magnetic attraction couldn’t be ignored, and Zoe made the first move, underlined by an appropriately sultry from Nathanson and Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles.

Watch it! No rain, no gain at 36:40 on Dixie‘s official page. Sandra Gonzalez gave her take on the big moment (hint: she was in favor).

DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES (ABC)

The song: Johnny Mathis, “Wonderful! Wonderful!”

The episode: “Finishing the Hat” (823)

The hook: In a hectic two-hour finale, the Housewives experienced nearly all of life’s milestones: Birth, death, and a wedding. (The only thing missing was jury duty.) The crooner’s 1957 tune offered up a dreamy coda to Wisteria Lane’s most valuable second stringer Mrs. McCluskey (Kathryn Joosten), who was taking her final breaths in sync with the series itself. While Bree (Marcia Cross) rushed to her side, others rushed to the hospital to welcome the daughter of Julie Mayer (Andrea Bowen) and Porter Scavo (Charlie Carver). Forget Elton John, it was Mathis who sang this circle of life. Much of it was tragic, much was traumatic, and most was delicious naughty, but all of it was wonderful, wonderful.

Watch it! Although we’ve come to the end of the Lane at 34:05 on Housewives‘ Hulu, that wasn’t the end for all the characters. Read what happened next in Mandi Bierly’s reaction.

And that’s all she wrote for this season, Jukebox. Hope it was as “Wonderful! Wonderful!” for you as it was for me. Enjoy the tunes!

[spotify id="spotify%3Auser%3Aew.com%3Aplaylist%3A05odBtIna7qHyv6cxAgnlp" /]

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