'Scandal,' 'Suits,' 'Smash,' 'The Americans': EW's TV Jukebox
Love. Lust. Lies. Loss. It was a mostly low-key week for TV music, with a few stirring numbers thrown in for good measure. So, if you’ve been wondering “What’s that song?” while watching your favorite shows, we’re here to tell you. Check out our picks and the Spotify playlist below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)
The song: The XX, “Sunset”
The episode: “War” (216)
The hook: Will they or won’t they? In the case of Rachel (Meghan Markle) and Mike (Patrick J. Adams), they finally did. Oh how the did. After plenty of intraoffice sexual tension, The XX’s (or should that be XXX?) sensual song played as the colleagues steamed up Pearson’s file room during last night’s sizzling season finale. Recalled creator Aaron Korsh, “We card all the scenes, with a synopsis. And the card on the board was… ‘Mike and Rachel angrily bang.'” You know who wasn’t angry? Viewers.
CATFISH: THE TV SHOW (MTV)
The song: The Lumineers, “Stubborn Love”
The episode: “Mike & Felicia” (111)
The hook: When you’ve been a months-long Internet relationship with someone you’ve never met in person, could your love be anything but stubborn? Violin strains in “Love” conveyed the longing of online love Monday night. This is Catfish, so of course there were lies and hurt feelings. But, in this rare reality romance, there was also a happy ending.
The song: “Dancing on My Own,” originally by Robyn
The episode: “The Dramaturg” (203)
The hook: When Smash tries its hand at chart hits off stage, well… let’s just say it’s a mixed bag. But this week’s cover of Robyn’s heartbreak anthem was a rare real-world song that worked. As Ivy (Megan Hilty) watched Karen (Katharine McPhee) rehearse the role Ivy had nearly played herself alongside her former best friends/castmates, the loneliness was palpable — made all the more striking by the rendition’s slowed-down tempo and spare piano orchestration.
THE AMERICANS (FX)*
The song: Echo & The Bunnymen, “Pictures on My Wall”
The episode: “In Control” (104)
The hook: Wednesday’s installment opened with a real-world event — the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan — whose effects trickled down from the annals of American history into the marriage of embedded Russian spies Elizabeth and Phillip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys). While the spies and the States awaited the President’s prognosis, they had to come to grips with “something changing on the merry-go-round tonight.” Igniting a smoldering disagreement between Phillip and Elizabeth, who were working to mend their relationship, the rumors of an anti-American coup also fanned much larger flames of nuclear warfare. We all know how the story ended for Reagan (the “pictures on the wall” didn’t “swing and fall”). but the Jennings family portrait remains in a precarious dangle.
THE CARRIE DIARIES (The CW)*
The song: Carole King, “I Feel the Earth Move”
The episode: “Endgame” (106)
The hook: Monday’s Thanksgiving-themed ep opened with Carrie (AnnaSophia Robb) fondly reminiscing about watching her late mother listen to King’s 1971 piano stomper as she joyfully prepared the Bradshaws’ annual turkey dinner. In fact, the earth moving was the ground shifting under Carrie’s feet when she learned her mother had used the Tapestry track to distract herself from her resentment toward the holiday. Carrie eventually made peace with this revelation, and the song took on new meaning as she realized that, even when things got funky, her family would be okay.
The song: Bettye LaVette, “I’m Not the One”
The episode: “Boom Goes The Dynamite” (215)
The hook: Dumper’s remorse? Seeing Liv (Kerry Washington) get a little phone flirtation on, Fitz (Tony Goldwyn) seethed with jealousy. Michigan soulstress LaVette’s guts-deep tune of regret and ill-fated love synced up with Fitz’s emotional churn over the fundamental flaws in his relationship with Liv. In fact, this very instability later caused Fitz to recklessly expose his jealously to the guy he’d assigned to surveil Liv (Scott Foley) — the same guy with whom she was flirting. “Boom” indeed.
THE LYING GAME (ABC Family)
The episode: “Regrets Only” (207)
The hook: Another morning after, another “heart full of regret.” Smith and Perryman Jones’ lilter underscored Emma’s (Alexandra Chando) attempt to grapple with her ambivalence over losing her virginity to Thayer (Christian Alexander) as she half-heartedly claimed her first time had been everything she wanted. Perhaps that was technically true, but Emma’s right-minded hopes and the yearnings in her heart haven’t always intersected. At this transitional moment, “Anymore of This” encapsulated Emma’s restless uncertainty amid the reality that taking the next step with Thayer hadn’t overwritten her feelings for ex-boyfriend Ethan (Blair Redford).
MONDAY MORNINGS (TNT)
The song: Bootstraps, “Guiltfree”
The episode: “Who’s Sorry Now?” (103)
The hook: Rainy days and Mondays always get us down, but with L.A.-based Bootstraps’ elegant strummer, there was ecstasy in agony. After prickly Dr. Park (Keong Sim) watched the wife of his patient pull the plug, he realized that his job entailed more than providing detached, sterile medical care. So when he showed up on the widow’s doorstep, his teary apology assured that he would start a new day as a doctor — “Guiltfree.”
Programming note: Jukebox will be on hiatus for the next few weeks, but you can still be featured in our next column! Just use the hashtag #tvjukebox when you tweet @EW with your pick.