TV Jukebox: 21 Best Songs of Fall 2014
The Walking Dead (AMC)
The song: Kiev, ''Be Gone Dull Cage''
The episode: ''Slabtown'' (504)
The hook: TWD uses music sparingly, making the inclusion of a song all the more effective. Case in point, Beth's (Emily Kinney) eerie walking tour of repurposed hospital/zombie fortress of indentured servitude Grady Memorial on Nov. 2.
Sons of Anarchy (FX)
The song: The White Buffalo & The Forest Rangers, ''Come Join the Murder''
The episode: ''Papa's Goods'' (713)
The hook: SOA mainstays composed one last song for Jax's (Charlie Hunnam) final ride. Despite the rev of Jax's bike and the parade of police cars chasing him down the freeway, the placid composition shadowed the Son of SAMCRO as he found peace in death on the Dec. 9 series finale.
The song: Stevie Wonder, ''Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing''
The episode: ''Where the Sun Don't Shine'' (409)
The hook: What's more Scandal-ous? That Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) was kidnapped—or that she was wearing BLACK when it happened? Either way, after being essentially disowned by her father (Joe Morton) on the Nov. 20 midseason finale, Liv chose ''me'' over her twisted love triangle with Jake (Scott Foley) and Fitz (Tony Goldwyn). She celebrated her new liberation with a rare dark-hued ensemble and a dance party to the R&B icon's 1973 ode to opting out of stress.
The Vampire Diaries (The CW)
The song: Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson, ''Winter Song''
The episode: ''Christmas Through Your Eyes'' (610)
The hook: TVD has been known to end its Christmas episodes in destruction, and the Dec. 11 episode was no exception. Between the Mystic Falls of today and the Mystic Falls of 1994, it was a bittersweet holiday for the Salvatore brothers and Bonnie (Kat Graham), who wistfully torched her solitary Christmas tree as she waited to be rescued from another time.
American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX)
The song: ''Life on Mars,'' originally by David Bowie
The episode: ''Monsters Among Us'' (401)
The hook: Is any AHS season complete without hearing Jessica Lange belt out a deliciously over-the-top tune? Ryan Murphy got straight to the good stuff on the Oct. 8 season premiere, with an anachronistic performance of Bowie's Hunky Dory 1973 hit. Darren Franich called Lange's musical bow as the aptly named Elsa Mars ''a moment of glam-period excess, beamed backward into the cultural moment of conformity.'' Jukebox just calls it fan-Freakin'-tastic.
The song: Radical Face, ''The Gilded Hand''
The episode: ''The Conspiracy in the Corpse'' (1001)
The hook: R.I.P. Sweets! The dopey psychologist (John Francis Daley) met a stunning end on Sept. 25, signaling a tough time ahead for Bones (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz): ''Open eyes adjusting to the dark...We're never clean...And you know, somewhere in there you know there's nothing here but surviving 'til something goes away.''
Supernatural (The CW)
The song: Warren Zevon, ''Werewolves of London''
The episode: ''Paper Moon'' (1004)
The hook: The rock great's 1978 piano plunker was on-point jukebox fodder as a mysterious woman made moves on a biker bar patron on Oct. 28. Unfortunately, the rush of flirtation turned into a gush of blood as the minx turned into a claw-fingered killer—specifically a werewolf (just in case Zevon's title hadn't tipped you off).
Family Guy (Fox)
The song: Def Leppard, ''Pour Some Sugar on Me''
The episode: ''The Simpsons Guy'' (1301)
The hook: When the Griffins of Quahog found themselves in the Simpsons' Springfield on Sept. 28, no one was surprised when things got a little wacky. But who really expected a booty-shaking car wash? After his car was stolen, Peter Griffin joined forces with Homer Simpson to catch the culprit. Donning tight tank tops and cutoffs, the animated patriarchs put on quite the show to the 1987 strip club classic.
The Originals (The CW)
The song: Sharon Van Etten, ''Every Time the Sun Comes Up''
The episode: ''Live and Let Die'' (204)
The hook: Mikky Ekko's ''Smile'' closed out the episode—and underscored Elijah's (Daniel Gillies) captivity—with the fittingly ominous words ''Smile, the worst is yet to come.'' That said, there was some good stuff for Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Cami (Leah Pipes) in the middle of the Oct. 27 ep. Bluesy Brooklyner Van Etten warbled sultrily as the will-they/won't-they duo got personal and shared a nearly cheek-to-cheek dance that left shippers breathless.
Grey's Anatomy (ABC)
The song: Mary J. Blige, ''Therapy''
The episode: ''Bend and Break'' (1105)
The hook: Calzona's split proved wrenching on Oct. 23 as the women continued their failing attempt to to work through their crumbling marriage in counseling and with a little sexual ''Therapy'' courtesy of Blige.
Reign (The CW)
The song: Kodaline, ''Take Control''
The episode: ''Acts of War'' (108)
The hook: After the horrific—and fan-reviled—rape of Mary (Adelaide Kane) on Dec. 4, the Queen displayed profound, steely strength when she took to court and led in spite of her intense trauma. The Dublin rockers' lyrics (''Take control of who you are, 'cause ain't nobody going to save you...the world is getting stranger. Take control of who you are, stay the same don't let them change you'') perfectly expressed Mary's struggle...as well as her personal and political victory amid unthinkable circumstances.
The song: Michelle Branch, ''Creep''
The episode: ''Pilot'' (101)
The hook: Initial reviews were mixed on Kevin Williamson's spine-tingler, but opinions were consistent on Branch's cover of Radiohead's 1992. With parallel framing for dark Detective Jack Larsen (Dylan McDermott) and the show's super-stalker in the making Perry Whitley (Erik Stocklin), it was downright spooky. The trend of blood-curdling covers would carry on throughout the season, with fan favorites including Denmark + Winter's ''Every Breath You Take (Re:Imagined)'' and Wrongechilde's ''Love Is a Battlefield.''
The Blacklist (NBC)
The song: Cloud Cult, ''You Were Born''
The episode: ''The Front'' (205)
The hook: It still counts as a tender moment between Red (James Spader) and Liz (Megan Boone) even though Liz was unconscious, right? As Liz recovered from a run-in with the plague on Oct. 20, Reddington queued up the Minnesota indie rockers' ditty and shared more sides of himself than we've ever seen.
The Good Wife (CBS)
The song: Eels, ''Bombs Away''
The episode: ''Message Discipline'' (607)
The hook: The Cali alt rockers' taut track closed out Wife's Nov. 2 episode as Alicia (Julianna Margulies) had an office standoff with her State's Attorney opponent Frank Prady (David Hyde Pierce).
The song: Matt Corby, ''Winter''
The episode: ''Lean In'' (609)
The hook: The Jukebox regular closed out the Nov. 20 episode with the ominous promise: ''Winter is coming.'' It was a bad sign for not only Julia (Erika Christensen) and Joel (Sam Jaeger) as they alternated between agonizing over signing their divorce papers and engaging in a passionate kiss, but also for the ailing Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) when he awoke in the middle of the night barely able to breathe or call out to Millie (Bonnie Bedelia) for help. Corby's pleading track conveyed the anguish of the five-tissue cliffhanger.
How to Get Away With Murder (ABC)
The song: IAMX, ''I Come with Knives''
The episode: ''Pilot'' (101)
The hook: It wouldn't be a Shonda Rhimes production without a killer soundtrack. In this case, we mean ''killer'' quite literally. At the beginning of the Sept. 25 debut, Hot Chip's ''Dark and Stormy'' provided the beat as law school first-year Wes (Alfie Enoch) hurtled into a life-changing class with coldly calculating professor Annalise Keating (Viola Davis). By the end of the hour, the verdict was in, and the weapons were out—both on the soundtrack and courtesy of the Keating Krew (a statue and a funeral pyre, for the record). The pulse-pounding tempo of both songs matched the pacing of this twisty, twisted new whodunnit.
Saturday Night Live (NBC)
The song: Sia, ''Chandelier''
The episode: ''Jim Carrey/Iggy Azalea'' (4004)
The hook: The premise: Carrey and Kate McKinnon's characters turned up at their office Halloween party in the same flesh-toned leotard and blonde bob wig from Sia's wackadoodle ''Chandelier'' video. How could their colleagues possibly determine who would win the costume contest? Sing it with me now: ''One, two, three; one, two, three DANCE!''
Jane the Virgin (The CW)
The song: Christina Perri, ''Sea of Lovers''
The episode: ''Chapter Six'' (106)
The hook: Jane ended the Nov. 17 episode on a major high note for shippers when Jane (Gina Rodriguez) and Rafael (Justin Baldoni) finally kissed, sharing what EW's Nina Terrero deemed ''one of those lingering, made-for-TV embraces that totally makes you believe in true love all over again.'' Perri (a.k.a. the woman who wrote The Twilight Saga's love theme) was an appropriate choice for a heart-soaring piano ballad.
The song: Deer Tick, ''Twenty Miles''
The episode: ''Set Yourself on Fire'' (101)
The hook: An Oct. 8 series-debut montage set to the Rhode Island alt-rockers' song showed the sick symmetry of Nate (Nick Jonas) and Jay (Jonathan Tucker), the rising fighter and the washed-up heroin addict. Complementary cuts between the brothers drew visual parallels between their divergent paths, which Samantha Highfill described as the ''the two sides of life as a Kulina.''
You're the Worst (FX)
The song: ''This Woman's Work,'' originally by Kate Bush
The episode: ''Fists and Feet and Stuff'' (110)
The hook: Leave it to FX's scrappy, hypersexual little Summer Sitcom That Could to end its first season on Sept. 18 with one of the most irreverent, ridiculous musical performances Jukebox has seen in some time. Freshly dumped by her husband and in shame-spiraling denial over her compulsive infidelity, Lindsay (Kether Donohue) musically wallowed in an incredibly uncomfortable, unfortunate (and unasked-for) performance of Kate Bush's 1988 ballad while her friends (Chris Geere and Aya Cash) looked on in horror.
The Mindy Project (Fox)
The song: Lenny Kravitz, ''American Woman''
The episode: ''We're a Couple Now, Haters!'' (301)
The hook: Danny ''Diamond Dan'' Castellano danced once more on Sept. 16. Thank you, Chris Messina, and thank you, Mindy Kaling. That is all.