EW staffers have been listening to Christmas music since early November, so it was music to our ears when shows started cranking up our holiday favorites this week. Or were we? Some of this week’s “show tunes” turned out to be downright ho-ho-horrifying.
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 full Spotify playlist below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)
AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM (FX)
The song: “Carol of the Bells”
The episode: “Unholy Night” (208)
The hook: Pretty much any song played within the walls of Briarcliff is bound to sound spooky. Add in the already eerie tone of “Carol of the Bells” (or is it that just too many Home Alone viewings talking?), then lay it over the extremely un-Christian behavior of Lee (Ian McShane), a man with a penchant for dressing up as Santa and going on killing sprees, and viewers got this blood-curdling closer to Wednesday’ ep.
Read Jeff Jensen’s recap and Tim Stack’s exclusive post-mortem with Ryan Murphy
The song: Glen Hansard, “High Hope”
The episode: “Trouble in Candyland” (410)
The hook: With notes of victorious jubilation – in the case of Crosby’s (Dax Shepard) 11th-hour defense of The Luncheonette – and muted-but-not-unbroken optimism – with the inching together of Sarah (Lauren Graham) and Hank (Ray Romano) – Hansard’s visit to Parenthood to perform this layered tune was spot-on in another of Parenthood’s masterful ending montages this Tuesday
The song: Damien Rice, “Delicate”
The episode: “Krampus” (207)
The hook: Phillip Phillips’ Idol-winning foot stomper “Home” may have played out Wednesday’s installment. Even better? The “Delicate” moment just before, when Irish troubadour Rice’s 2002 song played underneath a moment of connection between Tessa (Jane Levy) and her not-so-secret admirer Ryan (Parker Young). After the teens bonded over parental drama, they shared a sweet kiss that Ryan told Tessa was the only thing on his Christmas list.
SONS OF ANARCHY (FX)*
The song: Jane’s Addiction, “Sympathy for the Devil”
The episode: “J’ai Obtenu Cette” (513)
The hook: Katey Sagal owned Sons’ season finale. Jukeboxers took note of her “To Sir With Love” duet with The Forest Rangers that opened Tuesday’s ep, and Gemma’s diabolical maneuvering at the hour’s end – set to Perry Farrell and Co.’s Rolling Stones cover – bookended a victorious episode for the motorcycle mama. Then again, as Sons has contemplated all season long, if power and influence come at the price of one’s soul – is that truly a victory? No doubt that meditation will continue as season 6 picks up. For now, Tara (Maggie Siff) can attest along like the narrator of “Sympathy” that, if you’re not on Gemma’s side, she’ll “lay you to waste.”
Read Ken Tucker’s review and Mandi Bierly’s recap, plus Mandi’s chat with star Kim Coates and Lynette Rice’s post-mortem with series creator Kurt Sutter
GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC)
The song: Beirut, “Santa Fe”
The episode: “Love Turns You Upside Down” (908)
The hook: It was about time someone gave Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek (Patrick Dempsey) an earful. Leave it to intern Brooks (Tina Majorino), who nearly lost an entire day entangled in the spouses’ infighting over Derek’s upcoming surgery. Luckily, the “this day undone” in Beirut’s lyrics didn’t afflict the newbie as she headed home after a long, exhausting shift. Derek’s sister (Neve Campbell) swooped in to save the day, another case hit the OR, and Brooks’ enthusiasm for medicine was revived.
Read Sandra Gonzalez’s recap
THE GOOD WIFE (CBS)
The song: Sunday Girl, “Where Is My Mind”
The episode: “Battle of the Proxies” (410)
The hook: It was a big week for Frank Black. His 1988 Pixies original popped up on “Criminal Minds” Wednesday, but we have to gave it to Brit indie popper Jade Williams (a.k.a. Sunday Girl) for her piano cover, which closed out Sunday’s Good Wife. The song’s opening lyrics – “with your feet in the air, your head on the ground” – speak of a world turned upside down, just as Kalinda’s (Archie Panjabi) world has been since her vengeful husband Nick (Marc Warren) returned at the start of the season. In this week’s final moments, Kalinda was finally able to expel Nick and set her world right.
Read Breia Brissey’ recap
GO ON (NBC)
The song: Oingo Boingo, “Dead Man’s Party”
The episode: “The World Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over” (111)
The hook: Thanks to the Mayans’ doomsday predictions, K (Brett Gelman) decided to throw a last-night-on-Earth party Tuesday, and he had everything he needed – most notably “punch spiked with hallucinogenic toad mucus” and this counterintuitively bouncy 1986 new wave track.
BOARDWALK EMPIRE (HBO)
The song: Patti Smith, “I Ain’t Got Nobody”
The episode: “Margate Sands” (312)
The hook: It’s hard out here to be a gangster. Though Nucky Thompson (Steve Buscemi) formed a slew of uneasy alliances in order to recover his chokehold over Atlantic City, he was more alone the ever when season 3 closed on Sunday. Smith specially recorded this textured cover of the 1915 classic for the coda, just after Nucky threw down his trademark lapel carnation and roamed the boardwalk. As season 3 closed, Nucky knew that, even though he had once again successfully moved around the pieces in his real-life game of risk and lived to see another day, he “ain’t got nobody, ain’t nobody who cares for [him].”
Read Ken Tuckers’s review and James Hibberd’s interview with show creator Terence Winter
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TV Jukebox: ‘Nashville,’ ‘Glee,’ ‘Covert Affairs,’ and more music-on-TV moments
TV Jukebox: ‘Parenthood,’ ‘Bones,’ ‘Private Practice,’ and more music-on-TV moments
TV Jukebox: ‘How I Met Your Mother,’ ‘CSI,’ ‘The Good Wife,’ and more music-on-TV moments