Even though love songs account for about 90 percent of the market (a statistic I just made up as I listened to Adele and Snow Patrol on repeat), it’s been a while since we had a good line-up of serious heart flutterers here on TV Jukebox. From a rain-soaked reunion (Pretty Little Liars) to a synchronized swimming-themed proposal (Glee), it was a good week for all things gushy and gooey. Some were searching for love (Private Practice, Happy Endings), while others were letting it go (Gossip Girl, The Secret Circle).
Of course, that doesn’t mean there wasn’t room for a some rumbling (Teen Mom 2), reconciliation (House), revenge (Hell on Wheels), strip club shenanigans (One Tree Hill, CSI), and straight-up struttin’ (House of Lies). All of which is without mentioning the most disturbing use of ’80s soft rock to come down the pipeline is quite some time. Thanks for that, Criminal Minds! See our latest picks below. (Warning for those still catching up on DVR: SPOILERS ahead!)
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (ABC Family)
The song: The Rescues, “My Heart With You”
The episode: “The Blond Leading the Blind” (217)
The hook: It looked like it was the end of the road for Ezra Fitz and his taboo teacher’s pet Aria Montgomery on Monday’s episode of Liars. Daniel Ahearn’s “I Will Let You Go” set up Ezra’s moral dilemma as he debated stand up a clandestine rendezvous while the little moppet was waiting alone in a torrential downpour. The Rescues’ haunting, Imogen Heap-esque a capella underscored the couple’s make-or-break moment and gave voice to what was in Ezra’s heart: “I keep you secretly. I studied every line. You’re etched upon my mind for not a million soldiers could take you from me.” In the end, his emotions overruled his head, and he showed up, sweeping Aria in his arms to make a grandly affirmation of his feelings — parents and puddles be damned!
Watch it! The rain dance begins at 35:12 on Pretty Little Liars‘ Hulu.
The song: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face,” originally by Roberta Flack
The episode: “Yes/No” (310)
The hook: Jan. 17’s Glee was a massive celebration of love as the New Directions were the assigned to put together a number for Will Schuester to use while proposing to Emma. Though the synchronized swimming take on Rihanna’s “We Found Love” was spectacular, it was the ladies’ touching performance of Flack’s 1972 hit that was most affecting. Rachel, Mercedes, Santana, and Tina emoted through voices and their visions — most surprisingly Mercedes’ realization that her feelings for Sam ran deeper than she thought. The four-part harmony was powerful, and the dissolves to the girls’ memories of seeing their paramours for the first time was tear-jerking — in a good way.
Watch it! The four play begins at 17:04 on Glee‘s Hulu. For details on the other performances of the night (including “Summer Lovin'” and a truly bizarre trio performance of “Wedding Bell Blues”), check out Joseph Brannigan Lynch’s recap.
PRIVATE PRACTICE (ABC)
The song: Nikki & Rich, “Cat & Mouse”
The episode: “Losing Battles” (512)
The hook: Heartbroken Sam (Taye Diggs) and less-than-heartthrob-y Sheldon (Brian Benben) realized on Jan. 19 that, if they had any game at all, it would be the losing kind. Still hopeful, they decided to hit the gym in that most clichéd means of picking up chicks. Nikki & Rich’s delightfully retro tune provided a hilarious backdrop as they sweated it out, both physically and mentally. Noted Sheldon, “I feel like we’re two sides of a poetic debate. Which is better: To have loved and lost or to have never loved at all?” That I can’t answer, but you know what would be best? Not philosophizing about poetry and heartbreak while trying to pick up girls at the gym. Shockingly, the fellows had no luck with the ladies (perhaps 40-something Sam’s decision to describe himself, albeit truthfully, as a “grandpa” on his online dating profile didn’t help either). Doctors of love they are not.
Watch it! The guys cruise it or lose it at 15:13 on Private Practice‘s Hulu.
HAPPY ENDINGS (ABC)
The song: TLC, “No Scrubs”
The episode: “Makin’ Changes!” (212)
The hook: TLC’s 1999 chart buster provided a hilarious call-and-answer as Penny (Casey Wilson) tried to make the “Year of Penny” happen. She first quoted the lyrics after begging off a friend’s advice to dump her incompatible boyfriend in favor of fixer-upper Jeff (Party Down‘s Ryan Hansen). Just as Penny was reveling in her successful Jeff-over, the song kicked up again as he walked into the bar lookin’ all hot, dawg. Then he announced, “I’m engaged!” The spoils of Penny’s seeming victory went to Jeff’s ex. Foiled again!
Watch it! Penny gets scrubbed from the equation around 14:32 on Happy Endings‘ Hulu. Read all about the show Aly Semigran dubbed the “Episode of Penny” in her recap.
NEXT: Characters from Gossip Girl and The Secret Circle move on and a love song goes terribly wrong on Criminal Minds