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