The song: Warren Zevon, “Keep Me in Your Heart”
The episode: “Everyone Dies” (822)
The hook: Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) spent eight seasons ripping his colleagues apart, both mentally and physically, so it was a fitting moment when he brought them all back together by faking his own death. “You know I’m tied to you like the buttons on your blouse,” sang Zevon, and a montage of the show’s main player bore that out as they each functioned independently, yet inextricably linked to one another. But this wouldn’t be House without a little zing. After Zevon’s heartfelt folk, House met Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) for a motorcycle ride. Wilson was feeling wistful about his cancer diagnosis, to which House gruffed, “Cancer’s boring.” The two of them put on their helmets and zoomed away to Louis Prima’s “Enjoy Yourself (It’s Later Than You Think).”
Watch it! The episode won’t be online until May 29, but you can hear Zevon’s tune on YouTube as you read Sandra Gonzalez’s recap of the finale that Ken Tucker called “an unabashedly sappy ending, and yet a satisfying one.”
GREY’S ANATOMY (ABC)
The song: The Paper Kites, “Featherstone”
The episode: “Flight” (824)
The hook: Feist’s “Graveyard” set up a shocking cliffhanger in the May 10 episode: An airplane containing several doctors from Seattle Grace went down. The next week’s season finale was uncharacteristically short on music, which only made the Aussie folksters Paper Kites’ inclusion all the more weighty. As the doctors’ lives hung in the balance (except Chyler Leigh’s Lexie Grey — RIP, girl!), their friends and spouses moved forward, unaware of the crash. Even though they weren’t fighting their own mortality, that didn’t mean that folks back at Seattle Grace weren’t having their own major “wake up” moments. From a firing to an engagement, as many finished their residencies and were offered jobs in new cities, they all reached their own turning points. Very little was resolved, which was exactly the point. Witness, the final words from Meredith Grey (Ellen Pompeo): “This is the starting line. This is our arena. How well we play? That’s up to us.”
Watch it! Endings beget beginnings at 36:53 on Grey’s Hulu. Tanner Stransky recapped the harrowing episode, while Sandra Gonzalez may or may not be breathing yet after watching how things went down. And don’t forget the woman who started it all: See what creator Shonda Rhimes had to say about the departures of two of her “favorite people” from the show.
The song: Sleeping At Last, “From the Ground Up”
The episode: “The Past in the Present” (713)
The hook: It’s been a big year for Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and Booth (David Boreanaz). Following the birth of their daughter Christine, Bones has been embroiled in an investigation that threatened her freedom — and maybe her life. But it was Christine’s life that mattered for one rare moment of calm on May 14. “One by one the knots we’ve tied will come undone,” sang Sleeping At Last frontman Ryan O’Neal just after Bones’ father (coincidentally played by a different Ryan O’Neal) told her to “Take a minute, forget about everything except Booth and Christine.” So she did, pausing for an intimate baptism ceremony. The song’s lyrics foreshadowed how the delicacy of the moment belied Bones’ next step: Fleeing the church with baby Christine to save herself from arrest. In preparation for this unbelievable cliffhanger, the family’s moment of peace was an essential break interlude.
Watch it! Bones it doing it all for her baby at 35:48 on Bones‘ Hulu. What did Mandi Bierly think of the cliffhanger? Read here, then find out how Bones creator Hart Hanson sees this shocker impacting next season.
CSI: NY (CBS)
The song: Macy Gray, “Coming Back to You”
The episode: “Near Death” (818)
The hook: When the May 11 finale began, Detective Mac Taylor (Gary Sinise) was bullet-riddled and on the verge of death. He spent the episode in a dream state, imagining friends and coworkers from his past and present. With only minutes to spare, Mac’s shooter was identified and arrested, but would Mac make a full recovery? Flash forward six months: Mac made his triumphant return to the field as Gray sang, “I’ve been here before. I’ll be back for more. Maybe this time I can stay forever more, forever more.” It was a precise, on-point sentiment for a show that faced down possible cancellation and, in the end, an appropriate capper as CSI: NY will live to see another year.
Watch it! Mac hugs it out at 42:54 on CSI: NY‘s official site.
NEXT: Music to make lust to on Scandal and Hart of Dixie, plus a “Wonderful” farewell to Desperate Housewives