BtvS 2.01

The episode

Someone in Sunnydale is digging up the bodies of the freshly dead. A Bride of Frankenstein episode which keeps the series ticking along and ever-so subtly sets up Angel's naturally threatening nature and the entanglement of Xander and Cordelia, and Giles and Miss Calendar.

Fun quotation:
"I just think it's rather odd that a nation which prides itself on its virility should feel compelled to strap on forty pounds of protective gear just in order to play rugby."

The music

This is a difficult episode to gauge, since credit goes mainly to composer Adam Fields, with "additional music by Christophe Beck". In places Beck's musical style and superior synthesized instrumental sampling makes his contributions obvious, but many of the cues here are brief and cannot easily be placed. Equally one must bear in mind that this was only the second episode to involve the composer, and therefore his style here may not be as concrete as it was to become by the end of the season. Certainly some of the cues towards the end of the episode appear to be part-lifted from When she was bad (2.01), suggesting that its Frankenstein nature is indicative of its status as post-premiere filler, and the absence of promotional tracks further confirms that musically this is an episode for Beck completists only. The swift interplay between slightly different styles of writing and synthesized sounds might even suggest that Fields was required to use Beck's music along with his own in order to produce a score quickly.

Cue notes

The details below are therefore somewhat more sketchy than in 2.01, and there are fewer musical examples to reference. Once again, these comments are mostly descriptive and not meant to serve as a framework reference, not a review or analysis. Casual perusal may cause blindness!


The counter begins with Anthony Head's imposing introduction to the Slayer mythology (this is the first time the intro is used), backed by deepy gloomy chords, music presumably composed by Beck. See ex.1


A brief eerie dissonance, starting softly, ending loud, heralds Angel's appearance. This is too short to tell if this is Beck or Fields. In fact ver little here can be definitely attributed to either. Where no composer is named, the author cannot reliably argue an attribution. It is useful to have details here though, since cues such as this set up the character interplay which informs much of the scoring later in the season. Here, for example, each arrival of Angel is sudden and off-putting, never allowing him in the psychology of the audience to become a cosy regular Scooby-gang member


More dissonance, building to a synth and synth drums peak. This does not sound like Beck, mainly due to the ungamiliar synth sounds, but there is certainly nothing wrong with the cue, brief as it is


An eerie noise with strings and a bell tone, which (especially with the bell touch) sounds more like Beck. [A grave has been robbed]


Herder's Buffy the Vampire Slayer theme]


A high string note and emerging dissonant synth chord, ending in spine-chilling glissandi accompanies the empty grave discovery. [11'56: Cut to Cordelia after cheer leading practice - no music until...] 12'15: A whining, low piano-strumming, pounding drums and further glissandi, all herald an unmistakable Beck cue combination (ending at 13'53"). A suspenseful piano bass note heart beat underlies a buildup of tension created by atmospheric whines, high piano and string chordal clusters, breaking into an aggitated string passage, and ending with more whines. [Cordelia is followed after cheerleading practice]


A quiet harp line (characterised by minor third and octave leap), with string accompaniment [Angel and Cordelia in the car park]


Screeching and dissonant strings with percussion delight in shocking. [Cordelia finds a hand]


A disjunct, creepy piano cue (see ex.2), which seems to be one of the few noticeably new themes characterising this episode. There is only a quiet string undercurrent here. Whether this is Beck or not the author cannot guess. It accompanies the scenes and enhances the feeling of emptiness and numbness of feeling and emotion between bereaved mother and younger son, Chris


White noise [Chris's locker], with atmospheric synths, and a low hum, perhaps a combination of low strummed piano strings and nameless synth rumblings (probably not Beck)


The low hum again, plus synth, synth voice - one note [in Chris's basement den] (probably not Beck)


[Back in the basement] Uninteresting synth, some buildup over a high string note (probably not Beck)


[Still in the basement] A piano tune, very similar to that heard in 2.01-ex.7 which may here have been reused as a form of brother-to-brother love or merely heart-string exploitation in a lack of time to compose something new.. then (24'25) beating low piano note with an interestingly creepy sliding string chord touch (see ex.3) (Beck, presumably?)


[Buffy visits Chris's house, entering the basement] The odd piano tune (ex.2) returns as Buffy visits Chris's mother. Now it feels like the music illustrates more closely her deranged, hypnotised state as she replays her elder son's football victories. In the basement: mainly synth swells, which sound uncharacteristic of Beck. [28'09: Cut to Cordelia, the intended victim]. 28'30: a short horn theme with drums, etc., more tense. (Unlikely to be Beck)


[Chris has second thoughts over Cordelia] Atmospheric synths, that piano/bass strum, held string notes, moving to a string tune from 29'50 (note the bell); moves on at 30'15 to more agitated synths and back to atmospherics with a screaching buildup for the end of the cue


Uninteresting but reasonably claustrophobic synth


Plaintive piano tune with subtle string accompaniment, taken (ripped?) very obviously from 2.01-ex.7, with little adaptation, but shortlived. This shifts into a low, brooding underscore beneath the cheering of the [American] football crowds


Band music. Presumably not Beck or Fields]


Eerie string synths and low bass drum


More obvious synth with low hum. Forgettable, unthematic. At 35'09 eerie strings sound over percussion, building to the same character as 34'36 at 35'40


An action cue: agitated strings with a distinctively heroic brass line (more a motif, perhaps): ex.4. This certainly sounds like Beck's style, and fits in well with what he established in the premier of the season.


With the action over, the music moves towards the piano again, and the thematic material from 2.01-ex.7, perhaps a human gesture, hinting back to 32'38 [The big brother dies in flames with his unfinished girlfriend]


["Love makes you do the wacky" - Buffy to Angel] And at last the piano theme from 2.01 ex.7, (previously misused in this episode) begins to settle properly as the love theme between vampire and Slayer. Some calm, hesitant string writing, echoed by the piano, leads eventually into a similar shape to that in the 37'52-39'02, but in a variant style, ex.5, and again, the cautiously uplifting nature of the music is left to a strange minor-key twist ending


Nerf Herder's music rounds off the episode.]

Musical examples

Ex.1 [midi]

Ex.2 [midi]

Ex.3 [midi]

Ex.4 [midi]

Ex.5 [midi]