BtvS 2.04

Promotional CD tracks

11. Accused (2'03) 64kbps / 192kbps
16. Robot rampage (1'29) 64kbps / 192kbps

The episode

Ted is an early episode exploring the moral implications of awesome power in the hands of a teenage girl. Buffy's wariness of a new man in her mother's life is expertly balanced between a daughter's jealousy and a Slayer's instinct—we are never quite sure which guides her though this story, but "Ted" has moments of genuine menace as the perfect suitor turns out to be not quite what he seems.

Fun quotation:
Buffy: "Seeing my mother Frenching a guy is definitely a ticket to Therapyland."

The music

Because this episode sees a lot more in terms of psychological thrills rather than vampire/demon action or dramatic love story, Beck's score concentrates more on general atmosphere than sweeping themes or complicated fast cues. There is also quite a lot of dialogue, and very often Beck's cues are brief scene-changers, just enough to tug the mood of the audience in the right direction (to different characters, different moods, different pacing, etc.). The most memorable aspect is probably the metallic dissonances used in the fight sequences, hinting at Ted's true identity, but never making it seem too obvious by not actually using scraping metal and by varying the instrumentation each time. It is the closest this episode comes to having a theme of its own. Finally, this episode seems quite an oddity by eschewing the usual pop song.

Cue notes

Again below are the surface-level pointers given out. This is not a review and neither is it an analysis, but perhaps it is a good reference point for those looking into aspects of Beck's music. Timings are approximate, based on the Region 2 DVD cut of the episode, the timing beginning as the episode begins.


The Giles's intro (see 2.02)


[Buffy finds Ted.] A high tremolo string note and orchestral crescendo as Buffy bursts in


Funky Herder]


Orchestral action music


[Rupert and Jenny] String/piano intro. Very brief.


Strings/piano/flute soft underscore. Not quite thematic.


[Right is right, wrong is wrong]. High string (inc harmonics?) tremolo with glass harmonica effect. At 12'55 a plaintive decending cello line enters (4 note scale), as Buffy realises Ted's secret threat. This is contrasted with bass drum, and topped with an orchestral note crescendo sting

16'17-17'05; 17'50-18'20

[Buffy checks out Ted at work] Stealthy music, based mainly on percussion, but with an oboe-led descending line.. a scale again. This appears to be the very loose "Ted theme" but this really doesn't follow the course of the episode.. At 17'50 the music returns, with cello solo line instead, and white-noise tinged crescendo sting at the end


A piano/cello introspective theme ([Ex.1] - transcribed for piano only) shows a hurt Buffy walking through her thoughts. This section of the cue harks back a litle to 2.08 ex.8b. [Starts with the first minute of music from promotional disc track 11]. At 20'39" [Ted confronts Buffy in her room] the mood abruptly changes with a spooky synth smooch. Glass harmonica and bass drum sounds create an eerie soundworld, with very little else required. As Buffy talks back, the slayer's heroic-but-dark brass enter. As they fight, her brass battles with an indescribable not-quite-metallic clutter (his true sound world?), with cymbals and high tremolo strings helping fill the underscore. With Ted "dead" at the bottom of the stairs, the horror of Buffy's action on a human is portrayed in the music with high wavering orchestra (strings/brass?) and dissonant, almost Psycho-like swiping strings stabbing away. An upward upper-brass glissandi ends it all


A rising sad clarinet line, with string accompaniment. During Buffy's police quetioning, echoing bass heartbeats, soft tremolo upper strings and a hint of the glass harmonica pile on the oppression


[Buffy and Joyce drive home] [Starts with the second minute of music from promotional disc track 11] A cello-led cue, with piano accompaniment and semi-tone-couplet rising strings. Note also the slow bass beats, echoing the earlier heartbeats


Piano and clarinet short cue


Scene change cue. Wood block, strings.


Scene change cue. Strings, dissonant brass notes.


Scene-end cue. Strings and screech synth sting.


[Ted: "Beg to differ"] Bass drum shocker, high synth-strings and now more clearly metallic clashing dissonance, followed by the now-ubiquitous upward brass gliss

Bluntinstrument: This short cue, though of no thematic significance to the show as a whole, sums up several aspects of the episode's soundworld, and ends with the kind of horror-sting that Beck was finding most effective in Buffy's constant cliffhanger framework. The upward brass glissandi became the most-used, but spawned a host of subtle variants, from minimalistic (a sizeable orchestral crescendo on a single note or chord) to highly nuanced (using the glass harmonica or less definable synth sound, for example).


["Dead" Ted fights back] [Starts with music on promotional disc track 16, but this scene has more music.] Action cue, featuring dissonant brass (almost metallic), urgent strings, cymbal, with various careful underscore additions - piano figurations, tremolo strings, etc. [The scene jumps regularly between Buffy/Ted to Giles and Jenny fighting vampires]. Eerie synths as Ted wins the fight.


Eerie synths continue [The Scoobies go hunting for Ted dirt] with brief clarinet/string line. Short cue.


[Scene changer, covering end of Scooby discovery to Joyce rediscovering Ted]. High strings, orchestral crescendo, etc.


[Scoobies discover Ted's den] Disjointed piano, with strings, gives way to diegetic jazz, rudely intruded upon by a dissonant high string chord [as Xander makes a grusome discovery in the den]


[Ted "wired"] Spooky synths and twist


Bass drum (with echo) now very slow, with synths etc., launching into faster beat with low strings (almost Jaws-like) [as Ted drags Joyce away, then searches for Buffy]. Dissonant strings etc as Buffy makes her hit. Brass and dissonant strings give way to a thoughtful wind/string line (upward scale, harmonised) [Ted very dead]


Pleasant piano, strings and harp very briefly touching on Giles and Jenny's tender moment


Nerf rules, man!]

Musical examples

Ex.1 [midi] Transcribed for piano only