BtvS 2.04

© Text: Rob Gokee

Promotional CD tracks

01. Deliverance (2'49) 64kbps / 192kbps

This cue choreographs Buffy's fight out of hell, and does it well. The promotional disc cue is slightly different than its onscreen counterpart, notably the beginning, but my review here is mainly of the promo track (see below for the analysis of the screen version). The brass is big and keeps moving with the scene, which takes place on an expensive set built just for this episode. It starts off with a sprinkle of piano and percussion, and quickly moves from synths and sound effects into frenzied strings and brass. The main theme is a driving, militaristic beat, with a brief pause during Buffy's pose with a battle axe onscreen, and then resuming into a flurry of strings, before ending at Ken's demise by way of bludgeoning.

The episode

Buffy, who has run away after last season's heart-wrenching finale in which she sent Angel to hell, finds herself in Los Angeles working as a waitress under the name Anne. The gang, meanwhile, has taken to slaying in her place, albeit not effectively. Giles spends his time looking all over California for the missing slayer, without any luck. She befriends a girl named Lily, also from Sunnydale, and in an effort to find Lily's boyfriend stumbles into a hell dimension run by a demon named Ken, who works young teens into the senior years, spitting them back to L.A a mere day later. Buffy succeeds in not only finding herself, but saving the others trapped in hell. We end the episode with Joyce opening the front door to Buffy, who realizes she cannot run away from who she is.

Fun quotation:
Willow to vampire: "That's right big boy, come and get it."

The music

This is Christophe Beck's season, hands down. This is the year he took Buffy by the reins and, combined with Joss' words, turned it into a cinematic experience worthy of the Emmy he received for season 2. Anne contains within it its own themes, which are further explored below in the cue-by-cue analysis, as well as some long action cues that fit well with Buffy's fight in Ken's hell dimension. The brass is big and bold, and Beck mixes his synth effects and orchestration well.

Cue notes

All timings are approximate.


Foreboding, high strings accompany a vamps rise, with a brief pause at Willow's attempt to pun, and then we pick back up again as they fight the vamp, with a nice use of the xylophone (?). This cue is big and brassy, and the epic sounding rise leading to Oz's failed attempt to throw a stake at the vamp is classic, and the cue abruptly stops.


Starts with slow strings as the scene shifts from the cemetery to Buffy's beach dream with Angel. This is an introduction to what I call the "Anne Theme" [Ex.1]. Chris uses this melody throughout the episode when Buffy is playing Anne, perhaps as a separation to Buffy herself. The simple piano melody playing underneath Angel's cryptic poetry turns to the Buffy and Angel theme, a nice re-introduction played by a cello. We end as she wakes up to reality in Los Angeles.


Nerf Herder theme ]


Low, ominous synth cue, very short, as Buffy keeps her powers in check during a scene with a 'randy' trucker.


At the word "Forever," strings and a low horn move us into a scene with Willow and Giles. Short, but effective.


We return to the Anne Theme with just a piano as Buffy walks through the streets, ending ominously as the scene switches.


The Anne Theme re-enters on a single flute as we switch back to Buffy, which is an effective use of keeping us in the scene even after we've been switching back and forth to Sunnydale.


After the conversation with Lily, the Anne Theme [Ex.1] comes back, this time accompanied by strings, which quickly move into dissonance as Buffy is hit by a car and we end the act.


The cue picks right back up, adding brass and more strings to the dissonance. This short cue ends as Buffy runs into Ken.


"Back to Freedom" by Belly Love ]


This short cue slides right into the strings from the previous pop song, as Joyce opens the door to Giles, hoping its Buffy.


Beautiful strings and woodwinds accompany Giles and Joyce's conversation about blame, and continues into the scene with Buffy and Lily. The music begins to build as we learn of Ricky's disappearance, and a melody on piano joins the strings to an abrupt fade out.


Ominous brass buildup as Buffy visits the homeless. Everything falls away as Buffy discovers Ricky's body, but immediately returns with a piano and strings, playing almost stealthily as it ends with a brass crescendo.


This longer cue begins with strings and woodwinds as Buffy tells Lily of her discoveries. The music switches to piano as Buffy outlines her suspicions, and switches to brass as Buffy gets angry. This cue is very low in volume, working against the conversation very effectively. We end with the piano again as Lily runs into Ken.


This cue begins with sound effects and violins as we are introduced briefly to "Ken's Theme." Chris uses an array of sound effects and strings that almost sound disorganized, but this effect is used throughout the next act or so underneath Ken when he appears. This works well to push the hopelessness of Ken's dimension and his ideals, which ultimately bring Buffy back from her depression and withdrawal. The cue switches to a 'droning' piano chord, replaced by strings and percussion as we move back to Ken and Lily. This extended cue then switches back to piano and pizzicato strings as the gang in Sunnydale fighting a vamp in the park with Cordy as 'bait,' finally moving smoothly back to Ken and Lily.


Quick action cue.


Low brass moving to strings (almost Psycho-like) as Buffy drops into hell. The brass and percussion builds to epic proportions as Buffy gets a full view of Ken's dimension, a scene enlarged by the scope of Chris' score.


We move back to the gang in the park (pizzicato), with action strings as they attempt a staking. There is a brief interlude of Xander and Cordy's Love Theme as they kiss, which is overly dramatic, immediately switching to low brass and percussion in Ken's world. A piano comes in, accompanied by strings, as we build towards the big action scene, which is a hybrid of the "Deliverance" cue. This is big in a way that only Chris can do for Buffy, and the scene moves rapidly and full of intensity as we witness the full palette of Chris' arsenal. The cue goes back and forth as a siren drones in the background. Notable here is the climax of the cue when Buffy poses on a pedestal with a battle axe, and we realize she is indeed back. The cue continues (40:25-41'31) through Ken's death by bludgeoning.


Short brassy cue as they return to L.A. and move into the scene with Buffy and Lily in her apartment.


We are treated to Anne's Theme [Ex.1] one last time on piano, and then with strings and a harp (?) filling it out as Buffy comes home to Joyce, and we fade out on their embrace.


Nerf Herder outro]

Musical examples

Ex.1 [midi] "Anne Theme" ca.42'45"

Ex.1 (notated musical example of the 'Anne theme')