BtvS 2.04

© Text: Rob Gokee

Promotional CD tracks

Although there are no promotional tracks officially, one track from this episode was (at one point) floating around the internet under the names “Goodbye” and “Angel Returns.” This track (at least the version I have) appears to be lifted directly from the episode, evident by the inclusion of the only word spoken in the scene, Buffy’s whispered “goodbye.” One reason this track may not have been included on the CD may be the fact that is very close to the original Buffy and Angel Theme, “Close Your Eyes.” The major difference is the end of the cue, which is comprised of brass and percussion signaling the return of Angel.

The episode

Buffy is finally let back into Sunnydale High by a reluctant Snyder, but Giles’ constant probing into Angel’s death leaves her feeling uneasy. She tries to resume normal activities, one of which is Scott Hope, a classmate interested in dating her. The gang runs into a girl slaying a vampire at the Bronze, who turns out to be Faith, Kendra’s successor. Unbeknownst to the gang, Faith’s watcher has been brutally murdered by a vampire named Kakistos, who has come to Sunnydale with Mr. Trick to finish off the slayer. Buffy and Faith take care of Kakistos (Mr. Trick scurries off to reoccur throughout the season) and, inspired by Faith’s strength, Buffy tells Giles and Willow that Angel was cured before she sent him to hell. She leaves her ring at the site of his demise in an effort to say goodbye and move on, but hours later Angel drops out of the air and back into Sunnydale.

Fun quotation:
Willow to Buffy : “…Do that thing with your mouth that boys like.”

The music

Following an unsettling trend for season three so far, this episode has even less music than the previous two, clocking in at 15 minutes. Even worse (especially to Beck fans) is the 9 minutes of pop music injected into the scenes. A lot of this is due to the large amount of scenes at the Bronze this episode, most of FH&T’s exposition is carried out there as opposed to the library. Also absent are any new themes, the only two we hear are the Buffy and Angel Theme and a reprise of the Anne Theme. I was hoping for something Faith-based, but nothing stood out during her presence onscreen. Perhaps as the season rolls on I will come across something of note specifically designed for her.

Cue notes

All timings are approximate.


The Brian Joneston Massacre “Going to Hell” plays under Willow’s speech about going off campus]


Ominous strings and percussion as Mr. Trick rolls into town. There is a brass and string combo “jolt” amid percussion as the fast food employee meets his demise. The progression over Mr. Trick’s speech works really well, strings rising and falling as he outlines his view of Sunnydale.


Nerf Herder large and in charge]


“The Background” by Third Eye Blind works well in the background as Buffy has a violent dream about Angel. Low strings come in coupled with sound effects and brass as we fade into them from the song. The brass signifies the quick flashback to “Becoming Part 2,” followed by a soft choir sample.


Using soft woodwinds, Chris brings back the Buffy and Angel Theme as we transition to Snyder’s office and reality, in a haunting reminder of what Buffy had to do to Angel to save the world, and the pain she is still carrying inside over it.


“Cure” by Darling Violetta is played at the Bronze (appearing in person for two songs) as the gang tries to set Buffy up with Scott Hope.]


Under “Cure,” we begin to hear string swells as the gang watches Faith dancing with an obvious vampire. The cue switches gears to signature Chris Beck percussion and brass as we watch Faith fight for the first time. At the staking, we are treated to a glockenspiel before the act ends.


Darling Violetta plays “Blue Sun” under the combination of exposition and Faith’s naked slaying stories.]


Low soft brass brings us into Trick and Kakistos in the garage, and we realize that Kakistos is there for Faith and not Buffy. The brass becomes frenzied and Psycho-like as the pizza deliveryman shows with lunch and becomes it.


The “Anne Theme” (3.01 Ex.1) makes an appearance on piano during Buffy and Joyce’s conversation about Buffy’s role as the slayer, and her death in “Prophecy Girl.” Perhaps this is used to signify the aloneness that Buffy feels as the Slayer and compare it to her loneliness as Anne, despite having her friends and family back in her life. It also works as a transition to the next scene.


Strings start this action cue with a sprinkle of percussion and a dash of brass as Buffy and Faith fight vamps together for the first time. As Faith goes overboard and pummels the vamp using a chunk of her pent up anger in the process, the strings rise and cut off at the end of the act.


We pick up where we left off, until the vamps are dusted and low brass comes in as Buffy lectures Faith on the notion of teamwork. The end of the cue is almost Batman-like in its quality, characterized by its rhythm and choice of key. The cue moves us into the next scene at school with Giles.


We begin with brass and percussion as Buffy is in Slayer mode, ready for battle, which is promptly cut off by the appearance of Scott Hope.


On the shot of the Claddagh ring, we hear a female voice and flute, with added strings, playing another variation of the Buffy Angel Theme, until we hit the word “dead” and end with a subtle but ominous chord.


Woodwinds moving to brass as we move from Faith and Buffy to Kakistos, ending the act.


The big action cue of the episode, beginning with dissonant strings, brass and percussion, switching quickly to quiet strings and percussion as Buffy and Faith catch their breath. On Kakistos entrance, we hear the glockenspiel and big brass. Cymbals are added on punches and falls. The cue ends with brass as Faith stakes Kakistos with a 2 X 4, and the scene moves back to the school.


Strings swelling and a flute playing the Buffy and Angel Theme as Buffy finally opens up about Angel’s death. The piano melds into the end of the scene (with wonderful string swells in between each line) as Giles reveals to Willow that he knew all along.


The unofficial cue “Goodbye (Angel Returns)” [Ex.1] takes us through Buffy’s emotional goodbye at the scene of Angel’s death. It is a variation of the Buffy and Angel Theme, very similar in style to the original, but as night falls the cue mutates (in a good way) into percussion, swelling brass and sound effects as Angel drops back into Sunnydale.


Nerf out]

Musical examples

Ex.1 [mp3] "Goodbye (Angel returns)" (2'02) [2.33Mb at 160kbps]

[Blunt's note: In the absence of a music example or theme to follow, it is worth hearing this clip from the end of the episode, which shows how the melodic and dissonant sides of the composer's scoring can be contrasted to create maximum effect.]