BtvS 3.10

© Text and musical examples: Rob Gokee

Promotional CD tracks

08. Dublin, 1938 (1'10) 64kbps / 192kbps
09. Dreaming of (1'45) 64kbps / 192kbps
10. Magic snow music (3'29) 64kbps / 192kbps

Like "The Wish," this episode also has three exciting promotional cues. Chris is in full stride by this part of the season, and "Amends" contains some of the best things he's ever written for television. "Dublin 1838" opens the episode, with beautiful violin playing by Evan Wilson. The piece sets the period well, and between Joss' cobblestone streets and Chris' instrumentation we are easily transformed to Europe at the height of Angelus' killing. The cue becomes manic and disjunct at the end as Angel awakens to find a rift between his dreams and reality.

The second cue is "Dreaming Of," an epilogue to the "Moment of Happiness" cue in "Innocence" as we once again see Buffy and Angel consummating their relationship the only way they can, nocturnally. The melody, played by Chris Bleth on woodwinds, weaves in and out of the arpeggiated notes in the background, floating above Buffy and Angel as they express their love. Like the last cue, only at the end are we jarred by brass and percussion as Angel tries to feed from Buffy, and they each wake up startled and sweaty.

Blunt's note:
Beck turns "Moment" steamy into "Dreaming" almost childlike, losing the heart-beat bass and adding celeste and piano (or so it sounds). The melody for "Dreaming" is on a day-to-day flute (perhaps doubled by something else, or maybe there's just a touch of reverberation there to add a little echo), but "Moment" was played by a wind instrument huskier and more exotic, possibly a duduk. Certainly wind player Chris Bleth's subsequent work in film shows him capable of playing a variety of 'exotic' instruments.

The final promo cue is "Magic Snow Music." As noted in previous reviews for the third season, this cue is a culmination of what began as the "Anne Theme," moved into the "Season Three Love Theme" and finally became this famous cue, used in not only a key scene for the episode but became a fan favorite for the series. The beauty in this cue lies partly in its simplicity. The melody begins softly on piano, with the "S3 Love theme" [Ex.1a; first heard as 3.04 Ex.3], but moves to a melody played on oboe by Chris Bleth [beginning Ex.1b], slowly adding layers each time it is played. By the final and climactic repeat strings, percussion and winds join together in a grand celebration of the miracle of snow in Sunnydale.

The episode

Angel's been dreaming, and its not dreams of sunflowers and bunnies (although they can be scary too). He's reliving past sins, and he goes to Giles to find out why he was brought back in the first place. Meanwhile, Willow and Oz have made up, but Willow feels a big gesture is needed to show Oz that she is loyal to him and him alone. While she prepares to seduce him, Buffy and Giles find out that Angel is being haunted by The First Evil, which predates… well, everything. Angel and Buffy begin to share dreams, first of his past kills, and then dreams of lovemaking that turn bad. The First pushes Angel to kill the slayer, but Angel decides instead to wait for the sunrise and kill himself. Oz and Willow decide to hold off on the sex, and Buffy tries to talk Angel off the hill. She fails, but instead of sunrise Sunnydale is blanketed in snow for the first time in history. The episode ends with Buffy and Angel walking hand in hand down Main Street, snow falling around them.

Fun quotation:
Buffy: "I don't want to bug Giles. He's still kind of twitchy when it comes to the subject of Angel."
Xander: "Oh, it must be that whole Angel-killed-my-girlfriend-and-tortured-him thing. Giles is pretty petty when it comes to stuff like that."

The music

Almost 33 minutes of score music, a new record! The music varies from period pieces, to action cues and finally to a grand finish with strings and woodwinds. Once again there is very little source music in the episode, aside from the occasional Xmas tune thrown in so we don't forget what time of year this episode aired.

Blunt's note: The First Theme
Despite its festive scenery and beautiful Edward Scissorhands ending, this is a very sombre and introspective episode, with the characters doing some real soul-searching. Angel takes centre stage in this, and the music of his antagonist, "The First", is one of the episode's features not represented on the promotional album. Gokee notes "The First Theme" in several places, but although it is typified by a descending semitone, or perhaps by a rising-falling arc, there are few places where a concrete theme can be discerned. This is perhaps because The First is such an illusive creature. The most effective cue is at 30'56 (Gokee's [Ex.4]) where the understated menace is pitched so low (trombone) that it feels like it is seeping out of the floor beneath your feet ('from beneath you it devours'?). Incidentally, a variant of this brass sound was re-used (perhaps coincidentally) by Robert Duncan in the finale to Season 7 where The First finally gets its comuppence.

[additional data, 2006.07.30] Ian Miller's note: S3 Love Theme vs. B&A Love theme (from season 2)
What has been dubbed the Season Three Love Theme by the commentary writers at this site seems to me to hint at the season two theme in the first interval. Most easily heard on solo piano in "Magic Snow Music" from "Amends" 3.10, the minor sixth and ascending third note is a tantalizing glimpse of the past, as Buffy and Angel look into the future, and see nothing. The specific intervals are:

"Close Your Eyes" A - C sharp - D [from [2.13 Ex.4]]

"Magic Snow Music" B flat - D - A [from [3.10 Ex.1a]]

[additional data, 2008.05] Justin Boggan found that Danny Scott Lux and Eric V Bikales contributed a cue titled 'Desk the halls'.

Cue notes

All timings are approximate.


We immediately jump into "Dublin 1838" as we watch Angelus prowl the streets in search of his next meal. The cue ends as Angel is jolted awake.


Swelling strings as Angel awakens and walks the streets, finally running into Buffy and seeing an apparition of his dreamt-about kill, which prompts…


…the return of "Dublin 1838" as we move out of the teaser.


Nerf Herder. All natural, no preservatives.]


Woodwinds play under Oz's speech about taking Willow back, a mesmerizing line [Ex.2] almost paraphrases the 'S3 love theme'. Piano comes in at their embrace and we jump to…


"Joy to the World" playing at the Xmas tree lot.]


Ominous synth and strings foreshadow the Bringers as Buffy comes across the dead trees. Choir and more synth effects as we close in on the Bringers, chanting away underground. This turns out to be part of Angel's dream, and the cue fades out as we move to Faith's apartment.


More synth as Giles lets Angel in his flat via crossbow and the cue takes a dark turn when Angel sees another apparition, Jenny Calendar, behind Giles. The choir-like voices return with percussion, then high strings and a brass finish as we immediately jump into another one of Angel's dreams.


Pachelbel's Canon (D major) plays during the dinner party in Angel's dream.]


Strings as Angelus strikes again, choir voices take us through the kill and percussion hits as he sees that Buffy is also in the dream, and they wake up simultaneously at the end of act one.


Sound effects and synth play what I have loosely dubbed "The First Theme." It slides in and out as the scene with Jenny/First and Angel moves to Buffy and Giles in the library.


After strings announce Xander's entrance and we move into research (apparently a new concept for the show, I expected tea and tiddlywinks), and "The First Theme" returns, this time with added piano [Ex.3]. The cue ends on talk of Oz.


"The First Theme" starts us again as Angel is tortured mentally by his victims. Percussion signals the change from victim to victim, with a quick dash (19'45-19'50) to drunken pub music as we see Liam at his worst, then the theme comes back and moves us to the library.


The cue begins more hopeful as we survey the scene at the library, finally stopping on a sleeping Buffy. The cue moves into "Dreaming Of," moving along airily until the Bringers show up at the end of the dream and Angel bites Buffy, a jarring end to act two.


Segue from the library to Willie's Place, short transitional cue.


Jazz music paying from the jukebox at Willie's as Xander tried his hand at being the muscle.]


Transitional cue from the alley to Willow's Love Shack…


"Can't Get Enough of Your Love" by Barry White]


Hark the Herald Angel's Sing" Xmas music]


Brief repeat of "Dreaming Of" as Joyce mentions an "Angel on top." As Faith shows up, the cue transforms into yet another version of "Close Your Eyes." I'm not sure why it is referenced here under talk of presents and Faith; perhaps it is a foreshadow of Angels' appearance in Buffy's bedroom a few moments later. Regardless, this is a nice rendition of the theme.


Brass as Angel attempts to bite Buffy, and percussion brings us "The First Theme," a good example of the main melody [Ex.4] as Angel fights the urge to attack his true love. Percussion jumps in as Buffy moves into action and we move to Giles' place, followed by a very brief repeat of "Close Your Eyes," this time on woodwinds and used to signify Giles asking Buffy if she can kill Angel again if needed. We move back to Angel and Jenny/First as the cue moves to synth and strings. Choir comes in as Angel heads off to his demise and the end of act three.


Piano and synth lead us into the library


Buffy's "Ah Ha" moment leads us back to the tree lot with brass, percussion and strings into the big action cue of the episode, although it is shorter than most. Militaristic tremolo strings and low synth become chanting as Buffy confronts the Bringers. Brass comes in as Buffy squares off against The First, quipping as usual. A brief pause, until The First finally shows a less appealing form, followed by choir and brass as Buffy searches for Angel and the cue fades out as she finds him.


Woodwinds appear under Angel's moving speech, followed by a brief return of the "Dreaming Of" melody. Violins come in as Angel asks "Am I a thing worth saving?" The cue then moves into the opening notes of the "S3 Love Theme" played on piano, then on woodwinds. There is a slight pause as we moves into the final cue, "Magic Snow Music," taking us to the end of the act and Angel's salvation.


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Musical examples

Ex.1a [midi] "Magic Snow Music": "S3 Love Theme"
Example 1a: Piano

Ex.1b [midi] "Magic Snow Music": Melody
Example 1b: Oboe

Ex.2 [midi] Oz and Willow make up"
Example 2: Clarinet and strings

Ex.3 [midi] Research mode
Example 3: Piano, violins

Ex.4 [midi] "The First theme"
Example 4: Trombone