BtvS 3.04

Beauty and the beasts
© Text and musical examples: Rob Gokee

Promotional CD tracks

Once again, there are none for this episode, although a variation on “Close Your Eyes” appears, which is discussed in more detail below. Many of the cues from "B&tB" stand alone as beautiful pieces of music, and one can only assume that with a limited amount of space on the promotional discs, some cues had to be sacrificed.

The episode

Buffy, still trying to fit back into normal senior life at Sunnydale, is dating Scott Hope. But a rash of murders in town puts the newly returned Angel, who is more animal than man and Oz on the suspect list. Buffy (literally) runs into Angel, and attempts to humanize him. As Oz and Angel are cleared, another suspect comes into play, Pete, an abusive boyfriend who pulls a Jekyll and Hyde before claiming his victim. After Pete kills his girlfriend and advances on Buffy, Angel shows up saving her and regaining his humanity, so to speak.

Fun quotation:
Oz to Willow: “OK, you know that thing where you bail in the middle of an upsetting conversation? I have to do that. It’s kinda’ dramatic, I know, but sometimes it’s a necessary guy thing.”

The music

This episode not only pulls the themes from the previous three together, but begins to weave and transform into themes from future episodes, most notable “Magic Snow Music” from “Amends.” After a few episodes that were pop-heavy, we are back to lots of Beck scoring, 23 plus minutes in B&tB. Strings and piano seem most predominate.

Cue notes

All timings are approximate.


Soft piano plays under Buffy/Willow as we hear a reading from “Call of the Wild” (Jack London). The simple melody stops abruptly when Oz slams his wolf-like body into the cage door.


Stattaco strings and percussion are used as Willow puts Xander in charge of Oz, and Xander proceeds to take a nap. This interlude also helps to move us into the next scene with Buffy and Faith.


From Faith's speech on men being ‘beasts,” we move into an action cue, complete with winds, strings and percussion. It’s very short, much like the life of the man being chased in the scene by an unseen attacker.


A Herd of Nerfs tramples through…]


Flute and strings lead us from Oz the murder suspect to Buffy’s counseling encounter. This is a very exciting theme because it sets up “Magic Snow Music” from "Amends" (episode 3.10) later in the season. It begins as a simple melody, comprised of four, four note bars, rising and falling at different intervals [ex1]. This progression is evident in previous episodes from this season, in particular the “Anne Theme,” [3.01 ex.1] which uses similar intervals and can be seen as a precursor to this theme.

As we will see in later episodes, this theme begins to transform into the beginning of the promotional cue for the episode 'Amends," entitled "Magic Snow Music." This is a wonderful example of Chris pulling us along with a theme that transmogrifies from one thing to another while still retaining the basic melody and progression. This theme shows up in other areas of the episode, in slightly different forms, and mainly when the "beast" forms of Angel and Oz are shown onscreen.


Flute and strings play the new theme, which I will refer to as the “S3 Love Theme” [ex.2] for lack of a better name. It shows up as Buffy and the guidance counselor talk about Angel “changing” after sex, tying the theme into the story about the correlation between men and beasts. The theme takes us back to the library and a despondent gang of scoobies.


The “S3 Love Theme” rears it head again, this time for Oz as he locks himself in the cage for his transformation. It takes on an epic style as Oz distances himself from Willow and his humanity. We move into Buffy in the woods, and change to woodwinds, big brass and strings as she chases another beast through the woods, only to realize at the end of the act that it is Angel.


The action cue continues as Buffy and Angel fight in a clearing. Chris uses percussion to punctuate the punches and kicks, ending with high strings as Angel is knocked unconscious. The scene moves to the morgue, with suspenseful strings following the camera behind Willow as we assume someone is sneaking up on her, only to realize it’s Cordy and Xander behind her.


Brass and percussion jump out at us from a quick segue from the morgue as Buffy chains Angel up in the mansion, quickly turning to the “S3 Love Theme,” a version this time that includes strings and is tailored for the big screen. The theme works well with the look of realization on Buffy’s face that this is indeed Angel in chains in front of her.


Random punk song playing in Faith’s headphones while she watches Oz.


“S3 Love Theme” returns as Buffy looks up information on Angel’s return in the card catalog of the library, moving us to morning as Giles comes in and wakes the sleeping Buffy.


It returns once again with woodwinds as Giles gives a speech about the slim chance of Angel returning, and only then as a wild beast. Chris ties the theme of the episode together nicely with the recurrence.


“S3 Love Theme” with strings this time as the gang discuss Oz and the possibility of murder.


Woodwinds play the “Anne Theme,” trying the episodes together quite nicely, and moving straight into a faster version of the “S3 Love Theme,” which sounds very much like the beginnings of “Magic Snow Music” This cue, [ex.3] is a perfect example of how Chris ties all three themes together. If you play this back to back with the opening of Magic Snow Music, you can hear the progression.


Percussion and strings as we see Debbie and Pete in the closet, building to her impending death later in the episode at his hands, but we are given a reprieve as the scene suddenly changes.


The “S3 Love Theme” comes back softly as Buffy confesses to Platt, only to find him dead on his chair and the end of the act.


We come back to Pete and Debbie fighting in the closet, low brass rising and falling, with no theme evident here although Pete changes into a beast of sorts. Tremolo strings and percussion (good use of a gong), followed by cascading strings as Pete changes back and we are treated to a faint return of the “S3 Love Theme,” which may indicate that the real beast in the scene is “normal” Pete.


Still another alternate version of the theme with strings as Oz talks to Debbie, watched closely by Pete. The strings rise and fall as we change scenes.


Giles’ “Oh Dear” moment, Brass and a gong move us into a scene with Buffy, Willow and Debbie in the bathroom, and change to strings. The cue is slightly similar to the “S3 Love Theme,” albeit a simplified version. We morph into percussion and brass as Angel escapes the mansion and then switch back to the bathroom as Debbie “breaks.” We then move quickly to Pete and Oz with atmospheric sound effects and the end of act 3.


The Big Action Cue of the episode, as we move into staccato strings while Buffy and Willow leave Debbie alone in the bathroom. We switch back to Pete and Oz fighting, and brass (and choirish effects) comes in as Oz “fairs things up” by turning hairy and toothy. Lots of cymbal crashes combine with brass and strings as Buffy chases Pete around the school. As Pete and Debbie begin their last confrontation in the closet we hear bells in the background, which become strings and brass as Buffy finds the lifeless body of Debbie. We immediately switch back to Faith and wolf Oz, and then back to Buffy and Pete as Angel shows up and kills Pete in a feral attempt to save Buffy from him. We move to the “S3 Love Theme” one last time as Angel slowly recognizes Buffy, and we are treated to a reprise of “Close Your Eyes” [Blunt's 'Buffy&Angel Love Theme': [2.13 ex.4]] as Angel embraces Buffy and we show her teary face.


Nerf Herder takes us home]

Musical examples

Ex.1 [midi]
Ex.1. Alto flute; 4 note

Ex.2 [midi] "Season 3 (S3) Love Theme"
Ex.2 S£ Love Theme. Piano

Ex.3 [mp3] "Beauty and the Beasts Theme" which showcases the "S3 Love Theme" from Ex.2 (1'03") [1.45Mb at 192kbps]

Promo CD track 10. "Magic snow music" (3'29) 64kbps / 192kbps [Associated with episode 3.10 "Amends"]