|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 3, Episode 13|
|Air date||January 26, 1999|
|Written by||Dan Vebber|
|Directed by||James Whitmore Jr.|
|Sarah Michelle Gellar||Buffy|
|Anthony Stewart Head|| Giles |
|Eliza Dushku|| Faith |
While the Scooby Gang slaughters demons in an underground nest, Xander manages to get himself hurt. Buffy Summers suggests he stay out of the fighting. Xander is desperate to find his place after his breakup with Cordelia Chase and the alienation from his friends. When another student throws him a football, he misses and it hits Jack O'Toole's lunch, resulting in Jack calmly threatening to beat him up. Cordelia, having witnessed the entire event, tells Xander he is useless: "You're the Zeppo". Meanwhile, Giles informs Buffy that the end of the world is near. An order of demons called the Sisterhood of Jhe is planning to reopen the Hellmouth.
After a discussion with Oz about what makes someone cool, Xander shows up at school driving a 1957 Chevrolet Belair convertible, borrowed from his uncle Rory. Meeting Buffy and Willow Rosenberg, he says he is now "car guy." While getting donuts for the rest of the Scooby gang, who are doing research at the library, Xander meets a girl who likes his car and wants to go for a ride, but as it turns out, the car really is the only thing she's interested in.
At the library, Buffy, Willow and Giles are researching. Meanwhile, Oz is in werewolf mode and is freaking out in his cage. Willow thinks it's because he can sense trouble. Giles leaves to try to contact "the Spirit Guides who exist out of time," who he hopes will provide information on the Sisterhood of Jhe.
At the Bronze that night, Xander is still entertaining his new female acquaintance. Her conversation seems to be about cars and nothing else. Xander meets Angel, who is looking for Buffy because he is concerned about the Sisterhood of Jhe, but is not interested in Xander's offer of help. When leaving, he rear-ends a parked car. Jack O'Toole gets out of it and threatens Xander with a knife. A cop who knows Jack shows up, but Xander covers for Jack, much to Jack's surprise. Jack gets into Xander's car and the three of them leave to go get the rest of Jack's friends - who, being dead, need to be raised from their graves.
At the Restfield Cemetery, Xander meets Giles, just as the latter is leaving, having failed to secure the help of the Spirit Guides.
Buffy interrogates Willy the Snitch. She finds that the Sisterhood of Jhe has been to Willy's bar already, and thoroughly wrecked it. Willy, who's been beaten up, advises Buffy that she should find Angel and consider how to spend her last night on earth.
Xander, who is now the "wheel man" for Jack and his friends, takes them to get supplies to "bake a cake," or rather build a bomb. While the boys are getting the supplies from a hardware store, Xander spots Willow leaving the magic shop and she, thinking the world may end, tells him she loves him. After Jack and his friends decide to initiate Xander into the club by killing him and then raising him again, he runs and manages to escape in his car. He rescues Faith, who was fighting off one of the demons and then takes her to her apartment. When there, she persuades him to sleep with her. She kicks him out, clothes in hand, quickly after.
Xander, after realizing Jack built a bomb at Sunnydale High, heads towards the school to stop it. After disposing of Jack's friends, Xander heads down to the boiler room to defuse the bomb. Jack shows up, and after a fight between the two, Xander asks Jack who is more afraid of death. Jack points out that he's already dead, but Xander points out that "'walking around drinking beer with your buddies'-dead is a lot different from 'being blown up and swept up by a janitor'-dead." When Jack confronts Xander about him dying, Xander merely remarks, "I like the quiet" and stares at him calmly. Jack defuses the bomb with seconds to spare. Xander tells Jack he doesn't want to see Jack around school anymore, then leaves by a side door. Jack leaves by another door a few seconds later, speaking threats against Xander. As soon as the door is open, Oz, in his werewolf form, attacks him.
Meanwhile, Buffy, Angel, Faith, Giles and Willow are at the library to fend off the giant multi-headed monster and successfully close the Hellmouth.
The next day, the Scoobies are sitting at a bench reminiscing about the previous night's battle in hushed tones. Buffy is wearing a sling. We learn that Angel was knocked out during the fight, and Buffy feared he was dead. Oz isn't eating anything as he feels strangely full for some reason. Xander happens by, but says nothing about his own adventure. Leaving the Scoobies, he meets Cordelia who once again taunts him about being left out of his circle of friends. But instead of lashing back at her, Xander just smiles and quietly walks by the bewildered Cordelia, now a better and more confident person.
- This episode is one of the thirteen apocalypses the gang faced. It is also the second and final time the Hellmouth monster appears.
- The multi-headed demon is the same one that attacked Giles, Willow, Cordelia and Jenny in the library when the Master's ascension opened the Hellmouth in "Prophecy Girl." The Master's death caused the demon to retreat back into the Hellmouth as the portal closed.
- Oz is placed in a basement storeroom while a werewolf, this is the first time since his condition was revealed that he is not in the book cage.
- Giles is still reluctant to involve Willow in dangerous magic, demanding she stay back while he casts the binding spell on the Hellmouth, telling her he wants her to be safe.
- Xander runs into Willow as she leaves Uncle Bob's Magic Cabinet.
- Xander's car seems to stay in perfect condition throughout the episode, despite his hitting at least one demon with it.
- Xander asks Oz if it is hard to play guitar. However, in the episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", Xander has an acoustic guitar in his room.
- Xander loses his virginity to Faith in this episode.
- Two unidentified Jhe sisters killed momentarily before Willow's clouding spell
- Unidentified Jhe sister, impaled by Faith
- Parker, beheaded by Xander's driving
- Dickie, killed by the Sisterhood of Jhe
- Big Bob, crushed by a vending machine pushed by Xander
- Jack O'Toole, devoured by Oz in werewolf form
Behind the Scenes
- This episode is a change to the usual story structure in that the character development story is the A story and the apocalypse storyline is the B story. Although given very little on-screen coverage, the B story is explicitly epic (a quintessential melodrama scene between Buffy and Angel, the barely-shown battle and subsequent injuries, etc.) making its lack of focus - and Xander's unsung heroism - all the more ironic.
- This comment was cut for length:
- Jack: "That's it. No way am I bringing him back after I kill him."
Pop Culture References
- Zeppo Marx was the straight man among the Marx Brothers and long considered to be the most unexceptional member of the act. Xander is treated in the same way in this episode.
- When Buffy is reading about the Sisterhood of Jhe and how they celebrate victory in battle by eating their foes, she comments in disgust, "They couldn't just pour Gatorade on each other?" referencing the tradition in athletic competitions to celebrate a victory by pouring buckets of the sports drink over the coach.
- Both Xander and Cordelia compare Xander to Jimmy Olsen, the photographer for the Daily Planet who often tags along with Lois Lane and Clark Kent in the Superman Universe. Like Jimmy Olsen, Xander relates to being an unappreciated sidekick without any special powers.
- Jack's friend Bob is a fan of Walker, Texas Ranger. Jack assures Bob that he taped every episode during the eight months Bob was dead.
- Xander mentioned Michael Jackson's song "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'" when Jack coincidentally said the title.
Goofs, Bloopers & Continuity Errors
- In the showdown scene with Xander and Jack O'Toole when the bomb is ticking down, the timer is off. In the close up scene where the camera pans down from Jack's face to the timer, it counts down to 10 seconds. In the very next cut, the timer then reads 13 seconds. In the next cut, the timer is counting down normally, now at 7 seconds.
- Sound Stage Music Library - "Dodgems" (Plays as Xander throws the football.)
- Supergrass - "G Song" (Plays when Xander talks to Lysette.)
- Tricky Woo - "Easy" (Plays while Xander drives around Sunnydale.)
- Extreme Music Library - "For the Glory" (Plays at the end of the episode, when Xander walks away from Cordelia, smiling.)
- Christophe Beck - "Dead Guys with Bombs" (Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Radio Sunnydale)
- Nicholas Brendon cried when he read the script for this episode because he was "so delighted with it, and its meaning for his character."
- The Executive Producer of Doctor Who; Russell T Davies, mentions the Buffy episode "The Zeppo" as a possible influence on the Doctor Who episode "Love and Monsters".
- This episode is Xander-centric.
|Buffy - "What should we do with the trio here? Should we burn them?"|
|Willow - "I brought marshmallows! Occasionally I am callous and strange."|
|Faith - "She got me really wound up. A fight like that and, no kill. I'm about ready to pop!"|
|Xander - "Really? Pop?!"|
|Faith - "You up for it?"|
|Xander - "Oh, I'm up. I'm suddenly very up. It's just, um, I've never been up with people before."|
|Faith - "Just relax. And take your pants off."|
|Xander - "Those two ... concepts are... antithetical."|
|Faith - "Don't worry. I'll steer you around the curves."|
|Xander - "Did I mention that I'm having a very strange night?"|
|Giles - "There's something ... different about this ... menace, something in the air ... The stench of death."|
|Xander - "Yeah, I think it's Bob."|
|Xander - "But... It's just that it's buggin' me, this 'cool' thing. I mean, what is it? How do you get it? Who doesn't have it? And who decides who doesn't have it? What is the essence of cool?"|
|Oz - "Not sure."|
|Xander - "I mean, you yourself, Oz, are considered more or less cool. Why is that?"|
|Oz - "Am I?"|
|Xander - "Is it about the talking? You know, the way you tend to express yourself in short, noncommittal phrases?"|
|Oz - "Could be."|
|Xander - "I know! You're in a band! That's like a business-class ticket to cool with complementary mojo after takeoff! I gotta learn an instrument. Is it hard to play guitar?"|
|Oz - "Not the way I play it."|
|Xander - "Okay, but on the other hand: eighth grade. I'm taking the flügelhorn and gettin' zero trim. So the whole instrument thing could be a mislead. But you need a thing, one thing nobody else has. What do I have?"|
|Oz - "An exciting new obsession. Which I feel makes you very special."|