|Buffy the Vampire Slayer|
|Season 3, Episode 13|
|Air date||January 26, 1999|
|Written by||Dan Vebber|
|Directed by||James Whitmore Jr.|
"The Zeppo" is episode 13 of season 3 on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Feeling left out by the gang, Xander befriends a psychotic student named Jack O'Toole. Meanwhile, the rest of the gang are trying to stop the apocalypse.
While the Scooby gang slaughters demons in an underground nest, Xander manages to get himself hurt. Buffy suggests he stay out of the fighting. Xander is desperate to find his place after his breakup with Cordelia 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 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. A group is planning to reopen the Hellmouth and bring forth the demons it contains.
After a discussion with Oz about what makes someone cool, Xander gets himself a car that he believes will give him something unique. While getting donuts for the rest of the researching gang, 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 Bronze that night, Xander rear-ends Jack sitting in a parked car. A cop shows up, Xander covers for Jack and the two and Car Girl leave to go get the rest of Jack's friends - who, being dead, need to be raised from their graves.
At the library, Buffy, Willow and Giles are researching, while Oz - in werewolf mode - is freaking out in his cage. Willow thinks it's because he can sense trouble. Giles leaves to try and contact some spirits and hopefully get their help with stopping the Sisterhood of Jhe, a group of fierce demons (of the same sort as the ones that the gang killed in the cave a few days before) that plans to end the world.
Xander, now "Car Guy" 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 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 the demons and then takes her to her apartment and 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 dying, Xander merely remarks, "I like the quiet" and stares at him calmly. Jack defuses the bomb with seconds to spare. Xander leaves Jack there, who, upon opening a side door is mauled by Oz in his werewolf form. Meanwhile, Buffy, Angel, Faith, Giles and Willow are at the library fend off the giant multi-headed monster and members of the group of female demons and successfully close the Hellmouth.
The next day, Xander decides to keep his harrowing night to himself. Cordelia once again taunts Xander about him 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 confident person.
- Sarah Michelle Gellar as Buffy Summers
- Nicholas Brendon as Xander Harris
- Alyson Hannigan as Willow Rosenberg
- Charisma Carpenter as Cordelia Chase
- David Boreanaz as Angel
- Seth Green as Oz
- Anthony Stewart Head as Rupert Giles
- Saverio Guerra as Willy the Snitch
- Channon Roe as Jack O' Toole
- Michael Cudlitz as Bob
- Eliza Dushku as Faith Lehane
- Nicholas Brendon cried when he read the script for this episode because he was "so delighted with it, and its meaning for his character."
- Zeppo Marx is 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.
- 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
- This episode is similar to Martin Scorcese's 1985 Film After Hours
- 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".
- 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.
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?"
- This episode is one of the six apocalypses the gang faced, it's also the second and final time the hell mouth monster appears.
- The multi-headed monster is the same monster 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 monster to retreat back into the Hellmouth.
- Oz is placed in a basement storeroom while a werewolf, this is the first time since his problem was revealed that he is not in the book cage.
- Giles is still reluctant to involve Willow in magic demanding she stay back while he casts the binding spell on the hell mouth.
- 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 "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", Xander has an Acoustic Guitar in His Room.
- Xander loses his virginity to Faith in this episode.
- 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.
- Beastie Boys - "Putting Shame In Your Game"
- Christophe Beck - "Dead Guys With Bombs" played during the scenes in the highschool with the zombies chasing Xander
- Extreme Music Library - "For the glory" played in the last scene, with a smiling Xander walking away from Cordelia
- Sound Stage Music Library - Dodgems"
- Supergrass - "G-song"
- Tricky Woo - "Easy 09"