Set into despair by Cordelia's insults, Xander tries desperately to appear "cool." For this purpose, he borrows his uncle's [[CoolCar Bel-Air.]] This triggers an odd series of events in which he ends up killing several zombies, stopping a bomb, and sleeping with Faith. At the end of the episode, he's gained a lot of self-confidence after staring down a psychopathic zombie.

In other news, yet another demon cult tries to open the Hellmouth, and the rest of the Scoobies narrowly prevent the apocalypse.

----
!! This episode contains examples of:
* AllUpToYou: Xander is the only one available to save the school.
* AlwaysABiggerFish: An axe-wielding Xander chases Zombie!Dickie down a corridor, only for them both to come tearing out again pursued by the Sisterhood of Jhe.
* AnAxeToGrind
-->'''Bob:''' Good for chopping.
* AnxietyDreams
-->'''Buffy:''' Do you remember [[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS1E12ProphecyGirl the demon that almost got out the night I died]]?\\
'''Willow:''' Every nightmare I have that doesn't revolve around academic failure or [[NotWearingPantsDream public nudity]] is about that thing. In fact, once I dreamt that it [[BreadEggsBreadedEggs attacked me while I was late for a test and naked]].
* BarrierBustingBlow: Xander relaxes after escaping a zombie, only for the head ([[MultipleHeadCase one of them at least]]) of the Hellmouth demon to burst through the wall next to him.
* BloodMagic: Jack cuts his palm to raise his zombie friends.
* BreakingSpeech: Cordelia does this to Xander [[WomanScorned and loves it]]. At the end of the episode Xander just smiles and walks off, having gained the required coolness to ignore her.
* BuffySpeak: Buffy suggests Xander be "[[NonActionGuy fray-adjacent]]."
* ConflictBall: Despite having risked his life to fight demons for over two years, Xander is arbitrarily kept out of events by Buffy who's worried he'll get hurt.
* CoolCar: Xander tries to make himself cool by borrowing his uncle's light blue 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air convertible.
* CounterpartComparison: [[{{In-universe}} Xander]] is compared to JimmyOlsen and [[TheMarxBrothers Zeppo Marx.]]
* ADayInTheLimelight: Xander
* DeliciousDistraction: In the middle of preparing for the apocalypse, Giles gets miffed when Buffy eats all the jelly donuts.
* DescriptionCut: Loads of them.
* DialogueReversal: Xander's gambit at the end mirrors the "Who has less fear?" dialogue from his earlier confrontation with [[ICallItVera "Katie"]].
* DudeWheresMyReward: Averted because Xander, having proved something to himself, doesn't feel the need to tell the other Scoobies about his adventures.
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: The Sisterhood of Jhe wants to open the Hellmouth.
* ExpositoryHairstyleChange: The world as we know it is different when Buffy's hair is different. In this case, it means that she's not the protagonist of this story.
* FailedAttemptAtDrama: "He should have known that if you're gonna play with fire... (zombie runs away) I wasn't finished!"
** Also Jack threatening vengeance on Xander, only to open a door and be [[ExitPursuedByABear killed by werewolf Oz]].
* {{Foreshadowing}}: A minor one: After Xander leaves the library pondering ''what'' Jack and pals are going to bomb, [[AnswerCut the very next shot]] is an exterior view of Sunnydale High.
* FreudWasRight (InUniverse): Xander pulls up in his CoolCar.
-->'''Buffy:''' Is this a [[CompensatingForSomething penis metaphor]]?
* GayMoment: Xander is in a struggle with knife-wielding class psycho Jack -- a policeman shows up and asks what's going on; Xander tells him "Nothing! Just blowing off steam. Two guys rasslin'...but not in a gay way!"
* GeekyTurnOn: Cordelia is smirking over Xander's belief that his CoolCar will somehow make him cool when a hot blonde suddenly expresses an interest. Triumphant!Xander takes her for a ride, only to end up at the Bronze bored out of his skull listening to her rave on about engines -- he's even happy to see Angel in the hope that Angel will call him away on some important Scooby business.
* GoryDiscretionShot / SoundOnlyDeath: Dickie is killed by the Sisterhood behind venetian blinds.
* TheGreatestStoryNeverTold: How Xander stopped a zombie gang from blowing up the school.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: What the rest of the Scooby Gang becomes. By seeing events from Xander's point-of-view, all the snippets of Buffy cliches and tropes that any Buffy fan could tell would make sense in context if the full story was ever told come across as hilariously random, nonsensical, and melodramatic.
* IdiotBall / LoweredMonsterDifficulty: You’re on the ground and someone tries to drop a heavy large cabinet on you, what do you do? You just stare at it until it crushes your head of course.
* IncrediblyObviousBomb / MagicCountdown: If you count the audible ticks, the bomb is being disarmed at -3rd second.
* InitiationCeremony: You just have to die.
* IronicEchoCut
-->'''Xander''': Oh man, I'm out of my league. I gotta find Buffy. She'll know what to do.
-->'''Buffy''': (To Angel) I don't know what to do!
* JackBauerInterrogationTechnique: Xander grabs Zombie!Parker and drags him alongside his moving car until he reveals where the bomb is.
-->'''Parker:''' It's in the, it's in the boiler room!\\
'''Xander:''' Alright. Now I'm gonna ask you this once, and you better pray you get the answer right.\\
'''Parker:''' Okay, okay!\\
'''Xander:''' How do I defuse... ''(Xander drives too close to a mailbox which knocks Parker's head off)'' I probably should've left out that whole middle part.
* KnifeNut[=/=]ICallItVera: Jack has a very large Bowie knife he calls "Katie"
* TheLastDance: Willy suggests Buffy and Angel get together as the world's going to end anyway.
* LateToThePunchline: Xander finally gets round to looking at what the zombie gang looted from the hardware store -- finding kerosene, electric wire and dynamite.
-->'''Xander''': Hey! They're not baking any cakes!
* LetsSplitUpGang: Jack's gang in the school.
* TheLoad / WhatYouAreInTheDark: Xander feels like a fifth wheel, and the entire episode is about how he proves to himself -- not the Scooby Gang -- that he isn't.
* MeaningfulBackgroundEvent: The whole episode comes across as this, with the apocalypse and Hellmouth opening serving as one for Xander's story. Or rather, Xander's story ''is'' the background event, but it's the one we see.
* NightmareFetishist:
-->'''Buffy:''' What do we do with the trio (of dead demons) here? Should we burn them?
-->'''Willow:''' I brought marshmallows. (''off others' looks'') [[LampshadeHanging Occasionally, I'm callous and strange]].
%%* OurZombiesAreDifferent
* PreviouslyOn: The shortest one ever in the series, consisting only of Giles being told he's fired.
* AManIsNotAVirgin: Averted; Xander drops some big hints to Faith that he's never actually done it before. It doesn't stop her.
-->'''Faith:''' Don't worry. (pulls off her own shirt) I'll steer you around the curves.
* {{Melodrama}}: Spoofed when the usual romantic wangst of a distraught Buffy arguing with Angel who's determined to make a HeroicSacrifice, with mutual {{Love Confession}}s and ItsTheOnlyWay, is interrupted by Xander bursting in on them. After making a half-hearted attempt to bring up his own problems Xander leaves, and the [[MusicalisInterruptus romantic music commences again]] as Buffy and Angel [[LampshadeHanging start up exactly where they left off]].
* MoodWhiplash: Whenever the overly-dramatic events of TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt cut to Xander's antics with the zombie gang, culminating when a battle with a shrieking MultipleHeadCase {{Smash Cut}}s to Xander and Jack's quiet face-down over the TimeBomb.
* MyGirlIsASlut: Xander [[CarFu runs down a demon Faith is fighting]]. They flee to her motel room and, [[InterplayOfSexAndViolence frustrated over not being able to kill]], she has GladToBeAliveSex with Xander. Cue romantic music and snuggles under the bedsheets, then a MusicalisInterruptus SmashCut to Faith booting Xander out the door now that she's finished making use of him.
* NotAfraidToDie: [[spoiler: How Xander wins the TimeBomb face-off; as Jack doesn't have time to fight his way past Xander and escape, he's forced to defuse the bomb.]]
* NotBigEnoughForTheTwoOfUs: [[spoiler: After Xander has successfully faced down Jack into defusing the bomb.]]
-->'''Xander:''' I don't think I wanna be seeing you on campus anymore, Jack.
* NoodleIncident: Angel almost died, Giles did the bravest thing Buffy had ever seen ("Stupidest," he corrects), and Willow saw the Hellmouth beast's "real" face.
* ResetButton: No damages from the emerged hellmouth is shown in the next episodes.
* ScreamsLikeALittleGirl
-->'''Xander:''' Who, at a crucial moment, distracted the lead demon by allowing her to pummel him about the head?\\
'''Faith:''' Yeah. That was real manly how you shrieked and all.
* SecurityCling: Exploited when Xander helps Faith escape a demon -- she's a little banged up, says "Hold me" to him, and as he goes to comfort her she positions his hands so she can [[DramaticDislocation snap back her dislocated shoulder]].
* SelfDeprecation: Desperate for coolness, Xander asks Oz if it is hard to play the guitar.
-->'''Oz''': [[DreadfulMusician Not the way I play it]].
* SelfParody: Whedon is poking fun at his own work here.
* SexyDiscretionShot: Xander and Faith sex is shown reflected in her TV screen.
* SomethingElseAlsoRises
-->'''Faith:''' A fight like that and... no kill... I'm about ready to pop. (her hand reaches down for Xander's groin) You up for it?\\
'''Xander:''' Oh, I'm up. I'm suddenly ''very'' up. It's just, um... (grins sheepishly) I've never been up with people before.
* StrangeMindsThinkAlike: Xander makes a sarcastic remark about feeling like JimmyOlsen to Giles. Later, Cordelia mocks him by saying that, with everyone he knows having superpowers, he must feel like...Jimmy Olsen. Xander starts lampshading this, but then cuts himself off with "Mind your own business!"
* SuspiciouslySpecificDenial: Xander finds himself the wheelman outside the store the zombie gang are looting when Willow walks by.
-->'''Willow:''' Xander, what are you doing here?
-->'''Xander:''' Nothing! Certainly not crime.
* TalkingIsAFreeAction: The time bomb takes longer than it should to count down.
** Subverted in an earlier scene: Xander is grilling a zombie he's dragging along with his car for information concerning the bomb... only to drive past a mailbox and decapitate the guy before he learns how to disarm it.
--->'''Xander:''' I probably should've left out that whole middle part.
* TemptingFate: Xander is faced with a ticking TimeBomb
-->'''Xander:''' (breathing hard) Less than two minutes. Dumb guy. Little bomb. How hard can it be?\\
''(Jack jumps him from behind)''\\
'''Jack:''' And it just got harder.
* TheirFirstTime: As Xander puts it to Faith later on, "It was nice. It was great. [[SpeedSex It was kind of a blur]]."
* TerseTalker
-->'''Xander:''' 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-the way you tend to express yourself in short, non-committal phrases?\\
'''Oz:''' [[IResembleThatRemark Could be]].
* ToThePain
-->'''Jack:''' I'm gonna carve you up and serve you with gravy. You piss me off, boy. Now you pay the price. First the eyes, then the tongue. I'm gonna break every one of your fingers.\\
'''Xander:''' (indicating TimeBomb) [[ArmorPiercingQuestion You gonna do all that in forty-nine seconds?]]
* TwoLinesNoWaiting / TrappedByMountainLions: Inverted with the B Plot becoming the focus.
* TheWorldIsAlwaysDoomed: The Sisterhood of Jhe is just one more demon cult trying to open the Hellmouth.
* YouGetMeCoffee: The apocalypse is coming, so Xander asks how he can help. Buffy sends him to get donuts.