->'''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."''


[[quoteright:284:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/btvs_s3_ep13_thezeppo.png]]
[[caption-width-right:284:"Did I mention I'm having a strange night?"]]

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" and looks forward to his new role within the group... Only to find that he's tasked with nothing more than getting donuts for the rest of the Scooby gang, who are doing research at the library. While at the donut shop, Xander encounters Cordelia who delightfully rubs his nose in the fact that all he does now is simple errands. Just then a girl who likes his car starts to flirt with Xander and wants to go for a ride. Xander, eager to try and get one-up on Cordelia, agrees once he's dropped the donuts off.

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. With the Watchers Council refusing to speak with him, 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, however it's clear that she's far more interested in the car than she is in him. Xander meets Angel, who is looking for Buffy because he is concerned about the Sisterhood of Jhe, but refuses Xander's offer of help. telling him it would be safer if he keeps out of the way. 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. Surprised but grateful, Jack offers to let Xander be their 'wheel-man' due to his having a car, and tells them they need to go and pick up his friends (as the car that Xander rear-ended isn't actually his). Much to Xander's surprise, it turns out that Jack's friends are all dead and they go to the graveyard where Jack raises them. Xander meets Giles, just as the latter is leaving, having failed to secure the help of the Spirit Guides and asks if he needs any help (desperate to extricate himself from the escalting trouble he's found himself in) but Giles repeats the earlier comments that Xander is best out of the way. Jack finishes raising his three friends and they leave with Xander driving.

Buffy visits Willy the Snitch and and finds that the Sisterhood of Jhe have been there already, and thoroughly wrecked it. Willy, who's been beaten up, reveals that the Sisterhood are planning to open the hellmouth that very night and advises Buffy that she should find Angel and consider how to spend her last night on earth. In the library, werewolf Oz is going crazy and the gang are forced to tranquilize and move him.

Jack and his zombie friends drive around town with Xander, who is getting more and more worried as they discuss their deadly activities and plans. Eventually they decide to 'bake a cake' and start gathering supplies by robbing a hardware store. While the boys are getting the supplies from a hardware store, Xander spots Willow leaving the magic shop however she quickly runs off after she, thinking the world may end, tells him she loves him. Xander decides enough is enough and tries to run off, however Jack and the others aren't willing to let him do that. They decide that the best way to make him part of the group is to kill him and raise him, since he'll need to be dead to be 'initiated'. Xander points out that Jack isn't dead, only for Jack to lift his shirt to reveal several bullet holes (having been raised within minutes of being killed in a drive-by shooting). Xander then makes a run for it, and encounters Faith, who is fighting off one of the Sisterhood. After rescuing her, the two head to her motel room. When there, the rush of the battle makes her feel horny, and she and Xander end up having sex. She kicks him out, clothes in hand, quickly after. Attempting to process everything that has happened on this very eventful night for him, Xander gets into the car and sees the supplies that Jack and the gang were collecting and realizes that they're building a bomb.

Xander drives back to the hardware store to find Jack and his gang long gone, laden with more than enough supplies. He heads to Angel's mansion to find Buffy, and finds the two having yet another argument about their feelings. Realizing it's a bad moment, he leaves. Xander then heads to the library to find Giles only to run into the zombies again. They give chase to the car, with one of them holding on to the side. Xander demands to know where the bomb is, and the zombie reveals its in Sunnydale High's boiler room. Before he reveals how to disarm it, a mailbox takes his head off. Xander then heads for the school, with Jack and his gang in hot pursuit.

In the library, the Hellmouth has been opened and a giant, multi-tentacled monster has emerged. Buffy, Faith, Willow, Giles and Angel prepare to fight it, as Xander and the zombies run past (with only one of them noticing, and exclaiming "Wow"). During the chase, one of the zombies is crushed by a soda machine while the last of Jack's friends is ripped apart by members of the Sisterhood who arrive to attack.

Meanwhile, Buffy and the others fight with all their strength in the library to try and close the Hellmouth and save the world.

Xander heads down to the boiler room where the bomb is, and finds Jack. 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 promises revenge against Xander the instant his back is turn, as he moves to leave by another door... only for Werewolf Oz to jump out and tear him to pieces.

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.

----
!Tropes:
* AllUpToYou: Xander is the only one available to save the school.
* AnAxeToGrind
-->'''Zombie!Bob:''' Good for chopping.
* AttackAttackRetreatRetreat: An axe-wielding Xander chases Zombie!Dickie down a corridor, only for them both to come tearing out again [[AlwaysABiggerFish pursued by the Sisterhood of Jhe]].
* 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 ComicBook/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.
* EstablishingCharacterMoment: From the second Jack opens his mouth you want him dead. [[ImAHumanitarian Thank you Oz.]]
-->I'm feeling strangely full today.
* EvilSmellsBad: Giles is seeking supernatural aid in a graveyard; Xander spots him and tries to join in the apocalypse-fighting to get away from new 'friend' Jack and his dead pal Bob.
-->'''Giles:''' There's something different about this menace. In the air, I can feel it. The stench of death.
-->'''Xander:''' Yeah, I think that's Bob.
* 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'...[[ThatCameOutWrong 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 -- [[OOCIsSeriousBusiness he's even happy to see Angel]] in the hope that Angel will call him away on some important Scooby business.
* GladToBeAliveSex: Xander rescues Faith from an apocalypse demon and she rescues him from any more praying mantis teachers by taking his virginity once they get back to her motel room.
* 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 soda machine on you, what do you do? You just stare at it until it crushes your head of course.
* ImprovisedWeapon: Xander topples a soda machine on Zombie!Bob, though why he didn't just use the axe in his hand...
* 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 [[PreClimaxClimax Buffy and Angel get together]] as the world's going to end anyway, so what have they got to lose?
* LastSecondWordSwap: Xander comes across Giles (making an unsuccessful attempt to commune with the spirits) in the graveyard. "We were just raising some err...some heck!"
* 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.
* 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.
* 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.
* {{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 and "Close Your Eyes" playing, is [[{{Ahem}} 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.
* 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]].
* 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.
* OurZombiesAreDifferent: They're conscious after dying, for one thing. [[{{Pun}} They still need some brains however...]]
* PreClimaxClimax: Willy points out that as the world is going to end, Buffy and Angel have nothing to lose by having sex. They're not amused by the suggestion.
** Xander and Faith.
* PreviouslyOn: The shortest one ever in the series, consisting only of Giles being told he's fired.
* RagingStiffie
-->'''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.
* RiseFromYourGrave
-->"The blood of the earth shall restore him, and he shall rise!"
-->''(zombie sticks his head out of the earth)'' "Dude!"
* 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.
* ShapedLikeItself
-->'''Giles:''' Buffy, this is no laughing matter.
-->'''Buffy:''' Hence my no laughing.
* StakingTheLovedOne: Willow has to shoot Werewolf!Oz twice with {{Tranquilizer Dart}}s because he's become uncontrollable due to the Hellmouth activity.
* StrangeMindsThinkAlike: Xander makes a sarcastic remark about feeling like ComicBook/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.
** Giles is preparing magic defenses against the expected EldritchAbomination. "Who knows what's going to come up from beneath us." Cut to the bomb being prepared in the floor underneath.
* 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]].
* ThereWasADoor: Lampshaded when Xander is stopped by a locked door, the kind that Buffy kicks open as a RunningGag. "Where's a Slayer when you need one?"
* 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.