Season 3, Episode 13 - “The Zeppo”
Original airdate: January 26, 1999
Project 310 re-watch date: Feb. 6, 2009
You know how most standard dramas have an A-story (the main plot) and a B-story (the lame subplot that fills the time to make it a 45-minute episode)? Well, what if you showed the B-story most of the time, and barely focused on the A-story? And what if the A-story involved the apocalypse, and the B-story focused on Xander’s lameness?
Well, that’s pretty much what this episode is, and it’s awesome.
Random Student Alert! Jack, the school bully, shows up for the first time ever, we’re supposed to believe he’s been around for all of schooling, and it turns out that he’s undead. Shocking!
Random Actress Alert! (OK, that’s not a thing in Project 310, but I’m using it here). Whitney Dylan plays Lysette, a car obsessed hottie who falls for Xander (well, really, his car). She also appeared on episodes of “Angel” and “Charmed” (the Adam trifecta), but hasn’t done anything since a “Desperate Housewives” episode in 2006. She turns 40 later this year, and based on her IMDB headshot, she’s still a hottie.
The consequences of Xander’s night (zombie rising and a near-bombing of the school) are nothing compared to the apocalypse that Buffy, Giles, Angel and crew face, which is played for totally hilarity. In the hands of a lesser crew, an episode like this wouldn’t have worked at all. Dan Vebber was the writer on this one (he also wrote “Lovers Walk”) and did a great job. Comedy is his forte (he also wrote some episodes of “Futurama” and “American Dad”), which works on an episode like this.
Also Xander loses his in a completely surprising way. Faith is fighting one of the demons, and Xander’s driving by and helps her escape. Well, if you think back to “Faith, Hope and Trick”, she mentions that slaying makes her hungry and horny. Well, we see the horny part here, and Xander finally gets to sleep with a Slayer -- not the one he wanted, but still, good for him! (Oh, and if given a choice to sleep with Sarah Michelle Gellar or Eliza Dushku, I’d choose Eliza every day of the week. She’s WAY hotter).
My favorite part of the episode is how Xander keeps running into other Scoobies while he’s on his adventure but they won’t let him on on what’s happening. It keeps the B-story tied in to Xander’s A-story, without just jumping back-and-forth randomly.
One last note about this episode -- after it’s all said and done, there are twice as many scenes without Buffy than with her, and those non-Buffy scenes last considerably longer. I guess it makes up for the fact that in Season 7, there’s an entire episode without Xander.
Xander: 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.
(Oz is always funny... always)