Buffy dancing at The Bronze


Title: Buffy S3.E13 “The Zeppo” + S3.E14 “Bad Girls”
Released: 1999

Drinks Taken: 19
Vamps Dusted: eleventy


Follow the whole rewatch here!

Last week, the Sunnydale PTA went off the deep end, Buffy continued her tradition of really terrible birthdays, and Giles got fired. This week, we’re treated to one of my least favorite things: a Xander-centric episode, followed by the introduction of a new Watcher, and a whole new side of Faith.

Buffy eagerly watching a pitcher of beer being poured into her glass.

The Buffy Season Three Drinking Game Rules

Drink once every time:

A vamp is dusted
A scene takes place in a cemetery
Cordelia says something cutting but true
Principal Snyder hates on students
Oz is ridiculously low-key cool
Spike has mad swagger
Willow gets witchy
You roll your eyes at Faith
The Mayor is a germaphobe

Drink twice every time:

We see the entrance to Sunnydale High
Giles drinks tea
Jonathan appears in a scene
There’s an extremely outdated pop culture reference
A vampire is invited into a house
Someone wears leather pants

Time to fill up your glasses, because it’s leather pants from here on out.

Xander wearing sunglasses and driving a vintage convertible

3.13 “The Zeppo”

The Scoobies are in a cave to take out some “wicked rowdy” she-demons. Willow uses a clouding spell that helps Faith get the last one stabbed. Giles apologizes for taking the gang in without being better prepared, but his sources have dried up since the Watchers Council relieved him of his duties. Xander got buried under some debris during the fight and Buffy and Faith suggest that he should stay out of the action lest he be injured or killed and generally imply that he’s useless.

The next day at school, Xander insists a football player toss him the ball in the courtyard, and Xander misses (obviously) and stumbles into a scary guy named Jack O’Toole who way overreacts with the scary threats. Cordelia witnesses this latest humiliation and rubs it in that it must be hard to be so uncool and the only member of his group without any superpowers. When Xander tries to argue that he has plenty to offer, Cordelia informs him that he is the Zeppo.

At the lunch table with Oz, Xander ponders the essence of coolness and how one acquires it. He dismisses joining a band and thinks he just needs to find the “thing” that will make him cool.

screenshots of Xander and Oz discussing coolness in the cafeteria

Giles and Buffy library-convo about what he’s learned on the new demons in town. Apparently, they’re interested in opening the Hellmouth to bring about the end of the world. Mondays, am I right?

Buffy fills Willow in and they’re both pretty freaked about the possibility of the Hellmouth opening again, like the night that Buffy died in season one, but all I can concentrate on is Buffy’s really awful new hair. There are like baby bangs, and a crimped/fried thing happening. It’s a lot to take in. The girls are startled by a car horn as Xander pulls up in a boat of a classic American convertible. He’s decided having a car is going to be his new “thing” and has rented it from his DUI-bound Uncle Rory.

GIF via Marshmallow the Vampire Slayer

Buffy: “Is this a penis metaphor?”

But his new “thing” does come in handy, because when he offers to help take on the new evil, he’s sent on a donut run. Cordelia shows up in time to remind him that he’s expendable and that’s why he gets sent out on the donut runs. Hey! Let’s not discount the importance of donuts. She doesn’t think having a car is going to help make him someone new, but it does help him pick up a hot chick who turns out to be way too into cars.

Bored with his new date at the Bronze, when Xander sees Angel, he jumps at the opportunity to take him to see Buffy at the library so they can work on this newest apocalypse, but Angel suggests that Xander should stay out of harm’s way. Xander complains about feeling taking for granted as he and the girl are leaving the Bronze, and then he bumps the fender of a car belonging to no other than Jack O’Toole.

Buffy and Willow are in the library doing research, while Oz growls and paces in werewolf lockup for the night. Giles is angry the council won’t even take his calls and is off to get some spiritual consultation when he notices they’re all out of jelly donuts. He suggests having Xander get more, but Buffy wants him kept out of the way this time, since he almost got killed. Don’t all of these people almost get killed on a weekly basis?

Xander babbles some apologies and promises to pay for the damages when Jack pulls out a gigantic knife. About the time Jack has Xander pinned to a car, the police show up. Jack backs off and Xander doesn’t rat him out to police (who recognize Jack on sight) so Jack decides Xander is cool and they should hang out. When he suggests they take Xander’s car, he reveals the car the Xander hit wasn’t even Jack’s to begin with. He tells Xander (and his date, who is still inexplicably hanging around) that they’re going to “go get the boys” who turn out to currently be residents of the Sunnydale Cemetery, but Jack does a quick ritual to raise them. Just a little something he learned from his Grandpappy.

Also in the cemetery (although with the death rate, it definitely seems like Sunnydale should have more than one), Giles is doing a ritual to learn more about the coming apocalypse when Xander comes along, desperate to help and get away from his new zombie friends. But Giles says he should stay out of trouble.

Buffy goes to Willy’s to get some answers and finds the place trashed and Willy seriously beaten. Some demons had come in looking for Angel and Buffy, and talking about tonight is the night when all hell is breaking loose.

Meanwhile, Xander the wheel man has been accepted into the group of Jack and his three dead friends. They discuss their options for the night, including getting beer and kicking ass, but they settle on “baking a cake” and tell Xander to keep the motor running while they break into the hardware store. He spots Willow coming out of the magic shop, where she was buying supplies for a protection spell. She can’t stay to chat but tells Xander she loves him like they won’t survive the night, and dashes off. Xander decides that’s it, he needs to go help the gang, when Jack and the boys come back. They’re unwilling to let Xander leave and lose their wheel man, so Jack decides in order to make Xander feel like a full-fledged member of the group, he needs to be initiated – which involves dying. Xander points out that Jack isn’t dead, but Jack raises his shirt to show the bullet wounds from the drive-by that killed him three weeks earlier, before his Grandpappy raised him. Xander manages to get away from the guys, who are mad about losing their wheels and their cake ingredients, but Jack assures them that the night is still young, and they head back into the hardware store that apparently has no security system.

Xander drives off, telling himself that’s enough excitement for the night, when he finds Faith out fighting one of the she-demons. He hits the demon with his car and Faith gets in, and they speed off to her motel room. Once there, Faith has him help her with her dislocated shoulder, and due to her excess energy from a fight that results in no kill, Faith decides to blow off a little steam with Xander. When he’s enjoying the cuddling after, she promptly hands him clothes and sends him on his way.

In the library, werewolf Oz is all riled up from sensing the Hellmouth opening and for some reason. Giles lets him out of the cage. Willow has to shoot him twice with the tranq gun to knock him out.

Back in his car, Xander notices that the bags in his car do not actually include baking ingredients, but bomb supplies. He goes back to the hardware store, but of course the dead guys are long gone. He decides he is out of his league and Buffy will know what to do.

Buffy and Angel are his mansion having a histrionic argument about Angel sacrificing himself to stop this apocalypse and how Buffy can’t lose him again, and how they both love each other, when they’re interrupted by Xander. But he realizes it’s kind of a bad time and he’ll have to work this out on his own. He runs into the guys and grabs one of the guys and holds him out the car window while driving and demanding to know where the bomb is. Luckily, he gets the info that it’s in the school boiler room, before accidentally beheading the talking corpse.

Xander heads into the school, with the guys hot on his tail. He fights one of them off and knocks a soda machine over onto him and takes his ax, which is enough to scare off one of the guys, who Xander then chases. Xander alternates between fighting off and being chased by Jack and his boys, with some of the she-demons thrown in at some point. Xander’s antics are accompanied by a lighthearted, almost old-timey slapstick score, which is then juxtaposed with dramatic fight scenes from the library, where the rest of the group is battling a giant multi-headed demon that’s risen from the Hellmouth. Jack corners Xander in the boiler room with seconds to go until the bomb blows and Xander finds his inner fearlessness and Jack decides he’s the one who can’t handle being blown to bits that Grandpappy can’t raise. After Jack diffuses the bomb, Xander tells him he doesn’t want to be seeing him on campus anymore, which is not bad as far as exits go. As soon as he’s gone, Jack starts promising his revenge, but the door he opens to leave through happens to go to the closet where Willow stashed an unconscious werewolf who is now awake and hungry.

The next morning, Buffy has a cast on her arm, and Giles has bandaged hand and they’re all bruised up. Willow tells Oz how even after the Hellmouth was closed, they could still hear it screaming. Angel was unconscious for a few minutes but is going to be alright. Giles must have gotten in the killing blow, because Buffy says it was the bravest thing she’s ever seen. Willow marvels over how close the world nearly came to ending and how no one will ever know. When Xander joins them, she tells him he’s lucky he wasn’t at school the night before because it was crazy. He offers to get snacks, but Oz says he’s feeling oddly full today. He runs into Cordelia, who’s ready to cut him down to size again, but he just gives her an enigmatic smile and walks off.

How many times do I have to take a drink?


Vamps Dusted


Apocalypse of the Week

a greenish horned female demon

The Sisterhood of Jhe is an apocalypse cult whose sole existence is to bring about the end of the world. As far as cults go, it’s not very forward-thinking.

Buffy Hair Status Update

Buffy with clipped back crimped hair stands with Giles in the library

Like me, Giles remains concerned.

Scene Stealers of the Week

Buffy: “What should we do with the trio here? Should we burn them?”
Willow: “I brought marshmallows!”

Xander: “I gotta learn an instrument. Is it hard to play guitar?”
Oz: “Not the way I play it.”

Faith looks in through a window and draws a heart on the window

3.14 “Bad Girls”

We open on Buffy and Faith fighting off vampires in the cemetery with Faith demanding that Buffy repeatedly confirm that has never slept with Xander. Faith finds this hard to believe, with all the sweaty, side-by-side fighting they’ve done over the years. By this logic, shouldn’t these two have some unresolved sexual tension as well? They defeat the two vamps when Buffy notices some foot tracks that indicate a third has gotten away. They track him down and just barely take him out, with Buffy sniping at Faith over the near-miss and her attention span. They finally decide that maybe they should figure out who these uniformed vamps might be.

At city hall, the mayor is chortling over those wacky Family Circus hijinks. Mr. Trick claims to be more of a Marmaduke fan, while the Deputy Mayor confesses to liking Cathy. With that all cleared up, the mayor wants to get a handle on these new vamps with swords in town before it interferes with the Dedication, the only event preceding his Ascension. He’d like whatever information Mr. Trick uncovers to make its way to the slayers, and with any luck, his problems will just kill each other.

Willow is celebrating her early college admissions news, while Xander believes he’ll be rejected everywhere and will be looking into appliance repair or something called The Corndog Emporium, which honestly, sounds awesome. Buffy doesn’t think she’ll be headed anywhere after high school unless she passes chemistry, which Willow volunteers to help her study for.

Buffy heads to the library and finds Giles being lectured by the pompous new Watcher (who has faced two whole vampires himself, under controlled circumstances, of course). Buffy refuses to shake his hand before asking Giles if Wesley Wyndham-Pryce is evil because the last Watcher sent was evil. Wesley wants to know all about Buffy’s patrol the night before, and based on her description identifies the vampires with swords as El Eliminati, a fifteenth century duelist’s cult. California sure is lousy with cults. Faith arrives and upon getting a load of the new Watcher, peaces right out. Buffy follows in an attempt to bring her back, but Faith doesn’t see why they need to take orders from anyone when they’re the chosen ones. Why should anyone else get to have all the fun? Faith does get Buffy to almost admit that slaying can sometimes be fun.

That night, Buffy heads to a crypt on Wesley’s orders to track down a macguffin amulet. When she hears voices, she dives into one of the crypts to hide and the vamp cult takes the amulet. Faith comes along and thinks the two against six odds are good enough and isn’t interested in Buffy’s idea of coming up with a plan first, so they follow the vamps down a manhole.

Back at the library, Wesley is enjoying reading Giles’ first journal entries about the slayer being willful and insolent while Giles paces and frets that Buffy should have been back already.

The slayers are fighting for their lives in the sewer that somehow looks like a cave and both just barely manage to fend off the vamps and grab the amulet. The next morning, Buffy informs Wesley that his “nearly extinct” cult was out in full force the night before. Giles asks if she’s okay and Buffy tells Giles they need to talk. Giles informs Buffy that since he’s her new Watcher, she should only talk to him about slaying and to Giles about overdue book fees. Buffy and Giles confirm they’ll talk later.

In chemistry, Buffy is telling Willow and Xander all about the fight the night before but doesn’t think they really get it, because “it’s a slayer thing.” The chemistry tests are passed out, and Buffy keeps trying to tell them about it, and Willow reminds her they need to focus on the test, the one that Buffy did not show up to study for. Buffy tries to tell Xander about it, and notices that Xander’s eye twitches every time Faith’s name is mentioned. He distracts her by reminding her that some people care about school. Just when Buffy is finally going to focus on her test, Faith shows up at the window and Buffy needs very little convincing to sneak out the window and head out with her to bust up a vampire nest. Later, they dance it up at the Bronze, surrounded by adoring admirers. Angel arrives and is a little pouty and jealous, but he’s really just there to talk about Balthazar, the demon worshipped by the cult, and the amulet that could bring him to power. Wesley tracks down Buffy and she grabs the amulet out of his jacket and hands it over to Angel, who promises to put it somewhere actually safe, while Buffy goes to do recon on Balthazar. Both of them ignore Wesley. Buffy drags Faith off the dance floor to get back to work.

The slayers track him down and Balthazar turns out to be a really gross moist demon that’s immobile in a jacuzzi and needs to constantly be bathed with water. Whoever is responsible for this belongs in jail.

a giant naked slimy demon sits in a tub

They decide they don’t have enough weapons to take on the cult, so Faith breaks into a nearby sporting goods store and teaches Buffy how to smash and grab. Two cops show up and arrest them, but while they’re in the back of the police car, Faith asks if Buffy wants to get out of there, because they can’t save the world from jail. They kick through the partition, causing the driver to wreck the car. The girls get away but Buffy feels guilty about not calling for an ambulance. The next morning, she checks to see if their adventure made the newspaper.

In the mayor’s office, Mayor Wilkins asks for news on the El Eliminati when one of them jumps out of his cabinet and attacks him in the name of Balthazar. Mr. Trick takes out the threat and the mayor instructs Deputy Mayor Allan to tighten up the security.

Balthazar has a big meltdown about the failure of his minion and tells the rest of his followers to bring him the Watchers, kill the slayers, just kill everyone who tries to get in their way.

Willow made Buffy a protection charm but Buffy breaks it to her that she doesn’t want her going along on the slaying trip that night. Buffy doesn’t want her in danger, but Willow obviously has hurt feelings at the idea that Buffy would rather just hang out with Faith.

At the library, Wesley reminds Giles that is no longer a fit Watcher and it’s time for someone else to take the field when the vamp cult shows up to collect them. Let the field work begin!

Faith apparently went back to the sporting goods store to swipe the longbow she had her eye on, but she definitely hasn’t mastered it when they’re ambushed by the cult members. They take them out one by one as they make it through the warehouse. When the next person rounds the corner, Faith goes to stake him and Buffy isn’t able to stop her in time before we see that Faith has mistakenly staked the human Deputy Mayor, not a vampire. Buffy insists they need to call 911 or stop the blood flow but he dies before they can do either and Faith tells her they need to run. They split up and Buffy runs into Angel, who notices the blood on her hands, but has been looking for her because they have Giles. Faith returns to the scene of the crime and contemplates what she’s done.

At Balthazar’s lair, Wesley panics and caves immediately, offering up the amulet’s location, except that he never got Angel’s name. That’s okay, it allows Angel to make a badass entrance. He, Buffy, and Giles all fight off the vamps while Wesley just makes a liability of himself. Balthazar briefly gets Angel in his grasp, but Buffy saves him and electrocutes the demon in his bath water. Before Balthazar dies, he promises that though she may think she’s won “when he rises, you’ll wish I’d killed you all.”

The mayor performs his dark ritual but is surprised Allan would miss it. Mr. Trick wants to know if the ritual worked, so they let the vampire who attacked Wilkins out of his cage and give him a sword. He runs to cut the mayor in half, but the mayor melds right back together. He cheerfully crosses “become invincible” off his to-do list. Nothing can harm him for the next hundred days leading to the Ascension.

Faith is in her motel, scrubbing blood off her clothes in the bathroom sink, when Buffy comes by. She wants to talk about what they’re gonna do, but Faith doesn’t think there’s anything to talk about. She got rid of the body, but Buffy doesn’t think getting rid of the evidence will make the problem go away. Buffy thinks Faith doesn’t get that they killed a man. Faith really doesn’t care.

How many times do I have to take a drink?


Vamps Dusted

Eleventy. I’ll be honest here, I lost count in that final battle.

Stylish Yet Affordable Boots

Faith wears a see-through black mesh crop top under a black jacket with burgundy floral velvet pants

In typical Faith fashion, there is A LOT going on here for broad daylight. 

Giles For Life

Wesley: “I have, in fact, faced two vampires myself. Under controlled circumstances, of course.”
Giles: “No danger of finding those here.”
Wesley: “Vampires?”
Giles: “Controlled circumstances.”

Buffy: “Is he evil?”
Giles: “Not in the strictest sense of the…”

Wesley: “You’re not helping.”
Giles: “No. I feel just sick about it.”

That One Time I Was With Faith

Can we talk about how poorly “The Zeppo” line “Just two guys rasslin’. But not in a gay way!” has aged? 1999 was a scourge. Otherwise, are you a fan of “The Zeppo” or like me, bored out of your skull by Xander most of the time? As often as Faith can be a bit much, I really do love her character arc that begins in “Bad Girls” and continues into season four of Buffy and season one of Angel, and especially how it comes full circle later on. What about you? 

Don’t forget to join us next week, when Meredith will be covering “Consequences” and the super fun, “Doppelgangland.”

Kandis (she/her) is a proud member of the Austin FYA book club chapter who loves vampires, romance novels, live tweeting CW shows, and Jonah Griggs. She’s not like a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.