Posted by: thebuffyrewatch | December 3, 2011

Cordia’s Review: S3, E13 – The Zeppo

The Zeppo
Season 3, Episode 13
Original airing: January 26, 1999

My Rating: 78

The Good: I was nervous about this episode as I’ve come to dislike Xander more and more during The Buffy Rewatch. I also recalled really HATING this episode the first time I saw it, mainly due to the silliness of the zombies and the Faith-sex thing. However, I found myself really enjoying it this time around.

It was nice to see Xander doing something instead of just moping around feeling sorry for his self. He does that here for a bit, but I love that he then gets proactive. He begins the episode complaining to Oz, which felt kinda weird considering their history. And he really allows himself to be pushed around in the episode, but it was by a pretty girl and then a guy with a massive knife, so I can’t really blame him. But I just love the moment when he gets away from Jack and his cronies only to run over a demon and save Faith. It was a majorly badass moment for Xander made even better by the expression on his face and his lack of jokes. That was serious for him and it was about time.

I was strangely okay with the Faith sex as well. I remember being very put out the first time around, but this time it felt more appropriate. Faith is randy and she pretty much just controls that situation. So yet again, Xander lets himself be pushed around. But I also love when she kicks him out at the end. It was very in character.

Finally, I appreciated how the bomb storyline was wrapped up. Xander proves that he can truly be the epitome of grace under fire. When it’s down to the last few minutes, Xander convinces Jack to save them all by dropping the jokes and just enjoying the quiet. I felt like this was a bit of a display of the Xander who exists behind all the funny stuff. He’s always been one of those characters who covers up confusion or awkwardness with jokes so we hardly ever get to see what he’s really made of. I think there was a glimpse here and I found that I liked it.

I also enjoyed the Scoobie/Hellmouth storyline running alongside it all. I felt like it was a great way for the show to poke a bit of fun at itself. I especially appreciated the over-wrought scene between Buffy and Angel with the soap opera music and roaring fire. Very amusing. Other than that one scene, however, I thought they played it pretty straight, and I felt like that worked. While Xander is pushed to the side and dealing with frat boy zombies, Buffy is truly concerned about the end of the world, Willow is tranquilizing her werewolf boyfriend, and Giles is struggling with his limited resources. It all juxtaposed rather well.

The Meh: I didn’t hate Jack and his cronies. I liked the reveal that Jack was dead as well, but did it need to be zombies? We’ve been there, done that a few times now and it never works out as well as they seem to want it too. On the plus side, we only ever saw the zombies in the dark which really helped their makeup look passable. And Jack was just another random character popping up who supposedly has a history in this town but we’ve never heard of before. He didn’t have the living-breathing-feeling history characters such as Spike have had. But he wasn’t awful either. And then he got eaten by Oz.

Favorite Moment: I really enjoy the moment when Xander runs the demon over with his car. It’s a split second, but we get to see his face. There’s no humor or joy there, it’s just a grim look which says to me he wasn’t thinking about being the hero. He just instinctively knew this was the best thing to do and so he did it. What I really love is that the show didn’t dilute the moment with a joke.

The Bottom Line: This is a well done, fun episode which showcases how good the show is at presenting comedy mixed with real dramatic feeling.

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