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The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Published June 7th 2020
Xander is the heart of the Scooby Gang
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
And the guy who fixes the windows

"Seven years… Working with the Slayer. Seeing my friends get more and more powerful… All of them. And I'm the guy who fixes the windows. They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie. To be the one who isn't chosen, to live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me."

Xander Harris reflects on his friendship with the Slayer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Alexander (Xander) Harris was a fictional character on the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer (from 1997 to 2003) who was played by American actor and writer Nicholas Brendon. Xander was a founding member of the Scooby Gang and the best friend of vampire slayer Buffy Summers. Xander was invented to be the 'Everyman' of the show and the comic relief. Xander is a very human, flawed character, who struggles with immaturity and makes a lot of mistakes, but he is also very brave, loyal and selfless and will do anything to help his friends. What I like about Xander is that as his friends become powerful witches, slayers and werewolves, he remains an average, ordinary person. Xander never lets his lack of super powers stop him from doing good, from fighting vampires to just being there to support his friends. Here are 10 episodes either all about Xander or featuring some great Xander scenes.

1. The Zeppo

The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander becomes the criminal element


Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 13
Air Date: 26 January 1999
Written by: Dan Vebber
Directed by: James Whitmore Jr.

Best Quote:

Cordelia Chase: "It must be really hard when all your friends have, like, superpowers, Slayer, werewolf, witches, vampires, and you're, like, this little nothing. You must feel like... Jimmy Olsen."

Xander Harris: [laughs] "I was just talking to... Hey, mind your own business."

Cordelia Chase: "Ooh, I struck a nerve. The boy that had no cool."

Xander Harris: "I happen to be an integral part of that group. I happen to have a *lot* to offer."

Cordelia Chase: "Oh, please."

Xander Harris: "I do."

Cordelia Chase: "'Integral part' of the group? Xander, you're the-the *useless* part of the group. You're the Zeppo. "Cool." Look it up. It's something that a sub-literate that's repeated twelfth grade three times has and you don't."

Cordelia Chase: [leaving, talking to herself] "There was no part of that that wasn't fun."


Cordelia teases Xander for not having any super powers, "The Zeppo" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

"The Zeppo" is a comedic episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that focuses solely on Xander. Nicolas Brendon is excellent in it. The episode opens with Xander worried that he is not cool and is the "useless" member of the Scooby Gang because he does not have any powers. In an effort to raise his self-confidence, he borrows his uncle's classic car, and ends up having a solo adventure all on his own, where he loses his virginity to vampire slayer Faith and single-handedly stops a group of zombies from blowing up Sunnydale High School. While Xander is fighting zombies, the rest of the Scoobies insist that he stay away from them while they battle a dangerous demon cult, because they fear if he gets involved he will get hurt. What makes this episode so great is how every time it cuts to the Scoobies, the music swells and everything gets emotionally intense and about the end of the world. When things cut back to Xander, he is all on his own, panicked and struggling to find a solution to his zombie problem. Throughout the episode, the Scoobies get so caught up with their struggle, they never even notice that Xander is in trouble, but Xander always stops and asks them if they need his help. The events of "The Zeppo" prove that Xander doesn't need super powers to be an important member of the Scoobies and that he is more than capable enough to handle dangerous situations on his own with just his wits and intelligence.

2. Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander gets into trouble after experimenting with magic


Episode Details: Season 2, Episode 16
Air Date: 10 February 1998
Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: James A. Contner

Best Quote:

Xander Harris: "I made a mess, Giles. See, I found out that Amy's into witchcraft, and I was hurt, I guess, so I... made her put the love whammy on Cordy, but it backfired, and now every woman in Sunnydale wants to make me her cuddle monkey, which may sound swell on paper, but..."

Xander confesses to Giles about messing around with magic, "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" Cordelia breaks up with Xander on Valentines Day after her friends mock her for being his girlfriend and put pressure on her to choose them over him. Xander is heart broken and tries to get revenge by blackmailing Amy, who is a witch, to put a love spell on Cordelia so he can "put her through the same hell" of being dumped. The following day, Xander approaches Cordelia, and is shocked when she turns down his advances. He later realises that the spell has gone wrong and has caused every woman in Sunnydale except for Cordelia to fall in love with him. Xander begins getting sexual advances from Buffy, Amy, Willow, and every other girl in the school. Panicked, he turns them all down, and begs Giles for help. Giles is enraged at his foolishness and tells him to go home while he looks for a solution.

When Xander tries to leave the school, he saves Cordelia from being attacked by her friends, who are now under the spell and furious with her for dumping him. The spell has now gotten so strong, there is a murderous mob waiting for Xander, made up of women who would rather kill him if they cannot be with him. Xander and Cordelia flee to Buffy's house and barricade themselves in the basement to escape the mob. Xander lets slip that he cast the spell for Cordelia, which she is touched to learn.

Later in the episode, after everything has gone back to normal, Cordelia ends up dumping her friends to be with Xander, proudly proclaiming that she is not a sheep, and will date whoever the hell she wants to date. Xander acts pretty immature in "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered". To be fair, he was a seventeen-year-old kid at the time, and most kids that age can be impulsive and immature. I think Xander learnt a lesson in this episode though, that consent is important in a relationship, and that it is wrong to take advantage of people.

3. The Replacement
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
A demon splits Xander into two separate halves


Episode Details: Season 5, Episode 3
Air Date: 10 October 2000
Written by: Jane Espenson
Directed by: James A. Contner

Best Quote:

Xander Harris: "A demon. A demon has taken my life from me and he's living it better than I do."

Willow Rosenberg: "Uh... well, we're working on it. There has to be a way to get to Buffy to un-hypnotise her. I'll find a spell to snap her out of it."

Xander Harris: "Right. Whatever."

Willow Rosenberg: "Xander, you sound a little... You have to help me figure this out, you know."

Xander Harris: "But I never help. I get in trouble, and Buffy saves me."

Willow Rosenberg: "That's not true! Sometimes we all help to save you."

Xander talks to Willow about feeling useless, "The Replacement" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

"The Replacement" is one of my favourite comedic episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that focuses on Xander. The episode begins with a demon named Toth vowing to destroy Buffy by using a magic spell to separate her slayer self from her plain, ordinary Buffy half. After Toth attacks Giles at the magic shop, Buffy and the Scoobies go searching for him. They find him at the dump and in the scuffle Toth strikes Xander with light from a magic rod which knocks him to the ground. The blast splits Xander into two and creates a mysterious, Xander double who is emotionally stable, well-dressed and acts like an adult. The other Xander acts like a comedic buffoon, poorly dressed and immature.

"Confident" Xander begins living Xander's life better than "slacker" Xander ever did. He gets promoted at work, signs a lease for an apartment, wins over all of his friends and has a mature discussion with his girlfriend Anya about their relationship. The other Xander becomes emotional and thinks this better, more mature Xander is the demon Toth pretending to be him. He gets so depressed seeing how much better he is living his life, he wonders if he should just let him have his life, because he was doing such a bad job living it before.

The twist of "The Replacement" is that the other Xander is not an evil twin or Toth pretending to be him, but is part of his personality, and one that he needs to survive. The dual Xanders are both, in fact, the real Xander they just represent his weaker and stronger personality traits. At the end of "The Replacement" Xander learns that he does not have to be defined by his weaker personality traits and that he is more than capable of transforming himself into a confident, mature, well-respected adult.

4. Grave
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander saves his best friend Willow from destroying the world


Episode Details: Season 6, Episode 22
Air Date: 21 May 2002
Written by: David Fury
Directed by: James A. Contner

Best Quote:

Xander Harris: "The first day of kindergarten, you cried because you broke the yellow crayon and you were too afraid to tell anyone. You've come pretty far. Ending the world, not a terrific notion... But the thing is... yeah, I love you. I love crayon-breaky Willow and I love scary-veiny Willow. So if I'm goin' out, it's here. If you wanna kill the world... well, then start with me. I've earned that."

Xander tries to reach Willow's humanity, "Grave" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the first half of season six, the main antagonists that Buffy Summers has to face are three young men who call themselves 'The Trio'. The Trio was formed by three ordinary, human men who referred to themselves as super villains and nerds. They were Warren Mears, Jonathan Levinson, and Andrew Wells. The Trio were successful in pulling off a number of crimes, due to Warren's skills in technology and robotics, Jonathan's skill as a sorcerer, and Andrew's ability to summon demons.

The Trio started off as minor villains, but as the series progressed, became more dangerous after Warren Mears revealed himself to be a violent misogynist, a willing murderer and a psychopath. After Buffy thwarts another one of his plans, an enraged Warren goes to Buffy's house in the episode "Seeing Red" and shoots her with a gun in front of Xander. He strikes her in the chest and also sends a stray bullet through an upstairs window. In the upstairs bedroom, the window shatters, and the bullet strikes Tara in the back causing her to collapse and die in front of her girlfriend Willow.

Willow becomes consumed with rage and grief and surrenders herself to black magic and the urge for revenge. Her hair and eyes turn black and she transforms into Dark Willow. She sets her sights on Warren Mears and vows to kill him. Buffy and the rest of the Scoobies try to stop her, but are too late, and witness her brutally murder him. Willow then vows to kill Andrew and Jonathan, for the crime of working alongside Warren.

Over the next few episodes, Buffy and the Scoobies struggle to protect Andrew and Jonathan from Willow. In the season finale "Grave", Willow decides there is too much pain in the world so she vows to use her dark magic to end it all. Buffy and Giles try to stop her, but she is too powerful. As Willow battles Buffy and Giles, Xander and Dawn escape with Jonathan and Andrew, and look for a place to hide. Xander complains to Dawn that he feels useless and cowardly for just standing around while Warren shot Buffy and killed Tara. He wishes he could have done more to stop his friends from being hurt.

In the final act of the episode, Willow begins a magic ritual on top of a cliff to end the world, but is interrupted when Xander arrives. He pushes aside his feelings of self-pity and cowardice and tries to reach her humanity by reminding her of their friendship and a childhood memory he has of when she broke a yellow crayon and cried, because she was worried that someone would find out she did it. He tells her that he loved her then, and he still loves her now. Willow tells him to stop and attacks him every time he tells her he loves her, but he slowly gets through to her, and eventually is able to get close enough to her that she starts to pound him with her fists. Willow falls to her knees sobbing and he is able to wrap his arms around her in a hug. He tells her again that he loves her, which causes her dark magic to drain away, and for her to return to her normal appearance.

The ending of "Grave" is one of my favourite Xander scenes. The yellow crayon speech is so well written and Nicholas Brendon and Alyson Hannigan's powerful performances are absolutely heartbreaking. Xander's bravery and his loyalty to his friend Willow is completely unwavering. I love that Xander saves the world through his words. It was a great moment for his character and a defining moment in his relationship with Willow.

5. Potential
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander tells Dawn how special she is


Episode Details: Season 7, Episode 12
Air Date: 21 January 2003
Written by: Rebecca Rand Kirshner
Directed by: James A. Contner

Best Quote:

Xander Harris: "They'll never know how tough it is, Dawnie, to be the one who isn't chosen. To live so near to the spotlight and never step in it. But I know. I see more than anybody realizes because nobody's watching me. I saw you last night. I see you working here today. You're not special. You're extraordinary."


Xander tells Dawn how special she is, "The Potential" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the season seven episode "Potential" Buffy's little sister Dawn mistakenly thinks she might be a potential future vampire slayer. This causes Dawn to panic because she realises that her becoming a slayer would mean that Buffy will have to die first. Overwhelmed, she sneaks out of the house, and bumps into a friend of hers from school named Amanda. Amanda has a scratch on her head and tells her she was attacked by a vampire at school. Dawn and Amanda return to the school to try and stake the vampire. They break into the school and the vampire attacks them and during the scuffle, Dawn realises that it is Amanda who is the potential slayer, not her. She gives Amanda a speech that fighting vampires is her destiny and what she was born to do and gives her the stake. Later in the episode, Xander tells Dawn that he overheard what she told Amanda at the school, and praises her for giving up what made her special without a moment's pause and giving it to Amanda. He tells her that the other Scoobies will never know what it is like to be the one who is not chosen, to not have powers, to be so close to the spotlight but to never step in it. Xander has spent seven years working with the slayer and watching his friends become stronger, while all the time he remained just plain old Xander. No one watches him, but he was watching Dawn last night with Amanda, and he tells her he thinks she is extraordinary. This is such a lovely, heart-warming scene that shows how much Xander is the heart of the Scooby Gang.

6. The Prom
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander goes out of his way to make Cordelia's prom night special


Episode Details: Season 3, Episode 20
Air Date: 11 May 1999
Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: David Solomon

Best Quote:

[Xander smiles at Cordelia's prom dress]

Xander Harris: "It looks good on you."

Cordelia Chase: (smiling) "Well, duh."


Xander and Cordelia mend their broken relationship, "The Prom" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Xander Harris has a romantic relationship with snobby classmate and "queen bee" Cordelia Chase throughout season two and season three. The relationship ends in a break up when Xander is caught cheating with Willow. Following the break up, Cordelia is heartbroken. She cared for Xander so much she chose him over her friends. When news spreads that Xander cheated on her, Cordelia is mocked at school, and becomes less popular. Angry and hurt, Cordelia begins ridiculing and teasing Xander whenever she can, to try and hurt him. In the season three episode "The Prom" Xander learns that Cordelia has been working in a dress shop to try and earn enough money to purchase a dress for prom. In a selfless move, Xander pays off the dress himself, without expecting a single thing in return from Cordelia. This allows Cordelia to have the prom night of her dreams and the two of them are able to part on good terms as friends.

7. Prophecy Girl
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander brings Buffy back to life after being killed by the Master


Episode Details: Season 1, Episode 12
Air Date: 2 June 1997
Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Joss Whedon

Best Quote:

[Xander Harris arrives at Angel's apartment]

Angel: "Oh. Look who's here."

Xander Harris: "Mind if I come in?" (comes in)

Angel: (closes the door) "Make yourself at home."

Xander Harris: "She's gone."

Angel: "Whadaya mean?"

Xander Harris: "Buffy, she's gone to fight the Master."

Angel: "He'll kill her."

Xander Harris: "Rumor has it. Only we're not gonna let it happen."

Angel: "Well, what do you propose we do about it?"

Xander Harris: "Look, I know you can find this Master guy. He's underground, right? Take me to him."


Xander plans to rescue Buffy from the Master, "Prophecy Girl" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the episode "Prophecy Girl" Buffy learns that it is her destiny to face the Master, a legendary vampire, and die. Buffy threatens to quit as a slayer, but later decides to face the Master and meet her fate, at the tender age of sixteen-years-old. When Xander hears what Buffy has done, he doesn't hesitate to go into the Master's lair to try and rescue his friend. This speaks volumes of his bravery and his loyalty to Buffy Summers. Xander is a sixteen-year-old boy who has no powers, special skills or abilities, but he still goes to face the Master because all he cares about is saving his friend and that is exactly what he does. Xander finds Buffy's body face down and left for dead in a puddle of water. He performs CPR on her and manages to bring her back to life altering things for the rest of the series. Cue electric guitar.

8. Restless
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
The spirit of the First Slayer takes over Xander's dream


Episode Details: Season 4, Episode 22
Air Date: 23 May 2000
Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Joss Whedon

Best Quote:

Xander Harris: "Buffy, are you sure you want to play there? It's a pretty big sandbox."

[camera pans away to show Buffy sitting in a desert playing with a bucket and spade]

Buffy Summers: "I'm OK. It's not coming for me yet."

Xander Harris: "I just mean...You can't protect yourself from...Some stuff."

Buffy Summers: "I'm way ahead of you, big brother."

Xander Harris: "Brother?"


Xander realizes he cares for Buffy like a sister, "Restless" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

In the season four finale "Restless" the angry spirit of the First Slayer invades the dreams of Buffy, Giles, Willow and Xander. The main theme of Xander's dream is that he is afraid his friends don't respect him and are growing up and moving on, and that he does not contribute meaningfully to the rest of the group. Xander's dream is a journey of self-exploration that shows how emasculated, infantilized, insecure and powerless he feels a lot of the time.

One of Xander's biggest fears, that he will end up like his father one day, violent and abusive and stuck in a miserable marriage, is shown in the dream. Xander tries to escape his family multiple times, but no matter which direction he turns or how far he runs, all routes keep leading him back to his parent's basement. Twice in the dream, he looks up at the door at the top of the basement stairs, and says to himself "That's not the way out." His parents are up there, he knows if he leaves the basement to join them, he will become them. He will rather escape into the walls than go up the basement stairs. His fear that he is useless appears in the dream as well. He is shown working another menial job, this time driving an ice cream truck. He could be anything in his dream, but due to his low confidence and self-esteem, he puts himself in another menial job. He is afraid of the direction his life is going in. He is always moving forward, but he doesn't actually know where he is going, and he fears that all paths will eventually lead him back to the basement.

When Xander tries to ask Giles about what is happening in his dream, he starts speaking in French, leaving Xander confused and panicked. He fears that the rest of the Scoobies, in particular Giles, think that he is less smart than them, and he worries that he is going to be left behind. My favourite part of the dream is when Xander approaches Buffy playing in a sandbox with a bucket and spade. The angle of the camera makes her look like a small child. Xander wants to protect her. She calls him her big brother. Xander is disappointed she feels that way about him, but there is also a touch of something in else in his voice, I think. Xander hates his family and everything they represent. He used to have romantic feelings for Buffy, but now they are more different, because she feels like family to him now. He still loves her and wants to protect her, but it is more of a brotherly love now, than a romantic one. It shows how far he has matured and how far their relationship has developed.

9. Buffy vs Dracula
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander is mad after Dracula bewitched him


Episode Details: Season 5, Episode 1
Air Date: 26 September 2000
Written by: Marti Noxon
Directed by: David Solomon

Best Quote:

Xander Harris: "Damn it! You know what? I'm sick of this crap. I'm sick of being the guy who eats insects and gets the funny syphilis. As of this moment, it's over. I'm finished being everybody's butt monkey."

Xander is angry after Dracula hypnotized him into becoming his manservant, "Buffy vs Dracula" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

One of the things that I love most about Xander's character is how he gets so many of the best comedic and quotable lines. He is one of the funniest characters on the show. There are so many quotes of Xander's that I use al the time because I find them so amusing. To watch some of Xander's funniest moments check out this video. In the season five premiere episode "Buffy vs Dracula" we get to see Xander in his best comedic role yet when the legendary vampire Dracula hypnotizes him into becoming his manservant. Xander falls instantly under his spell and begins calling Dracula his "dark master" and becomes a twitchy, bug-eating minion of the ancient, powerful vampire. When the spell is lifted at the end of the episode, Xander is furious when he wakes up from the enchantment, and tells everyone he is tired of being treated like a joke.

10. The Freshman
The Best Xander Harris Episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Xander tells Buffy that she is his hero


Episode Details: Season 4, Episode 1
Air Date: 5 October 1999
Written by: Joss Whedon
Directed by: Joss Whedon

Best Quote:

Xander Harris: "Let me tell you something. When it is dark and I'm all alone and I'm scared or freaked out or whatever... I always think... "What would Buffy do?" You're my hero..."

Xander tells Buffy that she inspires him, "The Freshman" Buffy the Vampire Slayer

"The Freshman" is the season premiere of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. After graduating high school at the end of season three, Buffy tries to adjust to college life, but finds sharing a dorm with a roommate, dating college men and adapting to her new classes difficult. Depressed, Buffy goes back to the Bronze, and bumps into Xander who chose to skip college to go on a road trip instead. Xander tells Buffy that his road trip ended when his car broke down, he spent a month washing dishes at a Ladies Night club to earn money for repairs, and that he now lives in his parent's basement and has to pay rent. Buffy tells Xander about college life and being stalked by a group of vampires and how she doesn't want to ruin Willow and Oz's first days on campus by involving them in her problems. Xander confesses to Buffy that every time he is scared, or things seem grim, he always thinks 'What would Buffy do?' she is his hero, his role model, and he has total faith in her. Buffy is touched by his honesty, and Xander pledges his support to help her stop the vampires on campus. I really love the speech that Xander gives Buffy in this episode. How often do you hear a man admit that a woman is his hero? Almost never. I think it says a lot about Xander as a character that he is confident enough to admit to Buffy that she is his hero. It tells me here is a man who respects and looks up to this woman. It's so important than men and boys have female role models and are taught that it is ok to enjoy stories that have female protagonists in them.
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Why? Xander Harris was a main character and the comic relief on the television show Buffy the Vampire Slayer from 1997 to 2003.
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