Xander experiences an adventure of his own when he encounters a group of reanimated corpses out to construct a bomb. Meanwhile, Buffy and her friends battle the forces of evil when the Hellmouth reopens.
When Xander realizes that he isn't needed as much as he'd like to believe, his quest to prove he's cool leads him to an unforgettable night that finds him consorting with fast women, raising the dead and rolling with a dangerous crowd that could put Sunnydale in a world of hurt. Meanwhile, Buffy, Giles and the rest of the crew engage in a furious battle with the Sisterhood of Jhe, an all-female demon apocalypse cult that intends to reopen the Hellmouth and bring about the end of the world.
The gang is deeply worried, with Giles suspended their research-wings are clipped, but the activities of the apocalyptic Sisterhood of Jhe, warrior demons, indicate his worst nightmare: reopening the hell-mouth, in Sunnydale Highschool. So Xander, never taken as full, is now completely ignored, Cordy takes insults to an annihilating excess after an accident with a ball-pass he begged for but missed gets him to confront and wisely back off school bully Jack O'Toole. Thinking he needs 'his thing' to get some respectability, Xander goes for a car, only to run into Jack's in front of his criminal street gang, including a mate woken from death, who intend to use him as getaway-driver for a heist to steal the ingredients for a bomb, and to initiate him by death, but each time clever Xander shows enough initiative and good sense to survive and play his part in the survival of the world, only nobody credits him...
- While the Scooby gang slaughters demons in an underground nest, Xander manages to get himself hurt. Buffy suggests he stay out of the fighting. Xander is desperate to find his place after his breakup with Cordelia 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 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. A group of demons is planning to reopen the Hellmouth and bring forth the demons it contains.
After a discussion with Oz about what makes someone cool, Xander gets himself a car that he believes will give him something unique. While getting doughnuts for the rest of the researching gang, Xander meets Lysette, who likes his car and wants to go for a ride. As it turns out, the car really is the only thing she's interested in.
At The Bronze that night, Xander accidently rear-ends Jack sitting in a parked car. Jack threatens Xander with a knife. A cop shows up, Xander covers for Jack and the two and Lysette leave to go get the rest of Jack's friends - who, being dead, need to be raised from their graves.
At the library, Buffy, Willow and Giles are researching, while Oz - in werewolf mode - is freaking out in his cage. Willow thinks it's because he can sense trouble. Giles leaves to try and contact some spirits and hopefully get their help with stopping the Sisterhood of Jhe, a group of fierce demons (of the same sort as the ones that the gang killed in the cave a few days before) that plans to end the world.
Xander, drafted as "wheelman", takes Jack and his friends to get supplies to "bake a cake", or rather build a bomb. While the dead boys are getting the supplies from a hardware store, Xander spots Willow leaving the magic shop and tries to talk to her, but she hurries off to go help Buffy. When Jack and friends decide to initiate Xander into their club by killing him and then raising him again, he runs and escapes in his car. He rescues Faith, who was fighting off demons, and takes her to her motel room where she persuades him to sleep with her. She kicks him out, clothes in hand, quickly after.
Xander, after realizing Jack built a bomb at Sunnydale High, heads towards the school to stop it aware that his friends are there. After disposing of Jack's zombie friends one by one, Xander heads down to the boiler room to defuse the bomb. Jack shows up, and they fight. The fight is inconclusive, but delays Jack so that he has no hope of escaping before the bomb explodes. Xander asks Jack who is more afraid of death. Jack points out that he's already dead, but Xander responds 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 dying, Xander merely remarks, "I like the quiet" and stares at him calmly. Jack defuses the bomb with seconds to spare. Xander leaves Jack there swearing revenge, but when he opens a side door he is attacked and eaten by the werewolf Oz. Meanwhile, Buffy, Angel, Faith, Giles and Willow are at the library fending off the giant multi-headed monster and members of the group of female demons and successfully close the Hellmouth.
The next day, everyone comes to school as usual as if nothing happened. The slightly bruised Buffy, Willow, Giles, and Oz sit at a table reeling at how close the world came to an end the night before. Oz, despite knowing he was locked up as a werewolf, cannot understand why his stomach feels "oddly full". Just then, Xander comes by to chat with them. After a few seconds of talk, Xander decides to keep his harrowing night to himself aware that his friends will never believe such a story no matter how he tells it. As Xander walks away, he runs into Cordelia who once again taunts him as before, but Xander, newly confident, merely smiles and walks by.