The ABCs of Sunnydale

Xander Harris:

Debut -- Welcome to the Hellmouth (Season 1)

In WTTH and part 2, The Harvest, we see Xander literally falling head over heels for Buffy, the new girl. We learn that he's best friends with Willow, and doesn't take his schooling too seriously. It almost seems that he doesn't take anything too seriously, since he's always got some witty remark to make, whether it's about himself or others. Xander often gets tongue-tied around the ladies, something that happens throughout season 1, and arguably, season 2. We also see how deep his loyalty to his friends runs, a trend that continues throughout the season.

Most Ironic Line:
"I only know that you think you're the Slayer..."
-- to Buffy outside the Bronze when she's desperately looking for Willow.

Other 1st season appearances -- The Witch; Teacher's Pet; Never Kill a Boy on the First Date; The Pack; Angel; I Robot, You Jane; The Puppet Show; Nightmares; Invisible Girl, Prophecy Girl

In The Witch Xander gives Buffy an ID bracelet in his attempt to woo her. He also characterizes himself perfectly when he says: "I laugh in the face of danger, then I hide until it goes away." Of course, he does run, but he always manages to go back and face the danger. Xander learns that Buffy sees him as a friend in this episode, but continues to pursue her in later episodes.

Teacher's Pet features Xander's insecurities where the opposite sex is concerned. He's ridiculed by Blayne, and he feels even less secure about where he stands with Buffy when he glimpses Angel for the first-time. When a teacher falls for him, he's all too eager to return the affection, even though he later admits out loud that he loves Buffy. Xander's status as virgin is still intact by the end of this episode. Thankfully, so is his head.

NKABOTFD shows how Xander copes with Buffy's going out with another guy. Xander takes every opportunity to make it seem like Owen is not as desirable as Buffy thinks he is. He also tells Owen that Buffy doesn't like dancing or to be kissed or touched. Xander's quick thinking comes into play in a scene at the Bronze when he pretends that he and Willow are a couple. Later he leaves it to his better half to do the quick thinking. And once again, we see Xander's jealous reaction to Angel's presence when he says, "What's he doing here?". And lastly, Xander does try to tell Buffy once again that he's the man for her when he tells her that she needs "a guy who already knows your deepest, darkest secret and still says, 'Hey, I like that girl.'"

The Pack features Xander at his most evil, although he can't really be blamed for it. During a class trip to the zoo, Xander gets possessed by hyenas and this sparks a noticeable change in his appearance and demeanor. He's rude to Willow, hangs out with the mean kids, eats a pig, and tries to attack Buffy. It's in this episode that Xander reveals he does know how Willow feels about him. He says to Buffy, "...until Willow stops kidding herself that I could be satisfied with anyone but you." When Xander's back to normal, he claims to recall nothing about the events that transpired while he was possessed, although Giles lets on that he knows Xander does indeed remember. This comes up again in Phases.

Most Amusing Line:
"Shoot me, stuff me, mount me." --
to Giles, after realizing that Giles knows he has total recall of the incidents.

Angel is the episode that features Xander's gut reaction to finding out that Buffy is in love with a vampire: he tells her that it's her duty to stake him. This is the first of many episodes that establishes a real reason for Xander's jealousy of Angel; later, their relationship as rivals for Buffy's affection will continue to be explored. This episode also showcases the first time that we see Xander on the dance floor, a spectacle that's always amusing. And finally, it's also in this episode that Xander and Cordelia trade insults with each other. Although in WTTH and The Witch, respectively, Xander receives an insult from Cordy and then gives her one, this episode marks the first real exchange between them. This is a trend that continues well into the Season 2.

I Robot, You Jane gives Xander the chance to be research boy when he has information that could help lead them to Moloch. He takes on the role of main Slayerette in this episode since Willow's fallen victim to Moloch. This also marks the first time that Xander gets a piece of the action. After hitting one of the guards, he proudly tells Willow and Buffy, "I got to hit someone!"

The Puppet Show is heavy on the witticisms and pop culture references made by Xander. It's also where we learn that Xander has a fear of mimes. Also, Xander seems to exhibit some jealousy when Sid (although at this time, it still seems that it's actually Morgan) refers to Buffy and Willow as "goodies." Xander also lends a hand in saving Giles. Too many good quotes to choose from.

In Nightmares, Xander is plagued by his nightmares of showing up at school naked, as well as being haunted by the clown from his sixth birthday party. In this episode, we learn that Xander's a big fan of all things chocolate, and that he's also afraid of Nazis. The term "gonzoed" comes up -- Xander explains Wendell's reaction to the spiders-in-the-textbook incident thusly: " gonzoed. Anybody would've." More Xander witticisms ensue. The most important thing Xander does in this episode is face his fears, which helps the gang discover that that's the only way the Nightmare realm can be destroyed.

Invisible Girl focuses somewhat on Xander's and Willow's relationship in that they're making a lot of private jokes that Buffy doesn't get. This furthers the theme of feeling left out as it's explored in relation to Marcie Ross, Cordy, and Buffy. Xander doesn't do much in this episode, but again, I wouldn't really notice since I can't stand this ep. Sorry.

Prophecy Girl is the last first-run episode of season 1. Here, Xander's gotten up the courage to ask Buffy out and make his feelings towards her known. After he's rejected, we learn that Xander likes country music, sort of. He says, "I'm just gonna go home, lie down, and listen to country music -- the music of pain." What's remarkable about Xander in this episode is that he's still dedicated to Buffy, and seems to be the only one who's hell-bent on stopping her from fighting The Master. He takes it upon himself to seek out Angel, his rival, and demand to be taken to The Master's lair. I could say that it's Xander who's single-handedly responsible for saving Buffy's life, since he actually did revive her after she drowned. Throughout this episode, Xander's in a take-charge mode, a trend that continues with the Season 2.


  When She Was Bad, Some Assembly Required, School Hard, Inca Mummy Girl, Reptile Boy, Halloween, Lie To Me, The Dark Age, What's My Line parts I, II, Ted, Bad Eggs, Surprise, Innocence, Phases, Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered, Passion, Killed By Death, I Only Have Eyes For You, Go Fish, Becoming part I, II

When She Was Bad marks the first and seemingly only time that Xander's interested in Willow; they've spent the summer without Buffy and almost smooch when a vampire is discovered nearby. Also marks the first time that Xander gives Buffy some lip, in a bad way. She's been acting like a bitca, and he finally tells her off when Giles, Willow, and the rest of the gang have been kidnapped by some vamps. And leave us not forget the sexy dance Buffy did around Xander on the dance floor at the Bronze...

SAR just moves along the Xander/Angel jealousy front. Also has Xander saving Cordelia's life, and Cordy trying to thank the oblivious Xander. This is the episode that he bemoans his unpaired status to Willow, and remarks on hers as well.

School Hard basically throws Xander and Cordelia into a verbal sparring match again. Xander runs to get Angel after the school's under siege from a vamp attack led by Spike, and he and Angel put on a show for Spike. Basically that means that Angel makes like he's a vamp and offers up Xander's neck so he and Spike can have a meal together. Xander learns that Spike was sired by Angel in this episode.

A Good Line:
"I knew you were lying..undead liar guy!" -- to Angel, as Xander's neck is being offered up to Spike.

Inca Mummy Girl is another bad spin on the love wheel for Xander. He ends up falling in love with a foreign exchange student -- read, mummy -- named Ampara. He's got lots of good lines, but it does kinda bite to see the one girl (other than Willow) who's really liked him turn out to be a long-dead mummy who has to suck the life force out of people in order to keep up appearances. Buffy also reminds Xander that the only reason she's living is because he was around to save her in Prophecy Girl.

RB shows the more protective (and okay, jealous) side of Xander once again. This time it's jealousy geared not only towards Angel, but towards rich, good-looking frat guys. Xander's got some good one-liners throughout the show, too. Basically he gets upset when he learns that Buffy's going to a frat party, so he decides to show up and check on her. Unfortunately, the frat guys realize he doesn't belong there, and treat him as a pledge. Xander in drag, anyone? It's a little hard to see Xander getting whacked on the rear with one of those paddles, but that's just me. So Xander doesn't get to see how Buffy's doing at the party; later he's instrumental in getting the gang inside to save Buffy, Cordy, and Callie. Very good one-liners as he's beating up a frat guy...

An Amusing Line:
"Angel, Angel, Angel. Does every conversation we have have to come around to that freak? quick pause as Angel appears from behind him Hey, man, how y'doin'?" -- to Buffy and Willow, then Angel.

Halloween provides Xander with the chance to be a manly-man. The beginning of the episode has him about to stand up to Larry, when Buffy appears to take care of the problem. So when the spell cast by Ethan Rayne turns people into the personas of their Halloween costumes, Xander becomes a dogface. Um, you know, an army guy. He follows Willow's orders and can use a gun, his fists, anything, to fight off the monsters as well as beat up on Larry. What's interesting is that this army-type knowledge will be remembered by Xander, and it will prove to be useful in Innocence. This episode marks the first time that Xander tells Cordy to give it up, nothing can come between Angel and Buffy. Gee, who will she turn to now...?

Xander doesn't do too much in LTM. We see him look annoyed when Cordelia's giving her unique version of Marie Antoinette's role in history. He's threatened a bit by the appearance of Buffy's old friend Ford, and he teams up with Willow and Angel to investigate Ford. That's pretty much it.

An Amusing Exchange:

Xander: "Yeah, I'm gonna have to go with Dead Boy on this one."
Angel: "Could you not call me that?" -- on the theory that something's not right about Ford.

A Line I Like:
"Sure thing, Bossy the Cow." -- muttered to Willow after Angel takes charge of the investigation in the warehouse/shelter.

TDA features Xander in research-while-bickering-with-Cordelia mode. Although Xander and Cordy trade many insults in this episode, Xander also tries to protect Cordy from the demon Eyghon; Eyghon's possessed the body of Giles's old friend Philip and is terrorizing the gang in the library. Xander's also impressed by Willow's taking over for Giles when they have to do research...

Xander and Cordy trade some insults in WML part I. Also, Xander makes one joke too many and gets reprimanded by Giles. What's interesting here is that Xander's Career Day test shows he'd make a good prison guard. Other than that, Giles tells Xander to get Cordy to drive him over to Buffy's house...the gang's worried 'cause she's missing. More Xander/Cordy insults while they're stuck in the basement hiding from Bugman Assassin, and their first kiss!

Insult the First:

Cordelia: "I can't even believe you. You drag me out of bed for a ride? What am I, mass transportation?"
Xander: "That's what a lot of the guys say, but it's just locker room talk. I wouldn't pay it any mind."
Cordelia: "Oh great, so now I'm your taxi and your punching bag."
Xander: "I like to think of you more as my witless foil, but have it your way." --
on arriving at Buffy's house.

WML part II continues the Xander/Cordy insult-a-thon. Xander does some research, learns how to take down their Turakan Assassin, and another kiss happens with Cordelia. The stolen passion starts here!

Ted features food-loving Xander. So we learn he's not just big on chocolate, but also on mini-pizzas. And cookies. And miniature golf...Xander is still hiding the "I kissed Cordy" fact from Buffy and Willow. Some classic Xander lines.

Hormones on Parade, I mean, Bad Eggs, features Xander in make-out mode with Cordelia. Xander and Buffy are pretty much the only two people not affected by the Mother Bezoar's offspring. Xander gets whacked a few times, has some classic lines.

Xander's Done with the Book Learnin':

Giles: "I suppose there is a sort of Machiavellian ingenuity to your transgression."
Xander: "I resent that!"
Giles: "...."
Xander: "Or possibly thank you." --
regarding Xander's boiling of his egg-baby.

In Surprise, Xander's a little hurt by the fact that Cordy still is reluctant to go places with him in public. A bit of foreshadowing...for BBB. Anyhoo, that's about it for Xander in this ep. He does more in the second part of

Innocence. It's in this episode that Xander, along with Willow, demonstrates his loyalty to Buffy by insisting that they go look for her when she hasn't reported back to the gang yet. Xander smooches Cordy in the library and gets caught by Willow, who tells him that he has "gross emotional problems." Most important, though, is that Xander is able to use the army knowledge he attained during Halloween -- he concocts a plan to break into a weaponry at the army base, and delivers a big bazooka-type flame-thrower thing to Buffy so she can destroy The Judge. Also, Xander's the one who approaches Angelus with a cross in order to save Willow. Yow. I didn't notice it at the time, but I guess he really did do a lot in this ep.

In Phases, Xander outs himself to the gang as actually recalling the events of his hyena possession (See The Pack.) He stakes a vamp in the form of Teresa, learns that Larry is gay, and makes Giles laugh, not necessarily in that order. He also seems to be a bit overprotective of Willow as she embarks on her new relationship with Oz.

In BBB, Xander's thinking maybe there's something more between him and Cordelia than tawdry teen lust, and on Valentine's Day, he gives her a heart necklace. But when she breaks up with him, he goes into psycho mode and has Amy Madison cast a spell that'll make Cordy fall for him, so he can get his revenge by dumping her. The spell fails, Giles is upset with him, he's pursued by everybody except Cordelia, and Willow tells him that she wants him to be her first. Oz hits Xander for the first time, and all ends well....Basically, this episode establishes the out-in-the-open Cordy/Xander relationship.

In Passion, Xander's on the bandwagon when he hears that Giles is going to kill Angelus for causing the death of Miss Jenny Calendar. Xander almost seems to me to be miffed at Buffy in the face of all this, all of what's happened with Angel/Angelus. It's a trend that continues throughout seasons 2 and 3.

In KBD, Xander's on watch at the hospital when Buffy's taken ill. He vows to keep Dead-Boy away from Buffy's room, and he even tells Angelus, "You're gonna die. And I'm gonna be there." Also, Xander and Cordy are still together, and even though she accuses him of being caught up with watching Buffy's back -- yes, her euphemism for Buffy's butt --, she still brings him donuts. Xander's also with Buffy when she kills Der Kinderstod, and he aids her by getting all the children out of the basement. It's cool to see Buffy and Xander working together, like they did in some season one eps. This is also the ep. where we learn that Xander likes Cheesy Chips.

In IOHEFY, Xander sits with Cordy in the ambulance after she's been attacked by a spaghetti-snake, and he also participates in the ritual to help cast the evil spirit out of the school. He, too, gets caught up with some snakes during the ritual.

"Oh, yeah,'s snake-a-licious in here!" --
upon entering a schoolroom full o' snakes.

GF provides Xander with a chance to show what he's made of. In an effort to help the gang find out what's fishy about the swim team, he tries out and makes the team. This is what some folks probably dub "The Speedo 'Sode", I bet. Anyhoo, Xander's exposed to the steroidal fish DNA, and learns he may go halibut. Cordy proclaims her devotion to him, sort of, and even though Xander may "run like a woman," -- according to Cordy, anyhow -- he does his part to save Buffy from being devoured by the Fish Boys. Again, his saving her is sort of a return to the season one eps., I think. Just think The Harvest!

In Becoming parts 1 & 2, Xander makes it clear what he thinks should be Angelus's end. He and Giles get into a sparring match, he and Buffy almost get into a sparring match, and he doesn't really want to participate in casting the spell that will recurse Angel with his soul.

When the vamps attack, Xander gets his arm broken, and later he tells Willow that he loves her while she's in a coma. He also later agrees to go find Buffy at the mansion to tell her that Willow's going to try the curse again. But when he meets up with Buffy, the message he tells her is that Willow says, "Kick his ass." Later, Xander saves Giles and gets him out of the mansion at Buffy's request, and that's about it.

More Xander! Season 3.

Story Arcs: Xander & Buffy, Xander & Willow, Xander & Cordelia

The ABCs of Sunnydale

The Episodes

The 411/Mythology

The 511/Relationships

The 611/Slayerships

Dingo Action


Main Entrance

Missing Lynx

This page last updated November 14, 1998