ous teen. And though, yes, he and Cordelia get back together at the end, that's more to do with Cordelia and her choice, not Xander turning down a mind-controlled Buffy.
I do like Xander but ultimately he gets rewarded for bad behaviour in this episode and on top of that given points for just not raping his friend.
he saved Cordelia from a mob of terrifying school girls and tried to keep her safe/with him until the spell had worn off.
Anyway, Cordelia makes her choice separate from Xander's response to housecoat-wearing Buffy, so its not really a reward. No cause and effect.
It does show he's a good person deep down beneath the insecurities (and not a toxic Nice Guy who would relish vengeance against "femoids" that "take advantage" of him as he can't see a woman as a person, but rather something closer to a vending machine that should put out in exchange for basic decency), but it's also not like a redemption. As he came to realize he did something dumb and petty and he was worried for more than himself.
Now what I DO see a positive character moment is when Cordelia is about to be ripped apart by a mob, and Xander saves her at great risk to his own life.
It's such a depressingly low bar though isn't it? He's a good person because he doesn't think women are sub human f*** holes with no purpose other than to service men? THAT'S NOT BEING A GOOD PERSON! Recognising the humanity of 50% of the population is dead neutral. It should be a given. And the fact that some men are so awful they cannot recognise women's humanity doesn't mean we should act like the ones who can do it are anything special. We are so quick to fawn over men who manage basic decency. So desperately, pathetically grateful for any crumb. We really need to start raising our expectations - because when they get cookies for dead neutral they are never going to raise their standards.
But she's only in danger because of his actions. This is still giving him credit for just clearing up his own mess. A mess which included putting Cordelia's life in danger. The appropriate response isn't 'thank you for protecting me' it's 'wtf were you doing putting me in that danger? stay away from me.'
Cordelia is explicitly moved by the discovery that the spell was for her - as if it was some great romantic gesture.
Not raping Buffy is the bit he gets the added cookie for, when she tells him he really came through ... by not raping her.