- “Well, that was the most fun you can have without having any fun...”
- ―Cordelia after the battle against Mayor Wilkins[src]
Cordelia Chase is a servant of the Powers That Be. She attended Sunnydale High School as a teenager, where she was a popular cheerleader known for her "Queen Bee" put-downs. Since the school was situated on a Hellmouth, Cordelia also became familiar with demons and mystical occurrences, even helping to fight them as part of the "Scooby Gang". In later years, Cordelia came to Los Angeles, where she joined supernatural detective agency Angel Investigations and gained the power of the visions. These visions gave Cordelia great insight into the pain of others, stripping her of her selfishness and forging her into a dedicated and powerful warrior in the fight against evil. However, they also allowed her to fall victim to the machinations of the deity Jasmine. Cordelia died in 2004, using her last moments on Earth to aid her friend and love, Angel.
Cordelia was played by Charisma Carpenter. Her first appearance was in the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer in 1997, and she went on to appear in spin-off series Angel. As well as her canonical appearances, Cordelia has also been featured in a multitude of expanded universe material.
At the start of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Cordelia Chase is the only daughter of a wealthy family who lives in the small town of Sunnydale, California. She is a very beautiful and popular girl, whose fashionable clique is nicknamed the "Cordettes" and includes Cordelia's best friend, Harmony Kendall. She enjoys ridiculing those she sees as inferior, and dismisses her classmates Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg, and Jesse McNally as "losers". In ninth grade, she and Harmony take remedial Spanish together, where a boy named Donnie Wray develops a crush on her and writes an embarrassing song about her. Cordelia is among the many students and teachers at Sunnydale High who ignore unpopular student Marcie Ross so completely that she simply fades out of sight. At one point, Cordelia has a crush on senior student Daryl Epps, an all-star champion football star, until his untimely death in a rock-climbing accident.
In her sophomore year, Cordelia immediately befriends Buffy Summers, a new girl who has transferred from Los Angeles. Cordelia, in a nutshell, is the embodiment of who Buffy was, before becoming the Slayer, and becomes the chief foil at school for Buffy. Buffy can't stand Cordelia's snobby behavior towards her less popular classmates and instead becomes friends with Willow, Xander, Jesse, and school librarian Rupert Giles. When Buffy mistakenly attacks Cordelia with a stake, Cordelia made it her mission to make Buffy as much of an outcast as possible, despite the fact that Buffy later saves her life on several occasions. When Cordelia runs for May Queen, her boyfriend Mitch Fargo is beaten up, Harmony is pushed down a flight of stairs, and Cordelia's favorite teacher is nearly suffocated. Realizing the attacks must be about her, Cordelia swallows her pride and contacts Buffy for help. She discovers that invisible student Marcie Ross is responsible for terrorizing her, and Buffy saves her life when Marcie tries to mutilate her as revenge for ignoring her. Despite her tendency to rationalize strange events, Cordelia is forced to finally accept the existence of dark forces in Sunnydale when she is attacked by vampires on the night of the Spring Fling. Learning that Sunnydale is on a Hellmouth and that Buffy is the Slayer, Cordelia became a reluctant ally to the "Scooby Gang".
In her junior year, Cordelia continues her habit of falling into life-threatening situations. She is kidnapped by Chris Epps, who has succeeded in resurrecting his brother Daryl and is building him a zombie mate using the dismembered bodies of teenage girls. She is later attacked by the vampire Spike at Parent Teacher Night, nearly sacrificed to the demon Machida after deciding to date only college boys, and spends Halloween running away from kids who have been turned into their costumes. Through these experiences, she becomes increasingly more of a friend to the Scooby Gang. While hiding in Buffy's basement from a demonic assassin who can transform into maggots, Cordelia and Xander share a kiss and begin dating in secret. When the Cordettes find out about her relationship with Xander, Cordelia is unable to withstand the peer pressure and coldly dumps him on Valentine's Day. His later attempts to punish her through magic result in every woman in Sunnydale except Cordelia falling murderously in love with him. Cordelia is so moved by how Xander protects her from the other women that she gets back together with him, even though it makes her an outcast among her old friends.
- “I'll date whoever the hell I wanna date. No matter how lame he is.”
The two date for awhile. When Spike returns to Sunnydale and kidnaps Willow and Xander, she and Oz go searching for them. Cordelia watches as Xander and Willow make out. Running away, she falls through weak flooring and is impaled by a large piece of rebar. While in the hospital, she breaks up with Xander. When she returns to school, her popularity is pretty much gone and she is even insulted by Harmony.
Cordelia struggles to revive her popularity after Xander cheated on her by briefly befriending a new student, Anya Emerson Blaming Buffy for everything that is wrong in her life, Cordelia wishes that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale. This causes Cordelia to be transported to a grim alternate universe where The Master has risen and both Xander and Willow are vampires. At first she is pleased with her circumstances, but soon comes to realize that Sunnydale is really worse off without Buffy. She goes to Giles for help but she is killed by Vampire Willow and Xander. Once Giles restores the timeline she reverts to her former self and finds catharsis by continually insulting and belittling Xander.
When her father's "little mistake on his taxes for the last twelve years" costs her family everything, including their house and her car, cell phone, and wardrobe, she takes a job at an expensive local boutique, April Fools, to pay for a prom dress on layaway. Cordelia does not earn enough in time, but Xander finds out and pays it off for her. Her brief, mutual infatuation with Wesley Wyndam-Pryce ends with two bad kisses before graduation. Cordelia finds herself helping the Scoobies one last time during the Mayor's ascension with the aid of the rest of the Class of '99. She courageously slays a vamp and helps the other students during the war. Afterward, she is seen walking off with Buffy, Willow, Oz and Xander and, more importantly, off to her future in Los Angeles.
- “I'm good for exactly two things: International Superstardom, or helping a vampire with a soul to rid the world of evil. That makes for a short but colorful resume.”
Despite her intelligence and having been accepted to the likes of Columbia University, Cordelia finds herself unexpectedly unable to afford college due to her family's sudden financial reversals, and therefore, she moves to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. Meeting Angel at a Hollywood party, she pretends to be successful, when she is, in fact, nearly penniless, renting a dilapidated apartment and stealing food from such parties. Her agent is ignoring her calls, and she has no family to turn to, having severed ties. Desperate, Cordelia meets with Russell Winters, someone she believes can help her, but he turns out to be a vampire (a fact she immediately recognizes).
After being rescued by Angel and talking to Allen Francis Doyle, Cordelia charms Angel into turning his fight against evil into a business. She becomes Angel Investigations's office manager while pursuing her acting career, but never breaks out of commercials and plays, and repeatedly displays a prejudice against demons, firmly believing all of them to be evil. She reaches a turning point mid-season when her budding romance with Doyle ends with his sudden death. Visibly devastated, Cordelia attempts to carry on, but during an audition for a commercial, she receives her first vision, a gift transferred to her from Doyle during their first and last kiss. It gives her a powerful ability to help others. Though initally wary of this gift due to the splitting headaches it causes, in the season finale she is forced to see numerous terrible things happening to innocents and fully accept her calling to help the helpless, and over the course of the next few years, she comes to consider the visions to be her reason for being and refuses to give them up.
- “I saw them all. There is so much pain. We have to help them.”
As Angel's link to The Powers That Be, Cordelia grows more sensitive to the feelings of others as she experiences the pain of the subjects of each vision. The visions become increasingly more frequent and intense, and begin to physically damage her brain. For months, she secretly takes powerful painkillers and undergoes CAT scans that indicate the slow deterioration of her brain tissue. Yet when presented with the opportunity to pass her visions to the heroic Groosalugg during a short trip to the alternate demonic dimension Pylea, Cordelia refuses, stating that the visions are a part of her and make her who she is, a Champion.
But as the visions are intended for demons, not more fragile humans, Cordelia struggles to hide the effects from her friends. This continues until her 21st birthday, when she is rocked by a vision that sends her spirit into an astral plane. This opportunity is seized upon by Skip, a mercenary demon who sells his expertise to the highest bidder; in this case, a fallen member of The Powers That Be waiting to manifest on Earth.
Skip masquerades as Cordelia's guide from The Powers That Be. Later, to avoid dying from the visions, Cordelia accepts an offer from Skip, who alters history so that she never met Angel in L.A., instead landing her big break as an actress. However, even in this alternate timeline, Cordelia feels compelled to help others and eventually crosses paths with Angel, who received the visions in her place and is now insane. Unable to let her friend suffer, and realizing that fighting evil is her true calling, Cordelia has Skip return the timeline to normal, and accepts his offer to become a half-demon. Cordelia can then harbor the visions without pain, but mystical side-effects come as well, such as demonic side-effects and sometimes confusing visions with reality.
- “I know my purpose in this world and it includes the visions. And if the Powers That Be aren't complete dumb-asses, they know it, too.”
During this time, Cordelia develops romantic feelings for Angel as does he for her, but when the Groosalugg arrives in L.A. after being dethroned, Cordelia decides to put her feelings for Angel on hold and begins a passionate relationship with Groo, at one point going so far as to use a spell to allow the two to have sex without Cordelia losing her visions, and even giving him a makeover to resemble Angel right down to the hairstyle and wardrobe. Tormented by this, and gripped by a growing fear and jealousy that Groo will eventually replace him as the team's primary fighter, Angel gives the two money to take an extended vacation. Upon their return, they discover that numerous horrific events have occurred, including the kidnapping of Angel's infant son at the hands of vengeful vampire hunter Daniel Holtz. In response to this, Cordelia immediately shifts her attention to Angel, and Groo eventually realizes that she truly loves Angel, proceeding to depart L.A. after a final farewell.
Unbeknownst to everyone, Cordelia's transformation also sets in motion a major chain of events -- her body becomes suitable for use by the forces of evil. Cordelia's transformation gives her the power, not entirely under her control, to cleanse evil influence with a white glowing light. In the third season finale, Skip reappears to Cordelia, while she is on her way to meet with and declare her love for Angel. Skip tells her that she has done so much good on Earth, she is ready to ascend to a higher plane to do more good as a higher being there. It is a ruse to get her onto the fallen power's plane, in order for it to enter Cordelia. Having been convinced by all she hasseen and heard, Cordelia accepts the call to the higher plane, ascending into the sky surrounded by twinkling lights, eventually winking out of this dimension.
During the three months she lives on the higher plane, Cordelia is bored. Unable to talk to her friends and not doing any good. Cordelia finally returns to Earth from the higher plane, but the descent wipes out her personal memories and forces a fallen power with plans for domination of the entire human race to piggyback on her, but in hibernation. Also, before she descends, Cordelia uses her power to help Angel out by making him win at a rigged slot machine so he can get into the right place at the right time. When the amnesiac Cordelia finds herself at Angel Investigations, Angel and the others hide the bizarre reality of their situation from Cordelia, fearing it will be too much for her to handle. Confused and suspicious of Angel Investigations and those who work there, Cordelia seeks the truth and is horrified by what she discovers about her life as a Champion. After being attacked by a violent demon and several Wolfram & Hart operatives, Cordelia is rescued by Connor, Angel's teenage human son and, feeling safe with him, decides to live in his loft. She appreciates Connor's honesty about the supernatural.
During her stay, Cordelia feels lost and alone, becoming frustrated with her inability to remember her past. She realizes that she needs to learn to defend herself again. As his father did a year earlier, Connor offers to train Cordelia in combat. Cordelia's natural athleticism and warrior's heart make her a natural fighter, and during one session, a jubilant victory hug from Cordelia to Connor becomes a stolen kiss. To Connor's dismay, Cordelia cannot let anything happen until she knows who she really was.
Cordelia's memories are finally restored through a spell by Lorne in the episode "Spin the Bottle", but the spell awakens the fallen power, too. The entity later known as Jasmine had merged itself with every cell and fiber in Cordelia's body; now it completely submerges her consciousness. In the episode Apocalypse, Nowish, Jasmine's possession of Cordelia becomes apparent as she uses Cordelia's body to have sex with Connor, to become pregnant and give birth to herself.
While pregnant and under Jasmine's possession, she butchers the last sun totem Manjet, Lilah Morgan, and the Svear family to serve Jasmine's plans. She convinces Angel and his team to bring back Angelus to distract them and to keep her plans secret. Cordelia steals Angel's soul so Angel cannot return, and continually tells Connor that they are special, deceiving him into believing that the rest of the group hate them and would kill their baby.
Eventually, Cordelia is discovered and Angel's team interrogate Skip, who reveals Jasmine's plan. He says that all the events of the last four years had been carefully nudged into place. Jasmine may have simply seized on Cordelia's knock from her body, but whether that was the case will never be known. Skip also says that Jasmine cannot be removed from Cordelia without killing her or putting her into a permanent, vegetative state. Before Angel can kill the woman he loves, Cordelia performs a ritual with Connor's help to bring Jasmine out and manifest on this plane at last. Afterward, Cordelia falls into a coma, her life-force having been drained into Jasmine. After Angel joins Wolfram & Hart, Cordelia is transferred to their hospital in an effort to revive her.
Death and Afterlife
- “Don't make it hard, Angel. I'm just on a different road... and this is my off-ramp. The Powers That Be owed me one, and I didn't waste it. I got my guy back on track.”
- ―Cordelia explains to Angel why she can't stay[src]
- Angel: “[T]he loved ones I've lost — usually come back to help me when I need it most.”
- Cordelia: “See? Are those the words of the vampire destined to bring about the fall of civilization? No way! Be good, big guy.”
- — Angel and Cordelia's parting words[src]
Like many characters in the Buffyverse, Cordelia evolved dramatically throughout the two series. She changed from an egocentric fashion plate to a person whose life was increasingly dedicated to helping others. When first introduced, Cordelia felt no burning desire to become a better person, but suffered rejection and mockery from her original friends as she outgrew their shallowness. After moving to Los Angeles, Cordelia inherited visions that allowed her to feel the pain of others, which changed her future from being a famous actress to "helping the helpless." Cordelia is similar to Buffy, in that they both started as shallow and vapid but gradually became more dedicated to others and their own duty. Additionally, like Buffy, Cordelia matured greatly after taking on a motherly role. While Buffy matured after caring for her sister Dawn, Cordelia became more nurturing while caring for the infant Connor. Cordelia was also known early on for her lack of tact, a trait later inherited by Anya. She died with a grounded confidence and compassion for those in need, which replaced the arrogance and vanity of her adolescent self. Since Cordelia's first appearance, she has had a passionate love of clothes, which remains unchanged up through her final appearance; in fact, in "Disharmony", she quickly forgave Angel for his prior actions after discovering that he had bought her an entire set of designer clothes as an apology, similar to how she made peace with Xander when he paid for her prom dress in "The Prom".
During her time in Angel Investigations, Cordelia was shown to be somewhat quick to trust others. In "Disharmony", she insisted that Harmony was still good despite her annoying habits and ignored Angel's warnings that Harmony, being a soulless vampire, would betray her, a belief that ironically came to fruition when Harmony betrayed A.I. to their enemies. In "Offspring", Darla's pregnant state clouded Cordelia's judgment, and she protected Darla right until she was attacked and bitten.
Powers and abilities
Originally a normal human, Cordelia began receiving prophetic visions from The Powers That Be in the Angel episode, "Parting Gifts." The visions usually consist of ambiguous imagery of forthcoming attacks on innocents or various demonic disasters. Cordelia used this imagery to help Angel prevent them from happening.
Cordelia was the mother of a brood of Haxil Beast spawn in the episode "Expecting." When pregnant with them, she gained a telepathic connection with the children and their father, who used it to control her. In the episode "Epiphany," Cordelia was forced to be the host of an unborn Skilosh Demon, which granted her a working third eye in the back of her skull until it was removed.
In the episode "Billy," Cordelia claims that as a cheerleader, she need only be shown a move once before being able to mimic it, and demonstrates this by successfully copying a series of combat moves Angel is teaching her, and manages to corner him as a result. In the episode "Supersymmetry," she continues to learn how to fight under the instruction of Connor.
To combat the pain and trauma the visions give her (which would eventually kill a human), Cordelia became part-demon in the episode "Birthday," giving her resistance to their harmful effects and other powers including levitation and the ability to purify ("heal") the souls of those affected by demons and light related powers, which she has on one occasion used as a nightlight. Also, Cordelia was able to use her light power to destroy the Sluks by emitting a massive amount of light throughout the hotel, destroying the light-sensitive demons, Cordelia could also heat her light to the point she could disintegrate Connor´s knife. However, this use of her power was instinctual and not done consciously. Her visions became less ambiguous and more surreal. Because of this action of accepting demonhood, Cordelia was deemed a higher being and ascended to a higher realm. There she was able to wage the war on evil in a new way as a higher being in paradise with The Powers That Be, as seen in the episode "Tomorrow."
When she returned to this world, however, there was a hitchhiker that came along. This came in the form of Jasmine, a former higher being that would possess Cordelia early on in Season Four. At first, only slight irrational differences were seen in "Cordelia", such as sleeping with Connor (in the episode "Apocalypse, Nowish"). Eventually, this night of passion between the two would result in a new body formed for Jasmine after an incubating period. Jasmine could also cast spells while possessing Cordelia, and is able to hold up against (post-"Grave") Willow in a magical battle, at least for a short time before Connor distracts her, allowing Willow to restores Angel's soul, something Jasmine had been desperately trying to prevent.
- Daryl Epps - Daryl was a football champ who died in a rock climbing accident. Cordelia had held a one-sided interest in him while he was alive. He was later resurrected and selected Cordelia to be the head of a mate his brother Chris sought to create.
- Angel — Cordelia noticed Angel before she found out he was a vampire (her exact words on seeing him were "Hello, salty goodness!"), but he was interested in Buffy then. After moving to Los Angeles, she saw what a kind, good-hearted man Angel was, that would fight for good no matter what, and fell in love with him. However, various events (particularly Cordelia's possession by Jasmine) kept them from admitting their feelings to each other, although shortly before Cordelia died, the two shared a single kiss, and she died loving Angel, knowing that Angel loved her back. In After the Fall #12, Cordelia comes to a dying Angel to ease him into death. He tells her he loves her but cannot go with her. However, when he sees a vision of himself apparently on the side of evil in the final battle, he was prepared to leave with her, only for Cordelia to bring him out of his mood by informing him that he could never allow himself to be what he saw in the vision.
- Mitch Fargo — Cordelia's popular boyfriend in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Out of Mind, Out of Sight" was to reign beside Cordelia as May King before he suffered a brutal beating from the invisible and psychotic Marcie Ross.
- Kevin Benedict — Unlike many of her conquests, Cordelia seemed to genuinely adore this popular boyfriend in the episode "Prophecy Girl." Unfortunately, he was murdered by vampires on school grounds on the day of the prom.
- Richard Anderson — A rich ("Anderson Farms, Anderson Aeronautics and Anderson Cosmetics!") member of Delta Zeta Kappa, a fraternity cult at Crestwood College that sacrificed girls to the demon Machida in exchange for worldly success. Cordelia dated him briefly in the episode "Reptile Boy" (she believed that fake laughter would sustain the relationship) before he attempted to offer her as a sacrifice.
- Jonathan Levinson - After the traumatic experience with Richard Anderson, Cordelia is seen in the Bronze with Jonathan, who presents her with her drink. The only problem was that he forgot to ask for the extra foam. This probably only lasted this one time, although Harmony did tease Cordelia, after her breakup with Xander, by pointing out Jonathan as a potential "boyfriend".
- Devon MacLeish — The charismatic lead singer of Oz's band, Dingoes Ate My Baby, was unhappily dating Cordelia in Season Two's "Halloween."
- Xander Harris — After repeatedly being thrown into life-or-death situations together, Cordelia and Xander began a physical relationship that eventually became a real romantic attachment. Cordelia briefly broke up with him in the episode "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered" because of the negative effect that their relationship was having on her social standing, but after he showed how much he cared about her, she agreed to date him again. Their relationship was permanently ended roughly a year after it began, when she caught him kissing Willow Rosenberg (although they later became friends again, as seen by Xander secretly buying her prom dress after he learned about her financial issues).
- Wesley Wyndam-Pryce - Cordelia was attracted to him during Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and constantly flirted with him, likening him to James Bond. In the Season 3 Buffy finale "Graduation Day" they shared an awkward kiss in the High School library. They are reunited as members of Angel Investigations but their infatuation is never rekindled- with an exception in "Parting Gifts" when Cordelia kisses Wesley to get rid of her visions before registering his identity-, the two falling into a more familial role.
- Allen Francis Doyle — Cordelia first dismissed him as a badly-dressed loser, but as they spent more time together, she began to consider the possibility of a relationship; she was even prepared to date Doyle after learning about his half-demon nature, despite her typical disdain of demons. Cordelia and Doyle kissed shortly before his death, which gave her his visions from The Powers That Be.
- Wilson Christopher — A trendy L.A. photographer who impregnated Cordelia with demon spawn in the episode "Expecting"; he and his associates were subsequently beaten up by Angel.
- Groosalugg — He met Cordelia in the alternate dimension Pylea when she was made a Princess because of her visions. "Groo" (as she affectionately called him) was meant to mate with her and receive her visions, but Cordelia refused, because she didn't want to lose the visions and risk being useless to Angel Investigations. Cordelia and Groo fell for one another and when the Pylean government collapsed, Groo found a portal to Los Angeles and sought his Princess out again. They carried on their relationship and were able to become intimate once Cordelia bought a "mystical prophylactic" from a demon bordello that prevented her from losing the visions with intercourse. At first, it seemed as if this really could be happily ever after, but Groo chivalrously stepped aside and left town when he realized that Cordelia's heart lay with Angel.
- Connor — Cordelia and Connor bonded after she returned to Earth with amnesia, as he was the only one didn't lie to her. Connor developed romantic feelings for her, but Cordelia was reluctant to pursue any such avenues until she really knew who she was. After the being who would later be known as Jasmine took possession of Cordelia's body, it used her to seduce Connor.
- Harmony Kendall — Harmony was Cordelia's best friend in high school, though Cordelia considered herself lonely in her popularity (Out of Mind, Out of Sight). When Cordelia began dating Xander Harris, Harmony led the Cordettes in ostracizing her. In "Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered", Cordelia breaks up with Xander for their approval but later gets back together with him and severs her ties with her old clique. After breaking up with Xander, Cordelia returns to her old ways. After graduating from high school, Harmony, now a vampire, is reunited with Cordelia in Los Angeles (Disharmony). The two rekindle their old friendship and Harmony briefly considers working for Angel Investigations. However, she is drawn to the vampire organization they were investigating and betrays them. Cordelia has the opportunity to kill Harmony but chooses not to.
- The Scoobies — Cordelia initially considers the Scoobies (specifically Buffy, Willow, and Xander) to be strange and geeky. However, experiencing Sunnydale's supernatural elements makes her less reluctant to associate with them. After leaving the Cordettes for Xander, she abandons her "popularity" and becomes a full-fledged Scooby. After her breakup with Xander, she returns to her old, snobby persona though she still occasionally works with the Scoobies. After her parents are convicted of tax fraud and she is pushed into poverty, Xander pays for her prom dress, repairing her relationship with him and the other Scoobies. Cordelia seem to have still kept in contact with the gang after leaving to Los Angeles, notably in Disharmony, where Cordelia calls Willow about Harmony (who she mistakes as a lesbian) and finds out she's a vampire. Also, in that very phone call, Cordelia learns about Willow's own homosexuality.
Cordy has appeared in Buffy/Angel expanded universe. She appears in a number of comics/novels including:
- ↑ "Disharmony"
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 "Out of Mind, Out of Sight"
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 "Some Assembly Required"
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 "Welcome to the Hellmouth"
- ↑ "Witch"
- ↑ "Prophecy Girl"
- ↑ "School Hard"
- ↑ "Reptile Boy"
- ↑ "Halloween"
- ↑ "What's My Line, Part Two"
- ↑ "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered"
- ↑ "The Wish"
- ↑ "Amends", "The Zeppo", "Choices"
- ↑ "The Prom"
- ↑ "Graduation Day, Part Two"
- ↑ "City of"
- ↑ "Hero"
- ↑ "There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb"
- ↑ "Birthday"
- ↑ 20.0 20.1 "Benediction"
- ↑ "The Price"
- ↑ "Tomorrow"
- ↑ "You're Welcome"
- ↑ "Power Play"
- ↑ Angel: After the Fall #9
- ↑ Angel: After the Fall #12
- ↑ Angel: After the Fall #13
- ↑ Angel: After the Fall #17