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- “There are no absolutes. No right and wrong. Haven’t you learned anything working for the Powers? There are only choices. I offered paradise, you chose this!”
- ―Jasmine to Angel
Jasmine (also known as the Blessed Devourer, the Beastmaster, and Cordelia Chase, true name unpronounceable by human tongues) was a rogue member of The Powers That Be. Jasmine was the "Big Bad" that Angel Investigations had to deal with in 2003.
Jasmine was an ambiguously evil being whose goal was to gain a corporeal form on Earth and become ruler of the world. The main goal of Jasmine, the Devourer, was to bring world peace. The catch, however, was that Jasmine's vision of world peace was a complete lack of free will, wherein all humans would be mindlessly and unquestioningly devoted to her, while she had to literally eat people to maintain her energy.
According to her servant Skip (a demon in secret contact with Jasmine, but openly friends with Cordelia Chase), Jasmine arranged for many of the events in the lives of the Angel Investigations staff to align players as necessary in order to create the opportunity to come to Earth. These events included Lorne's arrival on Earth, Angel's move from Sunnydale to Los Angeles, the passing of Doyle's visions to Cordelia, Cordelia's later transformation into half-demon and her ascension into the realm of The Powers, the birth of Connor, and the coming of The Beast.
She could also be considered the final event of the Tro-Clon, a confluence of events destined to bring about the ruination and/or purification of mankind.
When the primeval forces that eventually became considered good and evil took shape, the malevolent grew in power and the era of demons began. The primeval forces for good became The Powers That Be, who left this world and made themselves content to watch from an alternate reality, only directing the remaining forces for good on Earth and not taking an active part in the war against evil.
However, one power was a renegade who decided to take matters into her own hands and impose peace on Earth via mind control. First, she conquered a dimension filled with a race of insectoid demons as a "rehearsal" before going to Earth. This former power, known to these demons as "The Blessed Devourer", tinkered with the demons' evolution and society, but eventually abandoned them and later spoke of them as a "mistake". In the following centuries, many lost their faith in her while others fanatically awaited for her return. Like in the case of mankind, Jasmine assumed a shape similar to that of her zealots.
After Angel wins for the dying human Darla a second chance at life through passing a series of trials, he learned that Darla could not use the second chance because she was already on her second life, having been resurrected as a human by Wolfram & Hart as part of a scheme to turn Angel into his evil persona Angelus. And so it appeared that the battle to win the life was for nothing. However, that second life continued to be Darla's in some fashion as the former Power used it to create Connor as result of Angel and Darla having sex (who had been made into a vampire again by Drusilla at Wolfram & Hart's behest).
Following the birth of Connor, the ex-Power had Skip maneuver Cordelia into becoming part demon. After Connor later returned from Quor'toth, Skip "helped" Cordelia into ascending in the realm of The Powers. Once there, Cordelia finds herself consumed with boredom. Cordelia eventually elects to give up her goddesshood and return to Earth in her previous part-demon form, but the ex-Power uses this interdimensional trip to "piggy-back" into our dimension by possessing Cordelia. However, The Powers had in place a safeguard for this type of travel.
Back on Earth
Upon arrival back on Earth, Cordelia finds herself with a severe case of amnesia that locks out her experiences as Cordelia. Undaunted (and unaware of the ex-Power's presence), the Angel Investigations team immediately sets about restoring their friend's memory using a Memory Restoration Spell. Eventually, the team was able to restore her memory, but in so doing, they unlocked the ex-Power's personality instead of Cordelia's.
The ex-Power was able to take over Cordelia and manipulate all of Cordelia's friends, who did not know that she was possessed. Following her return to Earth, the ex-Power worked to keep Angel Investigations off-balance and distracted so they would not notice or prevent her birth into her own new body via Cordelia. First, she summoned the Beast (her seemingly unstoppable servant) and slaughtered the Svear, a family of priestesses who banished him from the Earth dimension 214 years before, then she had him completely obliterate all manifestations of Wolfram & Hart in Los Angeles. She also created a rain of fire and blocked out the Sun all over Los Angeles, by killing the five Ra-Tet Totems and using their respective talismans to cast a spell that would eventually cover the entire Earth in darkness.
With the champions distracted by the Beast blotting out the sun, "Cordelia" seduced Connor, whose primary purpose had been to be the father of her new body, her use of Cordelia as a host being simply a "transitionary" state until she could become independent. Then, having cast a powerful spell to erase all references to the Beast in memory and literature in this reality, she convinced the team to release Angelus, the only one who has memories of the Beast, since Angelus met the Beast many years ago, his memory remaining intact despite the dimension-wide erasure as he did not technically exist when the spell was cast. Following that, she stolen the Muo-Ping (a sacred glass jar that contained Angel's soul), faked a replacement way of re-ensouling Angel, and cast a spell that confused Lorne's empathetic abilities, so Angelus would be freed from his cage by tricking everyone into thinking that he was Angel.
She also murdered Lilah Morgan, manipulated Connor, who had advocated simply staking Angelus over re-ensouling him, into trying to do so, and magically battled Willow Rosenberg to prevent Angelus from being re-ensouled and turned back into Angel, but she got distracted during the battle and Willow successfully turned Angelus back into Angel. Despite this failure, by the end of the crisis, her goal had been achieved and "Cordelia" has been impregnated with the fast-gestating "baby".
"Cordelia" finally blew her cover during Lorne's attempt to regain his powers. During a secret ritual where Lorne was expected to be alone, "Cordelia" arrived with a large knife to kill him. It was really a trap set by the Angel team who had all realized that Cordelia was possessed, but she was saved by Connor. With his further assistance (including the kidnapping of an innocent virgin for sacrifice), "Cordelia" was able to give birth to Jasmine.
Upon being born, Jasmine drained the life-force out of Cordelia, leaving her in a comatose state, one from which she would never wake up. At the birth, a glowing, tentacled form emerges, its light filling the room. But it quickly assumes the shape of a beautiful young woman. When Angel and Connor see her for the first time, they both fall to their knees, having quickly fallen under her thrall.
Jasmine appeared before the rest of Angel's crew, turning them into her followers and announcing that, despite the great evil done in her name, her plan was to bring world peace and the elimination of evil, starting in Los Angeles. However, Jasmine's peace comes at a high price. One drawback was that Jasmine needed to devour a certain number of humans to maintain her force, with that number growing as her power and influence grew. For victims, she usually choose people that were both beautiful and fit, but also people that had been lost and in pain, sparing those that would prove useful for the society she planed on creating.
Peace on Earth
Jasmine's mind control virtually eliminated free will from the world, with everyone unable to do much of anything except praise and serve Jasmine all day, until Fred saw Jasmine's true form — that of a decaying, maggot-infested dead vessel. Terrified, she visited John Stoler, a man who had tried to kill Jasmine on her first outing with the crew and was severely beaten by Angel. He had been committed to the psych ward for his ravings about Jasmine's terrible face and his own face had been rotted by Jasmine's touch. Fred then spent several days on the run from Jasmine and her followers, trying to discover the source of her cure.
Eventually, Fred realized why she had been able to throw off Jasmine's mind control — Jasmine's blood, to which Stoller had also been exposed. Earlier, Fred's devotion to Jasmine had led her to scrub Jasmine's bloodstained clothing so hard that her own fingers bled. She then cured Angel by shooting Jasmine through the shoulder, the bloodstained bullet striking Angel and thus exposing him to the same treatment. Unfortunately, the act caused Jasmine to learn of the curative effects of her blood and to guard against it.
Angel and Fred were nevertheless able to free the rest of the Team Angel by exposing them to blood from the comatose Cordelia, which had the same properties as Jasmine's blood due to her time as Jasmine's "mother". They "infected" Lorne, Wesley, and Gunn with it. Although, their attempts to "infect" Connor failed as he was apparently never fully under her thrall in the first place; he willingly went along with her plans due to his warped psyche.
Jasmine accused them of being dissidents bent on spreading hatred, and directed her followers to kill them. As her powers had grown, she became capable of projecting her will and voice through each of her followers. She began to refer to those under her control as the Body Jasmine, as they were veritable extensions of her own body.
While Fred, Wesley, Lorne, and Gunn fought against Jasmine's forces under Connor's command, Angel was able to undo her control over the world by revealing her true name. This second and more powerful weakness of Jasmine's was hidden in the demon dimension that she had formerly ruled, which was revealed to Wesley when one of the zealots there travels to Earth in the hope of reminding Jasmine of his world's existence, encountering the team as they retreated to the sewers to hide. As the other world's atmosphere was poisonous to humans, Angel (who, as a vampire, didn't need to breathe) traveled to the other dimension via a mystic globe that he took from the demon from Jasmine's first world.
In this world, Angel fought and decapitated the Keeper of the Name, the only being who knew Jasmine's name. The being's mouth had been sewn closed, and when Angel brought the head back to L.A, he opened the mouth, which caused the name, trapped in his mouth, to be released with the dead priest's last breath. This shattered Jasmine's mind control and removed her power during the worldwide news broadcast, in which she intended to extend her influence over the globe.
When her name was revealed, her appearance was also altered; though she retained a human appearance, she was rotting and covered with boils. Her followers ran horrified as the sensation of inner peace and bliss they experienced as part of Jasmine's collective was obliterated. Many cause riots and chaos, while others even contemplated suicide. When she left, her former subjects were filled with loneliness and despair. They missed the all-encompassing love Jasmine had brought with her mind control. With her name revealed, Jasmine's mind control powers were destroyed, though she kept her superhuman strength and could easily withstand electricity. Her unique psychic link with Connor also remained, as their connection was of a different nature. Through this link, Connor tracked down Jasmine.
With her agenda ruined by Angel, Jasmine initially found herself lost and purposeless, until Angel tried to reach out to her. Jasmine was upset with Angel and tried to impart to him that there was no absolute good, no absolute evil — everything was a gray area. Angel tried to sway her to his point of view, to recruit her to his side, but Jasmine preferred to slaughter humanity herself before giving free will a chance, as she had seen for millennia what this precious free will would bring about. Jasmine said that without her help, the world was doomed to drown in its own blood; Angel protested that it should be humanity's choice to bring about a perfect world, rather than having it forced on them.
This discussion quickly broke out into a massive fight between the two, during which Jasmine easily outmatched her "grandfather" before Connor appeared. Though initially appearing to side with Jasmine, Connor immediately turned on her and put his fist through her head, killing her instantly, later admitting to Angel that he had known all along that Jasmine's utopia was a lie and that he had gone along with her plans simply because he didn't know what else to do.
After Jasmine's destruction, the Angel Investigations team was offered control over the newly-reopened Wolfram & Hart by the then undead Lilah Morgan, the Senior Partners being impressed that they ended world peace despite Jasmine's ethically questionable methods; in reality, however, the Senior Partners wanted to win Angel over to their side and keep him distracted while their "scheduled" apocalypse was underway. Angel only accepted the deal after Connor, mentally and emotionally torn apart by the knowledge that he only existed to bring Jasmine into the world, attempted to kill Cordelia, himself, and a shop full of innocents with explosives. In accordance with Angel's agreement, the Senior Partners altered reality so that Connor would have a normal human life and family with no memory of the Team Angel and vice versa.
Cordelia remained in her coma for almost a year. The Powers That Be acknowledged that they "owed [her] one", and gave her one full day to put a misguided and disillusioned Angel back on track, which included a final, comprehensive vision from The Powers. Satisfied that Angel would keep fighting the good fight, Cordelia passed away. Despite Jasmine's manipulations, Cordelia's record of service to The Powers was still genuine and after her death, Cordelia was once again made a higher being, this time legitimately and permanently by The Powers themselves.
- “And how many will die because of you? I could've stopped it, Angel. All of it. War, disease, poverty. How many precious, beautiful lives would’ve been saved in a handful of years? Yes, I murdered thousands to save billions. This world is doomed to drown in its own blood now.”
Jasmine's good or evil status was major source for discussion and disagreement. In her view, she was a force for good, as her goal was to end all the suffering in the world; against this goal, a few thousand deaths would be balanced against the happiness of billions. Jasmine further felt, based on her millennia of observing humanity, that free will was part of the problem and thus needed to be eliminated. Angel, who had the advantage of several lifetimes of actually experiencing and causing mortal suffering, argues her methods were not "good", and only through suffering can souls grow, and that without free will there would be no joy.
The fact one of the last things Jasmine did before dying was pledge to use her remaining power to destroy the world shows a desire for power and control was clearly a more major motivation than she let on. The childish desire to destroy what she could not own clearly offers a window into her psyche and may indicate why she fell from favor with The Powers That Be. Additionally, during her rise to power, she insisted that she needed no compensation for her "gift" of world peace, only to immediately "suggest" that a large temple would be appropriate. All the malevolent deeds she felt were required in the achievements of her goal were also display an "end justifies the means" mentality, something which many (including Angel) would argue was inherently evil. There was also no indication that she would have not gotten bored after gaining control over Earth and would have eventually abandoned it like she did to the previous dimensions she ruled, again suggesting a more childlike mentality than she would like to admit.
The thing that made Angel and his friends feel most torn about defeating her was Wolfram & Hart's reaction. When their bitterest and most dangerous enemy were so happy about the end of world peace that they offered them unlimited control over an entire branch office, none of the Team Angel members felt entirely sure they had done the right thing.
Powers and abilities
- “We're fusing together like the cells of a single body. They're my eyes, my skin, my limbs, and, if need be, my fists.”
Being one of The Powers That Be, Jasmine was an extremely powerful entity, although less than what she had been before she fell from grace.
- Immortality: Jasmine was immortal and claimed to have been "forged in the inferno of creation". She also stated she walked the Earth before humans came into being, around the time of the Old Ones.
- Accelerated healing: Jasmine had the capacity of regeneration cauterizing herself very quickly, like that of vampires or slayers. She attributed this to having been a former Power That Be. Her regenerative abilities seemed to gain a temporary increase in effect after she fed on biological matter.
- Superhuman strength: Jasmine had a great deal of superhuman strength, even when her powers was greatly reduced. She was strong enough to overpower Angel and effortlessly lift a station wagon over her head.
- Superhuman durability: Jasmine was remarkably durable. Her resilience was first displayed when she walked away from being shot several times by Fred with relative ease, though she needed to consume a handful of humans to completely heal herself. She was later able to withstand contact with a live power line and take blows from Angel without even flinching. The only ones who were capable of causing her truly lasting harm were Connor and, theoretically, Cordelia. Connor was able to kill her with a single strike, regardless of her divine powers.
- Hive mind hypnosis: Jasmine's signature ability was her mass hypnosis, with which she could strip both humans and benevolent demons of their free will. Although evil demon's seemed immune to her mind control, the fact that Angel could be controlled suggested that Jasmine's power was based on an influence she had over a person's soul. Merely seeing or hearing her instantly put people under her thrall, whether meeting her in person, seeing her on video or even hearing her voice on the radio. Those who were affected were unquestioningly loyal to Jasmine, feeling an intense sensation of love and devotion for her. The fact that Angel felt this intense sense of happiness and "love" for Jasmine but did not revert to Angelus suggests that this was not a true form of love.
- Hypnotic networks: According to Fred's theory, "[Jasmine's influence acted as] a biological or electronic trigger that effectively overrides your own sense of ideals and values and replaces them with an alternative coercive agenda that reduces you to little more than a mindless meat puppet". The connection Jasmine forms with her followers not only allows them to sense her wants and needs, but links their minds together as well. This connection allowed Jasmine, with the Angel Investigation team's aid, to broadcast a mental image of Fred to the thousands of followers she amassed throughout Los Angeles, along with the instructions to find and apprehend her. The Angel Investigation team also showcased the sharing of knowledge and communication among Jasmine's collective, as seen when Gunn sensed that the hot water went out on the third floor of the hotel and Wesley responded that there was a plumber in the lobby who could help fix it. This connection became stronger and more intuitive as time passed, progressing to the point that Jasmine could take control of her followers and use them as extensions of herself (i.e. seeing through their eyes, feeling what they felt, and even speaking through them). Jasmine referred to the collective people under her thrall as the Body Jasmine. Before her television address to the country she told Connor that it would be particularly draining for her, implying that Jasmine required some conscious effort to mesmerize others.
- Bliss inducement: Her mind controlled followers had a powerful sensation of inner peace and bliss they experienced as part of Jasmine's collective, giving every being all-encompassing love through her hypnotic influence.
- Biological manipulation: She was capable of manipulating a living being's biology. She displayed:
- Shapeshifting: Jasmine always took a form similar to that of the beings in the worlds she took over — although she had to use a pre-prepared individual as a host to give birth to herself — and she could also take the form of a tentacled bio-luminescent creature to feed.
- Biological absorption: In order to maintain her unstable physiological form, Jasmine had to devour the bodies of biologically living beings. While feeding on biological matter, Jasmine glowed with a bright green light and exposed a tentacled form. In this state, she was able to absorb the biological life forms within her vicinity and assimilate their biological matter into her own being. After a feeding, she also displayed a temporary increase her physical powers.
- Necrosis inducement: Through touch, Jasmine could induce rapid necrosis in others.
- Healing: After having fed on several of her followers, Jasmine was also able to completely heal Connor of the injuries he sustained during his fight with Angel.
- Evolution manipulation: In the previous dimension Jasmine conquered, she claimed to have influenced the evolutionary development of the race she enthralled. This allowed members of the species within that dimension to develop powerful psychic abilities. The Guardian of the Word was capable reading the hearts and minds of others, even beings that should have been immune to such psychic reading, like vampires.
- Precognition: Jasmine was capable of seeing precognitive patterns and used this knowledge to align the fates of Angel and his team in order to arrive on Earth. Skip further elaborated on this by stating that all the major events which happened to Team Angel were due to her doing. She foretold the future of a pregnant woman's unborn child; although this power was ambiguous as she may had simply been saying what the other woman wanted or needed to hear.
- Omnilingualism: She also appeared innately fluent in many languages, such as English, Mandarin, and Spanish. The connection Jasmine formed with her followers suggested that she could speak whatever languages they did.
- Mediumship: While possessing Cordelia, Jasmine was able to perceive the astral forms of others, as she wad able to detect the presence of Darla's ghost.
- Magical manipulation: Jasmine had also the capacity to manipulate tremendous magical energies in order to perform extremely complex spells and reality defying feats of power.
- Life manipulation: Jasmine stated that she used the life that Angel had earned from the trails in order to gift Angel and Darla with a biological offspring. This was further elaborated upon by Skip when he tried to explain how an impossible birth was made possible. Jasmine even went as far as to protect the fetus from any harm until he was born.
- Reality manipulation: Jasmine was able to extinguish all forms of information available within a dimension regarding the Beast, her plans and herself. However, she was not able to eliminate similar information from places such as a Pan-Dimensional Black Markets from which Lilah obtained vital information on her and her Beast. Skip even further elaborated on this by stating that Jasmine was the one responsible for orchestrating the Tro-Clon, a specific series of events within each member of Angel Investigations' lives in order to influence their decision making. This was done so, in order for her plans to come to fruition.
- Power manipulation: She was able to perform a spell to alter Lorne's empathetic abilities, so that Lorne could not sense her presence or read her aura. Lorne also falsely sensed that Angel was re-ensouled.
- Spell modifications: She had also temporary modified the Transuding Furies' spell, extending the coverage to beings with demonic heritage such as Connor.
- Mental infiltration: She was capable of enforcing her will by mental infiltration. She had access to all of Cordelia's memories. She used this to telepathically communicate with Angelus and even managed to coerce the soulless homicidal vampire into becoming her willing slave. While using mental infiltration on Angelus, she was also able to disguise her voice to sound like a threatening and demanding man.
- Advanced telekinesis: While possessing Cordelia, Jasmine could use magical energies in order to exert tremendous telekinetic force which was enough to hold her own against Willow, who was undoubtedly one of the most powerful witches on Earth at the time. It was only through Connor's unexpected distraction that Jasmine lost her telekinetic concentration and Angel's soul was freed.
- Psychic link to Connor: Due to her connection with Connor, she could project her thoughts into his mind even after he wasn't under her control.
- Memory loss: Jasmine was aware that descending into a lower dimension from a higher divine realm would compromise her psychology and cause permanent amnesia to her as well as the vessel she would occupy. Jasmine chose to hedge this risk by orchestrating Lorne's escape from Pylea, since Lorne would know of a memory restoration ritual which would reignite Jasmine's memories after she had arrived on Earth.
- True name: Jasmine's greatest weakness was her true name; when spoken in her presence, it greatly weakened her, diminishing most of her powers, reverting her to her true form, and destroying the Body Jasmine releasing all under her control. Her name was unpronounceable in human tongues, sounding like a combination of whispers and inhuman growls.
- Cures/release from the Body Jasmine: There were only two ways to release people from Jasmine's influence; the first was to introduce Jasmine's blood, or the blood of Cordelia, into their body. After this they were released from Jasmine's influence and it was beyond her power to place them back under her control. The only other way was for her true name, unpronounceable to human tongues, to be spoken in her presence, which breaks her hypnotic spell and dissolves the connection between herself and her followers. Once released from Jasmine's thrall, the "infected" typically experienced extreme sadness and even suicidal depression after being freed, shattered by the loss of the intense love, connection and nirvana they once felt.
- Feeding: In order to maintain her powers and expand the Body Jasmine, she must consume humans on a regular basis. When feeding she looses telepathic contact with her followers. She also needs to feed to heal her body from grievous injuries like gunshot wounds, suggesting that although she was incredibly durable there was a limit to the damage her body could take. While feeding Jasmine glows with a bright green light and exposes a tentacled form, totally absorbing the biological matter of the followers she consumes.
- Progenitors of Jasmine's form: Jasmine was notably immortal and incredibly durable. As a former member of The Powers That Be, Jasmine was "forged in the inferno of creation", capable of easily surviving intense physical trauma and even volts of electricity. However, she was utterly vulnerable to her "parents", the ones who created her physical body, Connor and Cordelia. Jasmine survived being shot several times, immediately recovered from being hit with a live power line and was unfazed by several blows made by Angel, but was easily killed by Connor when he punched a hole through her head with little to no effort. Jasmine was also protective over Cordelia's comatose body, suggesting Jasmine required her to remain safe, possibly due to the fact that Cordelia's body was the vessel that brought her into this physical world. Jasmine further claimed that Cordelia and Connor were her "tethers" to Earth, and that she could not harm either them.
Behind the scenes
- She was portrayed by Gina Torres and Charisma Carpenter, and voiced by Pete Renaday.
- Morena Baccarin, a regular collaborator of Joss Whedon's and like Gina Torres, also a former member of Firefly's main cast was originally scheduled to play Jasmine.
- Jasmine's abilities and personality mimic those of Archons in Gnosticism, because they also give human beings a false sense of bliss at the expense of reality and free will.
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