Cordelia Chase is a fictional character created by Joss Whedon for the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer and its spin-off series Angel. Portrayed by Charisma Carpenter, the character appears as a cast regular in the first three seasons of Buffy, before exiting the show and becoming a series regular during the first four seasons of Angel. The character made her final television appearance in 2004, appearing as a special guest star in Angel's one hundredth episode. Cordelia also appears in apocryphal Buffy and Angel material such as comic books and novels.
Cordelia is introduced in "Welcome to the Hellmouth" as one of Sunnydale High's popular cheerleaders, attending school alongside Vampire Slayer Buffy Summers. Through her interactions with Buffy and her friends, she comes to accept the existence of supernatural forces and helps Buffy fight against them. In the television series Angel, Cordelia joins Angel, a heroic vampire with a soul, in forming a detective agency dedicated to stopping supernatural forces and helping the helpless. After Cordelia acquires the ability to see visions of those in need, she becomes a more compassionate and heroic character. In the fourth season of Angel, she takes on a villainous role when she becomes possessed by a malevolent deity — this storyline eventually leads to her character's death and subsequent exit from the series.
Created as a foil for Buffy's titular heroine, Cordelia was initially characterized as "shallow", "vain" and "self-centred", and was used in the series to create conflict for the other characters. The character went through changes as she gradually redeemed herself throughout the course of Buffy and Angel, and has received attention in academic texts related to gender studies and social status.
Cordelia Chase was the only daughter of a wealthy family who lived in the small town of Sunnydale, California. She was a very beautiful and popular girl, whose fashionable clique was nicknamed the "Cordettes" and included Cordelia's best friend, Harmony Kendall. However, she enjoyed ridiculing those she saw as inferior, and dismissed her classmates Xander Harris, Willow Rosenberg, and Jesse McNally as losers. In ninth grade, she and Harmony took remedial Spanish together, where a boy named Donnie Wray developed a crush on her and wrote an embarrassing song about her ("Disharmony"). Cordelia was among the many students and teachers at Sunnydale High who ignored unpopular student Marcie Ross so completely that she simply faded out of sight ("Out of Mind, Out of Sight") At one point, Cordelia had a crush on senior student Daryl Epps, an all-star champion football star until his untimely death in a rock-climbing accident ("Some Assembly Required").
In her sophomore year, Cordelia immediately befriended Buffy Summers, a new girl who had transferred from Los Angeles. However, Buffy couldn't stand Cordelia's snobby behavior towards her less popular classmates and instead became friends with Willow, Xander, Jesse, and school librarian Rupert Giles. When Buffy mistakenly attacked her with a stake, Cordelia made it her mission to make Buffy as much of an outcast as possible ("Welcome to the Hellmouth"), despite the fact that Buffy later saved her life on several occasions ("Witch"). As Cordelia ran for May Queen, her boyfriend Mitch Fargo was beaten up, Harmony was pushed down a flight of stairs, and Cordelia's favorite teacher was nearly suffocated. Realizing the attacks must be about her, Cordelia swallowed her pride and contacted Buffy for help. She discovered that invisible student Marcie Ross was responsible for terrorizing her, and Buffy saved her life when Marcie tried to mutilate her as revenge for ignoring her.Despite her tendency to rationalize strange events, Cordelia was forced to finally accept the existence of dark forces in Sunnydale when she was attacked by vampires on the night of the Spring Fling. Learning that Sunnydale was on a Hellmouth and that Buffy was the Slayer, Cordelia became a reluctant ally to the "Scooby Gang" ("Prophecy Girl").
In her junior year, Cordelia continued her habit of falling into life-threatening situations. She was kidnapped by Chris Epps, who had succeeded in resurrecting his brother Daryl and was building him a zombie mate using the dismembered bodies of teenage girls. She was later attacked by the vampire Spike at Parent Teacher Night ("School Hard"), nearly sacrificed to the demon Machida after deciding to date only college boys ("Reptile Boy"), and spent Halloween running away from kids who had been turned into their costumes ("Halloween").Through these experiences, she became increasingly more of a friend to the Scooby Gang. While hiding in Buffy's basement from a demonic assassin who could transform into maggots, Cordelia and Xander shared a kiss and began dating in secret ("What's My Line, Part Two"). When the Cordettes found out about her relationship with Xander, Cordelia was unable to withstand the peer pressure and coldly dumped him on Valentine's Day. His later attempts to punish her through magic resulted in every woman in Sunnydale except Cordelia falling murderously in love with him. Cordelia was so moved by how Xander protected her from the other women that she got back together with him, even though it made her an outcast among her old friends ("Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered").
The two dated for awhile. When Spike returned to Sunnydale and kidnapped Willow and Xander, she and Oz went searching for them. Cordelia watched as Xander and Willow kissed. Running away, she fell through weak flooring and was impaled by a large piece of rebar. While in the hospital, she broke 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 dumps her by briefly befriending a new student, Anya Emerson ("The Wish"). Blaming Buffy for everything that was wrong in her life, Cordelia wished that Buffy had never come to Sunnydale, and was transported to a grim alternate universe where The Master had risen and both Xander and Willow were 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 Willow and Xander. Once Giles restores the timeline she reverts to her former self and finds catharsis by continually insulting and belittling Xander. ("Amends", "The Zeppo", "Choices") 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 ("The Prom"). Her brief, mutual infatuation with Wesley Wyndam-Pryce ends with two bad kisses before graduation ("Graduation Day, Part Two"). 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.
Despite her intelligence and having been accepted to the likes of Columbia University, Cordelia is unable to afford college, 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, who turns out to be a vampire (a fact she immediately recognizes) ("City of").
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. She reaches a turning point mid-season when her budding romance with Doyle ends with his sudden death ("Hero"). Visibly devastated, Cordelia attempts to carry on, but during an audition for a commercial, she receives her first vision, a gift transferred to her by Doyle during their first and last kiss. It gives her a powerful ability to help others, and over the course of the next few years, she comes to consider them her reason for being.
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 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 tissues. 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 hero ("There's No Place Like Plrtz Glrb").
But as the visions are intended for demons only, 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. Through a series of manipulative events, such as selectively showing her excerpts of Angel calling her nothing but a rich girl from Sunnydale and giving her the "perfect" life as a successful actress that she has always wanted (knowing she would eventually look for a loophole), he transforms Cordelia into a part-demon ("Birthday"). Cordelia can then harbor the visions without pain, but mystical side-effects come as well, including temporary physical manifestations of the subject and being able to re-enter the vision at a later point ("Benediction").
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 ("The Price", "Benediction"). In the third season finale, Skip reappears to Cordelia, who 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 had seen and heard, Cordelia accepts the call to the higher plane, ascending into the sky surrounded by twinkling lights, eventually winking out of this dimension ("Tomorrow").
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 the entire human race into hibernation. Angel hides the truth from Cordelia, fearing it would 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. 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 her 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 create a separate body for 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. Afterwards, Cordelia falls into a coma, her life-force having been drained. After Angel joins Wolfram & Hart, Cordelia is transferred to their hospital in an effort to revive her.
Death and afterlifeEdit
After several months in hospital, Cordelia seemingly awoke from her coma and was shocked by the events that had transpired in her absence. She learned that Angel Investigations no longer worked as a detective agency at the Hyperion, but had taken over the L.A. branch of Wolfram & Hart with Angel as C.E.O.. Angel explained that the team were attempting to use W&H's near-infinite resources to fight against evil, but Cordelia was unconvinced, describing what he had done as a "deal with the devil". She learned that the real reason for Angel's decision was because W&H had erased Connor's memories and he was now living a normal life with another family; the rest of the team's memories of Connor had been similarly erased. Cordelia apologized to Wesley for killing Lilah, but he assured her he did not hold her responsible for Jasmine's actions. When Angel learned that Lindsey McDonald had returned and was planning to activate W&H's failsafe to eliminate him, Cordelia helped him defeat Lindsey. Afterwards, she confessed to Angel that her return was only temporary, a favor from the Powers That Be. They shared once last kiss before Angel received a phone call telling him Cordelia had died in her coma, having never awoken ("You're Welcome"). Later that night, Angel received a vision—given to him via Cordelia's kiss—which granted him the knowledge he needed to bring down the Circle of the Black Thorn ("Power Play").
Angel succeeded in defeating the Circle, but the Senior Partners banished all of Los Angeles to hell as a result. In the ensuing chaos, Angel was rendered human and Gunn was turned into a vampire. Wesley, who had died in the battle against the Circle and was now a ghost, attempted to contact the Powers That Be in the hopes of being restored to his physical form. The Powers were unable to help, as they had no influence over what Los Angeles had become. However, Cordelia, who now legitimately served with the Powers That Be, managed to muster a slight breeze to let Wesley know she was listening (Angel: After the Fall #9). Later, when Angel was fatally injured by Gunn, Cordelia was able to appear to him to help ease his transition into death. She was heartbroken by what had become of her friends, but nevertheless amused to learn that Angel had accidentally named his dragon after her. Angel and Cordelia watched helplessly from another plane as Wesley revealed that Angel's role in the Shanshu Prophecy would be one of evil (Angel: After the Fall #12). As Angel succumbed to death, not wanting such events to transpire, Connor appeared and inspired his father to keep fighting. Cordelia urged Angel to go back to his son before fading away (Angel: After the Fall #13). After the restoration of Los Angeles, Angel comes to recognize Cordelia's presence in the gentle breeze, often trying to dissuade his pessimism (Angel: After the Fall #17).
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. She died with a grounded confidence and compassion for those in need, which replaced the arrogance and vanity of her adolescent self. 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. Cordelia was known early on for her lack of tact, a trait later inherited by Anya. She has a passionate love of clothes, which remains unchanged up through her final appearance. Cordelia's original outer beauty, seen in the earlier series' became overshadowed by her courage and warmth, which were apparent to all who met her, radiating from the inside and instantly lighting up any room she entered. Cordelia managed to outgrow her previous shallowness & become every bit as great a hero as Angel or Buffy.
Powers and abilitiesEdit
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. 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 restore Angel's soul, something Jasmine had been desperately trying to prevent.
In the final season, Cordelia apparently creates a solid astral projection of herself to help Angel in the episode "You're Welcome," likely aided by the Powers That Be.
- Daryl Epps - Daryl was a football champ; while going out with Cordelia, he died in a rock climbing accident. 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 as Angelus in the final battle, he leaves with her.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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 — A being who would later be known as Jasmine seduced Connor while possessing Cordelia's body.
Cordelia has been in 140 canonical Buffyverse appearances.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- A series regular for the first three seasons (1997-1999), Cordelia did not appear in "The Pack" and "I, Robot... You, Jane". She appeared in 54 episodes in all.
- A series regular for the first four seasons (1999-2003), Cordelia did not appear in "Loyalty", "Sleep Tight" and "Forgiving" as she was on holiday with Groo, and her last few appearances as a regular were in a coma after being possessed by Jasmine. She appeared as a guest in the Season Five episode "You're Welcome." Cordelia appeared in 86 episodes in all.
Cordy has appeared in Buffy/Angel expanded universe. She appears in a number of comics/novels including: