Spoiled, shallow, and just a little bit bratty, Cordelia Chase is a character who soon came to epitomize one of the overriding themes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: that first appearances are rarely -if ever – accurate. Cordy started life as the arch-rival of show protagonist Buffy Summers, acting as a constant reminder of all that the latter had been forced to sacrifice in her role as the Chosen One.
“Sometimes, people are so busy agreeing with me, that they don’t hear a word I say.”Cordelia Chase
As a result, her relationship with the Scoobies was a little less than harmonious…until the threat of impending death and ongoing apocalypse forced the two teams to join forces and defeat an ancient vampire who was threatening to destroy the town, the country, and the world. Just a standard day in Sunnydale then.
Over the course of the next two seasons, Cordy became a reluctant ally of the Scoobies, before jumping ship to take a starring role in the spin-off Angel.
Over the years, she has battled death, demons, and a desire for something more than high-school popularity. It is safe to say that there is far more to Miss Chase than meets the eye.
Born to wealthy parents in the small town of Sunnydale, CA, Cordelia Chase soon realized the significance of being a big fish in a small pond. She spent her early years gaining power with her classmates, including her second-in-command Harmony Kendall with whom she shared a remedial Spanish class, and attracted the attention of a boy named Donny Ray, who expressed his love with a song in her honor.
By the time she reached the grand halls of Sunnydale High, Cordelia had firmly established her place as head of the social pecking order. Along with her army of minions – known to one and all as the “Cordettes”, she ruled the school with an iron fist until the arrival of Buffy Summers in her sophomore year.
Initially, Cordelia intended to befriend Buffy, recognizing the value of her LA origins, but after the Slayer almost attacked Cordy with a stake at the Bronze in a case of mistaken identity, the potential BFF bond was broken, and Buffy instead befriended classmates, Willow Rosenberg, and Xander Harris.
In the meantime, Cordelia was busy crushing on Daryl Epps, an all-star football player who was killed in a rock-climbing accident, and ignoring classmate Marcie Ross until she literally turned invisible – more on her later.
In the same year, Cordelia ran for May Queen, only to find her campaign thwarted by a series of accidents on her nearest and dearest – her boyfriend, Mitch Fargo, was beaten up, best friend Harmony pushed down the stairs, and a favorite teacher almost suffocated to death.
Putting the pieces together, Cordelia soon realized that she was the target of the attacks, and was forced to ask Buffy and her fellow Scoobies for help. Student Marcie Ross had turned invisible after consistently being ignored by her classmates, and was terrorizing Cordelia as a form of punishment.
In the nick of time, Buffy stepped in before Marcie had a chance to mutilate her nemesis, and Cordelia was forced to acknowledge the fact that Sunnydale was really not like other towns.
A short while later, she was attacked by a group of vampires on the night of the Spring Fling, and finally learned the truth about the Hellmouth, the Slayer, and fight against evil.
Despite ongoing attempts to distance herself from the Scoobies and their “freakshow”, Cordelia soon became a valuable asset in the fight and developed a grudging respect for Buffy and her friends.
The following year, Cordelia found herself kidnapped by Chris Epps, the brother of her deceased crush, Daryl, who had successfully resurrected his sibling from the dead, and was now attempting to create the perfect girl for him, using the dismembered remains of beautiful teenage girls.
Parent-Teacher Night saw her attacked by a new vamp in town Spike, and her foray into college boys resulted in her and Buffy being kidnapped and almost sacrificed to the demon Machida.
On Halloween night, her costume saved her from being transformed into a cat, and she played her part in helping bring the Scoobies to safety and bringing down the sinister Ethan Rayne.
As well as growing closer to the Scoobies, the junior year also took a surprising turn when Cordelia found herself attracted to Xander Harris, and the two shared a passionate kiss while trapped in the basement from Norman Pfister, a demonic assassin sent to kill the Slayer.
Cordelia found herself torn between the Cordettes and the Scoobies, eventually giving in to peer pressure and breaking up with Xander on Valentine’s Day. In revenge, he cast a spell to make every woman in Sunnydale fall hopelessly in love with him – with the exception of Cordelia.
The spell took a dark turn when it became clear just how far the women were prepared to go for Xander’s love, and Cordelia was so touched by the gesture that she dumped the Cordettes and made up with Xander, giving up her Queen Bee status to pursue a relationship with him.
Things turned sour for the lovestruck pair in her senior year after Spike returned to town and took both Xander and Willow hostage. While waiting to be rescued, the two succumbed to their growing attraction and kissed, only to be discovered by a heartbroken Oz and Cordelia.
In her attempts to flee the scene, Cordy fell through a rotten floorboard and was injured by a large piece of rebar.
When a contrite Xanfer came to visit her in hospital, she told him to stay away from her, ending the relationship. Upon her return to Sunnydale High, she found herself shunned by her former minions, who had now taken to following Harmonf as their leader.
Iced out of the Cordettes, and determined to reject the Scoobies, Cordelia sought solace in a new friend, a new student named Anya. In a rant, Cordelia explained that she blamed Buffy for everything that had happened to her, and made a wish that the Slayer had never come to Sunnydale.
She got her wish – “Anya” was actually Anyanka, a vengeance demon sent to help scorned women, and she granted the wish, sending Cordelia to a parallel world in which Buffy Summers had never come to live in Sunnydale.
Initially, Cordelia was thrilled with the new circumstances but soon came to realize her mistake.
Without Buffy, the Master had succeeded at the Harvest and had risen to take over Sunnydale. Xander and Willow had been turned into bloodthirsty – and in Willow’s case, horny – vampires, and that her home was a wasteland, controlled by vamps and demons.
Desperate, she ran to ask Giles for help, but was waylaid by Xander and Willow, and killed. Fortunately, Giles worked out what was happening, and destroyed Anyanka’s amulet, removing her power and forcing the parallel world to blink out of existence.
Cordelia found herself in her own world, making the same wish to a now powerless Anyanka, with Buffy and her friends happily hanging out in the background. Whether Cordelia remembered her experience remains unknown, but her mood seemed to lift following the episode.
The end of senior year saw Cordelia’s father facing the consequences of making a “little mistake on his taxes for the last…twelve years”, and the family was made bankrupt, with assets such as the house, the cars, and the investments were seized. Finding herself penniless, Cordelia was forced to find a job at a local boutique, April Fools, in order to make ends meet.
While there, she stumbled upon her dream prom dress – now well out of her reach – and made a deal to work to pay for the dress on layaway. In the meantime, she developed a short-lived infatuation with Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, the new Watcher assigned to Buffy by the Watcher’s Council following the events of “Helpless”, only to find that the two were incompatible after two disastrous kisses.
When prom rolled around, Cordy discovered that Xander had found out about her dream prom dress, and paid off the outstanding balance, allowing her to enjoy her dream evening at prom.
The two reached a mutual understanding and seemed to have reconciled their differences. The end of high school saw Cordelia joining the battle against Mayor Richard Wilkins, thwarting his ascension, staking a vampire for the first time, and joining forces with the Class of ‘99 to save the town and the world.
The final scenes of Cordelia’s life in Sunnydale saw her taking a moment with Buffy, Willow, Oz, and Xander, reflecting on the fact that they had survived not only another battle but the horrors of high school.
Moving To Los Angeles: The Angel Years
The next time we caught up with Cordelia, she was experiencing the not-so-glamorous life of Los Angeles. Despite having been accepted to a number of good schools, including Columbia University, the financial struggles of the Chase family at the end of “Buffy” meant that college was no longer a financially viable option. Instead, Cordelia moved to LA intending to pursue an acting career, and it was here that she was reacquainted with Angel.
After initially portraying a veneer of success and sophistication, she eventually revealed that she had cut ties with her family, her agent no longer returned her calls, and she was barely surviving in a rundown apartment.
Her motive for attending the fancy party was less about making connections, and more about stealing food to survive. Cordy soon believed that her luck had turned when she met wealthy Russell Winters, but he was soon revealed to be a vampire.
Cordelia was rescued from Winters by Angel and introduced to his friend, Allen Francis Doyle, an agent of the Powers That Be who received visions of people in danger.
Inspired, Cordelia convinced Angel to turn his quest for redemption into a profitable business: and Angel Investigations was born.
She received more bad luck when she moved into her apartment, which was being haunted by the ghost of Maude Pearson, a spirit intent on insulting and harassing her but escaped the situation with her life.
Over time, her friendship with Doyle developed and grew, and the two were on the verge of a romance when Doyle was killed suddenly – but not before they shared one last kiss.
Following Doyle’s death, Cordy continued to pursue her acting career while working as Angel’s office manager, but never enjoyed success beyond bit parts.
During an audition for a commercial, she suddenly suffered a splitting headache, and had her first vision, realizing that Doyle had passed his gift onto her during their final embrace. Initially, Cordelia rejected her gift, largely due to the intense pain that accompanied every vision, but soon realized that she had an amazing ability to help innocent people, and “help the helpless”.
Cordelia embraced her gift completely, becoming Angel’s link to the Powers That Be, and considered the visions her “reason” for being. Her visions, however, were always intended for demons, and never for mere humans.
As a result, they grew increasingly intense, and MRI and CAT scans showed that she had started to suffer physical damage to her brain.
She attempted to conceal her agony through painkillers but refused to give up her visions, even when the chance emerged through a connection to Goosalugg on a visit to Pylea. She believed that these visions were what made her who she was and that without them, she would be nothing.
On her 21st birthday, Cordelia suffered a vision so intense, that her spirit was sent to an astral plane. Here, she was taken advantage of by Skip, a mercenary demon who worked by selling his expertise to the highest bidder.
Skip tricked Cordelia by making her an offer, and she accepted in an attempt to avoid death Skip then altered history, changing the timeline so that she never met Angel in LA, and instead, landed her big break as an actress in her own TV show, “Cordy!” Despite her success, Cordelia felt a need to help innocents and soon ran into Angel.
The latter was receiving the visions in her place, and the agony was driving him insane. This was the impetus Cordelia needed to realize that her true purpose lay in fighting evil, and ordered Skip to return the timeline to the original. In exchange, she accepted his offer to become a half-demon, allowing her to tolerate the visions without pain.
Unbeknownst to her, however, her transformation also allowed her to cleanse any evil influences, aided by a bright, white glowing light.
During this process, Cordelia realized that she had developed romantic feelings for Angel, but the arrival of the Groosalugg distracted her attention, and the two began a passionate relationship.
This new pairing was thwarted, however, by her lingering feelings, and resulted in Angel feeling that his place in the team was under threat. As a result, he sent the couple away on an extended vacation, but both were horrified to see what had occurred upon their return.
Realizing that Cordelia truly loved Angel, Groo left LA, and Cordelia left to meet with Angel. En route, however, she was waylaid by Skip, who told her that she had achieved her tasks on Earth, and was now ready to ascend to a higher plane, convincing her that she would have greater power to do good.
Cordelia accepted the deal, and ascended, remaining on the higher plane for three months, but quickly became discontented with her lack of abilities. She was returned to Earth after helping Angel to regain his stolen destiny in Las Vegas, but a fallen power managed to attach itself to her, and fell to Earth alongside her.
To negate this, the Powers The Be wiped her memories in order to remove the fallen power, and Cordy found herself at Angel Investigations, confused and alone.
The team made the decision to hide the truth from Cordelia, but she was determined to uncover the truth and was horrified by what she learned. After Conner rescued her from an attack by Wolfram and Hart, she decided to stay with him in his loft.
Conner is open and honest about the supernatural, but Cordy became increasingly frustrated with her inability to remember the past or to defend herself.
As a compromise, Conner agreed to train her in combat, which resulted in the two sharing a kiss. Connor was left disappointed, however, by Cordelia’s assertion that she needs to find herself before anything can happen between them.
Shortly after, a spell gone wrong resulted in Cordelia being reverted to her teen self, and her memories were finally restored. At the same time, the spell awoke the fallen power – an entity known as Jasmine.
This being had taken total possession of Cordy, merging itself with every cell, and taking total charge of her consciousness. Jasmine used her possession to have sex with Connor, planning to become pregnant and give birth to herself.
She also directed Cordelia’s body to murder Manjet, the last sun totem, as well as the Svear family, and Lilah Morgan. In addition, she brought forward a demon known as the Beast, and convinced Angel and his team to remove Angel’s soul, bringing forth Angelus once more.
Her goal was to distract the team to carry out her plans, and she stole the soul before turning Connor against the rest of the team. When she was discovered, Skip revealed Jasmine’s plan, explaining that Jasmine and Cordelia could not be separated without leaving the latter in a vegetive state, or killing her.
Upon hearing this, Cordelia performed a ritual to force Jasmine to manifest, causing her to fall into a coma. After several months, she was awoken by a vision from the Powers and discovered that Angel and the team had taken over the LA branch of Wolfram and Hart, in exchange for them wiping Connor’s memories.
She helped the team to take down their old foe, Lindsey McDonald, before telling Angel that her return was only temporary. After the two share a kiss, Angel receives a call telling him that Cordy never woke up from her coma.
Personality and Traits
“I think it, I say it.”Cordelia Chase
During the course of her time in the Buffy-verse, Cordelia’s character undergoes an incredible journey of transformation. When viewers first meet Queen C, she was a selfish, spoiled egocentric snob, preoccupied with her appearance, her outfits, and her social standing.
When her relationship with Xander saw her ostracized from her friendship group, however, a change occurred. She was forced to outgrow her shallow, superficial nature, and began to develop compassion and care for those around her, resulting in a relationship with the Scoobies that was based on a mutual respect – albeit grudging.
When she moved to LA and obtained her visions, she soon came to realize that her goal was to “help the helpless”, and became dedicated to her duty. In this, she transformed from a shallow spoiled rich girl to a dedicated fighter of evil – a journey which is paralleled by the protagonist of the series, Buffy Summers.
Cordelia was also renowned for her blunt, straightforward attitude, and would always give her honest opinion on a situation – whether it was asked for or not. Her sarcasm and self-confidence often acted as a welcome relief for other characters, and she had a knack for saying exactly what people needed to hear.
As Buffy discovered when she had the ability to read minds, Cordelia had a knack for saying whatever popped into her head. She was also courageous enough to speak her mind to her friends, calling Buffy out for her bad behavior after her return from the dead, and telling Angel that he had no ability to protect Connor due to his status as a vampire.
By the time of her death, Cordelia had evolved into a caring, compassionate and grounded individual, who retained her original sass and self-confidence – not to mention her love for fashion.
She remained quick to trust, and inclined to think the best of others, as demonstrated when Harmony became a vampire, believing that the latter would remain loyal despite being soulless.
Perhaps most importantly for Cordelia, she discovered a true purpose, and her final act was to sacrifice her own life to save her friends and the wider world.
Glossy and glamorous, Cordelia starts Sunnydale High as the ultimate “it” girl. She is very interested in her appearance, and spends a great deal of time grooming and maintaining her good looks.
In her high school years, her look was chic, sophisticated, and feminine, full of fancy dresses, sky-high heels, and designer handbags.
Her financial situation forced a change in her style, and she favored simpler outfits, before later maturing to a more mature and put-together look. When possessed, hints at her change were offered by a change in style, with Jasmine-as-Cordelia favoring long coats and comfy sweaters.
Hair was another important consideration for Cordelia. Her high school style was characterized by long brown hair, adding a fringe in her later years. This continues through to her early days in Los Angeles, growing darker in shade until she later cuts it to her shoulders.
This is later transformed into a graduated bob with blonde highlights, a short ‘do when possessed, and a long brown perm following her coma.
Powers and Abilities
Cordelia started life as a human but gained powers following her kiss with Doyle. She possessed a number of powers, including:
- Visions – after a kiss from Doyle, Cordelia developed prophetic visions, sent directly from the Powers That Be. These would offer information to warn of forthcoming attacks or disasters, allowing Angel Investigations to save the day
- Physical Combat – as a former cheerleader, Cordelia is fast and adept at picking up moves, allowing her to pick up combat techniques very quickly. This resulted in her emerging as a formidable fighter.
- Half-demon physiology – to help her handle her visions, Cordelia became part-demon, and this offered stronger, more surreal visions, as well as a resistance to demons.
Following her transformation into a half-demon, Cordelia also obtained new abilities:
- Levitation in the air
- Spiritual healing – purifying or healing the souls of innocents who had been affected by demons
- Thermokinesis – heating light to allow her to disintegrate solid matter
- Photogenesis – the ability to generate and protect light
Once she ascended into a higher being, Cordelia also obtained a host of new powers, including:
- Astral projection – including using a solid astral projection of herself to save Angel.
- Time manipulation
Cordelia enjoyed a number of romantic relationships, including Mitch Fargo, Devon MacLeish, Kevin Benedict, Xander Harris, Daryl Epps, Groo, Angel, John Lee Walker, Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, Richard Anderson, and Wilson Christopher.
In terms of friendships, Cordelia was shown to have a group of followers but was only really close to Harmony Kendall prior to being ejected from the group. She developed a strong bond with the Scooby gang – Buffy Summers, Willow Rosenberg, Xander Harris, Rupert Giles, and Oz, and later with the members of Angel Investigations – Angel, Doyle, Fred, Gunn, Lorne, and Wesley.
Buffy Season 1
- Welcome to the Hellmouth
- The Harvest
- Teacher’s Pet
- Never Kill A Boy On The First Date
- I Robot, You Jane
- The Puppet Show
- Out of Mind, Out of Sight
- Prophecy Girl
Buffy Season 2
- When She Was Bad
- Some Assembly Required
- School Hard
- Inca Mummy Girl
- Reptile Boy
- Lie to Me
- The Dark Age
- What’s My Line? Part 1
- What’s My Line? Part 2
- Bad Eggs
- Bewitched, Bothered, and Bewildered
- Killed By Death
- I Only Have Eyes For You
- Becoming, Part 1
- Becoming, Part 2
Buffy Season 3
- Dead Man’s Party
- Faith, Hope, and Trick
- Beauty and the Beasts
- Band Candy
- Lover’s Walk
- The Wish
- The Zeppo
- The Prom
- Graduation Day, Part 1
- Graduation Day, Part 2
Angel Season 1
- City Of
- Lonely Heart
- Fall to Pieces
- Rm w/a Vu
- Sense and Sensitivity
- The Bachelor Party
- I Will Remember You
- Parting Gift
- I’ve Got You Under My Skin
- The Prodigal
- The Riding
- Five By Five
- War Zone
- Blind Date
- To Shanshu in LA
Angel Season 2
- Are You Now or Have You Ever Been
- First Impressions
- Dear Boy
- Guise Will Be Guise
- The Shroud of Rahmon
- The Trial
- Blood Money
- Happy Anniversary
- The Thin Line
- Dead End
- Over the Rainbow
- Through the Looking Glass
- There’s No Place Like Plrtz Glrb
Angel Season 3
- The Vision Thing
- That Old Gang of Mine
- Waiting in the Wings
- Sleep Tight
- Double or Nothing
- The Price
- A New World
Angel Season 4
- Deep Down
- Ground State
- The House Always Wins
- Slouching Towards Bethlehem
- Spin the Bottle
- Apocalypse Nowish
- Long Day’s Journey
- Inside Out
- Shiny Happy People
- The Magic Bullet
- Peace Out
- You’re Welcome
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