It seems like it would be a given that a television show’s titular character would also be the star, but depending on who fans ask, that is not always true. Such is the case with Angel, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff focused on the redemption journey of the vampire with a soul. Arguably, the series is also a spinoff focusing on Cordelia Chase, the one-time Sunnydale mean girl turned wannabe actress and eventual champion.
During her time on Angel, Cordy grew in ways unimaginable while almost always stealing the spotlight from her brooding companion. Cordelia’s journey was unparalleled and she forever changed the series.
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10 Her Character Development Was The Most Expansive
When Cordelia first arrived in Los Angeles, she was essentially the same shallow teen viewers knew from the first three seasons of Buffy. But, by the end of her time on Angel, Cordelia had undergone extensive character development that was unrivaled by any other character in the series.
During seasons 1 through 3, she transformed from the shallow leader of the Cordettes to a skilled and empathetic champion for good. The breadth of her growth before the events of Season 4 is something even Angel himself could not compete with.
9 She Was The Catalyst For Angel’s Growth
Beyond her own growth, Cordelia was key in advancing Angel’s character development. While Angel was helping the helpless, it was Cordelia who brought Angel Investigations to fruition, focusing Angel’s purpose. She supported and guided him. She kept him grounded, helping him maintain better relationships with characters like Wesley and, to a point, even Connor. She fostered in Angel a sense of humanity that led him to fall in love with her. Without Cordelia, Angel might never have become the champion he was meant to be.
8 She Rivaled Buffy For Angel’s Love
As Cordelia continued fighting by Angel’s side, she began taking on a new role in his life, one that was previously reserved for another former cheerleader: his love.
How Angel and Cordy’s romance compares to Buffy and Angel’s is debatable among fans, but it certainly promoted the notion that behind every great champion stands a greater woman. Only, with Cordelia, it felt like she was standing next to Angel, not behind him, furthering his character and the series with the love they developed for each other.
7 She Was Relatable
In Angel, Cordelia was usually the character viewers could most relate to. This was especially true in the earlier seasons when she was somewhat lost and struggling to establish herself.
Cordelia was a very human character trying to fake it until she made it, both in life and her career, while surviving the supernatural. She was seemingly designed to be the audience surrogate, guiding viewers into Angel’s fantastical adventures. This made her a character of key importance and relatability in ways Angel himself never could be.
6 Big Bads Often Focused On Her
Angel aside, there was one character who the Big Bads consistently sought to take out to achieve success: Cordelia. Cordelia was such a pivotal character in the Buffyverse that she often needed to be taken out just so the antagonists could achieve any of their goals.
From Wolfram & Heart repeatedly trying to kill or sideline her to Jasmine using her as a way to take over the world, Cordelia was almost always a threat to the forces of darkness and factored into their evil plans.
5 She Was Almost Always In The Spotlight
Angel’s Big Bads weren’t the only ones focused on Cordelia. The series’ writers kept her at the forefront of the narrative for the majority of her time on the show. While Angel was seemingly the focus, Cordelia truly carried the series on her back.
Several Cordy-focused episodes including “Room w/a Vu,” “Birthday,” and “You’re Welcome” prove it. Even during the bizarre and tragic turns her character took in Season 4, Cordelia experienced a lot of time in the limelight – albeit possessed by Jasmine.
4 Fans Are Still Upset She Was Written Off
Season 4 was the show’s most controversial and Cordelia was the focal point. A victim of character assassination, she was unrecognizable by the season finale. From Cordy’s relationship with Connor to the Jasmine plot twist and the mystical coma, viewers felt betrayed.
Cordelia returned for a final episode in Season 5, but her seven-year stint in the Buffyverse was over and fans were not pleased. Today, fans are still frustrated about what happened to Cordelia. Recently, Charisma Carpenter herself opened up about the circumstances behind Cordelia’s demise.
3 She Was Given Her Own Farewell Episode
Despite the upset over Cordelia’s departure after Jasmine’s birth, she was important enough to the series to warrant a proper farewell episode.
In what was perhaps a nod to a comment she once made to Giles in “Gingerbread,” Cordelia woke up in a coma in Angel’s 100th episode. During the aptly titled and sad episode “You’re Welcome,” viewers were given one last hurrah with the Cordy they had known and loved pre-Season 4. True to form, her character even continued playing a pivotal role in the series during her final moments.
2 The Series Finale Hinged On Her
The Angel series finale was a rollercoaster because the show was unexpectedly canceled and the finale was open-ended. Lack of closure aside, “Not Fade Away” still managed to wrap things up, but none of it would have happened without Cordelia.
In her last appearance, Cordy used the favor that the Powers That Be owed her to give Angel a pivotal vision. In doing so, she sacrificed herself so Angel could regain his focus on being a champion. This also set events in motion that led to the series finale.
1 She Was Truly A Champion
Unlike Angel or even Buffy, Cordelia had to work twice as hard to become a force for good, evolving into a compassionate person and formidable fighter. After Doyle gave her the visions, she tried her best to get rid of them, but she eventually accepted and embraced them, just like she did her destiny.
Between helping run Angel Investigations, fighting Big Bads, and being an instrument of the Powers That Be, Cordelia faced and overcame unique challenges and trials. Along the way, she truly became a champion.
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