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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 in the realm of the Powers, 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 murders Lilah Morgan, manipulates 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 gets distracted during the battle and Willow successfully turns Angelus back into Angel. Despite this failure, by the end of the crisis, her goal has 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, much to Fred’s horror. Fred then spends several days on the run from Jasmine and her followers, trying to discover the source of her cure.
Eventually, Fred realizes why she has 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 cures Angel by shooting Jasmine through the shoulder, the bloodstained bullet striking Angel and thus exposing him to the same treatment. Unfortunately, the act causes Jasmine to learn of the curative effects of her blood and to guard against it.
Angel and Fred are nevertheless able to free the rest of the Team Angel by exposing them to blood from the comatose Cordelia, which has 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 accuses them of being dissidents bent on spreading hatred, and directs her followers to kill them. As her powers have grown, she has become capable of projecting her will and voice through each of her followers. She begins to refer to those under her control as the “Body Jasmine”, as they are veritable extensions of her own body.
While Fred, Wesley, Lorne, and Gunn fight 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 couçd 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.
- Angel: “Thousands of people are dead because of what you’ve done!”
- Jasmine: “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.”
- Angel: “The price was too high, Jasmine. Our fate has to be our own, or we’re nothing.”
- — Angel and Jasmine[src]
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 are 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 are 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 a particularly powerful entity, although less than what she had been before she fell from grace.
- Hypnosis: Jasmine’s signature ability was her mass hypnosis, with which she could strip both humans and benevolent demons of their free will. Merely seeing or hearing her instantly put people under her thrall. Those who were affected were unquestioningly loyal to her, and she could also take control of them and use them as extensions of herself, being able to see through their eyes, feel what they feel and even speak through them. However, evil demons (e.g. vampires) were immune to her mind control — the fact that Angel could be controlled suggested that it was based on an influence she had over a person’s soul — and those who had Jasmine’s blood, or the blood of Cordelia, enter their system were released from her influence as well. Once this happened, the “infected” typically experienced extreme sadness and even suicidal depression after being freed from her control. Additionally, due to her connection with Connor, she could project her thoughts into his mind even though he was not under her control.
- Superhuman physical attributes: Jasmine was immortal and had the capacity to cauterize herself very quickly like that of vampires or Slayers. She had a great deal of superhuman strength, enough to overpower Angel and effortlessly lift a station wagon over her head. As she was “forged in the inferno of creation”, Jasmine was remarkably durable, withstanding contact with a live power line and taking blows from Angel without even flinching. The only ones who were able to cause her truly lasting harm was Connor and, theoretically, Cordelia Chase.
- Healing and necrosis projection: Through touch, Jasmine could heal other people or cause rapid necrosis in others. It appeared that she could control what her touch could do to a person based on the situation, tending to heal those faithful to her, while inducing a necrotic touch on those who were hostile.
- Precognition (possibly): Jasmine foretold the future of a pregnant woman’s unborn child; although this power was ambiguous as she may have simply been saying what the other woman wanted or needed to hear.
- 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.
- Omnilingualism: She also appeared innately fluent in many languages, such as English, Mandarin, and Spanish.
- Mediumship: She was also able to see and hear spirits and other such astral forms, able to detect the presence of Darla’s ghost.
- Magic: While possessing Cordelia, Jasmine displayed enough skill in magic to hold her own against Willow Rosenberg, who was undoubtedly one of the most powerful witches on Earth at the time. She was capable of enforcing her will by mental infiltration. She had also the capacity to alter Lorne’s empathetic abilities, this last believing falsely that Angel was ensouled. She had also temporary modified the Transuding Furies’ spell, extending the coverage to beings with demonic heritage such as Connor. She could also disguise her voice to sound like a threatening and demanding man.
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, was originally scheduled to play Jasmine.
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