Wednesday, June 16, 2010

#33: Jasmine

This is where things get confusing. Buffy and Angel are no normal series, and the mere question of which character said what is nowhere near as simple as it might appear, what with demon possessions, body switching and a 'big bad' who can take the form of any dead person...

Until the season 3 conclusion, “Tomorrow”, I'm confident in attributing anything Charisma Carpenter says to the role of Cordelia, and by then end of season 4, from the first time we see Gina Torres on, I'm confident in attributing anything Torres says to the character of Jasmine. But in between? Well, this is where it gets messy. You'd need a Ph. D. to understand season 4, and all of the retconning outlined in it, but suffice it to say that the character of Jasmine entered Cordelia when she was a 'higher power', and took over her by degrees. By about the halfway point of season four, it's clear to the audience that Cordelia is not Cordelia – but by then, she hasn't been herself for a while.

Ultimately, perhaps to my eternal discredit, I took the easy way out, and attributed all of Charisma Carpenter's words to the character of Cordelia and all of Gina Torres's words to Jasmine. That's not merely a cop-out simplification: Jasmine is 'born' in episode 17, “Inside Out”, written by Steven S. DeKnight, where she says all of one word: “Angel”.

This is the first of five episodes she appears in, the so-called “Jasmine arc”, and is the only minor appearance she makes. In fact, excluding her one-word introduction, she never falls below #2, with two #1 appearances and two #2 appearances. As the centrepiece of the “Jasmine arc”, as a deity with the ability to bring world peace by depriving humans of their free will (and occasionally eating them), she is undoubtedly the star of each of the episodes she appears in. In the case of episode #18, “Shiny Happy People”, it's with a remarkable 1248 words, fully 34.5% of the whole script: an obvious #1. She speaks less than half that number in each of the next two episodes, “The Magic Bullet” and “Sacrifice”, yet still manages a #2 rank. And her swan song, “Peace Out”, where she's killed by Connor (her 'father') in a graphic fashion, a fist through the head, is another #1, with 1049 words. Her average word count of 670 is no slouch, of course, but “Inside Out” obviously brings it down. Without it, she would have the highest average word count in Angel, and the second-highest in the whole Buffyverse.

Thus, even though she appears in only five episodes, it's perhaps surprising that she figures at only #9 among the characters with the highest word-counts for the season.
  • Overall ranking: #33
  • Ranking on Angel: #15
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 3348
    • Season 4: 3348 (#9)
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 5
    • Ranking #1: 2
    • Ranking #2: 2
    • Minor: 1
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