there was someone on TvTropes who suggested that Cordelia may have been
a Potential Slayer, and it actually makes a lot of sense when you think
about it. From the beginning, she was always kind of a magnet for weird
things—even more so than the average Sunnydale resident, I mean. She
made a connection with Buffy right away, and even after Buffy started
hanging out with the “losers” and Cordelia wrote her off as a freak, she
still kept finding herself inexplicably drawn to the Scoobies, to the
point where she eventually gave up her popularity in favor of fighting
the good fight, without ever fully understanding why she was compelled
to do so. And since Cordy was in a coma when Willow cast the spell to
turn all the Potentials into Slayers, it had no effect on her.
My theory builds off of that, and of course it has to do with Wesley. I
have this notion that Watchers are mystically drawn to the Slayers
they’re meant to guide (one could easily make a case for that just by
looking at Buffy and Giles’ relationship). So when Cordelia walked into
the library in “Consequences,” she and Wesley immediately felt this
energy drawing them to each other. Since nobody knew Cordy was a
Potential, she and Wesley both just assumed that the chemistry they felt
was romantic. One extremely awkward kiss later, they realized they were
better as friends and parted ways amiably. But less than a year later,
they were drawn back together in a completely different city, and this
was when their relationship began to develop into what it was meant to
be. They were always very in sync with and attuned to each other,
especially in the second and early third seasons. The only time they
weren’t was when Cordelia was possessed by Jasmine in season 4.
Finally, right near the end of “You’re Welcome,” as Wesley is getting on
the elevator, Cordelia calls out to him and says “You still work the
best mojo in town.” She obviously couldn’t say goodbye to everyone without raising their suspicions, and she needed to spend her last few corporeal moments with Angel, so I love that out of everyone else, she
singled out Wesley to say one last thing to. Because while Angel may have been Cordelia’s champion, Wesley was her best friend. But I digress, slightly. Anyway, last time I watched it, I
focused on Wesley’s response—he doesn’t say anything, but pay attention
to the look on his face…he knows. Somehow he knows that this is the
last time he’ll ever see her. I think it’s because he’s still very
attuned to her, even after everything. If Cordelia hadn’t ended up in a
coma—if she’d been alive, awake, and fully herself when Willow did the
spell—her Slayer powers would have been activated, and Wesley would
have (unofficially since those sods on the Council don’t like him
anymore) become her Watcher.
A couple of important things to keep in mind here.
The last time Cordelia was herself, before her ascension and subsequent possession, was at the end of season three. The last time we heard Cordy talk about Wesley, she insisted she didn’t care about how he felt, and claimed she wanted nothing to do with him.
We know Cordelia watched over the team during the summer she spent as a Higher Being. And although there’s no canonical evidence for it, I can guarantee you she was watching Wesley, too. I can guarantee she saw everything he did that summer. She saw him searching relentlessly for her and Angel. She felt the depth of his pain and loneliness. She felt how much he hated himself, and how much he loved his friends.
When she comes out of the coma, Cordy still remembers everything that happened. She still remembers Wesley taking Connor. And at this point she has no idea that Wesley doesn’t remember it. But the moment they’re reunited, Cordelia lights up with the biggest smile and pulls him into a tight, loving embrace.
This hug means so much more than just two friends who are happy to see each other again. This hug means she’s forgiven him.
Can we just appreciate how well Alexis Denisof and Charisma Carpenter played off of each other?
Like, there are literally scenes where they have entire conversations where Cordelia does all the talking and Wesley doesn’t say a word. And you don’t even realize that Wesley’s not talking, because he communicates so well with his facial expressions that he actually carries his part of the conversation just fine.
The top gifset is really interesting, because it shows that Cordelia knows two things about Wesley. The first thing she knows is that her opinion matters to him. The second thing is that he loves James Bond movies. We never see him tell her that, which means it happened in some offscreen moment. Cordelia was the only person in Sunnydale who actually made an effort to get to know Wesley.
And it paid off, because in the second gifset, we see that when Wesley was upset, when his whole world was crashing down, his first thought was to call the one person who he knew really cared about him.
I think there was a lot of their early relationship that wasn’t shown when they were both still on Buffy. We only get to see their flirty, kind of awkward interactions in these episodes, and it isn’t until they go over to Angel that we start to see a deeper side of their dynamic. But as these scenes show, they really did care about each other from the beginning. They talked to each other. They paid attention, and learned about each others’ interests. Wes and Cordy were already developing a close friendship even while they were trying to make a romance work.