Why I Like Lilly's Character in TFS
Warning: Very TL;DR heavy. I hope this doesn't make you guys exit right away, lol.
So I've said a few things about Lilly and have said why I liked her as a villain this season, but I wanted to really get into why I think she's one of the better villains of TWD games. Keep in mind this is all subjective and since I don't have all the episodes in front of me, some of my points will be off memory.
So to start off let me say that Lilly as a character boils down to one word and no it's not bitch. Well, yeah that too but control is the word. Lilly is a character that values control. Any synonym could work, but you get the idea.
First let me summarize Lilly's character arc in Season 1. It's just me highlighting the times when she's fought for control. To skip this part, just go to where I said the summary was over.
So in Season One when we are introduced to Lilly, her position is told to us almost right on cue. I believe she presented herself as the leader of the group. It was either her or Larry that said she was leading them, a situation where you can have Lee criticize her if I remember correctly. Right then and there, we see her, the leader, not having any kind of control over the situation. Everyone is screaming at one another, even Larry at one point tells Lilly to shut up and let him speak.
The only reason the situation calmed down was because either Duck was proven to not have any bites or Clem was in trouble.
We learn she's military, we worked to survive in the pharmacy, and by the end of the episode it feels like we've at least made it on Lilly's good side. Probably determinately because I recall Lee calling her a bitch at some point during the group argument if I remember.
Fast forward to episode two and the first thing we hear when we bring back Ben and his teacher is Lilly screaming at Lee, Kenny and Mark for bringing them back when they didn't have enough food for 2 more mouths. Well, one, since the teacher died. We see already that Lilly is basically on the brink of collapse and to drive her point home, she gives the remaining food for the day to Lee and forces him to see what it's like trying to balance out everyone's hunger, knowing a good few would still be left hungry as a result, to which she says to him that it's not easy. They have that agreement.
Then the problems with the St. John's start and in the meat locker, we see Lilly fighting for control again. Larry is quite literally about to give himself a heart attack and when said H.A. happens, she's once again tries to fight for control of the situation by begging Lee to assist her. Until Kenny kills him, with or without Lee's help. At the end of the episode she tells the group that if they take what's in the car, they'd just be monsters who came in and ruined their lives. She's exhausted mentally, so when they do take the food and supplies she doesn't fight it. She just let's it happen.
Fast forward to the next episode her and Kenny get into it about the idea of leaving the motor inn, to which she's firmly against and brings up the fact that someone's been stealing among them. Again, just a complete lack of control over the situation. Now she's going to stronger methods to try to achieve some form of control. When Lee finds the stolen medicine, she says that she's gonna line up every single one of them and interrogate them. Obviously the kids aren't in that talk. Then the bandits attack. When they get away she begins to dig into Ben and Carley, but mostly Ben.
At this point she's done trying to gain control. Lee, Carley and to a lesser extent Kenny are the ones trying to calm the situation down, by which time she had already snapped. Then Carley exposes her as a helpless little girl who is just scared and weak. Sound familiar? James said the same thing to her when he was caught. Boom, triggered, she shoots Carley and the rest is history from then on.
Season 1 Summary Over. Wish I could've condensed it a bit more, but there was too much to pack.
So now we're in TFS and we see a brutal, hardened Lilly with seemingly no sense of humanity left. That's the biggest complaint I've seen with her character, is that she's too different now and they ruined her character as a result, but I wonder about that.
While certain things she does is extreme and something you wouldn't immediately see Season One Lilly do, that doesn't mean it wasn't beneath her. Lilly is a character who has always, always, always fought for control in every situation, only for her to lose time and time again. The Lilly we see now is one that is in firm control of herself and her surroundings. At least that's what she wants to believe. She wants to believe it and she wants you to believe it.
We run into a group of kids. Marlon being the one manipulated by fear to hand over Minnie and Sophie and they would have succeeded in taking the rest had Clem not instilled a fighting spirit in the rest of them after Marlon's passing. Lilly took in Minnie and Sophie and gave them what she could to survive and fight. Minnie adapted. But Sophie wouldn't allow Lilly to have the control she wanted and convinced Minnie to have the same mindset. So what does Lilly do to gain control again? She forces Minnie to kill Sophie. The result? Minnie is alone and has been manipulated to play by her rules while eliminating the person that challenged the control that Lilly worked hard to achieve.
Fast forward to the raid at Ericson's and she again tries to gain control by manipulation and since they're kids, this should've been simple, right? One of their carriages is blown up and Lilly immediately freaks out. Then she kills Mitch and she is shaken up because this wasn't the idea and what does she do? She goes the "fuck it" route and says kill who you have to and take the rest, again, desperately trying to make it appear that she can gain back control of the situation, but we saw the truth. She was scared, weak, and appeared very small. Just like Carley and James said about her. The consistency in character is there.
When we got on the boat, that was one of the only times where it appeared like Lilly had complete and utter control of herself and her surroundings. She didn't allow Clem, AJ, or anyone else to shake her demeanor and she had them right where she wanted them and didn't allow her tone to reach a level higher than needed. Again, this is the illusion of control because we planted a bomb, but she doesn't know that. She feels powerful and in a way she was.
And to boast about the control she had, she decided to get disrespectful and tell the tale of the twins that thought they could escape her grasp, what's worse, let Minnie explain the end result herself. Just to show off the fact that Minnie wasn't going to do anything about it, even though she could've pointed the arrow at Lilly and ended it all right then and there. Things only shifted in Clem's favor when Lilly left the cell. And then we double teamed her on the deck and the rest is history.
So what I'm trying to say is that Lilly's character, at least in my eyes, is by no means inconsistent nor is her character ruined by her actions up to this point. Season 1 was a Lilly who had no control. TFS is a Lilly that has control but it's basically an illusion. Both Lilly's share the same thing: Fear for lack of control. But TFS is the result of one that was sick and tired of that lack of control that she faced in S1. And BOTH Lilly's end up the same way. Losing the fight.
With Lilly, it's never been about her supposed gray area. It's always been about control and her steady descent to get that control. A descent that started in Season 1.
Is she the perfect villain? No, of course not. I won't even say she's been ground breaking. But her character has been consistent. That's my whole argument, is that they have not abandoned what made Lilly, Lilly. She wasn't good and then turned straight evil, that's not the point. The seeds were planted a while back. TFS is just the end result.
If you made it to the end and read everything, you are truly a valiant warrior.
But now go back and read it again, this time, take a drink every time I said the word "control". If you still survived, then you are the chosen. Let the games begin...
I agree with you. Lily's probably the most consistent villain of the game series.
I agree. But I would sum Lilly up as just being a destructive person who really only cares about her best interest. That's why I never understood the people who wanted a redemption story, when there is nothing redeemable about her. When lee spares her, and let her continue with the group, she steals the RV leaving everyone for dead. She shoots carly for nothing, and only really approves of the player if you take her side. She has always been angry and controlling as you said, and remains so in the final season. She was a great adversary to clem.
Just because something is consistent doesnt mean its good. ANF was consistent at being shit. That was consistent.
Most peoples main problem with Lilly is how underused she is. It feels dumb to bring her back to not use her character to the fullest. Instead they just bring her back, make her just be a bad guy again with 0 change at all over 7 years since we last saw her, and then she dies. Sure she was consistent, but it doesnt change the fact how underused she was. And again just because something is consistent it doesnt mean its good, like I just said, Clem hasn't seen Lilly in 7 years and she has had 0 change in her character and the writers did nothing interesting with her, just more of the same. It felt more like they just plopped Lilly in with the mentality of "Well because Lilly was in Season 1 we don't need to give her any development or any real purpose to why she's returned in this game."
We don't even get to know what happened to her.
"Lilly i thought you died ! I..came close" wow amazing,good job writing team.
yes i agree
I 100% agree, I can understand why people feel she was underused, she didn't appear that much, but, when she did, she made a hell of an impact, to me, I think quality over quantity could be applied to this, to have Lilly appear in every scene but do almost nothing would be more of a waste, but in the scenes she was in, she made a large impact and the focus was on her, what she does, what she was going to do, and what she said.
There is only so much that can be done within a fixed amount of Episodes and time, so not every character will get the screentime that players desire, but I think that the screen time that Lilly got, albeit in very few scenes, she made a heavy impact on the plot, which I am grateful for.
Apologies if my comment doesn't make much sense
That's a fair argument. And touché on ANF. But then I'd ask you to define "using her to the fullest". To me, while her moments were limited, they never fell short on impact nor did they abandon what we already knew about Lily. To me, a villain doesn't need to dominate screen time to be effective. They just have to make sense of the screen time they're given and Lilly made sense of a lot of it for me.
I do understand the frustration though. EP2 she appears for like a combined 25 minutes maximum and EP3 is more of the same in a 2 hour episode, so I get it for sure.
How she came to be there is neither here nor there, nor does it really matter to Clem. In that moment, she was assaulted by Lilly. In that situation, I wouldn't give a damn how she survived cause she already established herself as my enemy. Like Clem, she wandered, found a crew and unlike Clem, made it work.
One other thing that makes Carver and Joan look like shit villains was they had no history with Clementine but Lilly did have history
"Oh my god. Clementine, it's you? I can't believe I'd see you again after Lee left me behind. Thank god I found this russian group and we made it for around 15 months until we got seperated. But I was lucky to find this other group let by some soldier who lost his wife, kids and brother who took care me, but then the group got bigger and this women - Joan - took control in secret so I left the group after they talked about attacking a city. I'm glad I found the Delta which is led by a russian boy, a redhead and a black guy with a piece of ear missing actually hey hows your story going?"
Not giving the audience all the answers is not bad writing.
Don't get me wrong, the role she played as the unit leader, it was amazing. It was fucking terrifying - the camera angels, expressions, music, everything in her scenes worked so well.
The problem is, that could've been pulled off with an original character, or ANY character really. This role didn't need Lilly's character for it to be executed properly. When I ask myself what the point of bringing back her character was, I can't find an answer. There's nothing. And that's where we, or at least I, take issue. Her backstory with Clem was mentioned and left aside. Personal staked were null, considering both act indifferent toward one another, except for the one time where Lilly seems to be unable to kill Clem - something that also goes completely unexplored considering how she turns out in episode 3. It's why she felt so wasted.
"using her to the fullest" as in give her a real reason to return instead of "omg its Lilly!!!!"
She doesnt have much a presence so she doesnt feel as much of a threat. When we do see her shes just being comically evil, like the whole pushing her head against the gun trope is always just cringe. Theres just no depth to her, shes just bad cuz she is and thats about it. I was never asking, wanted, or thought we would ever get a "Lilly redemption story" but I wanted her to be complex and not so 1 dimensional evil. We never get any type of hints about what shes been doing for 7 years, and we never get to talk more about the past with her. She will bring up the past, but our options are so limiting it feels pointless. We dont get to mention Kenny to her once despite how large of connection and interesting conversation there could be about her thoughts on him and his actions in later seasons. Like when shes talking about Larry in ep 3, they do it to throw in that season 1 connection, but then we get one thing to say about it and cant say something that connects to that season, like "Glad Kenny killed him." They also could have changed the scene, make it an interrogation where Lilly tells a different learning story about something that happened after we last saw her, but they dont.
What we are left with is Lilly just showing up, being comically evil, given no justification for why they brought her character back if they arnt going to give any type of meaningful expansion to her character, and then she dies after having barley any screen time, and the screen time she did have wasn't very deep or interesting.
I'm 50/50 on this, because I had the EXACT same thought. But then I thought to myself it could only be done with Lilly. Lilly was always criticized for being a certain way and trying to prove she was more. To me, it doesn't have the same impact if it's not Lilly. But this is definitely a thought I had.
Absolutely 100% with this argument. Not everything can be spelled out to the player, especially when we are in control of one singular character. TFS portrayal of Lilly makes the perfect sense for Lilly's downfall after the events of season 1. I couldn't see her suddenly becoming best buddies and a good person after blowing a persons brains out cause she got called a mean word.
I've been thinking about this again,
and even Abel was a better antagonist than Lilly,he didn't like doing the raids but he's doing them because he has to,to protect his home and i can respect that.
But Lilly is just comically evil it's pathetic,she's doing this because she enjoys it,she determinantly cut Louis' tongue for no reasons other than "HE COULDN'T STOP TALKING LOL",and wants Clem to bend over like a bitch and be her soldier.
MY DAD TURNED OFF THE LIGHTS,so now i'm EvIL!!!!!! Lol that fucking sob story about Larry,jesus.
And her backstory with Clem was barely mentioned and left aside,in the end bringing her back was pointless,
Everything they've done with her,could've been pulled off with a new original character,they fucked up.
Lilly is a fragile little girl, a frail and embarrassing shell of what a real person is supposed to be. A squishy, fold at the seems, cry and pout waste of oxygen spawned from the nut sack of a fat, old, racist, ABUSIVE alchoholic cock sucker. And that is what planted the seed inside of her wretched soul to make her the unsufferable, authoritarian monster she is. She never had the strength to lead, never had the voice. She envied Lee for his power to convey messages, lead a pack, and overall win a groups trust without abusing others. She had to murder those who called her on her pathetic bullshit. She ran from her own insecurities at the cost of dozens. She has a special place in hell to rot next to her useless old rat motherfucker of a father.
Fuck Lilly, Fuck everything she stands for and fuck her Delta cult.
Lily isn't the real antagonist nor the actual focal point of this season.
So it doesn't matter that she's "underused". She's not the big bad or the final boss.
Her role is nothing like Kenny/Jane and David and The Stranger who are actually very central to the story and the literal endings they're respective of.
The season has been about the raiders against the school. Episode 1 we learn about how Marlon had connections to the raiders and was planning on giving more people over to them, episode 2 we meet the raiders and they steal our people, episode 3 we work on saving our people from the raiders. If there was no Lilly and the Raiders the whole story would be "Clem finds kids at a school" and that would be it. The focal point has been finding a new home and protecting it, and in this case protecting it from Lilly and the raiders. Like it or not much of the plot has revolved around the actions of the raiders, so they should have been fleshed out more instead of just a generic evil force going against the protagonist just so there is conflict.
She literally is,they teased and hyped her character so much,she's been the antagonist of the game for 2 episodes,and 3 if you keep her alive in EP3.
She IS the antagonist of the game,the other community the Delta is fighting was just a bait.
The impact of Episode 3's ending is not same with an original character in place of Lily.
It just would have been another Joan situation.
While I did have fun shooting Joan in the face, there was no real narrative weight attached to it (especially going into the next episode). It just felt good for the moment but I had no real animosity towards Joan nor was there any real character development with her aside from "obvious asshole faction leader".
It simply is just more emotionally charged to have a ghost from Clem's past be the villain. Like Lily says, "We've got history".
And Clem finally gets to close a chapter from her past life (Lily being the only surviving member of the Motel group).
It ties up all loose ends, and this season's been full of callbacks too.
And Lily isn't the leader of the Delta. So again not the real singular antagonist.
The Delta themselves yes are actually the antagonists. Lily's just a part of it, though. She's not the focal point, which is what I stated.
Episode 4 hasn't come out yet so you could easily be wrong as they can introduce another Delta leader into the mix who can fill Lily's spot as the big bad.
Maybe you're right but i have my doubts,introducing an antagonist in the final episode is just really weird.
The Delta are the real antagonists the problem is that we've only got one episode left,you expect me to believe that we're gonna get to the Delta Camp next episode,also learn more about who they're fighting against and introduce a new antagonist ?
They also need to show us what happened at the Ranch and finish Clem's story,all of that in a 2h+ episode ? Come on.
Please remember this for when in episode 4 releases where everyone on the boat is dead or runs away, Lilly being the exception if she is alive, who will most likely have one last hoorah then die.
Also Lilly is the leader of this section of the Delta thats attacking the protagonist. She is the focus of the antagonist group, the other Delta members are just goons who are just there to fight with 0 character because they are just there to be punching bags. Killing Lilly = the other Delta members leaving because their squad leader is dead, thus she is the target and focus in fighting the Delta in this story line.
Then the question is, how is Clem going to fend off the might of the Delta if they decide to come after her?
They wont because its the last episode, episode 4 is just going to awkwardly ditch what the main plot was building up to which seems to be a common theme for Telltale finales, specifically Walking Dead.
I will agree with this. I like Lilly as the villian, but what I don’t like at all really is the Delta plot. The fact that the Delta are a bigger threat and Lilly is just a smaller part of that makes the story so much bigger than it’s able to focus on.
We end Lilly and her force but what’s stopping the Delta from coming to that same area to investigate if they wanted to? If a portion of my crew was lost to someone I’d be hella curious.
I believe it would’ve served better if Lilly was just the leader of her own little community. Sort of like the Michonne spinoff for arguments sake but obviously done better.
Ending Lilly doesn’t feel like a mission success. It feels like first phase mission success.
Eh. Had enough of that with Joan. At least Lilly doesn't really need exposition since we've already got a history with her. She was an insecure leader who couldn't stand even the slightest opposition or questioning of her decisions last time we saw her, who finally snapped and murdered a group member for daring to oppose her. Not surprised she's fallen into a group of like minded nuts who operate in an extreme manner that wouldn't have flown with her first group.
And Louis should have shut up. The only difference between here and season 1 is she has the nerve to actually take out her aggression on anyone she views as insubordinate and no one around to stop her. It would have been nice if the scene in the jail cell was longer, and hopefully she gets something to do in episode 4. But pretty much every episode of S1 was pretty much self contained until the ending of 3, when we got the first hint of who the final antagonist would be, and then 5 minutes with him at the end of the season. Regardless, most of the seasons have ended more on internal conflicts with character conflicts being secondary.
Lilly could have used more screen time, but it was nice to see her unashamedly embrace the psycho she was building into during season 1.
it also removes any sort of potential for a "happy ending".
That's why I don't understand people who want a Disney ending so much. It's asking for something that simply can't exist.
The world of TWD means there will never be a true happy ending because things are always fucking up in an apocalypse.
Clem and Co. can live "peacefully" at the Ericson school, but like you said there's nothing that would stop the Delta from raining down on them and killing them all aside from their own desire and choice of leaving them alone.