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...