Sunday, 17 August 2008

You Monster! Why Joss Whedon Kills.... Kill #5

He Killed Off Lilah Morgan!

Who Was She?

We’ve moved onto Angel now, Whedon’s spinoff from Buffy about the eponymous vampire setting up shop in LA. For three seasons it was a dark and fascinating show about redemption, and then for one season it was a depressing show about darkness and people being miserable. Lilah, as a lawyer for the evil demonic law firm “Wolfram and Hart”, was a permanent thorn in the side of the heroes, always throwing litigation in their faces or providing representation for their adversaries – when they weren’t busy trying to turn Angel evil, that is, or attempting to kill off varying members of the team. Lilah was one of two important characters connected to the firm, with the other being the reckless Lindsay, who was actually a dude. Lilah was one of those harsh, cold businesswomen who was obviously terrified on the inside of the world she was stuck in. She tried to make best, but we saw her completely soften as the show went on, so that by series 4 (easily the weakest series the show ever had) she was a meek foil for the other characters to mess around with. She was great fun while she was strong, though.

How Did She Die?

In series 4 a lot of odd character turns happened which didn’t reflect the characters we knew and loved. The chief of these was when Cordelia got possessed by evil and betrayed the entire team for almost half a season, in a storyline which holds the record for having the most rubbish elements any Joss Whedon story has ever had, all in one. Basically, Lilah was with the heroes in a hotel while Angel had been turned evil (it is SO complicated to explain this), and Cordelia bumped into her. Lilah was surprised and was all “oh, hey Cordelia”, and then Cordy stabbed her in the neck with a two-pronged knife, so it looked like she’d been killed by a vampire bite. She died of blood loss.

Why Did She Die?

This is one of the most pointless deaths Joss Whedon ever brought us. Lilah dies so that Angel gets blamed for killing her, but there is barely any recrimination for this. Wesley spends an episode trying to decide if he should lop the head off her corpse in case she comes back to life as a vamp – he does in the end, incidentally – but apart from that there was nothing else going on here. This death could have gone to anyone, and was in no way worthy of the diva fabulousness of Lilah. She was a bitchy queen, but her death signalled the end of all female characters in the show. First was Lilah, then Cordy, then Fred… this was the death which sparked it all off. And you know why Lilah died? It’s because of this diva fabulousness. It’s called “Dazzler Syndrome”, after the X-Men character with a startlingly massive fanbase. When a character is so fabulously bitchy and tremendous in every way, it weighs down. There is only so much you can do before she takes over the show, and you have to put her down, fast, before she becomes the sole reason anyone is interested in the show/comic. Dazzler got sent to another dimension: Lilah got killed. It’s all part of a longer-term plan, you see.

Joss, You Monster! Rating:
3. It was crap, but at least she got the fabulous exit she deserved in the last episode of series 4. Too little too late, really.

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