Thursday, July 8, 2010

#17: Lilah

Lilah is the first character on our list to have spoken a total of 10,000 words or more. An incredibly ambitious and opportunistic lawyer for Wolfram & Hart, the character of Lilah Morgan is all but defined by 'tenacity' – so all the more appropriate that she holds the record on Angel for most appearances for a non-cast member. Stephanie Romanov's name appeared in the 'guest starring' list for 34 episodes, almost one in three of the total number of episodes. Those 34 appearances span the first four seasons of the show, during which time she averts death at the hands of Darla and Drusilla, beheads her boss, enters into a don't-call-it-relationship relationship with Wesley, averts death at the hands of the Beast, finally dies from an icepick to the neck courtesy of Codelia/Jasmine, and yet still comes back as what we might call Angel's 'spirit guide' in dealing with Wolfram & Hart.

None of this was apparent in Howard Gordon's “The Ring”, her inauspicious début. She seems to be just another bit-player in the vast Wolfram & Hart employee roster, though she appears in most of the rest of the season, alongside Lindsey McDonald and Lee Mercer, a troika who for some reason all have the same initials. Five episodes but all minor appearances with just 648 words, Lilah in Season One is hardly a significant character.

Lilah tends to grow from season to season, registering 1879 words across seven episodes in Season Two. This gets her in the top ten, at number eight just below Lindsey but just above Holland. Her seven appearances include three number fours, “Untouched”, where she acts as Bethany's so-called 'friend', working to bring her into the Wolfram & Hart fold, “Redefinition”, the first episode after Darla and Drusilla spare her life, and “Blood Money”, where Angel hatches a plan to publically humiliate Lindsey and her. The others, however, are minor.

In Season Three, Lilah has an important role in the Darla/Connor saga. Additionally, she starts her relationship with Wesley by the end of the season. 12 appearances in a 22-episode season is her all time high, as is #7 on the top-ten list, with 3798 words. The talkative Lilah makes it into the top five in more than half of those appearances: seven, in fact. That's two fives, three fours and two threes: “Quickening” and “Tomorrow” (if that latter surprises, it's not a huge role at 311 words, but almost half the dialogue os spoken by its two principal characters, so the remainder of the top five is a bit of a crapshoot). “Carpe Noctem”, the episode where she almost has sex with Angel, or rather with an old man in Angel's body, is sadly a minor entry.

Season Four is by far Lilah's pinnacle. Not only does she speak the most words, 4209 (a number-eight finish), but her ten appearances include six in the top five and, remarkably, two number-ones. “Habeas Corpses”, where the Beast destroys Wolfram & Hart, gives Lilah 652 words, more than anyone else. 581 words gets her a #2 finish in “Calvary”, where she is on the run from the Beast. Of great significance to the season is both the fact that Lilah has a book containing information on the Beast, and the fact of her death reveals to the audience for certain that Cordelia is, indeed, evil. Lilah's death is hardly the death of her, though. In the very next episode, a vision of her in Wesley's imagination speaks 298 words for a #5 finish, and the season ends with Lilah returned from hell in the eternal service of Wolfram & Hart: she ends “Peace Out” with a mere eleven words (her lowest, obviously) but speaks an amazing 1279 words, by far her highest and 30.8% of the whole episode, in the season finale “Home”. This is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the largest number of words in the Buffyverse spoken by a dead person, excluding vampires.
  • Overall ranking: #17
  • Ranking on Angel: #8
  • Total words spoken on Angel: 10,534
    • Season 1: 648
    • Season 2: 1879
    • Season 3: 3798
    • Season 4: 4209
  • Total speaking appearances on Angel: 34
    • Ranking #1: 2
    • Ranking #2: 1
    • Ranking #3: 2
    • Ranking #4: 6
    • Ranking #5: 5
    • Minor: 18
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1 comment:

  1. I liked your review of my favorite character in my all-time favorite show. Right on the money, and very concise. I don't get the word count thang though. Very OCD, though I admire YOUR tenacity. Romanov and Lilah deserved to be series regulars. Still, it was a great part. Some weeks it was the best female role on all of television, no matter the word count. And she played the you-know-what out of Lilah. She never threw away a great line, and the writers rewarded her with many.