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For other uses of the name Lilith, see Lilith (disambiguation)
Lilith is a fictional character on The CW Television Network's drama and horror television series Supernatural. She serves as the primary antagonist during the third and fourth seasons. The first demon created by Lucifer, she attempts to free the fallen angel from his imprisonment in Hell. The series' writers introduced Lilith to stabilize the storyline by giving the demons a new leader. As a "destroyer of children and seducer of men", the character initially possesses little girls but is later depicted as possessing young women to avoid showing violence towards children on-screen. Making only a few, brief appearances in the series, the character received generally favorable reviews from critics for her role in the third season finale.
According to series creator Eric Kripke, the archangel Lucifer "twisted and mutilated" the human Lilith's soul into the first demon "to prove a point to God...that human souls were...inferior to God and the angels". Having been freed from Hell in the second season finale, the white-eyed Lilith debuts in the final moments of the third season episode "Jus in Bello". Possessing a little girl portrayed by Rachel Pattee, she searches a police station for the series protagonists Sam and Dean Winchester, brothers who hunt supernatural creatures. Having just missed them, she proceeds to torture everyone in the station for nearly an hour, eventually destroying the station in a massive explosion. The Winchesters' demonic ally Ruby explains that Lilith sees Sam as a rival, as he has demonic abilities and was intended—but unwilling—to lead the demonic army of the previous series antagonist Azazel.
Dean previously sold his soul through a demonic pact to save Sam, and the brothers eventually learn that Lilith holds that contract. In the third season finale "No Rest for the Wicked", the Winchesters track her down in New Harmony, Indiana, where she is on "shore leave". For fun, she has taken over the body of another little girl, portrayed by Sierra McCormick, and is holding the girl's family hostage, forcing them to act as if she is their daughter. When Sam and Dean confront her, however, Lilith secretly expels Ruby and takes over her host. Dean is ultimately killed by one of Lilith's hellhounds. Lilith then tries to kill Sam by blasting him with deadly white light, but finds she is powerless against him. Horrified, she leaves the host and escapes before he can retaliate with Ruby's demon-killing knife.
Throughout the fourth season Lilith attempts to break the 66 mystical seals keeping Lucifer imprisoned in Hell. She is opposed by angels of Heaven, who resurrect Dean to assist them. However, she eventually learns that she is destined to die if Lucifer is released. In "The Monster at the End of This Book", she appears to Sam in the form of a young woman portrayed by Katherine Boecher, and offers to stop breaking the seals in exchange for his and Dean's lives. Sam refuses and a struggle ensures, with Lilith gaining the upper hand. However, Dean tricks an archangel into coming to the location, forcing Lilith to flee. In the season finale "Lucifer Rising", her death is revealed to be the final, remaining seal. Sam, having been tricked by the double agent Ruby, uses his demonic abilities to kill Lilith. The blood from her body forms the gateway for Lucifer's escape from Hell.
|"I see Lilith...and a lot of the characters who play our most powerful roles as a little cult of demonic true believers. Lilith really believes that the purpose of all of their work, the way the universe should be, is for Lucifer to be in control. Ultimately she's a true Satanist."|
|— Co-executive producer Ben Edlund|
Kripke noted that Lilith is "a combination of all myths concerning Lilith", and posited that the show would in particular explore her two main mythological roles of "destroyer of children and seducer of men". The former characteristic is demonstrated through her possession of children, which writer Sera Gamble considered "creepy and kind of molesty". Actress Katherine Boecher supposes that aspect to be "part of the mischievous side of her", feeling that "maybe there are a lot of demons out there that wouldn't go that far to take over a child".
The writers set out to make Lilith's motivations "as logical as possible", with Kripke explaining that "everyone sets out thinking they're doing the right thing". He noted that in the fourth season finale "Lucifer Rising", "There's a private moment with Lilith when she says to her minion, 'Don't be afraid... we're going to save the world,'" and he believes in her sincerity. Boecher, too, thinks that the character is "super-confident in what she's doing" and feels that "she really believes that she's going to fix things in her own way and that she has to take it into her own hands to do so".
The third season of the series initially focuses on the Winchesters fighting small, independent groups of demons, an attempt by the writers to reflect terrorist cells. When Kripke felt that this format was not successful, however, the writers chose to introduce a new lead villain to stabilize the demon storyline. Although the character had the working title of Zarqawi during the planning stages, writer Sera Gamble insisted that the demon be female. She eventually suggested the mythological Lilith, who the writers had previously learned was in part the basis for the Bloody Mary legend in conducting their research for the first season episode "Bloody Mary". For writer Jeremy Carver, the debate about what form Lilith would take quickly ended when they realized a little girl "would be the most powerful representation of evil". As Kripke noted, "I think it's just something about the innocence of a child saying truly awful, horror things." Much of Lilith's actions in the third season finale "No Rest for the Wicked" served as a homage to the Twilight Zone episode "It's a Good Life", in which a powerful child terrorizes his town.
The writers initially intended for Sam to potentially defeat Lilith in the third season, but the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike prevented them from fleshing out Sam's demonic abilities until the fourth season. Realizing that they could not depict Sam killing a child, the writers had her possess an adult body in subsequent appearances. Katherine Boecher received the part for the episode "The Monster at the End of This Book", with Kripke feeling that she fulfilled Lilith's myth of being a "seducer of men" by bringing a "a sexuality and a menace to the role". Boecher attempted to maintain some childlike quality for the character to "bring out more sides of Lilith". Although demons typically rotate through their hosts, production asked her to return for the finale "Lucifer Rising". Admitting the benefit of having a familiar face return for the finale, Kripke further explained, "We really liked what she did, and we thought she had such a fascinating look. She's beautiful, but there's something really menacing in her performance as well, and the camera just loves her." The opportunity to reprise the role both surprised and excited Boecher.
Lilith's demonic eye color—she is the first demon depicted with white eyes—originated from Kripke's viewing of the horror film I Walked with a Zombie. He found one of the creatures having all-white eyes to be "really disturbing", and gave Lilith white eyes to indicate her high status within the demon hierarchy. Lilith holds higher status than the yellow-eyed demon Azazel, with Kripke elaborating, "You don't get much higher than her until you start digging into Lucifer territory." Unlike actors portraying Azazel in previous seasons, Boecher's eyes were colored white using visual effects instead of requiring her to use contact lenses.
Regarding Lilith's depiction in "No Rest for the Wicked", Don Williams of BuddyTV deemed her "one extremely scary little girl". He found her taking over Ruby's host as "one of the many disturbing moments in [the episode] that helps to make it so unforgettable", and added, "By the end of the episode, it's obvious that the Winchesters have never faced any demon as powerful as adorable little Lilith." Despite the shift in actresses between Rachel Pattee and Sierra McCormick, Tina Charles of TV Guide felt that "the results were still as creepy". Karla Peterson of the San Diego Union-Tribune noted that Cassidy did a "terrific job of acting like a completely different character is inside her body". Likewise, Diana Steenbergen of IGN found it "nice to see Katie Cassidy have a chance to act so differently", and believed that "Lilith and her little girl mannerisms in Ruby's body were far more chilling, and interesting, than Ruby's tough chick persona ever has been". Brett Love of TV Squad, however, felt "a little disappointed". He enjoyed her storyline and that she "served as the catalyst for some great Ruby bits" throughout the season, but felt that the shortened season did not allow the proper build up for her character. He also did not like the change in Lilith's host, explaining, "each [body jump] takes away a little bit from the character...Especially if the demon in question keeps jumping into cute little girls". Although McCormick impressed him, he posited that "when it comes to menacing and scary, she's no Fredric Lehne" (Azazel).
- Eric Kripke, Jeremy Carver. (September 1, 2009). Supernatural season 4 DVD featurette "The Mythologies of Supernatural: From Heaven to Hell". [DVD]. Warner Brothers Video.
- All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2
- Jus in Belo
- Time Is on My Side
- No Rest for the Wicked
- Are You There, God? It's Me, Dean Winchester
- Lazarus Rising
- The Monster at the End of This Book
- Lucifer Rising
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