The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Reign, “Burn” – Season 2, Episode 22

Reign -- "Burn" -- Image Number: RE222a_0316.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Megan Follows as Catherine de Medici (back to camera) and Adelaide Kane as Mary, Queen of Scotland and France -- Photo: Sven Frenzel/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

In the finale of Reign, season 2, Mary singlehandedly toppled Condé’s rebellion. She accomplished this by first tricking Condé into believing that she was pregnant with his child and was in need of his protection, and once he believed that she was siding with him, she poisoned his soldiers’ wine, spread a rumor that the plague was in his encampment, and she stabbed Condé. Mary’s actions caused Condé’s soldiers to go into a panic, and with Condé severely wounded, Francis was able to swiftly arrest Condé and end the rebellion.

Once Francis had arrested Condé, Francis had a choice to make, to either execute Condé or to hand Condé over to his (Condé’s) brother. Francis initially chose to let Condé  live, but when he learned that Condé  had tried to kidnap Lola and his (Francis’) son and that his son had died in the process, Francis could no longer allow Condé  to live so he set Condé’s execution. However, Francis soon learned that he had been too hasty in his decision as Condé had not been the one to kidnap Lola and his son but that Catherine had been behind their kidnapping and that his son was still alive. This led to a whole host of other problems, and Francis ultimately made the decision to banish his mother Catherine from France as he could not tolerate her betrayal.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

The finale of Reign, “Burn,” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

Named women did talk to each other several times in the “Burn,” but the finale did not pass the Bechdel test because men were always mentioned in their (the named women’s) conversations. The finale also did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode, and “Burn” did not pass the race test because there was only one non-White character (Condé) in the episode.

*The Bechdel test entails three requirements:
1. It has to have at least two (named) women in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something besides a man

**The Vito Russo test entails three requirements:
1. The show contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex and/or transgender
2. The character must not be solely or predominately defined by her sexual orientation, gender identity and/or as being intersex
3.The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that her removal would have a significant effect

***The race or people of color (POC) test has three requirements:
1. It has two people of color in it
2. Who talk to each other
3. About something other than a White person

****Just because a show passes the Bechdel, Russo and race test does not mean that it is not sexist, heterosexist, racist and/or cissexist, etc. The Bechdel, Russo and race test is only a bare minimum qualifier for the representation of LGBTI individuals, women and people of color in television. The failure to pass these tests also does not identify whether the central character was a woman, a person of color or a LGBTQI individual and it does not dictate the quality of the show.

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