The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Reign, “Fugitive” – Season 2, Episode 20

Reign -- "Fugitive" -- Image Number: RE220a_0200.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Jonathan Keltz as Leith and Celina Sinden as Greer -- Photo: -- Sven Frenzel/The CW -- © 2015 The CW Network. All Rights Reserved.

In Reign, “Fugitive,” Leith worked on securing an annulment for Greer, and he received help from a very unlikely source, namely, Claude.

Claude caught Leith trying to steal from the French crown and she used this information to blackmail him into taking her to a visit a man whom her mother had prohibited her from seeing. Turns out, her mom had banned her from seeing this man for a good reason. This man (Claude’s lover)  did not really care about her (Claude) as much as she thought he did, and when Claude learned this and saw how much Leith cared for Greer, she gave him a small fortune in jewels so that he could buy Greer an annulment.

Claude’s mother and sister-in-law had just as much bad luck in the love department as Claude in “Fugitive.” To be more precise, Catherine felt insecure in her relationship with Lord Narcisse so she had him prove that he was loyal to her and that he had no other woman in his life. As a consequence, Lola experienced a great embarrassment, and Catherine earned Narcisse’s ire.

As to Mary, she helped Condé escape France’s clutches, and this proved to be her undoing as Condé made the decision to usurp the French throne and her actions only caused Francis to grow even angrier with her.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Fugitive” passed the Bechdel test but did not pass the Russo or race test.

“Fugitive” passed the Bechdel test as there was one instance where named women talked to each other without mentioning men – when Mary made a surprise visit to Greer’s brothel and first greeted Greer.

The episode did not pass the Russo or race test, however, because there were no LGBTI characters, and non-White characters never talked to each other.

*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.