The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Liar Game (Korean), “Final Round II” – Season 1, Episode 12

In the finale of Liar Game, Do-Young, Da-Jung and Woo-Jin squared off in a final round of Russian roulette. However, from the very beginning of their game, the three weren’t playing a fair game as Do-Young had kidnapped Da-Jung’s father and he (Do-Young) was using Da-Jung’s father as a bargaining chip against Woo-Jin.

Because Do-Young had Da-Jung’s father, Woo-Jin was forced to do whatever Do-Young wanted in fear that Do-Young would harm Da-Jung’s father unless he (Woo-Jin) did otherwise. Thus, when Do-Young told Woo-Jin to shoot Da-Jung, he (Woo-Jin) did so. Da-Jung, of course, did not know that her father had been kidnap nor did she know that Woo-Jin was shooting her in order to save her father so she was understandably upset and shot back at Woo-Jin. However, as the Russian roulette game continued and Do-Young started to talk about his past and how he, Woo-Jin and Da-Jung all knew each other, Da-Jung started to realize that Do-Young had to have had a reason for shooting her so she stopped shooting him and turned her gun on Do-Young instead. It is from this point forward that the game got real interesting (not to mention messy and deadly), as unbeknownst to Da-Jung and Woo-Jin, Do-Young had mixed in a real bullet amongst either Da-Jung or Woo-Jin’s blanks. The question of the finale thus became, who would fire the bullet and who would die?

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Final Round II” passed the race test but did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

All of the characters in “Final Round II” were Asian and none of the characters ever mentioned White people so the episode passed the race test. The finale did not, however, pass the Bechdel test as the only time women talked to each other, neither of the women had a name (e.g. when Woo-Jin’s mom talked to a co-worker), and “Final Round II” did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters 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.