The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Hannibal, “Secondo” – Season 3, Episode 3

Will peered even closer into Hannibal’s past in Hannibal, “Secondo” and tracked down his (Hannibal’s) family home. And what Will found was not Hannibal, but a woman. A woman who had a mysterious connection to Hannibal and who guarded a man in a dungeon.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Secondo” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

“Secondo” did pretty poorly when it came to diversity. For example, the episode failed to pass all of the diversity tests, and the episode did not pass any of these tests for several reasons. Firstly, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test because there were only three women in the episode (two of which had names – e.g., Chiyo and Bedelia) and while there was one occasion where women talked to each other, only one of the women had a name and men were mentioned in their conversation (e.g., Bedelia talked to a woman that Hannibal had invited over for dinner). Then, secondly, the episode did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters, and thirdly, the episode did not pass the race test because the two non-White characters (e.g., Jack and Chiyo) in “Secondo” 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.

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