The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Wayward Pines, “A Reckoning” – Season 1, Episode 9

On Wayward Pines, “A Reckoning,” Ethan refused to conduct a reckoning and instead worked on finding the rest of the insurgents. This decision, however, incited the youth of Wayward Pines and resulted in several youths going vigilante and enacting their own brand of “justice.”

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“A Reckoning” did not pass any of the diversity tests, and the episode failed to pass these tests for several reasons. One, “A Reckoning” did not pass the Bechdel test because in the one instance that named women did exclusively talk to each other, men were mentioned (e.g., Nurse Pam took Theresa aside and told her that she knew that Ethan has told her about the outside world). Two, the episode did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters were in the episode. And three, “A Reckoning” did not pass the race test because only one non-White character (the Black man who worked as surveillance) ever spoke so it was thus impossible for the episode to pass the race test.

*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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