The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Strain, “By Any Means” – Season 2, Episode 2

Ephraim and Nora experimented on test subjects on The Strain, “By Any Means,” and right when it looked like they weren’t getting anywhere, they created an infection that they thought might just destroy the vampires.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“By Any Means” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test. The episode failed to pass all of these tests because 1) the two or three times that named women did talk to each other, men were mentioned (e.g., Nora and her female test subject talked about the female and male test subject) 2) because while Dutch was in the episode and she wasn’t solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also a vampire hunter and she was bait), she wasn’t all that important to the overall plot of the episode as she could have been taken out of the episode without causing a vast change to occur to the plot (e.g., if she had been taken out of the episode then the only thing that would have changed is that there would have been no love story between her and Vasiliy) and 3) because the non-White characters in the episode (of which there were several) never spoke 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.