The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Hannibal, “The Great Red Dragon” – Season 3, Episode 8

Hannibal, “The Great Red Dragon” jumped forward to three years in the future, and the audience learned that Hannibal was in a state hospital; that Alana ran the state hospital; that Chilton was writing a book about a serial killer; that Will was leading an ordinary, crime-free life with his wife and stepson; and that there was a new serial killer on the loose called “The Tooth Fairy.”

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Great Red Dragon” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

Alana calls upon Hannibal.

“The Great Red Dragon” failed to pass all of the diversity tests because while there are two women in the episode (Alana and Molly), they never spoke to each other; because the one LGBTI character in the episode, Alana, was not important to the plot and could have easily have been taken out of the episode without a causing a significant change to occur in the episode; and because there was only one non-White character in “The Great Red Dragon” (Jack).

*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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