The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Teen Wolf, “Lies of Omission” – Season 5, Episode 9

The Wolfpack began to fall apart in Teen Wolf, “Lies of Omission,” as chimera after chimera was murdered and Theo manipulated everyone behind the scenes.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Lies of Omission” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.

On the two occasions where women talked to each other in “Lies of Omission” (e.g., Malia and Lydia’s mom talked about school and the supernatural and Malia and Beth talked about how Beth was changing), all of the women had names and men were not mentioned by the women so “Lies of Omission” passed the Bechdel test. “Lies of Omission” also passed the Russo test, and the reason that the episode passed this test is because Corey, a LGBTI character, was in the episode; he was not defined by his sexual orientation (e.g., his sexual orientation wasn’t even a factor in the episode and he was mostly defined by his status as a chimera and as a failed experiment); and because he was pivotal to the plot of the episode and he couldn’t have been removed from “Lies of Omission” without causing a significant change to occur to the plot of the episode (e.g., Corey was why Theo and Scott had a chance to bond and Scott was able to learn from Theo about Donovan, and Corey’s death caused events to escalate even further which in turn helped tear the Wolfpack apart).*****

In regards to the race test, while there were several non-White characters in “Lies of Omission,” none of the non-White characters ever talked to each other so the episode did not 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.

***** Mason was also in the episode and he was not defined by his sexual orientation, but he was not important to the plot so the episode would not have passed the Russo test if he had been the only LGBTI character in “Lies of Omission.”

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