The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Hannibal, “The Number of the Beast Is 666” – Season 3, Episode 12

On Hannibal, “The Number of the Beast Is 666,” Jack, Will and Alana set out to enrage the Great Red Dragon, and their plan worked but at the cost of Frederick who was kidnapped, mutilated and burned by the Great Red Dragon.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Number of the Beast Is 666” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test. The episode did not pass any of these diversity tests because while there were three named women in the episode (Alana, Reba and Bedelia), none of them ever spoke to each other; because the one LGBTI character in the episode (Alana) was not important to the plot of the episode and she could have easily have been taken out of the episode without causing too much of a change to occur; and because the two non-White characters in the episode (Jack and Reba) 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.

*****It was indicated that Hannibal might be bisexual/pansexual as Will asked Bedelia if Hannibal was in love with him, but because Bedelia’s answer seemed to indicate that Hannibal loved Will in the way that one loves food, it is being assumed by this author that Hannibal is not bisexual or pansexual so he is not being counted as a LGBTI character.

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