The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Strain, “The Born” – Season 2, Episode 7

On The Strain, “The Born,” Eph returned to New York; Dutch found Nikki; and Abraham and Vasiliy discovered both a new ally and the Master’s nest.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Born” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.

Women talked to each other a couple of times in “The Born” and there was one occasion where women (who all had names) talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Nora, Dutch and Nikki talked about Nikki’s ankle injury) so the episode passed the Bechdel test. The episode also passed the Russo test, and “The Born” passed this test because Dutch and Nikki (who are both LGBTI) were in the episode; because they were not solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Nikki was also a survivor, a coward and a thief and Dutch was a coward and a friend); and because both Nikki and Dutch were important to the plot of this episode and it would have been difficult to remove either one of them from the episode without radically changing the plot since a significant chunk of “The Born” revolved around these two.

In regards to the race test, there was only one non-White character (Nora) in “The Born” so the episode did not pass this test for very obvious reasons.

*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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