How to Get Away with Murder returned the other night, and in its new episode, “It’s Time to Move On,” Annalise worked on getting her team a new case and Rebecca’s murderer was revealed.
The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test
“It’s Time to Move On” passed the Bechdel, Russo and race test.
There were several named women and non-White people in “It’s Time to Move On” and there were several instances where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men and non-White actors talked to each other without mentioning White people so the episode passed both the Bechdel and race test. “It’s Time to Move On” also passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because there were three different LGBTI characters – Annalise, Eve and Connor – who met all of the Russo test’s requirements.
Annalise passed the Russo test because she is LGBTI; because besides being LGBTI, she was also a lawyer and a professor in “It’s Time to Move On”; and because if she had been taken out of “It’s Time to Move On,” the plot of the episode would have radically changed since she was a main character and most of the episode focused on how she was trying to figure out who murdered Rebecca, how she was trying to take over a court case and how she was trying to get Eve to take on Nate’s case.
Eve passed the Russo test because she is LGBTI; because she wasn’t solely defined by her sexual orientation as she was also defined as being a lawyer; and because if she had been removed from the episode then the plot would have been significantly affected as one of the main storylines of “It’s Time to Move On” was how she was Annalise’s former lover and Nate’s new representation.
As to Connor, he passed the Russo test because he is LGBTI; because he was not solely defined by his sexual orientation (e.g., he was also a law student); and because his removal from “It’s Time to Move On” would have significantly affected the plot since he is part of the main ensemble of How to Get Away with Murder and because he had his own little subplot in the episode which furthered his overall storyline.*****
*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.
*****Oliver, who is LGBTI, was also in the episode and while he was not important to the plot of the episode because he was part of Connor’s storyline, he was solely defined by his sexual orientation so he did not pass the Russo test.