The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Strain, “Fallen Light” – Season 2, Episode 12

On The Strain, “Fallen Light,” Setrakian placed a bid on the Occido Lumen and Gus rescued some of his old prison mates.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Fallen Light” passed the race test but did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

Eph and Nora discuss whether or not they should send Zach off to his grandparents.

There were several non-White actors in “Fallen Light” and there were several instances where some of these non-White actors talked to each other without mentioning White people so the episode passed the race test. However, while “Fallen Light” passed the race test, it did not pass either the Bechdel or Russo test, and the episode did not pass these tests for several reasons.

“Fallen Light” did not pass the Bechdel test because while there were a few instances where women talked to each other, when the women talked to each other they either didn’t have names or they directly or indirectly referred to men.

As to the Russo test, “Fallen Light” did not pass this test because the two LGBTI characters in the episode (Dutch and Nikki) did not pass all of the Russo test’s requirements. For example, Dutch was solely defined by her sexuality and neither Dutch nor Nikki’s removal from the episode would have significantly impacted the plot.

*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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