The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Reign, “Betrothed” – Season 3, Episode 2

On Reign, “Betrothed,” Francis told Charles and Mary that they should marry one another once he (Francis) dies; Catherine attempted an assassination; and Elizabeth concocted an alibi for Catherine’s presence in England.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Betrothed” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

Francis informs his family of his impending death.

There were a couple of named women in “Betrothed” who occasionally talked to each other, but because men were always mentioned when any of the named women talked to each other, “Betrothed” did not pass the Bechdel test. The episode also failed to pass the Russo and race test, and “Betrothed” did not pass these tests because there were no LGBTI or non-White characters in the episode.

*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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