The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Originals, “The Axeman’s Letter” – Season 3, Episode 5

Klaus and Aurora’s love story was told on The Originals, “The Axeman’s Letter,” and Klaus learned that the true reason that he and Aurora had parted ways was because Elijah had secretly compelled Aurora to break Klaus’ heart.

Also, in “The Axeman’s Letter,” a new victim was killed, and because Cami was the one who found the new body and her family has a shifty history, she was arrested and brought in for questioning.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Axeman’s Letter” passed the Bechdel test but did not pass the Russo or race test.

Cami is arrested by Will Kinney under the suspicion that she has something to do with recent string of murders.

 “The Axeman’s Letter” passed the Bechdel test, and the episode passed this test because of the couple instances that named women talked to each other, there was one instance where men weren’t mentioned (e.g., Davina talked to Hayley about the Ancestors).

As to the Russo and race test, “The Axeman’s Letter” did not pass either of these tests, and the episode did not pass these tests because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode and because none of the non-White individuals in “The Axeman’s Letter” (of which there were a couple) ever 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.

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