The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Scream Queens, “The Final Girl(s)” – Season 1, Episode 13

Scream Queens, season 1 has finally come to a close with the finale, “The Final Girl(s).”

In “The Final Girl(s),” it was revealed to the audience, but not to Grace, that Hester is Grace’s half-sister and the final Red Devil.

Hester had been raised by Gigi in an asylum, and she had been taught from the time that she was a child how to murder. When Hester was old enough to go to college and to get her murder on (so to speak), she forged her transcripts, attended Wallace University and joined Kappa. From there, she commenced The Red Devil plot (of which she professed to organizing) to eliminate all of the evil in Kappa House and her plan finally came to fruition in “The Final Girl(s)” where she framed the Chanels and they were sent away to an asylum.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“The Final Girl(s)” passed the Bechdel and Russo test but did not pass the race test.

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The Chanels are arrested under the suspicion that they are The Red Devil.

There were a ton of named women in “The Final Girl(s)” and there were several instances where some of these named women talked to each other without mentioning men so the episode passed the Bechdel test. “The Final Girl(s)” also passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because the one LGBTI character in the episode, Chanel #3, was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a sorority sister and a criminal) and her removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot as the storyline revolved around her and the other Chanels’ arrest.

In regards to the race test, “The Final Girl(s)” did not pass this test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a couple of non-White individuals in the episode (e.g., Zayday and Denise), they never spoke 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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