The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Master’s Sun – Season 1, Episode 5

On the fifth episode of The Master’s Sun, Joong-Won created a position at Kingdom for Kong-Sil, and for her first job assignment, Kong-Sil traveled to the home of a wealthy business woman whose grandson had died.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 5 did not pass the Russo test but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

Kong-Sil and Joong-Won discover that the reason Ji-Woo hasn’t moved on is because he is waiting to reunite with his first and only love, Sun-Young.

Like all of the previous episodes, there were no LGBTI characters in episode 5 so the episode did not pass the Russo test. The episode did, however, pass the Bechdel test.

Episode 5 passed the Bechdel test because out of the handful of times that named women talked to each other in episode 5, there was one instance where men weren’t mentioned (e.g., the named matchmaker and named business woman told Kong-Sil to put on a dress). Episode 5 also passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because the entire cast of episode 5 was Asian (so only non-White individuals ever talked) and none of the characters ever mentioned White people (so every conversation that occurred in episode 5 involved non-White individuals talking to each other without ever mentioning White people).

*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.