The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Supergirl, “Blood Bonds” – Season 1, Episode 9

Cat put Kara through the ringer on Supergirl, “Blood Bonds,” and she (Cat) informed Kara that if she could not prove that she was not Supergirl, then she would be fired. To make matters even worse for Kara, Non kidnapped Henshaw, and the only way that Kara could retrieve Henshaw was if she exchanged him for Astra, but with General Lane as the acting director of the DEO, this would prove to be no easy task.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Blood Bonds” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

Kara talks to James and Winn about the Henshaw situation. 

There were a couple of named women in “Blood Bonds” who occasionally spoke to each other and because there were two instances where men weren’t directly or indirectly referenced when some of the named women talked to each other (e.g., Kara told her sister that she had grabbed her some food, and Astra told Kara not to think of her [Astra] as being weak), the episode passed the Bechdel test.

As to the Russo test, “Blood Bonds” did not pass this test, and the episode didn’t pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. “Blood Bonds” also failed to pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a couple of non-White individuals in “Blood Bonds,” there was never an instance where two or more non-White individuals 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.