The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Master’s Sun – Season 1, Episode 17

In the finale of The Master’s Sun, Kong-Sil returned to South Korea after wandering the world for a year. Kong-Sil could still see ghosts after her journey, but she was at peace with this, not to mention that she was also rich.

Kong-Sil had earned a pretty penny by relocating ghosts while on her journeys, and with her new found money, Kong-Sil bought her old apartment building in South Korea. This, of course, was done in an attempt by Kong-Sil to appeal to Joong-Won, but Joong-Won didn’t care about the apartment building. He was just pleased to finally be reunited with Kong-Sil, and in the end, Kong-Sil and Joong-Won began a new grand romance, but this time, with both of them secure in themselves and each other.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 17 passed the race test but it did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

MS17-1
Kong-Sil is possessed by a cat as soon as she reunites with Joong-Won.

There were a couple of White individuals in episode 17 (which primarily had an all Asian cast) and there were a couple of occasions where some of the non-White cast members in the episode mentioned White people, but the episode passed the race test since there were several instances where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White people. The episode did not, however, pass the Bechdel test.

Named women talked to each other a couple of times in episode 17, but episode 17 did not pass the Bechdel test because men were always mentioned whenever named women talked to each other. Episode 17 also failed to pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in episode 17.

*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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