The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Reign, “Our Undoing” – Season 3, Episode 8

Accused of murdering Francis, Catherine found herself trying to prove her innocence in her son’s death on Reign, “Our Undoing.” Mary, in the meanwhile, scrambled about trying to prevent anyone from discovering her and Catherine’s involvement in Don Carlo’s accident.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Our Undoing” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

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Mary does her best to convince Lola not to testify against Catherine, but Lola isn’t having any of it and she refuses to believe that Catherine was not the one who planted the rat in her tub.

Named women talked to each other several times in “Our Undoing,” and the episode passed the Bechdel test because out of the several times that named women talked to each other in “Our Undoing,” there were two instances where men were not mentioned (e.g., Claude apologized to Catherine and Mary told Catherine that she would hide her). In regards to the Russo and race test, “Our Undoing” did not pass either of these tests.

“Our Undoing” did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode, and “Our Undoing” did not pass the race test because there was only one non-White individual (Don Carlos) in the episode.

*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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