The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Reign, “Wedlock” – Season 3, Episode 9

Ben Mark Holzberg/benmark.ca

On Reign, “Wedlock,” Elizabeth discovered that she was pregnant with Robert’s child; Narcisse killed a servant; Lola realized that Narcisse had been the one who had planted a rat in her bath; and Mary learned that Don Carlos was planning to kill her and steal her throne.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Wedlock” did not pass the Bechdel, Russo or race test.

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Gideon informs Mary of a plot against her life.

Named women talked to each other a couple of times in “Wedlock,” but because men were always mentioned whenever named women talked to each other, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test. “Wedlock” also failed to pass the Russo and race test, and the episode did not pass these tests because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode and because there was only one non-White individual in “Wedlock.”

*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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