The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Agent Carter, “Better Angels” – Season 2, Episode 3

Agent Carter discovered that Dr. Wilkes was indeed alive on Agent Carter, “Better Angels,” but invisible due to some sort of (pseudo?) scientific reason. Stark assisted Carter and Wilkes in their endeavor to make Wilkes corporeal once again, but Stark found that there was only so much that he could do so he sought out the assistance of another scientist.

Carter, in the meanwhile, dug further into the zero gravity matter, and through her investigation, she discovered a secret society that was secretly shaping and controlling society.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

WYNN EVERETT
Carter questions Frost and the two women discuss Wilkes.

“Better Angels” did not pass the Bechdel test, and the episode did not pass this test because named women only talked to each other once in “Better Angels” (and this was, in fact, the only time women, named or unnamed, talked to each other) and in that one instant, men were mentioned (e.g., Carter confronted Frost and the two discussed Wilkes). “Better Angels” also failed to pass the Russo and race test, and the episode did not pass these tests because 1) there were no LGBTI characters in “Better Angels” and 2) because the two non-White individuals in the episode, Wilkes and Agent Vega, never 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.

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