The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Originals, “Wild at Heart” – Season 3, Episode 11

The newest episode of The Originals, “Wild at Heart” was full of drama, discovery and betrayal.

In “Wild at Heart,” Aya questioned the Strix’s loyalty; Elijah attained new information on the demise of the Mikaelsons’; Davina contacted Kol; Klaus babysat Cami; and Cami, well, Cami figured out what the instrument of the Mikaelsons’ demise was and she stole from right under Klaus’s nose.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Wild at Heart” did not pass the Bechdel test but it did pass the Russo and race test.

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Elijah contemplates what the instrument of the Mikaelsons’ demise could be.

Named women talked to each other a couple of times in “Wild at Heart,” but the episode did not pass the Bechdel test as men were always directly or indirectly referenced whenever named women talked to each other. As to the Russo and race test, “Wild at Heart” did pass these diversity tests.

There was one LGBTI character in “Wild at Heart,” Josh, and because he was not solely defined by his sexual orientation (e.g., he was also defined as being Davina’s friend) and because his removal from “Wild at Heart” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., his removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot because a large part of “Wild at Heart” revolved around Davina communicating with Kol and Josh was the one who helped Davina communicate with Kol), the episode passed the Russo test.

“Wild at Heart” passed the race test because there was a single instance in the episode where two non-White individuals talked to each other, and in that instance, White people were not mentioned (e.g., Aya questioned Marcel’s loyalty).

*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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