The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The 100, “Watch the Thrones” – Season 3, Episode 4

In the newest episode of The 100, “Watch the Thrones,” Nia contested Lexa’s right to rule and she challenged Lexa to a fight to the death. Lexa, of course, accepted Nia’s challenge and she prepared herself to battle Nia’s proxy, Roan.

Clarke, in the meanwhile, was extremely unhappy with Lexa’s decision. She was afraid that Lexa would lose against Roan and when she failed to dissuade Lexa from battling against him, Clarke did the only thing that she could – she lied and connived.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Watch the Thrones” did not pass the Bechdel test but it did pass the Russo and race test.

Watch the Thrones
Roan and Lexa begin their battle to the death.

 

“Watch the Thrones” did not pass the Bechdel test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were named women in the episode and there were several instances in “Watch the Thrones” where named women talked to each other, men were always referenced (in one way or another) whenever named women talked to each other. As to the Russo and race test, “Watch the Thrones” did pass these diversity tests.

There were two LGBTI characters in “Watch the Thrones,” Clarke and Lexa, and the episode passed the Russo test because both of these women passed all of the Russo test’s requirements. To be more specific, “Watch the Thrones” passed the Russo test because Clarke and Lexa are LGBTI and they were in the episode; because Clarke and Lexa were not solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Clarke was also defined as being a saboteur and Lexa was defined as being a leader); and because Clarke and Lexa’s removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot of “Watch the Thrones” as the episode’s plot largely revolved around these two.

In the case of the race test, “Watch the Thrones” passed this test because while White people were almost always mentioned in the handful of times that non-White individuals talked to each other in “Watch the Thrones,” there was one occasion in the episode where two non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White people (e.g., Hannah made a comment to Pike about Lincoln).

*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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