The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Originals, “Dead Angels” – Season 3, Episode 12

The Originals, “Dead Angels” was chock full of deceit and cat and mouse games. In the episode, Elijah and Aya cleverly (and brutally) fought over leadership rights to The Strix; Davina attempted to outsmart her new coven sisters, and a coven sister, in turn, did her best to outmaneuver Davina; and Klaus and Cami fought to have control in and over their relationship.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

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Vincent and Klaus argue about Cami.

There were a couple of named women in “Dead Angels” and while there were several instances in the episode where some of the named women in “Dead Angels” talked to each other, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test because men were always (indirectly or directly) referenced whenever named women talked to one another. “Dead Angels” also failed to pass the Russo and race test.

“Dead Angels” did not pass the Russo test because there were no known LGBTI characters in the episode. “Dead Angels” did not pass the race test because even though there were a couple of non-White individuals in “Dead Angels” (e.g., Marcel and Aya) and there were a few instances where some of the non-White individuals in the episode talked to one another, White people were always inevitably mentioned whenever non-White individuals conversed with one another.

*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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