The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Originals, “Heart Shaped Box” – Season 3, Episode 13

Aurora kidnapped Freya on, “Heart Shaped Box,” and Klaus, of course, was not pleased with this new development and he immediately went in search of his sister.

Aya, in the meanwhile, worked on breaking the sire bound, and when she discovered the key to destroying it, she immediately pounced on the opportunity, consequences be damned.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Heart Shaped Box” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

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The Strix’s witches come after Hayley in the middle of Hayley and Cami’s training session.

There were some named women in “Heart Shaped Box” and there were occasions where some of these women talked to one another. Of the couple of times that named women talked to one another, there were two instances where men weren’t mentioned (e.g., Davina warned Hayley that some witches were after her and Hayley asked Aya why in the hell a bunch of witches were trying to steal her heart) so the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Heart Shaped Box” did not, however, pass either the Russo or race test.

“Heart Shaped Box” did not pass the Russo test because there were no LGBTI characters in the episode. The episode did not pass the race test because even though there were a couple of non-White individuals in the episode and there were some instances where non-White individuals talked to each other, White people were always mentioned whenever non-White individuals talked to 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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