The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Descendants of the Sun – Season 1, Episode 2

Mo-Yeon ended things with Shi-Jin before they had a chance to really begin anything on Descendants of the Sun, episode 2, and in a weird twist of fate, the two encountered each other, once again, months later in another country.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 2 did not pass the Russo test but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

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Shi-Jin and Mo-Yeon cross paths months after their break up.

Episode 2 did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in episode 2. Episode 2 did, however, pass the Bechdel and race test.

There were a few named women in episode 2 and there were a couple of occasions in the episode where some of the women talked to each other. Of the couple of instances that named women talked to each other, men were almost always mentioned, but because there was a single instance where named women talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., Mo-Yeon and Eun-Ji discussed their interviews for a professorial position), the episode passed the Bechdel test.

As to the race test, while there were White people in the primarily Asian cast of episode 2 and there were instances where non-White individuals discussed White people, episode 2 passed the race test because there were nonetheless many opportunities where non-White individuals not only talked to each other, but they did so without mentioning anyone White.

*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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