The 100’s “Thirteen” was a doozy. In the episode, Lexa was forced to contain the thirteenth clan, Arkadia; the origin of the Commander was revealed; and a great and unexpected tragedy occurred that would forever change the Grounders and Arkadia’s fates.
The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test
“Thirteen” passed the Bechdel, Russo and race test.
Named women (of which there were a few in “Thirteen”) talked to each other a couple of times in “Thirteen,” and because there were a few occasions where men were not mentioned when named women talked to each other (e.g., on three separate occasions, Clarke asked Lexa about a tattoo, Lexa told Clarke that the new Commander would protect her and Lexa told Clarke that she was ready to leave), the episode passed the Bechdel test. “Thirteen” also passed the Russo and race test.
“Thirteen” passed the Russo test because there were two LGBTI characters in the episode, Lexa and Clarke; because they were not solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., they were also defined as being leaders); and because their removal from “Thirteen” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot as “Thirteen” largely revolved around Clarke and Lexa.
As to the race test, there were a few non-White individuals in “Thirteen,” and because some of these individuals occasionally talked to each other without mentioning White people (e.g., Beth, on several occasions, discussed AIs with her non-White Polaris comrades), the episode passed the race test.
*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.