The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: The Originals, “An Old Friend Calls” – Season 3, Episode 15

The Originals -- "An Old Friend Calls" -- Image Number: OG315a_0048.jpg -- Pictured: Nathaniel Buzolic as Kol -- Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW -- © 2016 The CW Network, LLC. All rights reserved.

On The Originals, “An Old Friend Calls,” Hayley sought revenge for Jackson’s murder and an old, not so friendly face from Klaus’ past visited New Orleans.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“An Old Friend Calls” passed the Russo test but it did not pass the Bechdel or race test.

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Cami and Klaus fight over Klaus’ murderous actions.

There was one LGBTI character in “An Old Friend Calls,” Josh, and the episode passed the Russo test because he was not solely defined by his sexual orientation (e.g., he was also defined as being a vampire and a friend) and because his removal from “An Old Friend Calls” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., his removal would have significantly affected the plot as he was the one who convinced Davina to help the Mikaelsons and this ultimately led to the discovery that Hayley was killing The Strix, a main plot point).

In regards to the Bechdel test, there were a few named women in “An Old Friend Calls,” but none of these women ever talked to one another so the episode did not pass the Bechdel test. “An Old Friend Calls” also failed to pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a few non-White individuals in “An Old Friend Calls” and there were instances where non-White individuals talked to each other, White people were always referenced 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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