The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Supergirl, “Better Angels” – Season 1, Episode 20

On the finale of Supergirl, “Better Angels,” Supergirl and J’onn J’onzz said goodbye to their love ones and the two raced against the clock to save Earth from Non and his nefarious doomsday plan.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Better Angels” passed the Bechdel test but it did not pass the Russo or race test.

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Kara races off to face yet another unknown situation/potential problem.

“Better Angels” passed the Bechdel test, and the episode passed this test because there were a couple of instances where named women (of which there were several in “Better Angels”) talked to each other without mentioning men.

As to the Russo test, “Better Angels” did not pass this diversity test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in “Better Angels.” “Better Angels” also failed to pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were a couple of non-White individuals in “Better Angels,” two or more non-White individuals never actually talked to each other.

*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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