The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Gotham, “Azrael” – Season 2, Episode 19

Under the belief that he was Azrael, Galavan went on a killing spree on Gotham, “Azrael,” determined to kill Gordon.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Azrael” did not pass the Bechdel test but it did pass the Russo and race test.

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Dr. strange convinces Galavan that he is Azrael.

There were a couple of named women in “Azrael” and while there was one instance where some of the named women in the episode talked to each other (e.g., Barbara talked to Tabitha and Butch about helping her out), the episode did not pass the Bechdel test as a man participated in the one instance that named women talked to each other and at least one of the named women mentioned a man as well.

As to the Russo test, there were two LGBTI characters in “Azrael,” Barbara and Tabitha, and because these two weren’t solely defined by their sexual orientation (e.g., Barbara and Tabitha were also defined as being friends) and their removals from “Azrael” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., their removal from the episode would have significantly affected the plot as they were part of and contributed to the episode and overall series’ storyline), “Azrael” passed the Russo test.

“Azrael” also passed the race test, and the episode passed this diversity test because there were a couple of instances where some of the non-White individuals that were in “Azrael” (of which there were a few) talked to each other without mentioning White people.

*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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