The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Gotham, “Unleashed” – Season 2, Episode 20

GOTHAM: L-R: Sean Pertwee and James Frain in the "Wrath of the Villains: Unleashed" episode of GOTHAM airing Monday, May 2 (8:00-9:01 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2016 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeff Neumann/FOX

Theo was out and about reigning terror over Gotham on Gotham, “Unleashed,” and as a side effect of his actions, the GPD searched Arkham and questioned Dr. Strange, Cat broke into Arkham, Tabitha was severely injured and Penguin was out on the prowl.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

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

gotham-unleashed-strange
Cat overhears a private conversation between Dr. Strange and Miss Peabody.

“Unleashed” passed the Russo test, and the episode passed this test because there was a LGBTI character in “Unleashed,” Tabitha, and she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being Theo’s sister) and her removal from “Unleashed” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., her removal would have significantly affected the episode as she was a huge factor in tracking down and inspiring motive to kill Theo and this was a huge plot point in “Unleashed”).

As to the Bechdel test, there were a couple of named women in “Unleashed” and while there was a time or two where some of these named women talked to each other, the episode did not pass the Bechdel test and “Unleashed” did not pass this test because men were always mentioned whenever named women talked to each other. “Unleashed” also failed to pass the race test, and the episode did not pass this test because while there were non-White individuals in “Unleashed” and there were instances where some of the non-White individuals that were in the episode talked to each other, White people were always mentioned whenever two or more non-White individuals 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.

Advertisements