The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Gotham, “A Legion of Horribles” – Season 2, Episode 21

Dr. Strange reanimated a test subject who had retained her memory on Gotham, “A Legion of Horribles,” but while he was successful in that endeavor, he was not so lucky when it came to keeping out intruders from Arkham. Namely, Bruce, Fox and Gordon all manage to get inside of Arkham, poke around and cause their own brand of mayhem.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“A Legion of Horribles” did not pass the Russo test but it did pass the Bechdel and race test.

Gotham-221-1
Fox snoops around Arkham.

“A Legion of Horribles” did not pass the Russo test, and the episode did not pass this test because there were no LGBTI characters in “A Legion of Horribles.” The episode did, however, pass the Bechdel and race test.

There were a couple of named women in “A Legion of Horribles” and there were instances where some of these named women talked to each other. The episode passed the Bechdel test because out of the couple of instances where named women talked to each, there was one occasion where men were not mentioned (e.g., Firefly told Cat that she was going to kill her).

As to the race test, there were several non-White individuals in “A Legion of Horribles” and because there were a couple of instances where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning White people, 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.

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