The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Gotham, “Transference” – Season 2, Episode 22

On the finale of Gotham, “Transference,” Fox, Bruce and Gordon were held prisoner in the bowls of Arkham. Dr. Strange did so this so that he could truss up his experiments and pack them up for transference to another facility, but Dr. Strange’s plans, of course, went awry. To be more specific, he wound up trapped in Arkham alongside Fox, Bruce and Gordon as a bomb slowly ticked, waiting for his, and theirs’, impending death.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

“Transference” passed the Bechdel, Russo and race test.

Gotham-222-1
Penguin and Butch gun down Dr. Strange’s bus full of experiments.

Most of the cast of “Transference” was male, but the episode, nonetheless, passed the Bechdel test, and “Transference” passed this diversity test because there were two instances where some of the very few named women that were in the episode talked to each other without mentioning men (e.g., on two different instances, Fish and Ms. Peabody talked to each other about Fish’s imprisonment). “Transference” also passed the Russo and race test.

“Transference” passed the Russo test because there was one LGBTI character in the episode, Barbara, and she was not solely defined by her sexual orientation (e.g., she was also defined as being a friend) and her removal from “Transference” would have significantly affected the episode’s plot (e.g., her removal would have affected the episode because she was the one who discovered that the Gordon at the GCPD was an imposter and this led the GCPD to return to Arkham).

As to the race test, “Transference” passed this diversity test because there were a couple of non-White individuals in the episode and there were several instances where some these individuals 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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