The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test: Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo – Season 1, Episode 11

On Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, episode 11, Hae-Soo was saved but her life came at the price of Court Lady Oh’s.

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Hae-Soo is arrested for the attempted murder of So.

In episode 11, the King was going to kill Hae-Soo even though he knew that she was not the culprit behind So’s poisoning. So why did he place the blame on her? Because if he didn’t publically hold her culpable for the poisoning, then the Crown Prince would be blamed for the attempted murder of So.

As to Wook, he attempted to free Hae-Soo by tracking down the true killer, but when he discovered that his sister was the culprit, he turned his back on Hae-Soo and left her to suffer through torture and an impending hanging. Court Lady Oh, who deeply cared for Hae-Soo, was thus forced to save Hae-Soo by confessing to the crime and undergoing the hanging in her (Hae-Soo’s) stead.

The Bechdel, Russo, and Race Test

Episode 11 passed the race test but it did not pass the Bechdel or Russo test.

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Hae-Soo is led to her execution. 

Episode 11 passed the race test, and the episode passed this test because there were many instances where non-White individuals talked to each other without mentioning anyone White as the entire cast was Asian and none of the characters ever mentioned White individuals. However, while episode 11 managed to pass this one diversity test, it did not pass any others like the Bechdel or Russo.

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So comforts Hae-Soo when Court Lady Oh is hung for a crime she did not commit. 

There were a few named women in episode 11 and there were a couple of instances where some of these women talked to each other, but the episode, nonetheless, failed to pass the Bechdel test because whenever named women talked to each other, they either directly or indirectly mentioned men.

As to why episode 11 did not pass the Russo test, there were no LGBTI characters in the episode.

*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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