Saturday, April 25, 2015

Bechdel April: Week 4

The Bechdel Test asks that media contain at least two female characters who talk to one another about something other than a man. I'm tracking my television consumption throughout April to see how often the shows I watch meet this seemingly simple criteria, and I'm doing it publicly because I figure it's of potential interest to y'all as well as to me.

Shows Watched This Week

ELEMENTARY is a crime drama in which Sherlock Holmes and Joan Watson consult for the NYPD.

ORPHAN BLACK is a science fiction drama in which a family of clones protect themselves from the forces arrayed against them.

SUPERNATURAL is a fantasy drama about two brothers who hunt monsters.

ONCE UPON A TIME is a fantasy drama in which a number of characters from fairy tales and other public domain stories are exiled to a small town in Maine.

THE 100 is a science fiction drama in which a hundred young criminals return to Earth a century after a nuclear war to see if the planet is once again capable of supporting human life.

CORONATION STREET is a soap opera set in a fictional Manchester suburb populated by working class people whose lives are packed with drama. I watch it on the Canadian schedule, which is about two weeks behind the UK schedule.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES is a fantasy drama about a bunch of vampires (and a handful of non-vampires) who inhabit a turgid supernatural soap opera.

THE FLASH is a superhero drama about a forensic scientist who gains the ability to run really fast.

NASHVILLE is a contemporary drama in which an assortment of musicians at every stage in their careers struggle to stay on top of the charts, or at least to keep afloat in the cutthroat music business. It’s my favourite.

The Results

As always, I've broken things down by episode and by scene. Each bullet point covers one scene, so even the spoiler-averse among you should be able to gauge how well these shows do on the Bechdel front.

Elementary, S3E18; "The View From Olympus"

  • FAIL

Elementary, S3E19; "One Watson, One Holmes"

  • Joan's friends discuss their plans for the upcoming ironic bachelorette party.

Orphan Black, S3E1; "The Weight of This Combination"

  • Sarah teases Helena about the things she's laid in for the baby. Kira joins in. Alison updates everyone on her plans for the shower. Helena asks Cosima how she's doing; Cosima says she's healing well.
  • The scorpion (who I'm hearing as female, though you may interpret her otherwise) tells Helena she's being tested. Helena says she understands.
  • Kira asks Sarah whether there are still fish in the river. Sarah says yes, they're still out there.
  • Delphine tells Sarah she wants to protect all the clones. Sarah brushes her off and demands to know if Delphine has even talked to Cosima since all this happens. Delphine dodges the question and fills Sarah in on another, previously unknown clone's recent experiences.
  • Sarah calls Alison to see if she's all right. Alison says yes, she's fine, but she has to go because she's coaching soccer. Cosima wants to know if Sarah is with Delphine right now. Sarah dodges the question.
  • Alison herds her soccer players into their minibus. Marcy approaches her and campaigns for Alison's support during the upcoming school trustee elections. Alison says Marcy hardly needs it as the incumbent; and besides, Alison disagrees with how Marcy wants to reorganize the dividing lines between school systems, so she's considering running against her.
  • Mrs S confesses that she handed Helena over to the military. She begs Sarah not to turn her back on her people. Sarah retorts that Mrs S isn't her people.
  • Kira and Cosima play. Cosima tells Kira about the dream she had when she was so sick and how she knew she had to come back for Kira. Kira is certain Delphine will make Cosima better with Kira's stem cells. Delphine arrives and questions Cosima about how she feels. Cosima wants to know where Sarah is and what's going on with Rachel. Delphine tells her Rachel is down for the count, so she has taken over Rachel's duties and won't be working with Cosima in the lab anymore. She also breaks up with Cosima because she doesn't feel like she can be the clones' best advocate if the relationship continues. Cosima tells Delphine she loves her.
  • Delphine agrees to help Sarah find Helena, but only if Sarah pretends to be Rachel.
  • Alison-as-Sarah goads Sarah-as-Rachel. Sarah-as-Rachel tells her to shut up. Later in the scene, she slaps Alison-as-Sarah and tells her to watch her mouth, after which she offers a wordless apology.
  • Alison tells Sarah she's worried about her. She and Sarah confirm their desire to go after Helena and bring her back.
  • Delphine wakes Rachel up and tests her physical and mental responses. She tells Rachel she warned her what would happen if she carried down this road. Rachel wants to know what happened, exactly. She refuses to tell Delphine much of anything, so Delphine tortures her until Rachel confirms she's still aware of who everyone is and what sort of situation they're in. Delphine threatens to utterly erase Rachel from the world unless Rachel spills all her plans.
  • Sarah tells Delphine Helsinki is happening. They discuss Rachel's plan to eliminate all the other clones. Sarah feels Delphine should have told her this was a potential scenario. Delphine orders Sarah to stand down until Delphine has more information on the overall scope of the cloning projects.
  • Helena and the scorpion babble at one another.

Supernatural S10E15, "The Things They Carried"

  • FAIL

Supernatural, S10E16, "Paint It Black"

  • Rowena and Olivette hurl insults at one another. Olivette refuses to treat with Rowena. Rowena is deeply offended; she's a superstar, not someone Olivette can just brush off. Olivette retorts that Rowena has always been out of control and her current home in Hell only proves how far she's fallen.
  • Olivette calls Rowena impetuous, reckless, and overrated. Rowena believes she's just jealous because of Rowena's many talents. She will make Olivette give her what she wants. Olivette claims it's impossible; the coven secrets Rowena has always coveted are now long lost thanks to the public relations coup that has given witchcraft such a bad name.
  • Rowena accuses Olivette of concealing spells and magical devices from her. Olivette denies it. Rowena doesn't believe her, but concedes that Olivette and the coven are far weaker than they used to be--and that being the case, she might as well take her revenge. Olivette begs her not to. Rowena begins a killing spell, but decides to commute it to something less deadly but more humiliating.

Once Upon A Time, S4E18, "Heart of Gold"

  • Emma tells her parents how upset she is that they destroyed someone else's soul to protect hers. It's a bit of a dodgy pass; she mostly addresses Mary Margaret, but David's also part of the conversation and he defends himself as well.
  • Zelena tells Regina she's still alive, much to Regina's horror. This, too, is a dodgy pass because they quickly segue into talking about Robin.

Once Upon A Time, S4E19, "Sympathy for the De Vil"

  • Cruella's mother threatens her to make her come home. She banishes Cruella to an attic bedroom, though Cruella protests she's being treated no better than a dog.
  • Maleficent confronts Cruella about the lies she told about Lily's disappearance. Cruella says yeah, whatevs, she's an awful person and she abandoned baby Lily in the woods after having used part of the baby's eggshell as a youth-preserving tonic. Maleficent threatens to kill her and morphs into her dragon form to do so, but Cruella quickly seizes control of her with that special animal-entrancing breath of hers. She proceeds to gloat.
  • Emma berates Mary Margaret (and David, though she mostly addresses herself to her mother) for harming Maleficent's baby. Regina enters and tells Emma about the Zelena-disguised-as-Marian situation.
  • Cruella's mother berates her for stealing a radio and squirreling it away in her room. Cruella retorts that she had no choice; she's read every book her mother's ever given her and she's not allowed to go out. She'd behave if only she could go out. Her mother refuses to consider the idea. Furthermore, Cruella needs to stay in her room and be quiet because there's someone at the door.
  • Emma asks Regina if she's sure about her plan to confront Zelena in New York. There's no magic there; Regina will be defenseless. Emma offers Regina her gun for protection and assures Regina she's not angry with her for keeping Mary Margaret and David's secret.
  • Mary Margaret asks Emma not to avoid her. Emma retorts that she's not avoiding her, she's just surrounding herself with people she trusts--and right now, Mary Margaret isn't on the list.
  • Regina tells Emma she's being petulant. Emma petulantly declares she refuses to take advice from someone who held a grudge for half her life because a ten-year-old couldn't keep a secret. Regina brushes this off and says Mary Margaret recently told her it's important to hope one will get a chance at grace. Regina thought Mary Margaret was only talking about Regina's past sins, but she now things Mary Margaret had her own redemption in mind as well.
  • Cruella and her mother face off. Cruella turns her mother's dogs against her and orders them to attack, despite her mother's pleas.

The 100, S2E2; "Inclement Weather"

  • Clarke asks Maya what the alarm means. Maya tells her it lets everyone in the bunker know an away team has returned and one of them is injured.
  • Abby questions Raven about her condition. She tells Raven the bullet is still shifting around inside her, which limits their options. If she leaves the bullet in, Raven will definitely live but will never walk again. If she takes the bullet out, there's no guarantee Raven will recover. She may even die on the table, since they no longer have anesthetics. Raven chooses to go through with the surgery.
  • Abby tells Raven she's almost ready to begin. Raven is initially too scared to answer, but she screams for Abby to stop once the scalpel touches her back.
  • Abby tests the feeling in Raven's legs post-surgery. Based on Raven's answers, she determines Raven's left leg has sustained irreparable nerve damage. Raven is devastated.

Coronation Street, April 20th

  • The social worker (whose name, we now learn, is Carol), Faye, and Anna discuss the baby. Carol says yes, she understands this is tough for Faye. Anna rolls right over this and encourages Faye to keep the baby. Faye insists she doesn't want to, but Anna refuses to believe her and Carol isn't ready to make her final judgement yet. She reminds them this is just their first meeting; she'll be back again to see if and how the situation has changed.
  • Carol tells Faye no one will force her to do anything she isn't comfortable with. Faye worries Anna is angry with her for speaking up about her true feelings for the baby. Anna assures her she isn't. Carol tells Faye not to worry; they will figure this out.
  • Tracy taunts Faye. She says Faye should sell her story to a magazine, since they'll pay tons for articles about people who didn't even know they were pregnant.
  • Alya asks Faye how the visit with the social worker went. Faye doesn't want to talk about it, so Alya quickly changes the subject to the new designs she's been working on for the factory. Can Faye help her with some market research? How does she feel about nightshirts versus pajamas? Faye prefers pajamas because of their dual wearability. Alya uses this as a jumping off point to question Faye further, more to distract Faye from her problems than because she really needs to know.
  • Faye tells Alya she should not put animal prints on the pajamas. Animals are so last season. She's having a lot of fun consulting on Alya's designs and would like to go into fashion herself someday--but she doesn't see how it'll ever be possible with the baby around. Before Alya can reply, Yasmeen approaches them. She tells Faye she's glad to see her because she has something for her: a bottle of jasmine oil to help with stretch marks. She assures Faye she will support her during this difficult time.

Elementary, S3E20; "A Stitch In Time"

  • Hannah asks Joan for help cracking a string of robberies she's been investigating. She runs through the details with Joan and says she's keen to put a stop to these thefts so she can protect her beat.
  • Joan gives Hannah her analysis of the evidence. She's pinned everything on a candy distributor who's also running drugs. She advises Hannah to pass the case to someone higher up so they can follow it through to the most senior person in the cartel. Hannah thanks her for her help.
  • Joan confronts Hannah about her decision to make the collar herself instead of following the evidence further. Hannah tells Joan she acted as she did because she knew she'd receive a commendation. Every positive mark in her file will help her on her sergeant's exam. Joan says she thought the point was to help people, not garner glory.

The Vampire Diaries, S6E16; "The Downward Spiral"

  • Bonnie tells Elena she's returned from the prison dimension. Hugs ensue.
  • Bonnie and Elena celebrate Bonnie's return. Elena marks the occasion with a terrible toast. Caroline crashes the party and announces she's decided to start over and replace all her material possessions. Oh, and Bonnie's back? How unimpressive. Bonnie finds this new, emotion-free Caroline both like and unlike herself. Caroline demands they agree to let her live without emotions for one year. She won't kill anyone as long as they leave her alone, but if they try to make her resume her humanity she will become their worst nightmare.
  • Elena and Bonnie banter about the rave. It's far from an ideal welcome home party for Bonnie. They agree to split up and look for Caroline.
  • Elena tells Caroline she'll regret it forever if she causes Sarah's death. Elena's been there; she knows. Caroline isn't buying it, largely because this is an enormous thing that's happened to her and Elena still manages to make it all about Elena, same as always.
  • Elena tries to persuade Caroline to stop what she's doing to Sarah. Caroline insists it'll be all right in the end. Sarah can live without a spleen.
  • Elena demands Caroline tell her where Sarah is. Caroline refuses. Elena tracks Sarah down on her own and encourages her to drink some vampire blood to regain her strength.

The Vampire Diaries, S6E17, "A Bird In A Gilded Cage"

  • Sarah awakes and asks Jo how she ended up in the hospital. Jo talks Sarah through the cover story she and the others concocted to explain Sarah's condition.
  • Elena asks Lily how she ended up in the prison world. Lily describes how the coven ambushed her shortly after her arrival in New York.
  • Caroline's dormmate asks what's going on. Caroline tries to get rid of her with a few flimsy excuses about spring break, but ends up having to compel her.
  • Elena hands the ascendant off to Bonnie. They agree to head outside and start the spell that'll take them home.

Coronation Street, April 21st (Canadian schedule)

  • Amy and Tracy argue over the dress Amy wants to wear to her sleepover. Tracy insists it was purchased specially for her wedding and isn't for random social occasions; Amy says she barely got to wear it once and might as well get some use out of it. She threatens to fake an illness so her friend's mother won't let her come over. Tracy, eager for a night to herself, relents.
  • Sophie fills Carla in on the situation with Faye and Anna.

Coronation Street, April 22nd (Canadian schedule)

  • Anna gets her wages from Michelle, who says she should just let them know whenever she's ready to come back to work. When Anna comes under fire in the pub at large, Michelle invites her to come in the back and have a glass of wine.
  • Bethany tells Gail there's no need to worry about Sarah being home alone. Sarah will probably just be taking advantage of the quiet house to get some work done. Bethany wishes she were there with her instead of at this family meal. Gail takes umbrage.
  • Anna thanks Michelle for giving her a break. Michelle says she's glad to help out. Anna has had a lot on her plate.
  • Bethany is furious about her impending return to Milan. She and Gail argue about it. Gail reminds Bethany she can do nothing to stop the move.
  • Bethany tells Sarah she won't go back to Milan because Sarah is a selfish liar who doesn't care about her feelings. Sarah protests.
  • Sarah brings Bethany candy to placate her. Bethany says it's fine; she's thought about the Milan situation and decided to be mature, seeing as how it's not just her future at stake. Things are all right between them until Sarah learns Bethany sent an e-mail that got her fired.

Coronation Street, April 23rd (Canadian schedule)

  • Gail, Bethany, and Sarah talk about Sarah's job situation and living arrangements. Sarah is concerned as to where Bethany will go to school if they stay in Weatherfield. Bethany says she'll just go to the nearest one because they're legally obligated to take her. Sarah protests it's a bit more complicated than that.
  • Tracy insults Liz's dress. Liz fights back.
  • Liz complains about Tracy to Michelle. Michelle agrees Tracy is awful, but takes offense when Liz begins snarking over Tracy's age.
  • Izzy teaches Faye how to change a diaper. Faye struggles with the task, but Izzy assures her she'll get the hang of it soon.
  • Sarah tells Bethany it's all right they're not going back to Milan. Sarah knows how much she hated it there, and she's glad Bethany at least won't have to live somewhere she hates. They make up and fight over who gets to eat Bethany's popcorn.

Coronation Street, April 24th (Canadian schedule)

  • Sophie questions Gail about the flowers she's been buying each week. Gail protests that she doesn't need to tell Sophie what she plans to do with them. Sophie wouldn't hound her about who all will eat the biscuits she buys each week. This leads Sophie to wonder if Gail has a woman on the side, but when she brings it up Gail claims to be "insulted" and storms out.
  • Anna and Faye discuss the baby's storage needs. Faye is alarmed the baby's dresser will have to go in her room. Anna says Faye should've thought of that before she had sex at twelve years old. She immediately apologizes and asks Faye to show her what she bought in town. Faye pulls out her new school bag, which prompts Anna to tell her there's no way she'll be able to go back to school. The scene cuts away before Faye has a chance to respond.

The Flash, S1E19; "Who Is Harrison Wells?"

  • Nina and the other teller banter about their workday, how glad they are to be done, and the things Nina has to do before she leaves. It's a debatable pass, since we later learn "Nina" is a shapeshifter who may still identifies as male, even though they assume female forms as well.

Nashville S3E19, "The Storm Has Just Begun"

  • Juliette and Sandra talk about Sandra's sudden arrival and Cadence's care going forward.
  • Jade congratulates Layla on her performance. They share their mutual admiration of one another's music.
  • Layla and Jade discover they both used to do pageants. Jade tells Layla she reminds her of herself. Layla is thrilled to hear it.
  • Juliette rounds on Layla. She tells her she is the priority at Highway 65 and Layla had better get used to coming in second place. When Layla tries to defend herself, Juliette retorts that she is a superstar with a movie coming out; Layla is just a talent show has-been. Jade stands up for Layla, but Juliette shoots her down. Layla tells Jade Juliette was hell to tour with.
  • Jade invites Layla to open for her as a regular deal, right out front, no pre-pre-show status. Before Layla can say much in response, Juliette approaches jade and slags her off for purchasing a performance for Layla. Juliette insists Jade has tried to buy her way into Nashville, but everyone will see she doesn't really belong there.


  1. I cherish Orphan Black and its all-the-time passing of the Bechdel Test. I decided not to watch the season week-to-week, because I've found I just enjoy the show more if I binge on it.

    1. The only downside to ORPHAN BLACK's all-time-passing thing is that I have to pause it all the frickin' time to take notes.

      I sort of want to save it up and binge on it, but I doubt I have the willpower to do so. I've resisted the urge to watch the latest episode only because of the abovementioned note taking issue, and because it aired on the night of the Readathon.