Saturday, May 2, 2015

Bechdel April: Week Five

The Bechdel Test asks that media contain at least two female characters who speak to one another about something other than a man. I tracked my viewing throughout April to see how often the shows I watch meet the test, and I did it publicly because I figured it was of potential interest to other folks as well as myself.

This is the final round of data. An analysis post will follow next week.

Shows Watched This Week

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

ONCE UPON A TIME is a fantasy drama in which a variety of fairy tale and public domain characters 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 FLASH is a superhero drama about a forensic scientist who gains the ability to run really fast.

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

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.

ORPHAN BLACK is a science fiction drama in which a family of clones protect themselves from the forces arrayed against them. It's my other favourite.

The Results

I've broken my viewing down by each individual episode, then by scene. One bullet point represents one scene, so even the spoiler-averse among you can tell at a glance how well each episode does.

The Vampire Diaries, S1E18; "I Could Never Love Like That"

  • Lily asks Elena if she misses being human. After some prevarication, Elena admits she sometimes does.
  • Elena fills Jo in on what's happened with Lily. Lily reveals her pregnancy and accepts Elena's congratulations.
  • Jo and Elena trace the pattern of hospital admissions to determine where Caroline (and Stefan) may be holed up. Elena tells Jo she isn't shocked and Caroline's actions. Jo believes this is because Elena's work at the hospital has desensitized her, but Elena says it's actually because she's behaved the same way herself and she knows how easy it would be to go there again.
  • Jo tells Elena (and Damon) about the true nature of the vampires Lily surrounded herself with in 1903.

The Vampire Diaries, S1E19; "Because"

  • Elena urges Caroline to turn her humanity back on. Caroline refuses. She berrates Elena with her own past mistakes. Elena hands over the letter from Liz.
  • Caroline goads Elena with the life she can never have as long as she remains a vampire. Elena rises to the bait.
  • Lily orders her first restaurant meal. She asks the waitress to explain skins and fries to her.
  • Liz orders Caroline out of the car. She arrests her for the murders she's committed since she turned off her humanity. Caroline protests that Liz can't do this. She's Liz's daughter. Liz retorts that Caroline can't be her daughter because her daughter is a kind person who cares about others.

Once Upon A Time, S4E20; "Lily"

  • Maleficent asks Emma to track Lily down for her. Emma agrees.
  • Young Lily approaches Young Emma for help. She's in a bad spot, and she needs to know if Emma really meant it when they swore they'd be friends forever.
  • Emma tells Regina about her history with Lily. She's hurt and conflicted over the whole thing, since Lily was her only real friend growing up and now it looks like it was all just a matter of fate drawing them together. She'd prefer if it had been organic. Regina understands and offers to help Emma track Lily down; like a road trip, you know. Emma insists she doesn't need Regina's help, but Regina retorts that she's the one who needs Emma. They'll find Lily, then they'll head to New York to confront Zelena. Emma lived there, so she's bound to be a big help. Together, they'll nip this whole 'fate' thing in the bud.
  • Emma fills Regina in on what she's discovered about Lily. Turns out, Lily's last known address is only a short drive from where Emma lived at the same time. It creeps her out because it seems like another instance of fate trying to push the two of them together. Regina asks her what exactly happened between her and Lily when they were kids.
  • Young Emma's foster mother asks Young Lily how she and Emma met. Lily lies and says they were together in a group home. Emma was the first person who ever really understood her, so they became best friends. It was like fate. When Ella confronts her about the lie, Lily says she had no choice but to fudge the truth because the real circumstances surrounding their meeting show Emma in such a poor light. Emma's got a good thing going on here. Surely she doesn't want to muck it up.
  • Regina is disgusted with Lily's former apartment building. She tells Emma she wishes she'd cursed everyone to live in a housing project instead of making Storybrooke. When Emma attacks the apartment manager, Regina intervenes.
  • Regina questions Emma about her actions in the housing project. Emma assures her she wasn't going dark; she was mourning her friend. She feels guilty Lily died after having led such a dark life, especially since all that darkness was meant for her. When her tire blows under circumstances eerily similar to the accident that initially prevented her from leaving Storybrooke, she becomes even more convinced fate is in play. Regina protests it's just a flat tire, not fate--unless fate wants Emma to go to the diner half a mile down the road? Nonsense. Regina will deal with the tire while Emma gets them coffee, and that's that.
  • Emma orders coffee and Advil. The waitress makes a conversation-opening overture, but Emma shuts her down--and almost regrets it when she sees Lily's distinctive birth mark on the woman's wrist. When Regina enters to update Emma on the car, Emma tells her she's found Lily.
  • Young Emma and Young Lily talk about the robbery that drove Lily to ask Emma for help. Lily tells Emma she tries to be good, but everything she does seems to get her into trouble. Emma doesn't want to deal with any of it. She offers Lily bus fare so Lily can get out of her life before these new foster parents decide adopting her is a bad idea. Lily refuses to leave town without a necklace she received from her birth mother, so Emma volunteers to retrieve it from the squat where Lily was staying.
  • Emma approaches Lily. She's figured out who Lily is because of the birth mark; now she wants to know what Lily's doing alive and well and working in a diner when she's supposedly dead. Lily tells Emma she got in trouble a couple years back and had to start over. She covered her tracks well; how did Emma even find her? Emma brings up fate again. (It's almost like it's a theme with this episode or something.) There's a reason Lily's life has been so shitty; she can explain it if Lily will come with her. Lily refuses. She's got a family here, including a young daughter. She's fine, and she hasn't even thought of Emma in years. Emma apologizes and leaves her be. Regina updates Emma on the car and says hey, at least she did find Lily, even if it didn't work out. In the background, Lily meets a school bus that's just arrived and offers a random little girl free burgers for a week if she'll hold her hand and walk around the block with her. The little girl agrees.
  • Mary Margaret approaches Maleficent. She and David have realized they're so focused on how they wronged Emma that they've never apologized to Maleficent for what they did to her daughter. Maleficent says they owe the apology to Lily, not to her. And since they turned Lily into a monster, Maleficent thinks there's little chance Lily will forgive them.
  • Emma tells Regina Lily was lying about being happy. They have to find her and convince her to reunite with Maleficent.
  • Emma and Regina investigate Lily's house. Emma is certain it'll be difficult to convince Lily the whole fairy tale thing is real, but her opinion shifts dramatically when Regina discovers a wall covered in information about Storybrooke. They realize Lily knows everything. When Lily arrives home and steals Emma's car in a bid to escape from them, they rush after her. Regina points out that the car has a magic object in it, allowing Lily to enter Storybrooke if she reaches the town border. Emma swears she won't let Lily destroy her life again.
  • Emma rages about Lily's plan to harm her parents. Regina tries to calm her down. Emma retorts that Regina plans to destroy Zelena, so she's not in a position to comment on anyone else's revenge fantasies. If Regina has a problem with the steps Emma may have to take to stop Lily, she can continue on alone.
  • Young Lily finds Emma, who is furious Lily got her kicked out of her happy foster home. Lily says Emma should be relieved, not angry. She's free now; those people were frauds. Emma retorts that Lily is the fraud. Being a runaway isn't some fun game. It's Emma's life. Lily can go back to her adoptive parents whenever she wants, but Emma is pretty much screwed now. Lily reveals that she can't go home again. Her parents kicked her out. Ever since she met Emma, it's like she's cursed. Everything's dark and terrible unless Emma is around. She begs for help. Emma refuses.
  • Emma and Regina chase Lily down. Emma confronts Lily about what she knows. How did she discover so much about Storybrooke? Lily says it doesn't matter. Nothing matters. It was all set out before they were born. She gets that it wasn't Emma's fault, but she does blame Mary Margaret and David, and she's hell bent on having her revenge. Emma lashes out at her, despite Regina's attempts to defuse the situation. Lily insists there's only one way for Emma to stop her. She's hardwired for bad decisions, and she will destroy everything if Emma doesn't kill her. Regina reaches out to stop Emma. If she crosses this line, it's a hard journey back. Regina knows Emma is better than this.
  • Lily asks Emma why she didn't kill her. She'd have done it in Emma's place. Emma can't believe that, even though Lily insists it's how the whole savior/anti-savior thing works. Emma asks Lily to come with them to New York. She's determined not to push Lily away again. Lily agrees.
  • Regina threatens Zelena until Zelena reveals her true form.

The 100, S2E3; "Reapercussions"

  • Clarke rescues Anya. A great deal of nonverbal communication ensues, seeing as how they're hiding from people who want to kill them. Clarke wants to get the hell away from Mount Weather, but Anya refuses to leave without her people. Reavers interrupt their argument, necessitating further nonverbal communication as they hide yet again.
  • Octavia asks Indra to let her come along on the Reaper hunt. Indra refuses and orders her people to kill Octavia.
  • Clarke and Anya conspire to escape the Reavers, again with lots of nonverbal stuff mixed into the conversation.
  • Anya asks Clarke what Mount Weather is doing to her people. Clarke reveals how they're using grounder blood to heal themselves from radiation poisoning. This information in hand, Anya wants to go off alone, but Clarke insists it's safer for them to stay together.
  • Octavia tells Indra she's not afraid of the Reavers. Indra says she will be. Hello, cliches!
  • Anya leads Clarke to the closest Mount Weather exit point: an egress high atop a dam. Clarke wants to find another option, but Anya is certain they have no choice but to jump.
  • Clarke thanks Anya for rescuing her. She believes the two of them should go to the drop ship, but Anya takes her captive instead. Clarke and her friends killed three hundred grounders; Anya can't go home without something to show for it.

Coronation Street, April 27th (Canadian schedule)

  • Faye tells Anna she thought things could go back to normal pretty quickly. Anna says no, that's not how it works. Faye has a baby to think about now, so she can't go back to school until after summer holidays, at the earliest. Also, it's past time Faye gave her daughter a name.
  • Faye asks Anna to help her learn how to change nappies, for real this time. She also reveals the baby's name: Miley.

The 100, S2E4; "Many Happy Returns"

  • Clarke asks Anya where they're going. Anya says they're headed for her commander. She wants Clarke to tell the grounders everything she knows about the Mountain Men. (NB: they're all called Mountain Men, even though many of them are women.) Clarke says it's pointless for Anya to keep her prisoner. They should form an alliance instead since they want the same basic things.
  • Anya berates Clarke for walking loudly. Clarke retorts that she'd be a lot quieter if Anya would cut her loose. When the Mountain Men get too close for comfort, Anya orders Clarke to coat herself in mud to help hide her smell from the trackers.
  • Clarke and Anya question how their pursuers keep finding them. Anya is certain Clarke's poor woodscraft is to blame, but Clarke figures out the Mountain Men planted a bug on one of them. When they discover it beneath the skin of Anya's arm, she offers to remove it, but Anya rips it out herself instead.
  • Clarke insists Anya let her bandage the bug-removal wound, but it's all a ploy to get loose. She makes Anya her prisoner.
  • Octavia treats Monroe's wound. Monroe says she's grateful Octavia arrived when she did.
  • Clarke and Anya fight, physically as well as verbally. Clarke doesn't want to kill Anya, but Anya insists she'll kill Clarke if she's still standing at the end of the fight. Clarke eventually triumphs and receives Anya's praise, but she's far more interested in pointing out the weather baloon that's just become visible over the treetops.
  • Byrne berates Raven for raising the balloon. Raven protests it was a good idea that'll help them spread their communications range, but Byrne insists it's an invitation for people to attack them.
  • Anya asks Clarke how many of her people are at the crash site. Clarke hopes it's a lot. She cuts Anya free and tells her they really, really need both spacer technology and grounder skill if they're to beat Mount Weather. Anya finally agrees to seek an audience with the grounders' commander--but she's shot before she can make it away. She tells Clarke her fight is over.

The 100, S2E5; "Human Trials"

  • Byrne mistakes Clarke for a grounder. She demands to know how many of Clarke's people are out there. Abby recognizes Clarke and tells Byrne to stand down. This is her daughter, not a prisoner.
  • Abby treats Clarke's injuries. Clarke is shocked to see Abby alive. She saw Abby's ship crash. She went to the site and saw the bodies. Byrne enters and apologizes for shooting Anya. Clarke tells both Abby and Byrne about Mount Weather. She asks how many of her other friends made it there. Six, Abby says. Clarke breaks down because Abby and six of her people are still alive.
  • Clarke questions Abby about her chancellor's pin. Abby fills her in on the current chain of command, but she wants Clarke to rest instead of asking more questions right now. Clarke insists she doesn't need either rest or protection. She needs to get out there and save her friends. Byrne enters and reports a party approaching the crash site. Clarke follows Abby and Byrne out of the tent to meet them, but runs into Raven before she gets very far. They discuss Raven's leg and how it's affected her work. Since Raven can't run anymore, she tells Clarke to go meet the newcomers ahead of her. Abby asks Mel about the other survivors from her crash site. Mel informs her there were none. Clarke and Octavia are each glad to see the other.
  • Raven helps Clarke and Octavia (and Bellamy) evade the electric fence and sneak out of the camp.
  • Abby confronts Raven about her role in Clarke and Octavia's departure. Raven denies her involvement, but Abby trots out some compelling evidence and insists she won't punish Raven if Raven just comes clean with her. Raven still refuses, so Abby slaps her. Nonverbal apologies ensue; Abby understands she crossed a line and Raven understands why she did so. (This show uses a lot of nonverbal communication, on the whole.) Abby is upset about Clarke's decision to leave. Clarke is still just a kid. Raven tells her she's wrong. Clarke stopped being a kid the day Abby sent her to the surface to die.
  • Maya asks Dr Tsing about her condition. Dr Tsing says Maya was horribly sick because of a containment breach. It was the worst radiation sickness anyone has ever recovered from.

The Flash, S1E20; "The Trap"

  • FAIL

Supernatural, S10E17; "Inside Man"

  • FAIL

Coronation Street, April 28th (Canadian schedule)

  • Sarah and Bethany argue about Italy again, off screen. It's Bethany's fault they had to move back to Weatherfield. No, it's Sarah's. Italy was awful. No, it was wonderful. When they Come downstairs and enter the scene proper, they argue about whether or not Sarah used Bethany's conditioner. Bethany argues that since Sarah bought that conditioner specifically for her, Sarah ought to get her own bottle. Sarah retorts that they have no money.
  • Sophie asks Jenny about the time she spent working on cruise ships. Jenny tells Sophie about her duties and says she quit the life because she'd always dreamed of working in a supermarket instead.
  • Julie and Sally are horrified that people are still homophobic. Doesn't everyone know at least one queer person? How can such people exist?
  • Sarah and Bethany discuss their outfits for Gail's wedding. Neither of them has any nice clothes in England. Maybe Gail would pay for new dresses so they'll look nice at her special day? Leanne enters. Sarah asks if she and Bethany can tag along with Leanne while she meets with someone at Weatherfield High School. She wants to enroll Bethany, who is less than thrilled with the idea. Sally jumps in to recommend Sophie's old private school instead. Everyone is even less thrilled with this idea.
  • Sarah tells Maria Bethany has been sulking because she doesn't like her new school. Maria confirms Gail's hair appointment for the next day, which prompts Sarah and Bethany to ask if she can do their hair, too.

Coronation Street, April 29th (Canadian Schedule)

  • Sarah refuses to let Bethany drink wine because she's only fourteen. Bethany says she's well old enough, but Sarah won't give in.
  • Sarah offers Bethany an assortment of kiddie drinks to choose from. Maria uses this as a jumping-off point to bait Bethany about her age, which inspires Bethany do the same to Maria.

Nashville, S3E20; "Time Changes Things"

  • Beverley tries to take Rayna's order but breaks off when she realizes who she's serving.
  • Juliette asks Maddie if she's okay. Maddie isn't too sure, but Juliette promises her she will be okay eventually. Maddie's having a tough time of it right now in part because she's talented, she's got big dreams, and she started really young. They talk sex from a heterosexual perspective, too, but the focus is more on Maddie's emotional state that it is on any boy she might sleep with.
  • Jade asks Layla not to tweet her pictures from the party. Jade is concerned about keeping this part of her life private so it's something just for her friends. Layla assures her she understands.
  • Rayna tells Beverley she's a great musician and always has been. Beverley says yeah, she knows. She's a better musician than Rayna and feels like Rayna's success should have belonged to her instead.

Coronation Street, April 30th (Canadian schedule)

  • FAIL (NB: this was the show's only failure in all of April; and even here, women do talk to one another. Maria asks Sarah why she doesn't date more; Sarah says guys are put off by Bethany. I guess that could count as a dodgy pass, but I feel the discussion is still more man-oriented than Bethany-oriented overall.)

Orphan Black, S3E2; "Transitory Sacrifices of Crisis"

  • Dr Coady tries helps Helena recover from the "stress test." She's very glad to meet her at last. Helena is considerably less glad to meet Dr Coady.
  • Cosima tells Sarah she's going to have to talk to Mrs S if she ever wants to get Helena back. Sarah is determined not to do this, but she eventually gives in.
  • The scorpion (who I'm hearing as female; your response may vary) urges Helena to ask about the mangos. Helena initially tells her to shut up, but eventually gives in. Dr Coady removes her from the interrogation and takes her outside, where Dr Coady is extremely glad to be able to smoke. She questions Helena about her pregnancy. When that elicits minimal response, she switches tactics and tells Helena her family sold her out. Sarah sold her out. Helena says that's impossible. Dr. Coady is lying. Dr Coady shrugs it off and tells Helena she's expendable to all the other Leda clones, but she's not expendable to her. Dr Coady is determined to discover how Helena overcame biology and fate.
  • Mrs S insists Sarah has to take Kira far away from Toronto if she wants to keep her safe. Sarah refuses to take advice from the woman who sold Helena to the military, but Mrs S persists. She tells Sarah you can't stand and fight under these conditions. You have to run. She did it herself when people got too close to Sarah back in England; now Sarah needs to do the same for Kira.
  • Kira wants to sleep in the fort she and Cosima built. Sarah says that's fine, but Kira has to take a bath before bed. Why doesn't Kira put her monkey to sleep while Sarah gets the bathtub ready?
  • Kira asks Sarah what's happening. Sarah assures her she'll be okay.
  • Sarah tells Kira all about the adventure she's about to go on. There'll be glaciers! Kira should say goodbye to Mrs S, but it's not forever. Sarah will fix everything here, then she'll bring Kira home. Kira informs Sarah there'll be reindeer in Iceland. Sarah tells her she loves her.

The Vampire Diaries, S6E20; "I'd Leave My Happy Home For You"

  • Jo doesn't think Elena and Bonnie should have thrown her a bachelorette party. They insist it was extremely necessary.
  • Jo is glad she, Elena, and Bonnie have the diner all to themselves. It's fun. Elena says Caroline would've insisted on going to a spa or something, but since she's MIA they'll just have to settle for stuffing themselves. Bonnie is surprised to see Jo eating a burger. Isn't she a vegetarian? Elena tells Bonnie not to ruin the mood with awkward questions. Jo says the baby demands meat over vegetables, and she will eat whatever she wants at her own party, thanks very much. When Jo gets up to find something else, Bonnie grills Elena about the cure for vampirism.
  • Jo wants to talk about anything other than her failed search for a wedding dress or the fact that her sister won't return her calls about the wedding, so yeah, let's talk about Elena's potential future humanity instead.
  • Bonnie wants to keep the party going even without Elena. Jo would much rather head home and sleep, but before she can do so Lily enters and confronts Bonnie about her role in destroying the Ascendant. Bonnie insists she didn't do it out of spite; she wanted to keep the witchpires reigned in (and specifically imprison Kai). Lily is certain there must be another way to free her family, but Bonnie says nope. Even if there was, she wouldn't participate. Lily responds by stabbing her in the neck. She quickly turns her attentions to Jo, but halts her attack when Jo tells her she's pregnant. Lily quickly determines that yes, she is--and hey, it's twins. Good luck to Jo. She leaves, freeing Jo to attend to Bonnie's wounds.
  • Lily insists she won't be imprisoned again. She recognizes Elena is now human, making her a prime meal. Elena tells Lily she really, really doesn't want to feed on her, but Lily says she really, really does.
  • Jo treats Bonnie's wounds. She tells Bonnie not to try to talk, but Bonnie doesn't listen to her. Jo talks Bonnie for destroying the Ascendant (and specifically for trapping Kai).


  1. Whaaaaat? An episode of Supernatural failed the Bechdel test? I AM SHOCKED.

    1. Right? Who would've seen that one coming?