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Challenge 21: 10 Times BSG Takes the Bechdel Test

CHALLENGE 21 BRAIN TWIN
Brain twins/triplets: whatever_lj and lls_mutant
Fandom: Battlestar Galactica
Topic: The Bechdel test
10 Times BSG Takes the Bechdel Test
spoilers for the entire series and Razor









Kobal's Last Gleaming, Part 1 (Episode 1.12)

Laura asks Kara to recover the Arrow of Apollo


Giggle-worthy Freudian symbolism aside, this is a great conversation about faith, duty, and kicks off a fantastic adventure as well as a mutiny. This conversation between two women (in which Adama is mentioned but is far from the focus) is the starting point of two plotlines that last several episodes, and are some of the best BSG has to offer. Pass.



Kobol's Last Gleaming, Part 2 (Episode 1.13)

Margaret "Racetrack" Edmondson and Sharon "Boomer" Valerii blow up a Cylon baseship together


The conversation is all about the mission, but what more could you really want? No feelings, no romance, no sharing…. It's two chicks blowing shit up and saving the day. Really, it doesn't get much better than this!

(This episode also has the awesome fight over the Arrow of Apollo between Kara and Caprica Six. Pass, all the way!)




Scar (Episode 2.15)

Pretty much the whole thing


It's a battle between Kara and Kat- two hotshot pilots. And it's not over a man (I don't think Kat gives a flying frak about either of Kara's men) or about anything but who's the best damn pilot in the Fleet. They call each other out on their issues, they bicker over tactics, and although it might not be the best episode in the show, it's all about the girls. Also, please be noting that the #1 and #2 slots? Yeah, they're both girls.


And really, any time Kat and Kara are on the screen together, they're fighting over something. Honesty, principles, drug use, New Caprica vs. being in the Fleet…. The closest they come to failing is when they talk about Admiral Adama, but they can't exist in a vacuum. Overall, they fly over the bar.

(Talking about a male Raider does NOT count.)




The Captain's Hand (Episode 2.17)

Sarah Porter and Laura Roslin argue about abortion rights


Although this episode is pretty male-heavy with the Pegasus plot, the B-plot of abortion in a world where less than 50,000 humans still exist is really interesting. The final argument comes between Sarah Porter, a religious right politician, and Laura Roslin, the current President. It's an ugly argument, but it was one that was absolutely necessary to address in this series.



Downloaded (Episode 2.18)

Let's go for the whole episode again!


Wow. Just… wow. When I put this one on the list, I thought it would pass. Does it pass? HELL, NO. Why? There is never a scene with just two women. And interestingly enough, who is the problem? Who keeps physically being there to prevent there ever being a scene with just two women?

Gaius Frakking Baltar.

Well, not really. Now that we've seen the finale, we know that he really is an angel of God. (Well, the guy following Caprica Six around is, anyway.) You might be able to make the argument he's not really a man, he's just appearing in male form. But one thing I wanted to point out is that failing the Bechdel test isn't automatically sexist. Sure, Baltar is poking his nose into this episode constantly, and if you just watched this episode I'm sure you could write some scathing commentary about how a man is controlling a woman and all of her good ideas are coming from him and yada yada yada. But when you consider Gaius Baltar has a woman in his head doing the exact same thing (for a lot more episodes), it really kind of loses steam.

Anyway, even beyond the angel Baltar, Caprica Six spends an awful lot of her time discussing the real Baltar and her feelings for him, especially with Boomer, who responds right back with her feelings about Tyrol and Adama. Those feelings color so much of the episode, I'm surprised that I have to say Downloaded fails the Bechdel Test.

All thanks to Gaius Frakking Baltar.




Exodus I (Episode 3.03)

D'Anna consults the Oracle


Religion, prophecy, and the revelation of Hera. It's short, and sweet, and not quite to the point as the Oracle tends to meander a bit (discussing chocolate), but it definitely qualifies.




Rapture (Episode 3.12)

Two for One! Anastasia Dualla rescues Kara Thrace, and Athena rescues Hera


Dee versus Starbuck. What a showdown. What a fantastic scene. On the surface, the conversation is (mostly) about repairing the ship. Starbuck tries to talk about Sam and Lee, but Dee refuses to participate in that part of the conversation. So, it's a half-pass? However, given that this scene wouldn't be remotely as interesting without the fact they're involved with the same man, I'm giving this one a fail. (But if you're gonna fail the Bechdel test, this is the way to do it right.)



Athena, Boomer, and Caprica, on the other hand, have one brief mention of Adama and Tyrol. But the bulk of the conversation is really about Hera, her safety, and her importance to the Cylon race, and Caprica choosing a side. So this one gets a nice, big, fat pass from me.



Razor (movie)

Kendra Shaw and Helena Cain


Oooh, hell yeah. Cain mentors Shaw, talking about the things you have to do in battle and to survive. They might occasionally discuss a man, like when Cain killed Belzan, but for the most part, the women are the stars of the Pegasus flashbacks, and they're talking about war, not love.

It's also very worth noting that I could have included Cain mentoring Kendra in Resurrection Ship 1 and 2, but I really wanted to use Kendra just to get as many of the women from BSG as possible. Heck, I also could have used Kendra and Starbuck from Razor itself. Razor is a great example of BSG passing the Bechdel test.




The Ties that Bind (Episode 4.03)

Tory kills Cally



Does this pass the test or not? On the one hand, Galen comes up, but they don't really talk about Galen, more that the four Cylons are Cylons, and one of them happens to be Galen. And Nicky (male) certainly is a topic of conversation, although going by the spirit rather than the letter of the law, Nicky is a child, not a man. Nicholas could be Nichole and this conversation would happen, and would not change one tiny bit. On the other hand, the conversation is really about how Tory et al. are Cylons, and Cally's reaction.

In the end, I'm going to say it does not pass the Bechdel test from Cally's side, because Cally would not be reacting like this if Galen was not a Cylon. It passes from Tory's, because Tory's talking about being Cylon, and frankly doesn't give a frak as to Galen. However, given how they never used this as anything interesting and it all turned out to lead to one big "violence against women is awesome" plot point anyway, let's toss this one firmly in the fail category.



Faith (Episode 4.06)

Laura talks to Emily


They talk about God. They talk about faith. They talk about the people they love, their cancer, their hair. They talk about their bodies and souls, they talk about politics and clothing. Gaius Baltar is mentioned, but they don't talk about him, just the message that he preaches. The friendship is short, but it is beautiful.

Pass, with flying, soaring colors.

Tags: :challenge21, ll
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