I was less sure how Star Trek: Picard would fare on the Bechdel-Wallace Test than I was about the first four seasons of Discovery. After all, the show revolves around a man, and at least in Season 1, several of the women’s journeys were also tied up with men (Jurati with Maddox, Soji with Narek and with Data, etc.). But let’s take a closer look!
In order for an episode to pass, it must include:
- Two named women characters
- Who talk to each other
- About something other than a man
I don’t apply other conditions, like the length of time that a conversation needs to last.
Picard did better than I expected when it came down to the overall results. Each season had 9/10 episodes pass the test, so not too far off Discovery and still ahead of the best pre-streaming series on the test, Voyager.
Still, the experience watching the episodes and watching for moments that would pass the test felt subjectively more like running the test on the earlier series. Most Disco episodes easily and repeatedly passed the test, to the point that I stopped noting anything beyond the first instance of a conversation that passed the test. With Picard I had to watch the whole episode closely to find the one or two short exchanges that weren’t about a man.
Basically there are a lot of women in Star Trek: Picard, but it’s still Star Trek: Picard. Especially in Season 1, everyone’s stories are closely bound up with his, and/or with that of another male character such as Data or Narek.
There’s a difference between women talking to each other and women forming or exploring meaningful relationships with one another. And we don’t get much of the latter until Raffi/Seven and Jurati’s relationship with the Borg Queen in Season 2.
Take Season 1, Episode 1 (“Remembrance”), which passes because Laris treats Dahj’s head wound when she shows up at Chateau Picard, and Dahj says “Thanks.” The only other conversation between two women in this episode is Dahj talking to her mother, mostly about Picard.
In Episode 2, Soji talks to another woman doctor on the Artifact (Naáshala Kunamadéstifee) and it passes because they talk about the XBs but they also manage to note in the same conversation that Narek is super hot. Later Clancy and Oh talk mostly about Picard, and then Oh talks to Nerissa (undercover as Lt. Rizzo) mostly about Picard and Narek.
So it’s important to look at what’s behind the numbers too!
Total: 90% Pass
Season 1: 90% Pass
|Remembrance||Pass||Laris treats Dahj’s head wound and Dahj thanks her. Dahj also talks to her mother but mostly about Picard.|
|Maps and Legends||Pass||Soji talks to Doctor Naáshala Kunamadéstifee about the XBs and the cube. Commodore Oh and Clancy talk about Picard but also the allegations he raised about the Romulans operating on Earth. Nerissa and Oh talk but about Picard and Narek.|
|The End is the Beginning||Pass||Soji talks to Ramdha about Romulan mythology and what happened to her ship|
|Absolute Candor||Fail||Raffi answers one of Jurati’s questions but Jurati had asked it to the whole room, including Rios and Picard.|
|Stardust City Rag||Pass||Raffi asks Seven why she joined the Fenris Rangers. Raffi talks to Jurati about her part in the heist. Seven and Bjayzl talk, but mostly about Icheb.|
|The Impossible Box||Pass||Raffi talks Captain Bosch into getting them diplomatic credentials. Part of the conversation is about Picard, but they also talk about the Artifact and the state of Federation-Romulan relations. Soji talks to her mom about thinking something’s wrong with her.|
|Nepenthe||Pass||Kestra tells Soji what a compass is and about the Wild Girl of the Woods. She asks Soji a lot of questions about herself. Troi and Soji talk about tomatoes but mostly about Thad and Picard.|
|Broken Pieces||Pass||Nerissa and Oh speak after the Admonition and Nerissa speaks to Radha but she is non-responsive. Later, Jurati talks to Soji to learn more about her as a synthetic life form.|
|Et in Arcadia Ego Part I||Pass||Soji and Raffi discuss splitting up on the mission. Soji and Arcana introduce themselves. Sutra talks to Soji at various points. Sutra asks Agnes about the Admonition and mind melds with her. Sutra and Saga talk but about Narek.|
|Et in Arcadia Ego Part II||Pass||Seven confronts Nerissa and they sass each other while fighting.|
Season 2: 90% Pass
|The Star Gazer||Fail||Soji and Jurati talk, but about Rios. Seven and Jurati have lines next to each other in a group scene but not necessarily to each other.|
|Penance||Pass||Jurati and Seven discuss what’s going on, Seven being President, and the Borg Queen. The Borg Queen interacts with them about time being broken. Seven asks the Borg Queen about how it felt to have her people eradicated. Raffi and Jurati exchange lines about their escape|
|Assimilation||Pass||Raffi and Seven talk about where they’re going in LA, and about how Seven is more relaxed/accepted. Agnes talks to the Borg Queen about what she stole from her mind.|
|Watcher||Pass||The Borg Queen talks to Agnes about what assimilation feels like. Seven and Raffi talk about driving and Jurati gives them directions. Worth noting they mostly talk about Rios as they’re on a mission to rescue him.|
|Fly Me to the Moon||Pass||Raffi and Seven strategize about how to hijack the bus that Rios is on. Part of the convo is about Rios but not all. Also about their relationship and the timeline. Later, Tallinn and Jurati discuss plans to hack their IDs into the event system.|
|Two of One||Pass||Agnes speaks to the Borg Queen in her mind at several points. Otherwise it’s women talking about Picard during his coma.|
|Monsters||Pass||Raffi and Seven compare their relationship to Jurati and Rios, and they talk about needing to find Jurati because she’s Borg-ified|
|Mercy||Pass||Seven and Raffi chase the Borg Queen and talk about how to catch her.|
|Hide and Seek||Pass||Agnes and the Borg Queen talk about their future.|
|Farewell||Pass||Talinn and Renee have a lengthy conversation about the role Talinn has played protecting her.|