The inevitable pandemic episode of Futurama picks at low-hanging fruit but does manage to take some interesting turns.
This recap of Futurama Season 11 Episode 7, “Rage Against the Vaccine”, contains spoilers.
It was only a matter of time before Futurama Season 11 did a pandemic episode, and here we are. “Rage Against the Vaccine” sends up global health scares, wonky vaccine mandates, conspiracy theories, new media, and public hysteria, and ties it all up into a story about voodoo, of all things, since at this point why not?
It’ll annoy a whole bunch of people on both sides of the political aisle, which is perhaps as it should be, but fundamentally it’s mostly a reminder that there isn’t a single subject that can’t be softened if it’s met with a little humor – and a lot of silliness.
Futurama Season 11 Episode 7 Recap
“Rage Against the Vaccine” starts with a hopeful and ultimately fate-tempting anniversary celebration for the complete eradication of Covid-19 (it took until 3023, so buckle up.) But it gives way to the proliferation of a new virus, which drives everyone, including the employees of Planet Express, a little mad with paranoia.
What is Explovid-23?
The virus that Futurama dreams up as a successor to Covid is Explovid-23, which developed among the mutant population of Earth’s sewers and is characterized by light coughing and uncontrollable rage.
The rage thing is a funny idea since it breeds suspicion around people like Leela, who are just as likely to be infected as they are to be in a typically irritable mood. As it turns out, Leela is positive, which is first suggested during a ceremony wherein Bill Nye’s head is given the key to New York’s liquor cabinet, and later confirmed when Farnsworth develops a brain-scraping nasal test to determine who’s infected. Leela tests positive and is quarantined.
Instructions come down from Richard Nixon’s jar-head to cover the ears against irate statements. The PlanEx team are forced to work remotely, communicating primarily through an app called Gloom. Difficulties with a “remote” working environment and the inevitable violation of mandates and guidelines are low-hanging fruit for Futurama, but it’s pulled off with more humor than cynicism.
Futurama Season 11 Episode 7 Ending Explained
What is arguably the episode’s most interesting turn is Hermes’s claim that Explovid-23’s similarities to zombie-ism make it susceptible to voodoo, so he visits New New Orleans to work with his wife LaBarbara and her voodoo leader lover Barbados Slim on a cure.
Interestingly enough the arc of this portion of the episode is convincing Farnsworth, who is skeptical of voodoo, of the practice’s decades of tradition and scientific research. It’s an obviously absurdist take on a formula that is becoming exceptionally well-worn in these tired post-pandemic times, and it allows the “Rage Against the Vaccine” to go in some welcomely unexpected directions.
In the end, though, Hermes is able to develop a cure, and everyone lines up to take it with various funny reactions. Outside-the-box thinking wins the day, which is very Futurama.
You can stream Futurama Season 11 Episode 7, “Rage Against the Vaccine”, exclusively on Hulu.
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