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The Flax

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Farscape episode
“The Flax”
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 12
Guest star(s) Rhys Muldoon (Staanz); John Bachelor (Kcrackic); David Bowers (Goon)
Writer(s) Justin Monjo
Director Peter Andrikidis
Production no. 10113
Original airdate July 16, 1999 (US); March 6, 2000 (UK)
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Till the Blood Runs Clear" "Rhapsody in Blue"
This is for the episode "The Flax". For the energy field of the same name see Flax.

Lost and trapped, Aeryn and John fight to survive while D'Argo must decide between his son and his friends.


Caught in a spider's web near death... what would you do?

Aeryn Sun is teaching John Crichton how to fly a transport pod, so he can be familiar with Leviathan technology, but it's taking him a while to get the hang of it. Meanwhile on Moya, Rygel is bored, and Ka D'Argo is angry that parts of Moya are starting to smell because of her pregnancy. Aeryn says she's teaching Crichton in the hope that some day he'll end up being of some use to her in battle. Aeryn gets some food but the pod gets pulled in towards something, and hits some sort of net. They can't go forward, and the pod is damaged. Sensors say there's nothing out there, but something is clearly blocking their view.

Zhaan, Rygel and D'Argo are bickering, so Pilot "accidentally hits the wrong button" to make a noise and get their attention. A ship is approaching with weapon pieces on board, but nothing usable. On board was a Zenetan "garbologist" named Staanz, who says they need him, but if D'Argo kills him Zhaan will be angry that he killed the man they needed. He knows that they are heading for the Flax, a "magnadrift mesh" seventy-five million zacrons long. It is invisible to sensors, and was put there by Zenetan Pirates. Zhaan says she'll warn Crichton and Aeryn, whilst Staanz tells Rygel he plays tadek, a game, and Rygel says maybe Staanz can give him some pointers.

Aeryn tells Crichton that they're not moving at all, no drift or anything. There's no comm signal even though it's working, and the power is drained. Zhaan says they're not responding, and wonders what Staanz will want in return for his help. D'Argo says he wants anything he can get. D'Argo accesses the Peacekeeper criminal records and finds that Staanz has quite a record, so he wants him off the ship. Rygel says he's got him right where he wants him when D'Argo interrupts, grabbing Staanz and asking why he has a criminal record. Staanz says he used to be a pirate, but he's not anymore. He drops his trousers to show murals on his legs from being in a prison. Rygel asks where his genitals are, and Staanz says that his species are not cut from the standard mould. Zhaan tells him two of their crew are out there.

Aeryn manages to send a message buoy out, whilst Crichton manages to restore some power. D'Argo meanwhile notices Staanz is wearing Luxan boots, and locks him up saying that a Luxan wouldn't leave his boots unless he was dead. Staanz says he was already dead, killed by the pirates. D'Argo asks him to take him to the Luxan ship, since he needs some map fibers. If he gets them, Staanz can have everything else on board the Luxan ship.

Aeryn and Crichton are trying to burst through the flax, but they end up getting swung back and doing more damage to the pod. Crichton puts out the fires whilst Aeryn tries to get her foot loose. Zhaan has received the message from the buoy, when D'Argo says he and Staanz are leaving on Staanz's vessel. D'Argo says they'll spend no longer than an arn on the Luxan ship, then get Aeryn and Crichton. They have to avoid the pirate leader, Kcrackic's scanner. They manage to but Kcrackic's ship heads towards Moya. Zhaan greets them, and Kcrackic says they're lucky that the Leviathan is pregnant or he would commandeer it. When asked, Zhaan tells them she doesn't know Staanz, and introduces them to Rygel.

Crichton says environmentals are damaged, and they can't use the torch because of a gas build up – it'd set the pod on fire. Aeryn says they can depressurise the bay and get in their spacesuits to have enough air. Something falls and Crichton pushes her out of the way, and falls on top of her in the process. She says, "Are you comfortable? Can I get you a pillow?" Meanwhile Staanz's ship has stopped, and when they manage to get it going they get caught in the flax.

Rygel is playing Kcrackic, and when he starts losing he says he knows what he's doing. On the pod, there's only one helmet since one is damaged, which means only one of them has air. Aeryn gives John chemicals called the kill shot and nerve shot, which will allow her to survive without air (being dead) and then revive her. Crichton says it was his helmet that was broke, and he won't fit in Aeryn's. He tells her what to do, because they don't have time to wait for the others.

Rygel uses Staanz's move during the game, and Kcrackic questions asks him where he learnt it because he knows someone else who uses that move. Crichton tells Aeryn he doesn't trust the kill shot, so teaches her CPR. Staanz manages to dissolve a small particle of the flax, and they break through.

Crichton tells Aeryn she's got four minutes (which he says is 180 microts) before he dies. He asks if Sebaceans believe in an afterlife, and tells her what humans believe. She tells him Sebaceans don't believe in anything after death. She says she won't let him down, and gives him the kill shot, which starts to take effect. On Moya, Rygel loses again, but says he wants one more game. He says he'll wager Moya, but Kcrackic doesn't want it, so he agrees to wager the location of Staanz.

Aeryn runs out of time during her work, and instead of finishing decides to resuscitate Crichton with the nerve shot, but on her way to him, she gets knocked out. Meanwhile Rygel thinks he's won the game, but in fact Kcrackic wins and wants information on Staanz's whereabouts. Rygel says they can find him by following their comm. frequency, which is in Moya's data store. Aeryn wakes up to find that the vial containing the nerve shot was smashed, so she starts CPR.

D'Argo and Staanz find the Luxan ship – an assault piercer – which D'Argo says he dreamt of serving on as a boy. Crichton meanwhile starts breathing, and said Aeryn lied – it hurt like hell. They've got half an arn of air left. Kcrackic and the other pirate leaves Moya, and Zhaan is angry with Rygel, but he says that he told Pilot the moment Kcrackic arrived to change the frequency, so they're headed to some place far away. He lost on purpose knowing that Kcrackic wouldn't leave with nothing. Staanz says that D'Argo will soon have his own Piercer, and tells him to think of all the maps, he'll be able to find his son. D'Argo says that when he does he wants to be able to look him in the eye.

Crichton tells Aeryn that she should have saved herself, but she says she chose not to be alone. She says she doesn't want to die alone. She asks what he saw after the kill shot, and he says all he saw was black. Then they turn and kiss! But they don't stop there, ripping each other's spacesuits off rolling on the floor... when D'Argo walks in, with a priceless look on his face. Awkwardly Crichton asks what took him so long, so D'Argo says he needed someone to help him. He's tied up Staanz, because he's merely annoying. Staanz asks if D'Argo will go with him, to which D'Argo laughs. Staanz says he's lonely, and everybody needs a mate. After odd looks, he says he is the female of his species, in fact, she's considered quite the Zenetan beauty! D'Argo's speechless, as Staanz proclaims her love!

On Moya, Zhaan asks D'Argo what happened, and he says his indecision nearly cost Crichton and Aeryn their lives. He says he barely saved them, and may have given up his only chance to ever see his son. Crichton and Aeryn try and make excuses for what happened, and he says it'll never happen again, to which she replies never. Crichton asks, just to be certain, if she is the female of the species. She grabs his crotch, which he takes as a yes, and they both smile.

Memorable quotesEdit

Staanz: I'm lonely. Everybody needs a mate, even you, Ka D'Argo.
John: A mate?!
Staanz: I am the female of the species, you know that, don't you? In fact, false modesty aside, I am considered quite the Zenetan beauty.
John: You know, big guy, I think I'd better give you two a little time alone here...'cause you know, in a universe this vast, when two hearts collide...
D'Argo: Shut up.
Aeryn: The distress buoy got away.
John: Well, I guess we just wait for D'Argo and the others to come rescue us.
(They look at each other.)
Aeryn: I'll deal with propulsion system.
John: I'll take environmentals.
Aeryn: Can you pass me that axe?
John: Yeah. What are you going to do with it?
Aeryn: I'm going to hack my foot off.
John: (after Aeryn revives him) You did it, Aeryn... you did it... but you lied like a dog! God, that hurt like hell!
John: Slicker 'n snot.
Aeryn: My microbes had to have translated that wrong.

Background informationEdit

  • The visual-effects team had difficulty making the web in space convincing on screen. "Originally, the flax was not going to be seen. Basically, the ship would be falling through space and then just hit something and stop. There would be a bit of an energy burst, but you wouldn't see much. But that just doesn't make really good television," said Paul Butterworth. Once the team came up with a solution, other problems became apparent. Other ships had to be shown to be stuck in the web, but as Butterworth continued, "it's really hard to show a ship just sitting there, and then have the camera move around it with interesting angles, without it looking like it's moving." The shuttle seen caught in the web ended up being a combination of CG and a standing set explained Ricky Eyres. "It's kind of like a truck and trailer, in that what they're flying around is the basic unit, and you can add on pieces to the back. [...] I suposed it's a bit like Thunderbird 2," he continued. (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion)
  • The bubble dome seen at the end of the episode was a huge green screen shot that was built as a set because it was felt that it would be easily reused. Matt Carroll explained that "it was an expensive shot to do, and the dome didn't really work for anything other than having an intimate moment; it wasn't a location on board the ship that drove other stories – so we ended up just using it once." (Farscape: The Illustrated Companion)
  • Rockne S. O'Bannon remembered that the episode "was like a crucible, we put two people in one spot and saw how they functioned and survived. It was a really good Crichton and Aeryn episode, and we got to see the sacrifices that one would make for the other. It was a window on the relationship that was to come." ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.2)
  • O'Bannon admitted that he thought Crichton and Aeryn would get together from the start, but that it was never set in stone. He told the writing staff "that any of these relationships can go anywhere, and a lot of that is going to be dependent on actor chemistry." The iconography of Crichton and Aeryn in his imagination "was based on the covers of paperback SF novels – those extreme imags that you see on the covers of the more bombastic SF novels from the 1950s. Wonderful extreme illustrations of multi-armed green aliens holding a girl spilling out of her slim costume, and the astronaut hero with a raygun in his hand, and three moons in the back and craters." He went on to point out that "they are soulmates – meant for each other. The end point of the relationship was that the two of them were meant for each other, but that wasn't planned to happen by episode eight!" ("Farscape Chronicles" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.2)
  • Peter Andrikidis had Rygel smoke a hookah with his ear. The next time Rygel was seen smoking, "Won't Get Fooled Again", it was done "normally." ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.2)
  • Claudia Black joked that this was her favorite episode from the first season because she got to kiss Ben Browder. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.2)
  • This episode was filmed after "Rhapsody in Blue", but typically aired before it. This was the final episode filmed out of order in the first season. ("Cool Farscape Facts" - Starburst Edition DVD v1.2)

Links and referencesEdit


Guest starsEdit



Voice artistsEdit


arn; Aspirin; assault piercer; Baca; bio-mechanoid; blueprint; calorics; CAT scan; center chamber; Command; comms; CPR; crank; cycle; Dominar; DRD; Flax; garbologist; Heaven; Hell; hetch; hezmana; Hynerian; ident file; Ka Jothee; kelvic crystal; kill shot; Leviathan; Luxan; mall parking lot; malsonic labor stockade; map fiber; message buoy; microt; Moya; nerve shot; Onnyxi play partners; Ossoh scent; Peacekeeper; Pewnkah; pulse-back; quadra hent; Red Mentor; Rha'nalan; Sebacean; Sunday; Tadek; Top Gun; tracer beam; trad; translator microbe; transport pod; tugg wrestling; wind tunnel; Yenen; yotz; zacron; Zenetan Pirate; Zenetan Tracer ship; Zenetan Transport

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