|The First Commandment|
|Original air date|
|SG-1 Season 1|
SG-1 is on a mission to retrieve SG-9, who have been declared MIA on Avnil. The team soon discover that leader of SG-9, Captain Jonas Hanson, is posing as the "god" of the planet's inhabitants, who willingly protect him, the inhabitants believing that Jonas is their God. SG-1 must interfere and stop Jonas before it's too late.
Two members of SG-9 are running while being pursued by natives wielding spears and wearing imposing domed masks. One member of SG-9 is captured and shot by a soldier with a gun, and then set on fire. SG-1 is sent to the planet Avnil after SG-9 is declared MIA. Shortly after their arrival Dr. Daniel Jackson is attacked by the frightened Lt. Laurence Conner - the surviving officer from the earlier chase and witness to the murder of his team-mate, Lt. Thomas Frakes.
After setting up camp, Connor explains Captain Jonas Hanson, SG-9's leader, has convinced the planet's primitive inhabitants he is a god; and now has them working to build a temple. All who oppose him are tied up in the sunlight to be slowly burned to death by the planet's high ultraviolet radiation levels. Originally, Jonas simply played along with the natives' belief that he was a god; but after disappearing for two days, Jonas came to believe himself to be a god. With the assistance of a fellow soldier, Lt. Matthew Baker, Jonas killed the remainder of the team. Captain Samantha Carter, having previously been engaged to Jonas, tells Daniel that Hanson is a man who always needs control.
During the night, Connor is captured and tied in the sun to die. While Colonel Jack O'Neill investigates, Carter helps a young boy who is being beaten by Baker and is also captured. When she is brought before Hanson she realizes he has become a megalomaniac unwaveringly convinced that he is in the right bringing the local inhabitants out of their cave-dwelling squalor. Jack, Daniel and Teal'c corner Jamala (the slave Sam rescued) according to whom Hanson has found a device that, when activated, will "turn the sky orange" - this is surmised to be an Solar radiation shield left behind by the Goa'uld. By making his people build a temple, Hanson buys himself time to work out the activation of the device. He plans to activate it upon completion of the temple as a divine reward to his people. Hanson admits to Carter his inability to activate the device and forces her to decipher the mechanism.
She tries to force him at gunpoint to surrender; but finds herself incapable of shooting him.
The rest of SG-1 is informed of Hanson's plan by Jamala. Teal'c is aware of this particular form of technology and determines a second device must lie on the other side of the valley, a repeater of sorts necessary to bounce the shielding back and forth thereby stabilizing the field. Daniel and Teal'c search the forest and find the second device sealed in an underground chamber. Jack, in disguise, attempts to rescue Connor from his stake in the middle of the valley quarry. Wearing Jamala's clothing, he unties Connor but is captured by Baker and escorted to Hanson's cave. Hanson threatens Jack's life in front of Carter and she activates the device; producing a pillar of orange light which strikes the ceiling of the cave but does nothing more.
Hanson decides to execute both Jack and Connor by sending them back to Earth through the Stargate without sending the IDC signal to deactivate the iris. Hanson gathers the natives in front of the 'circle of the gods' which he has had laid on the ground so the wormhole opens vertically. Hanson tells his people he is sending the demons back to hell. Daniel tells the natives that Hanson is not a god, that he does not wield magic, and that he merely uses machines. To prove Daniel's point Jamala uses Teal'c's staff weapon to shoot Baker. Hanson tells them he can make the sky orange and turns on the device but the pillar of orange light that erupts from the cave does nothing. Daniel tells the people there are two devices and that anybody can use them. Jamala fires the staff weapon into the air, Teal'c sees the shot and activates the second unit. The shield forms in the sky, and the people of the planet come to understand that Hanson is an impostor who has been working them to death. They fall upon Hanson, and in the ensuing fight Jack, Connor, and Carter free themselves and the natives toss Hanson through the gate before anybody can send the IDC signal, resulting in Jonas's death.
As SG-1 and Connor are ready to leave Avnil, Sam is brooding over her inability to end Hanson's reign when she had the chance. Jack assures her "killing a man is no badge of honor" and doing so would only bring her closer to becoming what Hanson was. Jack points out the Sixth Commandment as opposed to Hanson's distortion of the First - No Murder.
Daniel eventually dials the address to Earth with Sam sending a IDC code through.
As SG-1 and Connor leave, Jamala stares at the Stargate, stunned at the sight before him before the camera pans up to show the sky which is now orange.
Abydos; Anthropology; Arrow; Avnil; Avnilian; Bible; Binoculars; Black Ops; Chicken; Court-martial; Dial Home Device; Dog tags; G.D.O.; Iris; Jaffa; Kelno'reem; Macaroni and cheese; Marriage; Meals ready to eat; MIA; SG-9; Slavery; Solar radiation shield; Staff weapon; Sunglasses; Taurus PT92; UV radiation; The Wizard of Oz
O'Neill: Does it say "Colonel" anywhere on my uniform?
Jackson: This tastes like chicken!
Carter: So what's wrong with it?
Jackson: It's macaroni and cheese.
O'Neill: Hey, how're ya doing? You know, we'd love to stick around but some braindead sycophant left my buddy out here to die so we're outta here.
Jamala: The world outside the caves, it's very big, yes?
Jackson: Yeah, it's bigger than you can imagine.
Teal'c: Power alone does not make one a god.
Hanson: Do as I say, or you will all die!
O'Neill: Do as he says, and you will die!
O'Neill: Look, I'm no expert on this thing. I generally remember one Commandment, I think it's the first.
Carter: I am the Lord, your God, and you shall take no other Gods before me?
O'Neill: Okay, it's not the first one.
- The title refers to the Ten Commandments, the first of which may be summarized as "Do not worship false gods".
- This episode is the origin of many of the strong themes throughout the entire run of SG-1; what it is to be a god, to deserve worship and reverence, and what it is to be a false god.
- After Captain Samantha Carter speaks the line "Teal'c seems to think the Goa'ulds won't be back", the theme from the movie Independence Day can be heard, which is another movie that David Arnold composed.
- The Stargate Infinity episode, "Mentor", had a similar theme/premise, although fortunately for Harley Shepherd, he was able to redeem his actions.
- This is the first of seventy-one episodes of Stargate SG-1, Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate Universe written by Robert C. Cooper. He would later become an executive producer and co-created the spin-off series Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate Universe while also going on to direct numerous episodes of all three shows.
- Roger R. Cross (Lt. Laurence Conner) is best known for playing Curtis Manning on 24 and Travis Verta on Continuum
- The plot of this episode is similar to, and possibly loosely based on, the plot of the critically acclaimed 1979 classic Apocalypse Now, directed by F. F. Coppola (itself inspired by the 1899 novel Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad). There, a decorated US Army Colonel suffers a mental breakdown during the Vietnam War and sets himself up as a rogue commander / cult leader / demigod in the jungles of neighboring Cambodia.
- As Captain Jonas Hanson escorts Captain Samantha Carter out to show her his temple being built, one of the hut's guards can be seen with an athletic supporter strap exposed from beneath the cloth tied around his waist (likely worn to prevent a “wardrobe malfunction”).
- When Colonel Jack O'Neill uses his binoculars to watch the captured Lt. Laurence Conner, Conner's head is hanging down, but when O'Neill zooms in, his head is bent upwards.
- When Teal'c closes his Staff weapon after blasting open the stone structure, there is no sound of the weapon closing.
- If the UV radiation is as strong as it is supposed to be, the team should wear UV-blocking sunglasses at all times, (maybe remove them to look in the binoculars, but replace them immediately). That strong radiation would leave them snow blind (sunburn of the eye, very painful) in a couple of hours, although symptoms could appear after up to twelve hours.
- When Teal'c says that there is a problem in Dr. Daniel Jackson's plan, he calls him "Daniel" instead of "Daniel Jackson."
- When Jackson, Teal'c and Jamala find the location of the second device, Jamala says the place is like where Hanson found the first device on the far side of the temple. However, according to Jamala's marks on Teal'c's map, the first device was found near the Stargate which isn't near the temple and the second device was found near the temple.
- French: Le Premier Commandement (The First Commandment)
- Italian: Il Primo Comandamento (The First Commandment)
- Spanish: El Primer Mandamiento (The First Commandment)
- Czech: První přikázání (The First Commandment)
- German: Das erste Gebot (The First Commandment)
- Hungarian: Az első parancsolat (The First Commandment)
- Polish: Pierwsze przykazanie (The First Commandment)