"Absolute Power" is the seventeenth episode of the fourth season of Stargate SG-1.


The Harcesis, named Shifu, has been found on Abydos and taken to Earth by SG-1, where they ask him how to defeat the Goa'uld once and for all. However, Shifu instead shows Dr. Daniel Jackson a vision of what would happen if he gives him the power to defeat the Goa'uld.


SG-1 arrive on Abydos after Kasuf has asked for their help in investigating a strange incident; a wind blew out of an active Stargate with a mysterious voice calling Sha're's name. Kasuf leads them to the place where the voice was heard. Major Samantha Carter's instruments report a buildup of static electricity as Daniel hears a voice call his name. A wind swirls into a tornado. Dr. Daniel Jackson identifies himself and the vortex dissipates, leaving a young boy who says he is Shifu, the Harcesis. Being a Harcesis, Shifu has the genetic memory of all previous Goa'uld that came before his parents, Apophis and Amaunet. He says that Oma Desala, on Kheb, taught him how to suppress this knowledge. The boy is unnaturally old considering he was last seen as a newborn only a year ago (see "Maternal Instinct").

SG-1 takes Shifu to Stargate Command where Dr. Janet Fraiser discovers traces of nanites (the same as those from the episode "Brief Candle") in his system, which explain his accelerated growth, but they are inactive. Since the treaty between the Tau'ri and the Tok'ra states that they must share all potential sources of information related to the Goa'uld, the Tok'ra are told of Shifu. The Tok’ra communicate plans to use a Memory recall device in order to access his memories. In the meantime, Dr. Jackson talks to Shifu about Sha're and how she passed a message to him through the ribbon device (see "Forever in a Day"). Jackson quickly inquires about his Goa'uld memories. Shifu, quoting Oma, says the evil in his mind is too strong to resist so, “the only way to win is to deny it battle.” Daniel, knowing the importance of the knowledge, asks him to remember. Shifu simply touches Daniel, who collapses.

Absolute Power 1

Shifu probes Daniel's mind to "teach" him that his sub-conscious is too powerful.

Jackson awakens with the Goa'uld knowledge in his head and begins to spout plans for a satellite, capable of detecting Goa'uld vessels thousands of light years away as well as easily destroying them, the perfect basis for an anti-Goa'uld defense system. Even Carter is unable to completely understand the device. Jackson demands the Tok'ra not be involved as any spy in their ranks would alert the Goa'uld before the project could come to fruition. In addition, only a network of these satellites orbiting Earth will create an effective shield. Thankfully, Shifu, having imparted this useful knowledge, does not have to remember anything.

Later, in a full briefing with Major Paul Davis from the Pentagon, Daniel explains that the entire SGC must focus its resources into raw Naquadah retrieval. Jackson insists that the Russians be kept in the dark, even though this violates a treaty, and the project be completed in only a year, effectively doubling the cost to $160 billion, according to Davis. Labor will be strategically divided to maintain security. Daniel then supplies Major Davis with a list of "personal requirements". Colonel Jack O'Neill goes to talk to Jackson after the meeting. O'Neill has been put in charge of the retrieval operations, it was either that or retire again. Jackson has sent Teal'c off-world somewhere on a mission he refuses to discuss.

Absolute Power

Daniel as a Goa'uld System Lord.

A while later, Apophis is brought before a Goa'uld System Lord with Apophis begging for mercy. The being in question does not respond and instead begins torturing Apophis with a hand device before revealing that the Goa'uld System Lord in question is none than Daniel himself.

One year later, Jackson wakes in a large house, apparently his, with Shifu also living there. Carter, no longer with the project, forces her way in to confront Jackson, claiming to know his "plan." She accusingly claims the "strategic division of labor" was an effort to keep anyone from catching on to the big picture: world take-over. Jackson has her jailed, brushing off her statements as "insanity." O'Neill visits Carter where they talk about Jackson, and an incident involving Teal'c that Daniel allegedly caused. The two remain unaware that Daniel is secretly watching them.

O'Neill decides to speak with Jackson, who has been watching Carter and O'Neill. He arrives at Jackson's compound the day of the launch.

Inviting O’Neill to watch the launch, they ring to an underground control room from a concealed set of Transportation rings. O’Neill jokes about Carter's rantings about Jackson. The launch goes perfectly, dispersing 288 AG-3 (anti-Goa’uld) satellites into orbit. With a Goa'uld defense in place, the President of the United States plans to reveal the Stargate's existence to the public.

AG-3 satellite

The AG-3 satellite in orbit

However, the launch brings about an international crisis with Russia and China, who put their forces on high alert over these new "communications satellites." As the Russians prepare to destroy an AG-3, Jackson advises the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (General Maurice Vidrine, promoted from Lt. General in "Tangent") to make a demonstration by taking out a Russian satellite with the AG-3 system, which only succeeds in infuriating the Russians into launching more anti-satellite weapons.

In a bold move, Daniel commandeers the AG-3 system, targeting and obliterating Moscow, but not before O'Neill tries to stop the man by pulling a gun and shooting at Daniel. However, the bullets are harmlessly stopped by a Goa'uld personal shield around Daniel.

Daniel awakes in the infirmary at the SGC, and the dreary scenario turns out to be naught but a dream. Fraiser says she has no idea what is wrong with him. The rest of SG-1, Major General George S. Hammond, and the Tok'ra, Aldwin, are discussing what to do with Shifu. Aldwin suggests using a Za'tarc detector to test Shifu's claims about being a Harcesis, as the device doubles as a lie detector. Through Aldwin's questions, it is determined that he is Harcesis.

Shifu explains through the dream, he was teaching Daniel: "The evil in my subconscious is too strong to resist. The only way to win is to deny the battle." He thanks the newly awakened Jackson, turns into a glowing energy entity, characteristic of ascended beings, activates, and then disappears through the Stargate.


Appearances for Absolute Power




Sentient Species




Notable quotes[]

Teal’c: He is born with all the genetic memory of all the Goa’uld who came before him.
Hammond: That must be an awfully big burden for a young child to carry.
Teal’c: That is why all Goa’uld are born evil.

Shifu: Oma teaches, the true nature of a man is decided in the battle between his conscious mind and the desires of his subconscious. Oma teaches, the evil of my subconscious is too strong to resist. The only way to win is to deny the battle.

O'Neill: Kasuf, about this voice that spoke to you...
Kasuf: Yes. It spoke the name of my daughter, may she rest in peace. I'm not the only one who heard it. Many fear it is a sign that the gods are returning.
O'Neill: I thought we finally convinced you and your people that the Goa'uld were not gods.
Kasuf: I said many, not I. But look, it is easy to understand, in the days of Ra, when we returned from a journey a great storm would blow through the desert.
O'Neill: It's just wind. Wind happens.
Carter: We're talking about a wind that blew out of an active Stargate.
Jackson: And formed a sandstorm.
Kasuf: The desert said the name "Sha're."
O'Neill: Yeah, well it's not like it's a burning bush or anything.
Kasuf: I've seen many bushes burn.
O'Neill: I suppose you have.

Teal'c: Does he speak of the knowledge passed on to him by Amaunet and Apophis?
Jackson: He says Oma taught him to forget.
O'Neill: Oma?
Jackson: The alien we encountered on Kheb. Mother Nature.
Carter: Guess that explains the tornado.

O'Neill: Do you think it's wise to bring him back?
Jackson: I don't think he's a danger.
O'Neill: What about his step-mom? Is she coming along?
Jackson: He says that ultimately a man travels his own path alone.
O'Neill: Smart kid.

Jackson: Shifu. This is General Hammond. He's the leader of this facility.
Hammond: Welcome to Earth.
Shifu: A spark lights a flame but the candle will only burn as long as the wick.
O'Neill: If I may, Sir. I think what he means is the wick is the center of the candle and ostensibly a great leader, like yourself, is essential to the whole ball of wax. Basically what it means is that, it's always better to have a big long wick. Right?
Jackson: Don't look at me.

Jackson: What do you think?
O'Neill: It's cool. Kind of like Vegas.
Jackson: Actually we've got three-to-one odds in favor of the launch going off without a hitch.
O'Neill: Hey, I'll take some of that action.
Jackson: Put Colonel O'Neill down for a hundred.
Tech: Got it.
O'Neill: Dollars, right?


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • A scene was deleted where Colonel Jack O'Neill discovered that Teal'c was still alive. Dr. Daniel Jackson was harvesting him for blood transfusions so he could use Goa'uld technology.[1] This shows that Jaffa have Naquadah in their blood, and could conceivably use Goa'uld devices like the Kara kesh and Goa'uld healing device. However, since this scene was never broadcast, its canonicity is in question. In "Bloodlines" the Jaffa priest overseeing Rya'c's symbiote ceremony was using what appeared to be a Goa'uld healing device, supporting this theory.
  • This episode marks the final appearance of Kasuf on the series.
  • When Teal'c suggests that Apophis may have used Goa'uld technology to cause Shifu to mature abnormally quickly, Daniel says they know that is possible, referring to the events of "Brief Candle".
  • The exterior scenes on Abydos were filmed at the Richmond Sand Dunes.


  • Dr. Daniel Jackson explains that the name "Shifu" means light. The name is most likely the Chinese word 师傅 (shifu) which actually means "master" and is often used as an honorific title for various skilled workers and martial arts teachers. The Chinese word for light is 光 (guang).

Other languages[]

  • Hungarian: Teljhatalom (Absolute Power)
  • German: Unbegrenztes Wissen (Unlimited Knowledge)
  • Russian: Абсолютная Власть (Absolute Power)
  • Portuguese: Poder Absoluto (Absolute Power)
  • Romanian: Putere Absoluta (Absolute Power)
  • Slovak: Neobmedzená moc (Unlimited Power)
  • French: Pouvoir Absolu (Absolute Power)
  • Italian: Potere Assoluto (Absolute Power)
  • Spanish: Poder Absoluto (Absolute Power)
  • Czech: Absolutní moc (Absolute Power)

Links and navigation[]

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