"Shades of Grey" is the eighteenth episode of the third season of Stargate SG-1.


An angered Colonel Jack O'Neill steals a piece of technology from the Tollans after they refuse to give some away to the Tau'ri. Major General George S. Hammond later finds out about this and O'Neill soon resigns. During his retirement he is approached by Colonel Harold Maybourne of the NID with the purpose of recruiting him to work for the NID and steal technology from other worlds.


SG-1 goes to Tollana to negotiate a treaty with the Tollan, asking for technology to help defend Earth against the Goa'uld. The Tollans have not changed their policy about sharing their technology, and refuse to give them anything. In response, an angry Colonel Jack O'Neill steals a device that disables weapons. After SG-1 returns to Earth, the diplomatic incident caused by the Tollan's discovery of the theft forces O'Neill into early retirement. When Dr. Daniel Jackson visits him at home in an attempt to figure out what's going on, O'Neill insults him, telling him that apparently his teammates didn't really know him at all, and that he's finally acting like himself.

Now retired and unaffiliated with Stargate Command, O'Neill is approached by Colonel Harold Maybourne to take part in a secret operation regarding the Stargate. After accepting Maybourne's proposal, O'Neill joins a rogue SG team whose standing orders are to acquire technology from other worlds, through trade or by theft. One member, Major Dean Newman, is one of the men who fled through the second gate when SG-1 re-captured it in Utah. O'Neill's first mission as a member of the rogue SG team is to steal an Asgard invisibility device on a protected world.

SG-1 is informed that a new commander will be taking O'Neill's place, and that Major General George S. Hammond has chosen Colonel Robert Makepeace over Daniel Jackson's desire to have the team led by Major Samantha Carter.

Upon returning, Newman explains to O'Neill that they attempt to reverse engineer most of the technologies they find, while smaller items such as the invisibility device are secretly passed to a mole in the SGC. Maybourne gives them the drop-off address for the device, and O'Neill offers to run the mission himself, explaining it as a desire to do at least once every job his new command does.

Arriving at the planet where the mole will soon be, O'Neill hides the Asgard device underneath a rock near the Dial Home Device. Just as he tries to dial back, the Stargate opens, and SG-1 comes through. O'Neill barely makes it to cover in time. He watches as Makepeace retrieves the hidden Asgard device and SG-1 goes back through the gate. O'Neill returns to the rogue team base after SG-1 leaves, and an Asgard appears next to the DHD as O'Neill departs, noting the address.

When O'Neill returns to the base, an Asgard ship descends and begins beaming out the stolen items. O'Neill reveals his true allegiance to the SGC and dials the Stargate to Earth. He tells the rogue team that the Asgard will start taking prisoners once they finish beaming up the stolen technology, and that their only other option is to follow him through the gate, which he will be holding open on the other side to prevent any redialing. The rogue team decides to follow O'Neill and arrives at the SGC, where Hammond has them arrested. O'Neill arrests Makepeace personally. O'Neill and Hammond reveal to the remaining members of SG-1 that O'Neill's uncharacteristic actions, at the request of the Tollan and the Asgard, were a ploy to get Maybourne to reveal the location of the rogue team, which had been damaging Earth's interests by stealing off-world technology.

Carter, Teal'c and Daniel are all offended that they weren't in on the plan, though Hammond explains that he had to be sure their reactions were genuine. Not to mention that the Asgard were the ones who had requested that O'Neill be the only one involved. As the reunited SG-1 leave the Gate room, O'Neill apologizes to Daniel for his behavior, saying that their friendship is solid and that the fact that it was Daniel who visited him "means something." Straight-faced, Daniel tells him that it didn't: "We drew straws. I lost."


Appearances for Shades of Grey





Sentient Species



Notable quotes[]

Jackson: What are you doing?
O'Neill: We never should have saved their technologically-superior butts. This is that thing they disable our weapons with, isn't it?
Teal'c: As well as the Goa'uld technology.
Jackson: Don't even think about it.
Carter: Sir, isn't this against regulations?
O'Neill: I suppose it is, Carter. Let's go.
Jackson: Jack, you're crossing a line.
O'Neill: Shut up, Daniel.

(During the debriefing after SG-1's return from Tollana, discussing the device)
Hammond: So, what did you have to promise them in return, Dr. Jackson?
Jackson: Actually, General, we didn't have to promise to give them anything.
Hammond: They just gave you the device as a reward for saving them from the Goa'uld?
Jackson: Actually, General, the Tollan refused to give us any technology.
O'Neill: Offered us a nice fruit basket though.

Hammond: You and your team have committed a court-martialable offense.
O'Neill: To be fair, General, I did it. Carter and Daniel protested. And Teal'c ... well he really didn't say anything, but I could tell he was opposed to my actions by the way he ... cocked his head and sort of raised his eyebrow.
Hammond: Enough Colonel!

O'Neill: Well, look who's here! Come to retrieve your vastly superior stuff? You know it'd be a lot more superior if it weren't so easy to steal.
Hammond: Colonel O'Neill come in and take a seat!

O'Neill: Hello Newman.

Tobias: What are they doing?
O'Neill: Taking back what's rightfully theirs, I guess. Listen up, all of ya. You've got two choices here. As soon as they stop taking stuff they're going to start taking people. Now you can go with the Asgard, or you can follow me. Your choice. I'll be holding the door open so you can't go anywhere else.

Makepeace: You pissed off the wrong people.
O'Neill: Like the Tollan, Tok'ra, Asgard, Nox.... Those folks?
Makepeace: They refuse to give us the things we need to defend ourselves against the Goa'uld.
O'Neill: We don't need their stuff, Makepeace. We do need them.

O'Neill: Obviously the whole friendship thing, the foundation, it's all solid.
Jackson: Obviously.
O'Neill: Nothing to worry about. No, I feel a little.... I do appreciate that you were the one who came to see if I was okay. That means something.
Jackson: Ah, actually no it doesn't.
O'Neill: Hm?
Jackson: Um... we drew straws. I lost.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • Colonel Jack O'Neill's phrasing and tone of his initial greeting to Major Dean Newman is a reference to the sitcom Seinfeld. A Seinfeld character also named Newman, loathed by other characters, was often greeted in the same manner.


  • When Colonel Jack O'Neill hides the Asgard device underneath a rock near the Dial Home Device, the camera changes to Teal'c with the Stargate behind him and a red-shirted figure can be seen running in the distance from right to left, in the left corner of the shot.
  • The move O'Neill makes while playing chess with himself in his house before answering the door to Dr. Daniel Jackson is technically illegal, as he moves his King into check from his opponent's Queen.
  • When the Marines are taking defensive positions in the gate room during the Tollan dial-in, the gate is still being dialed. However, many seconds before this the gate was already seen to be activated. This is likely due to the use of stock footage.
  • Newman apologizes to O'Neill for returning fire in the Utah hangar in "Touchstone". However, neither he nor any of the other rogue NID agents actually did so.
  • When the Asgard ship appears over Arbella and starts taking equipment, O'Neill dials Earth's Stargate and proceeds to step through without using a Garage Door Opener or radioing ahead. It however might be presumed that the Asgard communicated the source planet to the SGC and they knew to expect O'Neill when they did, and thus they left the iris open.

Other languages[]

  • French: Trahisons (Betrayals)
  • Italian: Ombre Di grigio (Shade of Grey)
  • Spanish: Ni blanco Ni negro (Neither White nor Black)
  • Czech: Odstíny šedi (Shades of Grey)
  • Hungarian: Sötét ügyek (Dark Matters)
  • German: O'Neill auf Abwegen (O'Neill going astray)

Links and navigation[]

Smallwikipedialogo This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Shades of Grey (Stargate SG-1). The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with SGCommand, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.
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