So right now I'm up to season 6 in Stargate SG1, and I've noticed the main crew gets zapped with a zat'nik'tel A LOT. Shouldn't they be dead by now? I thought the second shot kills and the third causes the body to disappear. Did this change somewhere? Is there a period of time where if you don't get shot it wont kill you?


There's probably a residual charge or something left in the body after one shot which takes time to dissipate. Adding a second charge from another shot would then be too much for the body to take, and hence leads to death for the target.

Of course, this then opens up questions on things like body mass... shouldn't a bigger person be able to absorb more hits than a smaller person?

Also - I think the ridiculousness of the weapon was lampshaded in the Wormhole X-Treme episode ;)

  • 4
    As a viewer, who never thought I could ask the question, I'd always assumed a minute or two was all that was needed. – Omega Centauri May 8 '11 at 23:29
  • 2
    I think your body mass thing makes sense, however there's also the concept that the zat's energy is probably really close to the threshold of death for a smaller person, and not closer to not killing a larger person on two shots (what I'm trying to say is that a smaller person would probably more likely die from one shot than a large person not dying from two shots, these are the Goa'ulds) – dkuntz2 May 9 '11 at 2:08
  • @DKuntz yeah, that was something I was trying to put across, but obviously not that well. – HorusKol May 9 '11 at 2:12
  • 3
    In addition, you seem to build up a resistance to the Zats after being shot with them frequently. Initially, it was lights out for SG-1 for a few hours any time they were struck. More recently, the team has been able to function effectively seconds later, albeit apparently in extreme pain. – Jeff May 9 '11 at 13:05
  • 1
    Also, the whole three-shots disappears you thing was ultimately ret-conned out, because someone realized just how ridiculous it was. – eidylon May 9 '11 at 17:01

The writers realized this was a problematic idea. As mentioned by others, they hung a lantern on their own bad ideas in the self-parody episode Wormhole X-Treme!

Director: The reality of the scene dictates there be dead aliens ... because you just killed them.

Head Writer: We could always go back to the way it was in the script.

Director: No we can't. We've already established that one shot stuns and two shots kills. Nick just shot everybody twice.

Martin: So three shots disintegrates them!

Director: Okay, you know what? I'm gonna pretend you didn't say that, because that is quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say.

  • I always thought it was funny how that never came back. They used it way back in Season 2 when Jack shot the box of future stuff... but when sneaking around inside of ships they didn't shoot the bad guys three times to just make them disappear? – Odin1806 Apr 15 '16 at 23:52

It's one of those "Hitchcock-ian" things...left up to the viewer to decide the time frame...of course i'd go with my usual couple minutes rule. If they get shot once they got a couple minutes or so before they can be shot again as that is usually the case in most of those scenarios.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.