Neha Patil (Editor)

The Butterfly Effect (Heroes)

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Episode no.
Season 3 Episode 2

Written by
Tim Kring

Original air date
September 22, 2008

Directed by
Greg Beeman

Production code

"The Butterfly Effect" is the second episode of the third season of the NBC science fiction drama series Heroes and thirty-sixth episode overall. It was written by series creator/executive producer Tim Kring and directed by Greg Beeman. The episode aired on September 22, 2008 immediately after "The Second Coming" as part of the three-hour premiere event.



Claire Bennet realizes that she no longer feels pain when injured. Claire films herself trying to be hit by a train, but Future Peter, masquerading as Present Peter, intervenes before the impact. After exchanging words with Claire, he then teleports away.

Meanwhile, two Company agents, Bianca Karina and Gael Cruz, attempt to capture Sylar. He kills them both with a small hand gesture.

Tracy enters Nathan's hospital room to offer him a seat on the Senate. Nathan believes that Tracy is Niki Sanders, but she insists that she is not. Tracy leaves, somewhat disturbed, and Linderman appears, confirming that Tracy is not Niki.

At the Company, Elle Bishop finds her father, Bob's body with his brain removed. She then lets Noah out of his cell on Level 5, giving him a gun and telling him that Sylar is in the building. Elle is telekinetically thrown down the hall by Sylar, so Noah shoots him several times. However, Sylar regenerates and explains that he's already taken Claire's power. He attempts to take Elle's power by cutting her head open. Elle screams and releases a large electrical discharge that knocks Sylar out and allows the Level 5 prisoners to escape their cells.

Future Peter explains to Nathan that he is actually from the future and came to the present to stop him from revealing their powers. Nathan proceeds to call Tracy and accept her offer as Future Peter leaves.

Tracy, walking to her car in the parking garage, is confronted by a reporter, (cameo by "Hero" William Katt), who uses a video feed of Nathan and Jessica Sanders (from season 1) to try to blackmail her to get her to admit she is Niki, a stripper from Las Vegas. An angry Tracy grabs him, and her emotions trigger her ability of cryokinesis. She accidentally freezes him solid, and he shatters on the ground, dead. Tracy flees the scene.

Later, Nathan is playing a game of chess with Linderman when a nurse comes in to tell him it is time for lights out, and she comments that he can end a game of chess he's playing by himself. Linderman then reveals that only Nathan can see him.

Hiro and Ando travel to Daphne's apartment in Paris, looking for the formula that she stole. Hiro notices an award of Daphne's for a track meet from when she was young. When Daphne arrives, Hiro offers her the award, which he has now stolen from her, in exchange for the formula. Daphne attempts to take both items. Hiro stops time, but she holds a knife to Ando's throat, since Ando cannot move, and starts to make a cut. Hiro allows her to get away with both items, but when time resumes, he explains to Ando about the tracking device he had slipped into the award. Ando, however, notices his neck is bleeding, and is astonished that Hiro let him get hurt.

Maya returns to Mohinder's lab, and witnesses him hanging from the ceiling by his legs. She watches as he jumps down, unharmed, and climbs back up the wall, in an insect type of fashion, and after he explains his new powers, Maya expresses her excitement with the results of his new transformation. They then kiss passionately after Mohinder makes an uncharacteristically rash pass at her.

With Bob's death, Angela becomes the new head of the Company, and her first act is to implement some changes, starting with firing Elle. Noah Bennet, now released, returns to his home and finds Claire, alive. Though relieved to see her, he tells her that he can't stay at home because of the escaped villains and prepares to deal with them, shooting down Claire's offer to partner up. When Claire mentions the possibility of being attacked at home, Noah tells her that he had considered that; to make sure Claire stays safe at home, Noah and Sandra reveal their enlistment of the aid of none other than Meredith Gordon, Claire's biological mother, to protect the family in Noah's absence.

Future Peter teleports to Level 5, where Angela angrily informs him that the villains have escaped. Future Peter wonders how this happened different from his time, and also exclaims that he had trapped the present Peter in the body of one of the escaped villains specifically because this didn't occur in his timeline. Angela berates him about the Butterfly Effect and blames him for the deviations he has caused from the future she has seen.

Peter Petrelli, trapped in the body of Jesse Murphy, is forced to accompany the other villains in order not to compromise his true identity. As Flint burns a woman alive, and The German punches a man to death, Peter is forced to watch helplessly.

Angela Petrelli ends the episode by going into the cell Sylar occupies and tells him that she can offer the comforts that a mother should provide for her child. Sylar denies that Angela is his mother, but she persists that she is.


Actor Stephen Tobolowsky had been thrown off of a horse in Iceland and broke his neck in five places between filming for seasons two and three of Heroes. Although he will make a full recovery, due to his injury he was only able to play his role as Bob Bishop in two brief scenes, confined to Bob's office chair and with severely limited levels of movement.


Angela Petrelli's dream, shown in this episode, was shown as a special sneak peek of "Villains" in the "Volume 2: Generations" DVD box set, with several elements edited due to spoilers.

Critical Reception

In the 18-49 demographic, "The Butterfly Effect" earned a 5.2/12 ratings share. The episode was watched by 9.57 million viewers.

Sean O'Neal of The A.V. Club rated this episode, together with the previous episode, a B+.

Robert Canning of IGN gave the episode 6.7 out of 10.


  • "He's Frank" by Brighton Port Authority, featuring Iggy Pop.
  • References

    The Butterfly Effect (Heroes) Wikipedia

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