Season 3 Episode 2

The Butterfly Effect

Aired Monday 9:00 PM Sep 22, 2008 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
1,063 votes

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Episode Summary

Sylar goes to the Company and inadvertently releases 12 super-powered criminals in a fight with Elle. Future Peter tries to fix his mistake. Angela takes over the company. Claire learns more about her powers. Hiro and Ando travel to Paris to track down the speedster who robbed them. Maya discovers that Mohinder's injection has changed him. Matt meats Usutu, an African with a familiar power.moreless

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  • "The one that broke the camel's back". How do you mark as "unoriginal" a show that is about super beings? Congrats, Heroes has done it!

    I love super-heroes. I love stories about them, the ideas, the hardship, the conflict...

    For about a season and a half (sans the obligatory "everyone survives" ending of S1, Heroes has been that lone exciting star of super-hero wonder.

    Some things didn't work from the start: Mohinder was painfully and frustratingly clean and boring, the series struggled with its direction but man oh man was it a find. Nathan was Peter Parker all over again; the cheerleader growing up in this cruel apocalypse, and Hiro... well, there was a winner if I ever saw one. Fast forward to season three. Mohinder is no longer boring, being a super villain... No wait, he is. So the fix didn't work either. The space-time continuum cunundrums are starting to pile up, and so are the cast. Nathan is so far from PP it hurts. I do like the evil version. Storylines are everywhere and are completely neutralising the characters. And the worst of all? OK, here goes: Pathos. Drama. Frown. Sob. Pathos. Frown. Squint. Pathos. Heroes has become a dark hole that I have no interest of entering any more. It has fallen prey to its own popularity; as I understand it, the idea was to realistically kill many of the characters still cluttering the airwaves today - because the public found them too popular. Well, welcome to paying of the price for it. We could have had two brutal, brilliant series with a bright future in the unknown. What we do have is a porridge sucking all excitement like quicksand. I really feel let down. RIP season three.moreless
  • So we are back with another episode, and darker future then we had before.

    So we are back with another episode, and darker future then we had before. Warning spoilers ahead. Last episode Mohinder injected himself with the serum he got from Maya, which gave him abilities. But what we find out about them this episode is that they are very different from what Maya has. It seems as if Mohinder has gone a bit mad with power from the get go, I hope that he doesn't, because he might have found the only way to reverse the powers. What I really want to know is who the heck Tracy is and why does she look exactly like Niki? Tracy seem's to have the power to freeze people, Niki never had that power. Mohinder seems to have some problems ahead of him as he starts to have some weird side effects. I was a bit happy to see that, because I think it will teach him that what he discovered is dangerous and he should work on finding a cure instead. I just hope whatever it is that is happening to him, he is able to survive. What was really strange to see was the present time Peter in the body of a very dangerous criminal, while the future Peter runs around messing things up worse than they were before. This episode really explains the name of this volume, as a whole ton of villains worse than Sylar are released on the world who were once contained. And at the end of the episode, we are given yet another huge shock, as Angela tell Sylar that she is his mother. I really enjoyed this episode, but it's almost as if there is not enough time in one episode to contain all the different side stories taking place. There are just so many unanswered questions, I think the best thing for this show would be to answer some of the questions and kill off some characters, as it is getting pretty hard to keep track of them all. Not only kill off some characters, but not bring them back as well.moreless
  • Future Peter realizes he did more damage that he thought to the present. Claire deals with the aftermath of Sylar's attack. Tracy is visited by a reporter who claims he knows something about her past. Mohinder gets closer to Maya but has more concerns.moreless

    The title of the second chapter is full of meaning. The term ''butterfly effect'' has to do with a consequence that happens three years later for something you have done now. More specifically a butterfly's flappig of its wings could result in a whirlwind in the future.

    Sylar leaves from the Bennets and heads to the Company to collect more powers. Elle figures a plan to take down Sylar but she arrives too late as her father ends up dead by Sylar. Elle frees Noah to help her with Sylar. Sylar attacks her and Noah. In an attempt to kill Elle she has an electrical outburst and frees all 12 prisonerz in Level 5 while she knocks down Sylar. Noah puts Sylar in the cell while Elle is fired from the Company by the new head; Angela Petrelli. Angela takes some dangerous measures for the greater good; she reveals a deadly secret to Sylar.

    Claire deals with the fact that she can't feel pain anymore and attempts to stand before a running train to see if she can be killed. At that moment, Future Peter flies and saves Claire. Claire asks Peter to teach her how to use her ability offensively but he refuses and leaves. Returning home, she finds her father who has returned only for a while. He tells her he has to go away again because a group of dangerous superpower villains has escaped from Level 5 of the Company and he is the only one who can bring them back (we see some of the villains in this episode and Noah explains their abilities). In return, Noah introduces the person who will protect them if there is another unexpected visit; her biological mother Meredith Gordon (that we met in Chapter 14: Unexpected of volume 1).

    Future Peter is visited by Angela who explains to him that his visit to the present has dire consequences. Nathan's shot had as a consequence Sylar's attack to Claire (and thus the thing our Heroes tried to avoid the most; Sylar to gain Claire's regenerative power). When Peter visits Claire he witnesses her pain by himself. Trying to fix what he has done, he goes to Level 5 in the Company to save Peter but he is told that they have escaped.

    Hiro is still on his mission to retrieve the part pf the formula stolen by Daphne --the speedster-- and together with Ando they go to Paris. There, Hiro reveals to Ando the dark future he visited in the last chapter and how Ando killed Hiro. Meanwhile, Hiro tries to negotiate with Daphne but with not much luck. Daphne takes off to Berlin, Germany to retrieve the second part of the formula and Hiro has a tracker on her.

    Matt is in the desert and is rescued by a man. He tells him he is in Africa and that Matt has a spirit walk to go through before he returns to USA.

    Tracy convinces the Governor to count Nathan as the new Senator. She visits Nathan and after an intervention by Linderman and future Peter (who revealed his true identity) Nathan accepts Tracy's offer. Meanwhile, a reporter faces Tracy and reveals he has secrets about Tracy. Appearantly he has found a website with someone looking like her (Niki's stripping website seen in chapter 1: In his own image of volume 1) and a video of her and Nathan having sex (seen in chapter 4: collision of volume 1). In a moment of panic, Tracy exhibits her power of freezing and freezes the report who is shattered. Mohinder has tested his new formula and recognizes many differences. He has strength, stamina, speed and he is able to walk on walls. Maya is fascinated by this discovery but still has her doubts. Mohinder and Maya come closer together. In the end however Mohinder realizes that this power may come with some unexpected consequences; a strange affliction to his skin.

    Overall an excellent episode which is put smoothly together with the previous chapter. Key facts: Tracy's power which proves she is not in fact Niki Sanders. Linderman turns out to be only visible to Nathan for some reason. Sylar has acquired one more power and Angela reveals his "true identity" which won't be confirmed until the very end of this volume. Enjoy!moreless
  • A good episode but not a very enjoyable one.

    A considerably weaker episode than 'Second Coming' but full of information and even a shocking revelation.

    Claire's encounter with Sylar has a strange side-effect: she no longer feels pain. This didn't happen originally so it's not what made her scary-Claire from the future, something else obviously did that.

    Angela has a disturbing vision: Hiro stabbed with his own sword, Matt, Peter, Claire being attacked and decapitated. Then a group, one can only assume an alliance of bad guys, Niki (or whoever she is now), Kensei, Parkman and a mysterious black man. Then Sylar comes up behind Angela.

    Angela pays a visit to Future Peter who is doing the whole string-timeline thing that Hiro did. He's definitely not our Peter, both sarcastic and formal - 'mother'. Angela lectures Peter on his actions causing a 'butterfly effect' – he told Claire not to go to Odessa which led to her encounter with Sylar. Which confirms that Future Peter switched with Peter before he even got in the ambulance with Nathan, probably when he 'found' the hat and jacket in the bathroom.

    Mohinder's powers don't end with super strength, he can defy gravity too! Not to mention sex mad! The Mohinder we know and love is gone without a trace. He learns the side-effect of his untested serum – horrific lesions.

    Bob and Elle review a tape of their agents going after Sylar, didn't end well. To say that Bob is an awful father is such an understatement! He uses emotional abuse as his weapon to control Elle and she allows it, he dominates her completely.

    I always loved the friendship between Hiro and Ando, and it's terrible to see Hiro being paranoid around Ando. Daphne seems to be quite the thief – what looks suspiciously like the Mona Lisa, golden Egyptian statues etc. Hiro finally tells Ando about his future self.

    Finally get a name for both Niki and her mystery politician: her name is 'Tracy Strauss' and he's Governor Malden. Is this really Niki? She's not acting like some temporary personality, she's acting like a real person and seems to have established herself with Malden. Malden tells her to contact Nathan, so we'll soon find out who she is. Then a reporter confronts Tracy with a photo of Niki. Nathan's reaction on seeing Tracy is hilarious! "Speaking of sin…" ; "The word 'biblically' comes to mind." According to Linderman, she really isn't Niki.

    Claire goes all 'why am I here?' and tries to get hit by a train. She obviously does mean a lot to Peter because he (literally) swoops in to save her. Guess someone's feeling guilty. Claire's realized the obvious – she needs to learn to defend herself and who better than her uncle to teach her, he's stopped Sylar before. Peter refuses, having already changed the past.

    Sylar arrives at the Company's facility and wastes no time – he takes Bob's power – turn objects into gold! Elle goes to the most obvious ally in the building – Bennet. Problem is: Sylar is now unstoppable. But seems Elle's power really is as unstable as it looks – Sylar's attempt to cut her head open releases an explosion! Peter (trapped inside prisoner 'Jesse's body) checks on Elle then escapes with the others. Elle's blast actually knocked Sylar out so he's a prisoner again. With Bob dead, Angela's in charge. A dozen prisoners escaped including Bennet. Elle's fired!

    I would have thought that if anyone could tell this wasn't our Peter, it would be Nathan – he's Peter's best friend, not just his brother! Peter comes clean about shooting Nathan. After talking to Peter, Nathan takes the position of Junior Senator for New York. Linderman is invisible?! Is he dead? Or immortal like Claire and Kensei?

    And moments later, the dogged reporter shows Tracy the tape of Niki/Jessica having sex with Nathan… which will explain a lot of Nathan's reaction to her. Any doubt that this isn't Niki is gone – she can control ice! And what's even more interesting – she obviously doesn't know about her powers! She's must be related to Niki somehow, this isn't just a resemblance, she's Special too. Sister, cousin?? Where's Niki?!

    Poor Matt is in Africa! And he meets a guy who also paints the future and knows his name.

    Bennet goes home to Claire but has a new mission – the prisoners who escaped. And he's assigning a surprise bodyguard – Claire's mother! Never thought we'd see her again, wonder how much they had to pay her to do it?

    Future Peter comes to restore Peter only to find Sylar captured and 'Jesse' missing. Our Peter is running with an incredibly dangerous crowd who kill people for fun. Does he still have his powers or is he limited to the powers that Jesse has? Peter did leave a message for Nathan, hopefully Nathan gets it and does something!

    Most shocking reveal? Angela is Sylar's mother!!! Which means he is either brother or half-brother to both Peter and Nathan!! Certainly explains why his mother didn't have powers when everyone else's parents did. It's obvious where this is going: "Brother vs Brother… it's almost biblical."

    The biggest problem with this episode is that it doesn't really drive the 'future' storyline like the previous two seasons did. This episode feels isolated, more filling in gaps and characters than being important to the overall story. Plus, don't like where the stories are headed right now, there's not a single one that feels right. Hopefully this is early season teething problems and it will sort itself out.moreless
  • One of the best Heroes episodes ever, in my book.

    One of the best Heroes episodes ever, in my book.

    I was on the edge of my seat the whole time and even afterwards when I kept saying to myself how good this premiere was. We got Future Peter, Future Ando, Future Hiro and Future Claire. We got new abilities and abilities we've seen before, only in a different way. We saw characters return, including Linderman, whose first line in the episode made me grin.

    It had a lot of nods to the first season and I loved them. Heroes made a great return with this episode, tying up several storylines such as what Sylar does with the brains and some of the small things seen at the end of season two.moreless
Bruce Boxleitner

Bruce Boxleitner

Governor Robert Malden

Guest Star

Francis Capra

Francis Capra

Jesse Murphy

Guest Star

William Katt

William Katt

Reporter Jim McCann

Guest Star

Kristen Bell

Kristen Bell

Elle Bishop

Recurring Role

Brea Grant

Brea Grant

Daphne Millbrook

Recurring Role

Ntare Mwine

Ntare Mwine


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (3)

    • The kind of tortoise that Matt encounters is a California Desert Tortoise. It would not be in Africa.

    • Goof: When Peter disappears after talking to Claire, the branches on the tree have moved.

    • Goof: After Ando asks Hiro who the strange men in the building are, the subtitles for Hiro read: "Private Detectives. Very discrete." "Discrete" means discontinuous or unrelated. "Discreet" means careful or prudent, and seems more likely to be used in describing the qualities of a private detective.

  • QUOTES (23)

    • Noah: You know, even before you were ever born, I've been finding these people and locking them away so they can't do any harm, and now a dozen of them have escaped. They're out there, and they will kill, and they will terrorize, and they will conspire, and they will cause unimaginable destruction to the world. They're villains, Claire. And right now, I'm one of the only people on the planet who knows enough about them to stop them. That's why I can't stay.
      Claire: Then let me come with you. I can be your partner.
      Noah: Claire.
      Claire: I can help. I helped save New York City! You were there. You saw it! I was willing to shoot Peter with your gun when you couldn't do it!
      Noah: That's exactly the type of situation I can't put you in again! I'm doing this so you don't have to.

    • (Noah shows Claire some files of the escapees; Knox's file is currently on the screen)
      Noah: (to Claire) Some people are just evil. His name is Knox. He can absorb a person's fear and turn it into his own strength. Incredible strength. (brings up Flint's file) This guy is a flamethrower. (brings up the German's file) We call this guy "The German." He can control magnetic energy. (brings up Jesse Murphy's file) And this guy, Jesse... you don't want to know.

    • Mohinder: It's different. Better. And if I can give powers to anyone, then it's only a matter of time until I find a way to reverse the effects and take the powers away. And this all came from you, Maya. From what's inside that...extraordinary body of yours. (They kiss and then Mohinder tears off Maya's shirt and pushes her onto the table)
      Maya: You ARE different.

    • Maya: (After Mohinder leaps onto the floor) How did you just do that?
      Mohinder: Remember that serum I made? Remember how I said it could give powers to anyone instantaneously?
      Maya: You didn't!
      Mohinder: I sure did.
      Maya: But you said it still needed to be perfected.
      Mohinder: I was wrong.

    • Sandra: I am so angry. To think that that monster was in this house. Maybe we should go to a motel.
      Claire: He's not coming back.
      Sandra: How do you know that?
      Claire: Because he got what he came for.

    • Angela: I had another dream. One I'd rather not repeat. And all because you're not where you're supposed to be. So go back where you came from, Peter.
      Future Peter: I'm sorry. I'm a little too busy saving the world right now.
      Angela: You never were as smart as you thought you were. I see a few more years on this planet hasn't changed that.
      Future Peter: There are things that I know. Things that you can't see, Mother. Even in your dreams. I've seen what you become. I've seen what you do. So don't think that I came back here for my health.
      Angela: You have no idea the fire that you're playing with. You don't screw with time. It's called the butterfly effect. Step on a butterfly today, three years from now a million people are wiped out.
      Future Peter: Let's just hope it's no one I know.
      Angela: Ah, but what if it is? What if it turns out to be someone you do know? Someone you care about?

    • Bob: I can't help but think about you as a child. When your mother died your need for approval, affection, was hard to bear.
      Elle: I will find him and I'll, I'll figure out where he will strike next…
      Bob: No, no, no, why should I keep putting you into a position where you're just going to be letting me or yourself down again. That's not fair to either of us, is it?

    • (in Japanese)
      Ando: A thief lives here?
      Hiro: So it would appear. (staring at Mona Lisa)

    • Peter: What were you doing?
      Claire: What does it look like? Trying to get hit by a train!

    • Claire: You can't save me all the time, Peter. What happened was my fault. I can't defend myself. Yeah, I can, I can heal, but what kind of lame power is that? I'm still just a victim.

    • Tracy: Do you think that you know me?
      Nathan: The word biblically comes to mind.

    • Nathan: Last time I was in a position of authority I nearly let Manhattan get wiped off the face of the map. I'm not really sure what that says about my basic nature.
      Peter: Well, you're different now. Everything's different.

    • Elle: I have worked for this company my entire life! What am I supposed to do now?
      Angela: I suppose you'll have to get yourself another life.

    • (in Japanese)
      Hiro: You understand your part of the plan, right?
      Ando: It sounds dangerous. Does Batman put Robin in danger when he sets a trap for Catwoman?
      Hiro: Sometimes. To teach him a lesson.
      Ando: Stop punishing me for something I haven't done yet.
      Hiro: Don't kill me and I won't punish you.

    • (in Japanese)
      Ando: I didn't see you do that.
      Hiro: I stop time and teleport. I do many things that you don't see.

    • Usutu: You come from America?
      Matt: Yes, how did you…
      Usutu: You know Britney Spears?

    • Matt: Your cell. I gotta use your cell, I've got to call home.
      Usutu: No service here. I should've gone with Sprint.

    • Mr. Bennet: I was so worried about you. Are you all right?
      Claire: No. But I'm better now. (hugs her father)

    • Claire: (speaking into the camera) It seemed to help last time I made a tape. But this time it's different, because I'm starting to wonder if I'm even human anymore. Because if you can't feel anything, do you still have a soul? Will I live forever? All of these questions, I just... I need to prove that I'm still alive. < em>(the train approaches) So I guess I should just start by saying that... my name is Claire Bennet, and this is attempt number seven.

    • Voice: That plant there...it will give you water.
      Matt Parkman: (Matt pulls the plant out by the roots and finds a few drops of water) Thank you turtle, you saved my life.
      African man: (Standing over Matt) Why are you talking to a turtle?

    • Journalist: I'm running this story with or without your comment.
      Tracy: You run this story and I will hunt your ass down and destroy you.

    • Claire: (After cutting herself with a piece of glass) I don't feel anything. It didn't hurt, there's no pain.
      Sandra: But that's your power, isn't it?
      Claire: No. I heal but I always feel everything. It hurts the same as it would for anyone else but…not this time. That pain, I'm always so grateful for. That's the only time I know I'm still human.

    • Angela: (talking to Sylar) My sons have been such a disappointment. But you, I can give you what all boys crave from their mothers. Inspiration and guidance. Comfort. Isn't that right, Gabriel?
      Sylar: My name is Sylar. And you are not my mother.
      Angela: But I am, dear. I am!

  • NOTES (4)

    • The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series.

    • International Airdates:
      Australia: October 9, 2008 on Channel 7/Prime
      New Zealand: November 12, 2008 on TV 3
      Latin America: November 21, 2008 on Universal Channel
      Israel: Tuesday, December 30, 2008 on Yes Stars Action
      India: December 30, 2008 on Star World
      Belgium: March 12, 2009 on VT4
      Germany: September 9, 2009 on RTL II
      Finland: February 13, 2010 on Sub
      Czech Republic: June 11, 2010 on Prima COOL
      Slovakia: July 11, 2012 on Markiza

    • Powers Developments:
      Mohinder Suresh: Due to the injection of the formula he created, Mohinder has developed strength, agility, balance, athletic ability and increased senses. Also it made him more confident and aggressive. But it is making him mutate, as demonstrated by the lesions on his back.

      Tracy Strauss: Tracy has demonstrated the power of cryokinesis, the ability to freeze with the mind. Her ability seems to be limited to things she physically touches.

      Claire Bennet: Claire discovers that she can no longer feel physical pain.

    • This episode was formerly known as "Dreamtime".


    • Mohinder Suresh's new found power is no doubt an homage to Jeff Goldblum's character in the 1986 Horror Movie, "The Fly".
      In that movie, Goldblum invents a teleportation machine, which by accident (and without his knowledge) merges his DNA with that of a fly.
      Goldblum's first apparent change is heightened senses and extraordinary health and physical agility and strength. The second change is his slow physical transformation to that of a human fly, which starts with lesions on his back, small prickly hair growing out of his body, and more.

    • The Butterfly Effect
      The title of this episode and Angela Petrelli's comments about the Butterfly Effect are a reference to Ray Bradbury's short story "A Sound Of Thunder". In Bradbury's story, a company offers safaris in time to allow people to hunt and kill extinct animals. The animals are carefully chosen as they would have died anyway shortly after the hunter kills them, so ensuring that the future will not be changed. As part of his celebration of a moderate candidate winning the recent presidential election, the protagonist wishes to kill a Tyrannosaurus Rex. On facing the animal he is too scared to do so and runs away. His guides kill the Tyrannosaur and shortly afterwards a branch falls from a tree and onto the carcase of the animal. When the three return to the present they find that everything is different. The moderate candidate did not win the election; instead it was a fascist candidate who is considered to be very bad for the future of the world. The protagonist realises that when he ran away from the Tyrannosaur he accidentally killed a butterfly that was not meant to have died. That one trivial change had altered the course of history.