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Episode:The Butterfly Effect

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The Butterfly Effect
Season: Three
Episode number: 302
First aired: September 22, 2008
The Butterfly Effect.jpg
Written by: Tim Kring
Directed by: Greg Beeman
Previous episode: The Second Coming
Next episode: One of Us, One of Them
Heroes Interactive transcript


Story Development

Precognitive dreaming · Gael Cruz · Bianca Karina · Tokyo detective · Jim McCann · Paris, France · Mona Lisa · The German · Baron Samedi · Eric Doyle · Usutu · Odessa nurse · Freezing



In the Bennets' home, Sandra sweeps glass up in the kitchen and asks Claire if she wants to talk about her experience. Sandra wonders when they should go to a motel, but Claire tells her that Sylar won't come back, because he got what he came for. Sandra wonders if he raped her, but Claire tells her it wasn't that. As Claire kneels down to help sweep, Sandra notices that Claire's hand is pressed in some broken glass. She removes the glass from her hand and it heals. Claire tells Sandra that she didn't feel any pain, and tells Sandra that the pain is the one thing that made her feel human.

Angela dreams a terrible future.

Angela walks down the hallway of Primatech Research and finds several individuals dead. She sees Hiro stabbed with a sword, Matt's throat slashed open, Noah on the ground, and Peter with a huge gash across his chest. She sees Knox holding up Claire against a wall, then later he drags away her headless body. Angela then sees Knox stand next to Adam, Maury and a woman who looks like Tracy. Suddenly, she is met from behind by Sylar, then Angela wakes up in a taxi. She enters Peter's apartment to find Future Peter making a string web with a map. She tells him that she had another dream, and that Peter should return to the future that he came from. Peter tells her that he's busy trying to save the world, but Angela says he will screw with time. She reminds him of the Butterfly Effect, in that if you step on a butterfly today, in three years a million people die. Peter hopes that it isn't anyone he knows, but Angela asks what if it is someone he cares for, such as Claire. She reminds him that he spoke with her, and in doing so, she wasn't where she was supposed to be. Because of Peter, Claire had a bad day, and that he should go see for himself.

Maya returns to Mohinder's lab and finds Mohinder hanging from a beam in the ceiling. He jumps down gracefully and reveals to Maya that he tried his experimental serum on himself. He further demonstrates his newfound abilities by climbing up the side of a wall and perching at the top. He claims to Maya that it's had no ill effects on him; however, his behavior is markedly more aggressive. He begins kissing Maya and she notes that he is different.

Matt Parkman continues his trek through the desert, trying to read anyone's thoughts, but winds up passing out.

Sylar strolls down the street in Costa Verde when a car pulls up with two Company agents. The video feed from there car shows the two getting out and using tasers on Sylar, but they prove to be ineffective. He then sends the two back into the car. Bob turns off the video feed from his office and tells Elle that Agents Cruz and Karina were some of the best agents in the Company, and that it is Elle's fault Sylar got away and just stole Claire's ability. She tries to apologize, but Bob insists that he won't put Elle in a position to let him or anyone else down.

At Yamagato, a crew of detectives are working as Ando tries to find Hiro. Hiro tells him that he hired the detectives to find out about the thief who stole the formula, and a detective gives him a name: Daphne Millbrook. He gives Hiro the address to her apartment in France, and Hiro decides to teleport there, but Ando asks if he can come. Hiro pauses, then decides to take Ando with him, and the two disappear.

Tracy Strauss suggests to Governor Malden that Nathan Petrelli would be a good choice for a senate position they're trying to fill. Malden's apprehensive due to Nathan's resignation of his congressional seat, but Tracy assures him that she can deflect attention. She reminds him that Nathan was shot, came back to life and thanks God for it, and Malden retorts that politics and religion aren't something you should mix. Tracy reminds him that she's not paid to sleep with him, but paid to advise him, and she strongly advises him to appoint Nathan as the junior Senator from New York. As she heads to her car, she is accosted by a reporter, who asks Tracy about a website. She claims it's fake, but he insists that it's true, and that he's going to run the article.

Hiro and Ando teleport to Daphne's apartment in Paris. Ando wonders if this is where a thief lives, and Hiro affirms this when he sees the Mona Lisa.

Claire stands in front of some train tracks as she tapes herself using a tripod. She wonders that without pain or death if she's human or has a soul. To try to find out, she stands in front of the moving train, but Future Peter, disguised as the present Peter, flies and moves her out of the way. Peter wonders what she's doing, and Claire tells him that she just wants to feel something. Peter asks what happened, and she tells him something awful, and the two embrace. They walk as Claire recounts her experience with Sylar, and Peter mentions that it wasn't supposed to happen. Claire asks him what Sylar meant when he said that she was special and different, and Peter tells her that it was his fault. Claire tells him that he can't always save her, and that he can teach her to defend herself so she's not always a victim. Peter tells her that he can't help her, and that he needs to leave, then teleports away.

Nathan prays next to a window when Tracy walks in. Nathan wonders what she's doing there, and calls her Niki. Tracy seems confused, and Nathan reminds her of the time he had in Las Vegas with Niki. Tracy reassures him that she is in fact Tracy Strauss, and works for Governor Malden. She offers him the senate position, and he tells her he'll think about it. As she leaves, Linderman tells Nathan that he should take her offer. Linderman reiterates that she is not Niki, but maybe there's a reason someone so familiar looking is offering him the change of a lifetime. Nathan asks Linderman leave so he can get his sleep.

Sylar uses Bob's ability to taunt Elle.

Elle comes into her father's office and tells Bob that despite Sylar having escaped, they don't need to search for him since he's likely to show up to try to steal the abilities of the people on Level 5. When her father doesn't reply, she walks up to him and finds that he's been killed and his brain removed. Elle proceeds to Level 5, where Flint taunts her from his cell, Knox looks on quietly, and Jesse Murphy yells at her, telling her he's Peter Petrelli. Elle releases Noah, and tells him that Sylar is there and she needs his help. As Elle leaves Noah's cell, Sylar knocks Elle away and Noah leaves the cell. He shoots Sylar several times in the torso. Sylar collapses but quickly expels the bullets and stands back up. Noah attempts to shoot him again, but Sylar knocks him away. Sylar turns to Elle and flips her. Peter, in Jesse's body, screams that he'll kill Sylar, and Sylar taunts Elle by turning a gun to gold. He begins to cut her head open. Elle screams and unleashes a powerful electrical burst that incapacitates Sylar, but also disables the power grid on Level 5. Elle wakes up slowly to see the German and Jesse, who tells her that he's Peter. Knox quickly tells Peter that they need to leave, and Elle sees Eric Doyle, Baron Samedi, Flint and the others escape. She also sees Noah drag Sylar's body into his cell before she passes out.

Hiro and Ando look around Daphne's apartment to find the half of the formula. Ando wonders why Hiro has been treating him like a criminal, and Hiro tells Ando that in the future, Future Ando killed him. Ando insists that it couldn't have been him, but Hiro shrugs it off. When they can't find the formula, Hiro tries to devise a scheme, wondering what Batman would do to catch Catwoman. He finds a medal for a race, and decides this would be the perfect bait.

Nathan sits in his hospital room when Future Peter, still disguised as present Peter, appears and asks how he is feeling. Nathan tells Peter about Malden's offer and wonders if he should take it since the last time he was in that authority he nearly let Manhattan get wiped out. Peter tells him that he's different, and so is everything else. He then tells Nathan that he came to show him something, then drops the illusion and tells him he's from the future where evolved humans were hunted because Nathan told the world. He tells Nathan that he shot him to stop that, but because he did, he changed the future, and wants Nathan's forgiveness. Nathan asks if he should take the offer, but Peter tells him that he's from a different future. Peter tells Nathan that he should make the right choice, then teleports away.

Tracy pulls up in her car when she receives a phone call from Nathan, who accepts the offer, so long as Tracy is his assistant. When she is accosted again by the reporter who has a copy of the Corinthian video showing Jessica in the bedroom with Nathan. Tracy again denies that the tape is of herself, but the reporter tells her that he's going to release the story. Tracy grapples with him when suddenly the reporter begins to freeze and turn to ice. He falls and shatters into small pieces, to which Tracy is shocked, then leaves with the video.

Sylar is subdued in a cell while Elle looks on. Angela walks in, to Elle's surprise, and announces that she is in charge of the Company after Bob's death. Elle tells her that they caught Sylar, but Angela reminds her that her ability shut down the grid, which let out twelve inmates who are just as bad, if not worse than, Sylar. She also reminds Elle that Noah escaped, and Elle tries to tell her that she'll get to finding him. Angela tells her not to worry, since one of her first changes to the Company is to fire Elle, who was kept around at Bob's insistence. Elle asks what she'll do since she worked in the Company her whole life, but Angela tells her to get a new life.

Hiro and Ando wait around until Daphne zips in and wonders what they are doing at her apartment. Hiro offers a trade: her medal for the formula she stole. Daphne tries several times to chase Hiro and take the medal from him, but he's able to teleport too quickly for her. She eventually relents and agrees to return it. Hiro gives Ando the medal to give to Daphne, but Daphne tricks them and tries to steal the formula from Ando. Hiro stops time, but not before Daphne puts a knife to Ando's neck. After cutting Ando slightly, Hiro backs down and lets her get away with the formula and her medal. After unfreezing time, Daphne escapes and Ando complains that Hiro's plan failed. However, Hiro reveals that he hid a tracking device on the medal. Hiro tracks her to Germany and teleports them both away.

Mohinder discovers side effects.

Mohinder wakes up in bed next to Maya, then heads to the bathroom. He seems sensitive to the light, then notices large portions of skin coming off of his back. He picks one out to find the large piece very hard, then wonders what's happening to him.

Matt, in the desert, hears a voice. He looks up to see a turtle and hears the voice instruct him to get water from a nearby plant. He drinks the water and thanks the turtle, but a man steps over Matt and asks why he is talking to a turtle. The man notes that Matt is from America, and asks if he knows Britney Spears. Matt tells him America is a large place, but the man retorts that Africa is as well. The two begin to walk, and Matt asks for a cell phone, but the man notes there is no cell service, and that he should have gone with Sprint. Eventually, the man calls Parkman by his name, and Matt asks how he knows his name. The man tells Matt that Matt should not be in Africa, and that the future he has foreseen has changed, then tells Matt he should follow him.

Linderman and Nathan play chess, and Linderman tells Nathan that taking the offer was a good choice. Nathan insists that things are going to be different, and Linderman can't manipulate him anymore. A nurse comes in and tells him that he needs to get some sleep, but Nathan wonders if she noticed he is in a heated game. The nurse asks if Nathan is playing by himself, and Linderman tells Nathan that no one can see him but Nathan.

Claire finds Noah and the two embrace. She notices a gun at the desk, and asks if he will be leaving soon. Noah tells her that he'll have to be leaving soon. Noah begins to explain to her that he has to lock up several escaped men, then shows her the assignment tracker for Knox, Flint, the German and Jesse Murphy. He explains that he's one of the few people in the world who knows how to stop them, and that he must help put them back away. Claire offers her help, but he insists that she stay away. When Claire asks who will protect the family, Sandra brings Meredith in, and Noah tells Claire that Meredith will help keep the family safe.

Sylar is visited by Angela.

Future Peter teleports to Level 5 and finds Sylar strapped in a cell. He wanders around and finds the cells all empty, and Angela asks him what he is doing. Peter wonders where the inmates went, and she tells them they escaped. Peter tells her that never happened, but Angela reminds him of the Butterfly Effect and that he messed up time. Peter tells her that he put Peter inside the body of a cell mate, and Angela is shocked that he put him in Jesse Murphy's body. She tells him he better find Peter and bring him back, and yells at him to go back to where he came from.

At a gas station, Peter, still trapped in Jesse's body, warns Nathan about Future Peter over a payphone. Knox ends the call and tells him that it's time to go. They meet the others at a stolen truck and Peter watches in horror as Flint and the German terrorize the owners of the truck. Peter asks the German what he's doing and he responds that he's "just having a little fun". Flint passes by and winks at Peter. When the police are arriving and everyone except Peter is on the truck, Knox tells him that it's now or never. Peter stares at his new body's reflection and gets in the truck.

Angela then enters Sylar's cell and removes the arm restraints. Angela tells Sylar that her sons have failed her, but she can provide Sylar with the love and guidance a mother should provide her son, to which Sylar gets a bit upset stating that she is not his mother. Angela, however, insists that she is his mother, much to Sylar's shock.

Memorable Quotes

"You're not Niki Sanders?"

"Not in the slightest."

- Nathan Petrelli and Tracy Strauss

"You don't screw with time. It's called the butterfly effect. You step on a butterfly today, three years from now a million people are wiped out."

"Lets just hope that it's nobody that I know."

- Angela Petrelli and Future Peter

"What were you doing?!"

"What did it look like, huh? Trying to get hit by a train!"

- Future Peter and Claire

"Hello, Noah. Did you miss me?"

- Sylar to Noah

"My name is Sylar... and you are not my mother."

"But I am, dear. I am."

- Sylar and Angela Petrelli

Character Appearances


  • Former regulars Kristen Bell and David Anders are credited as Special Guest Stars, as per the tradition for such actors.
  • Angela's precognitive dream was first seen on the Season Two DVD, and originally intended for a Season Two episode. The debunked version, as seen on the DVD, is somewhat longer, and also includes Monica and Micah and was incomplete because Claire's body was blurred out to make it look as if she was decapitated.
  • In the original airing of this episode, the opening credits were incomplete because they were already shown in the previous episode. According to a blog post by Greg Beeman, more credits will be added on the Season Three DVD. The standard credits and a recap were added to the episode on iTunes.
  • The name of the episode references A Sound of Thunder by Ray Bradbury. In the book, a time traveler kills a butterfly in the past; when he returns to the present, his world has become a nightmare of oppression.
  • The title of this episode was originally Dreamtime.
  • Stephen Tobolowsky, who plays Bob, suffered a broken neck during the hiatus between Seasons Two and Three, causing him to film his scenes by only looking straight, with his head against a chair.
  • Robert Malden and Tracy Strauss discuss who the late Gerald Dickinson's successor should be. In reality, the Junior Senator from New York was Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was alive and well at the time of the episode.

See Also

previous: The Second Coming The Butterfly Effect next: One of Us, One of Them
Season Three
Volume Three: Villains

The Second ComingThe Butterfly EffectOne of Us, One of ThemI Am Become DeathAngels and MonstersDying of the LightEris Quod SumVillainsIt's ComingThe Eclipse, Part 1The Eclipse, Part 2Our FatherDual

Volume Four: Fugitives

A Clear and Present DangerTrust and BloodBuilding 26Cold WarsExposedShades of GrayCold SnapInto AsylumTurn and Face the Strange1961I Am SylarAn Invisible Thread

See Also: Volume One EpisodesVolume Two EpisodesVolume Three EpisodesVolume Four EpisodesVolume Five EpisodesHeroes Reborn EpisodesAll Episodes