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"Five Years Gone" is the twentieth episode of the first season of the NBC science fiction drama series Heroes. It is the last episode before the three-part finale of season one. This episode was originally known as "String Theory". The title was changed to "Five Years Gone", and "String Theory" was used as the title of Chapter 30 in the graphic novels.[1]

"Five Years Gone"
Heroes episode
Heroes s01e20.jpg
Future Hiro explains the future.
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 20
Directed byPaul Edwards
Written byJoe Pokaski
Production code120
Original air dateApril 30, 2007
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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This episode focuses on Hiro Nakamura and Ando Masahashi travelling five years into the future, showing where the world will be if the explosion isn't stopped. Future Hiro, last encountered in the episode "Hiros", is featured more prominently, this time as the world's most wanted terrorist and a master of Battōjutsu. Ando was killed in the blast, which according to Peter, is the reason why Hiro lost his humorous side and became obsessed with changing the past.

Nathan Petrelli is now the President of the United States, with Mohinder Suresh as his Chief Medical Advisor and Matt Parkman as the head of Homeland Security with the Haitian at his side. Niki Sanders has become a stripper again, adopting "Jessica", the name of both her former alter ego and sister, as her stage name. Her son Micah was killed in the explosion that destroyed much of New York. Niki has a romantic relationship with Peter Petrelli, who has a distinct scar across his face which starts on the right side of his forehead down to his left cheek.[2]

Sylar is blamed for detonating a nuclear explosion that destroys half of New York and kills millions of people, and is assumed to be deceased. In the original timeline, Hiro had stabbed him before the explosion, but Sylar had already succeeded in killing Claire Bennet at her high school Homecoming, absorbed her regenerative powers, and survived. However, this timeline was altered and did not actually occur, as Hiro had visited Peter Petrelli with the message "save the cheerleader, save the world" and, consequently, Sylar was denied the ability of spontaneous regeneration. Nonetheless, the explosion did occur and, in reality, Peter was the cause of the blast in the alternate timeline. Nathan lied to the public to protect his brother, and blamed Sylar for the explosion.

Sylar was able to kill Nathan and impersonate him after killing Candice and acquiring her illusory ability. For him, the hunting and, eventually, extermination of other superpowered people is all part of his "eliminating the competition".

With Sylar disguising himself as Nathan, acting as President (reminiscent of Isaac Mendez' painting), and exploiting public panic after the destruction of New York, persons with special abilities are now viewed with fear and suspicion and are subject to heavy persecution, with the Department of Homeland Security (including Parkman and the Haitian) working to hunt down "unregistered" individuals in accordance with the "Linderman Act". Mr. Bennet and Hana Gitelman work to hide heroes and their families, giving them new identities and moving them to keep them safe. Mr. Bennet has made a secret bargain with Parkman, however, to turn over individuals with "dangerous" powers, while Parkman allows Mr. Bennet to continue helping others with "harmless" powers, including Parkman's own son.

One of the individuals Mr. Bennet is hiding is his adopted daughter Claire. She becomes a brunette and goes undercover as a waitress in Midland, Texas at the Burnt Toast Diner, the same place Charlie Andrews worked at, using her adoptive mother's name, Sandra. She is engaged to Andy (Kellan Lutz), a fellow worker at the diner. Parkman betrays Mr. Bennet after finding out that there are indeed two Hiros and one of them escaped him. Not wanting to face the President empty-handed, he extracts Claire's location from Mr. Bennet's mind, and then shoots his former ally (Hana Gitelman was also killed prior to the confrontation between Parkman and Bennet). Parkman proceeds to capture Claire, who was about to go on the run, and sends her to the Petrelli mansion in Manhattan. There Sylar, under the guise of Nathan, attacks her and once again obtains her power in this alternate timeline.

Meanwhile, present-day Hiro has been captured by Parkman. When Sylar/Nathan orders Mohinder to kill Hiro to begin his plan of genocide of the super-powered, Mohinder instead kills the Haitian and allows present-day Hiro to escape. Mohinder then shows present-day Hiro a new copy of Isaac Mendez's 9th Wonders! comic book (the same copy Isaac drew before being murdered in the previous episode), where Mohinder is shown injecting the Haitian.

When Peter, Future Hiro and Ando stage an attack to free present-day Hiro, Parkman calls the President to inform him that they're being repelled by Peter. Upon hearing this, Sylar, still disguised as Nathan, flies away in front of a crowd to whom he just gave a speech about the last five years, effectively revealing to them that he too is a super-powered individual. Sylar reveals himself to Peter and they prepare to battle. Peter generates fire with his hands, while Sylar surrounds his with ice.[3][4]

When Mohinder demands that present-day Hiro go back to the past, the less-experienced Hiro states that he doesn't know how to get back to the correct date. Before Future Hiro can take his earlier self back in time himself, he is shot in the back by Parkman. As Future Hiro dies, he gives Ando a page of Isaac's comic book. As present-day Hiro expresses his shock at seeing his own death, Mohinder pushes Future Hiro's katana into his hands and tells him to go quickly. Hiro and Ando travel back to the past and look happily upon the undestroyed city before them. Hiro looks at the comic strip of him killing Sylar and says, "Now, the hard part".


In the 18-49 demographic, "Five Years Gone" earned a 5.4/13 ratings share. This episode was watched by 11.92 million viewers.


Masi Oka, Adrian Pasdar, and Sendhil Ramamurthy submitted this episode for consideration of their respective work for the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for the 59th Primetime Emmy Awards, with Oka receiving a nomination. This episode was chosen for submission for Outstanding Writing in a Drama Series.[5] "Five Years Gone" received a nomination for Outstanding Special Visual Effects, but did not win.


  1. ^ TV Recap: Heroes - Chapter 20 - Five Years Gone
  2. ^ "String Theory". Retrieved 2007-03-26.
  3. ^ "Official NBC episode commentary". Archived from the original on 2007-05-18. Retrieved 2007-05-08.
  4. ^ "Interview with Joe Pokaski and Aron Coleite". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  5. ^ "2007 Emmys CONFIRMED Episode Submissions". The Envelope Forum, Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 26, 2007. Retrieved 2007-06-18.

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