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"How to Stop an Exploding Man" is the twenty-third and final episode of the first season of the NBC science fiction drama series Heroes. The episode was written by Tim Kring and was directed by Allan Arkush. It is the conclusion of the three-part finale for season one.[1]

"How to Stop an Exploding Man"
Heroes episode
Heroes finale.png
Peter and Sylar face-off at Kirby Plaza.
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 23
Directed byAllan Arkush
Written byTim Kring
Production code123
Original air dateMay 21, 2007
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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The episode started filming March 26. It aired May 21, 2007.[2] The title of this episode is in reference to a question that Hiro Nakamura asked in "Fallout".



Opening NarrationEdit

The opening narration is an expanded version of the one used in the very first episode of the series, Genesis, narrated by Mohinder Suresh.

"Where does it come from, this quest, this need to solve life's mysteries when the simplest of questions can never be answered? Why are we here? What is the soul? Why do we dream? Perhaps we'd be better off not looking at all. Not delving, not yearning. But that's not human nature. Not the human heart. That is not why we are here. Yet still we struggle to make a difference, to change the world, to dream of hope, never knowing for certain who we will meet along the way. Who among the world of strangers will hold our hand, touch our hearts, and share the pain of trying."

Episode SummaryEdit

Mr. Bennet points a gun at Molly, threatening her in order to save Claire, and Suresh in turn points a gun at Bennet, to save Molly. The stalemate diffuses when Molly and Matt Parkman spot each other.

Sylar is seen painting the predicted fight between himself and Peter, whom he immediately recognizes.

Hiro tells his father he must save Ando and stop Sylar. He teleports to Isaac Mendez's loft, where Ando has been pinned against the wall by Sylar. Hiro arrives to face Sylar, and Sylar challenges Hiro to move faster than he can. To Sylar's surprise, Hiro teleports across the room to Ando and they both disappear before Sylar can do anything more.

Having just killed Linderman, an injured D.L. and Niki continue the search for Micah. Once the correct room is found, Niki leaves D.L. behind to get Micah. When Niki enters the door, it appears that Jessica is in the room with a dead Micah. When she engages Niki in a fight, Niki sees the real Jessica in a broken mirror, who tells her that the other person is not her and that she still needs to save Micah. With a super-powered uppercut from the floor up, Niki throws the impostor across the room, revealing it to be Candice. She hears Micah screaming from a closet and rescues him. She then looks in a mirror and sees only herself.

Nathan seems to have finally accepted his responsibility as congressman and future president. Nathan's mother informs him that Mr. Linderman is indeed dead, and yet he is unsure if that is a good thing. He seems convinced that his brother Peter will indeed explode, and also that he has no plans to try to prevent the impending disaster. Molly appears to have relapsed into her health problem from "Landslide" and Suresh is treating her. As this happens, Mr. Bennet contacts Peter, who informs him of Sylar's new power gained from killing Ted Sprague. Bennet confides in him to stop Sylar before disaster strikes, and begs him to look after Claire. Peter visits Nathan and tries to recruit him in taking on Sylar, and asserts that Sylar must be the one who explodes; however he reflexively hears Nathan's thoughts and realizes that his brother has no intention of stopping the explosion. Peter realizes that Claire was right about not trusting Nathan, but turns to see that she has fled. He tries to locate her in an empty street, but his new "nuclear" powers start to take over as his emotions rise and he collapses.

Matt Parkman learns of Molly's amazing ability, but she is distraught to admit that she cannot find "everyone": there is one person she claims to be unable to find, someone "far worse" than Sylar, and that when she looks for him, he can see her. When Suresh, Parkman, and Bennet ask Molly to find Sylar, she locates him at Isaac Mendez's loft and Parkman decides to go confront him only to find that Sylar has already left for Kirby Plaza. Meanwhile, Bennet has left to find Peter and Molly tells Suresh that Sylar is now "here" and they try to make their way out of the building. When they arrive at the elevator, they see an injured D.L., whom Mohinder treats for his wounds, but they find that the elevator will not work. As armed guards approach, Niki and Micah arrive and Micah makes the elevator work. The entire group heads down for the final confrontation.

Hiro has teleported himself and Ando back to their office in Japan, escaping Sylar's clutches once more. Ando is determined to help in Sylar's defeat, but Hiro is adamant that his friend remain behind. Hiro assures his friend that he has already proven himself a hero: by facing Sylar without any powers of his own, Ando demonstrated true bravery and inspired Hiro to complete the quest. Hiro states that he must finish it alone, and gives Ando his Kensei sword, telling Ando, "so you know I'll be back."

Peter finds himself within a flashback during his time caring for Charles Deveaux and sees his mother speaking to Charles about the bomb. He also views the first meeting of himself and Simone Deveaux. Peter believes no one can see him until his mother leaves and Charles confronts him. Charles reveals that he knew about the plan to use Nathan as a catalyst to heal the world, but he felt that Peter is the only one with enough love in his heart to truly accomplish it. He then calls the other Peter, who comes to escort him back into the house. When Mr. Bennet awakens Peter, he thanks Peter for saving Claire's life, and tells Peter "Call me Noah" (revealing his given name for the first time in the series).

In the climax, Peter, Bennet, and Parkman confront Sylar in the plaza. Bennet is immediately thrown against a wall, rendering him incapable of stopping Peter if he explodes. Parkman shoots at Sylar, who stops the bullets and turns them back at Parkman, who is hit in the chest. Sylar then telekinetically uproots a parking meter, sends it flying into his free hand, and brutally hits Peter in the stomach with it. Niki steps in and hits Sylar's torso with the meter, saving Peter, who then tells Niki that he can handle the rest and she should return to her family. He grabs Sylar and punches him repeatedly, with Sylar being unable to retaliate. After the final punch, Sylar begins to laugh mockingly at the now glowing Peter. Peter, now losing control over his concentration of controlling Ted's power, realizes that he will be the bomb after all. Sylar stands and taunts Peter, calling him a villain and indicating himself as the hero. As Sylar is about to move forward, Hiro arrives and distracts him. Before Sylar can attack, Hiro impales him with a nodachi and seems to fatally wound him. However, before Hiro can do anything about Peter's request that he kill him, Sylar performs one last act and telekinetically throws Hiro into the air, however, Hiro teleports before he strikes a nearby building.

Sylar collapses, seeing a series of visions of everyone who has died due to his own actions as well as himself before his eyes glaze over. As Peter's hands continue to glow, Claire arrives and takes Bennet's gun. She approaches Peter, gun raised as Peter tells her that she is the only one who can, but, in tears, she begs him to think of another way. "There is no other way." Peter says, resolutely. However, before she is able to gather herself to continue, Nathan drops from the sky unexpectedly and says that Claire was right; the future wasn't written in stone after all.

The view of the explosion from the ground at Kirby Plaza.

Peter realizes what Nathan intends to do and tries to persuade his brother not to give his life. Nathan assures Peter stating he had "saved the cheerleader, so we could save the world."

Peter reluctantly agrees and Nathan grabs him and flies off far above New York where a large explosion is seen in the night sky moments later.

Matt Parkman is shown being loaded into an ambulance, barely alive. At the end of this scene, the camera shows a trail of blood leading from where Sylar's body was to an open manhole with a cockroach crawling in, leading his "death" open to question, and the words "End of Volume One" appear on the screen.

Concluding NarrationEdit

Following the conclusion of the battle at Kirby Plaza, and the nuclear explosion above New York, Mohinder Suresh concludes the episode with a continuation of his earlier narration, followed by a preview of Volume Two: Generations

"We dream of hope, we dream of change, of fire, of love, of death. And then it happens; the dream becomes real, and the answer to this quest, this need to solve life's mysteries finally shows itself like the glowing light of the new dawn. So much struggle for meaning, for purpose. And in the end, we find it only in each other. Our shared experience of the fantastic and the mundane. The simple human need to find a kindred. To connect. And to know in our hearts... that we are not alone."

Volume Two: GenerationsEdit

After a fadeout, we are shown the opening of "Volume Two: Generations." Hiro lands in a grassy meadow. As he looks around him, he spots a group of samurai archers raising their bows towards him — he turns to run, but realizes that it is a man wearing the emblem of the hero Takezo Kensei, poised behind him, that they are about to attack. The subtitles then note that Hiro is outside Kyoto, Japan, in the year 1671. Hiro is then caught in a moment of confusion and realization of his dire situation. Before anyone can act, the entire landscape is darkened by a total solar eclipse which creates the logo associated with the title of the series, "HEROES."


In the 18-49 demographic, "How to Stop an Exploding Man" earned a 6.1/15 ratings share. This episode was watched by 13.48 million viewers.[citation needed]


Milo Ventimiglia submitted this episode for consideration in the category of "Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series" on Masi Oka's behalf for the 2007 Emmy Awards.[3]


  • This is Tawny Cypress's final appearance on the show and last regular appearance of Leonard Roberts. Roberts returned as a guest star in season 2 for 2 episodes.
  • Noah Bennet's name is first revealed in this episode.
  • Maury Parkman is first mentioned in this episode, by Molly Walker, who does not name him but states that he is the one person she never tries to locate by thinking of him, since then he would be able to find her.
  • This is the first time where all the heroes are seen together.


  1. ^ Lee, Patrick (2007-03-19). "Heroes Finale Details Leaked". SciFi Wire. Archived from the original on 2007-03-22. Retrieved 2007-03-19.
  2. ^ Heroes: How to Stop an Exploding Man -
  3. ^ "2007 Emmys CONFIRMED Episode Submissions". The Envelope Forum, Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2007-08-22. Retrieved 2007-06-18.

External linksEdit