Decker: Unclassified, Episode 3 Recap: “The Butterfly Effect”

Hey, everyone. RobBarracuda here, and it’s time to recap this week’s episode of Decker: Unclassified, “The Butterfly Effect”. Time travel shenanigans abound as Decker makes his way to 1945 and experiences a few… complications with his mission.


The episode opens in the year 2000 with agents Decker and Lenoy somewhere in Northern Africa hunting giraffes while on vacation. As the two finish up their business, Decker receives a call from President Davidson urgently requesting his presence at the U.S. Department of Science. Once there, he’s filled in on some important information by the department general: their scientists have discovered a viable method of time travel and want to use it to prevent the bombing of Pearl Harbor and World War II. Decker agrees to the mission, stepping through the time machine and into Japan during 1945. Decker decides to head to a nearby restaurant to grab a drink, catching sight of another time traveler suddenly appearing outside. Before he gets a chance to react, he’s greeted by one of the bar’s servers, a lovely Japanese woman named Ayaka. She’s curious about his presence, so he fills her in on his mission objectives, even bringing up that his grandfather died in the battle of Pearl Harbor and that him surviving would prevent Decker from becoming as heroic of an agent as he is. Ayaka warns him about the butterfly effect and tampering with the past, forcing Decker to reconsider his actions. Enamored by Ayaka’s beauty, he decides to abandon the mission and spend some time Ayaka before heading back to the present.

The Butterfly Effect - Missile MapWhen Decker arrives at the lab, he’s hit with some terrible news: as it turns out, the Russians sent their own time traveler to prevent Pearl Harbor, creating a chain of events that led to them currently launching a nuclear missile attack on New York. Kington gets to work on breaking the code, experiencing a bit of difficulty but coming to a helpful realization right away. He manages to deduce the code with the help of his copy of Robin Williams’ Moscow On The Hudson, successfully preventing nuclear annihilation. Decker takes a trip back to Japan and to the restaurant where he and Ayaka first met. When he attempts to reconnect with the now-elderly Ayaka, she reveals she got married to an American soldier she met right after he went back to the present day. In a surprise twist, the man she met… was Agent Decker’s grandfather, who gives him a speech about not needing his death to be the inspiration for Decker’s heroism. The episode ends back in 2076, with yet another allusion to Davidson Jr’s wife’s evil mystery plan.


My Thoughts

There’s a bit of interesting character work in this episode with how it tries to make Decker seem like more of an actual human being than a caricature, even though there’s still that deliberate artifice at play. Questioning his own actions, falling in love with Ayaka, the revelation of his relationship to his grandfather, and of course they’re all touched on in the most absurd way possible. With the way Decker’s grandfather talks to him in the present day, it creates a weird time paradox anyway, regardless of all the warnings given against messing with the past. This episode also sees an uptick in nods to various works of cinema, which is amusing because it gives Kington more of a presence than he normally seems to have in this series. The framing narrative is still padding out the nature of the secret evil plan, but hopefully something of substance will come up regarding that in the next couple of weeks.


Decker: Unclassified airs every Friday at Midnight, only on [adult swim].


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