City On Fire – Episode 3 “The Family Business” Recap & Review

The Family Business

Episode 3 of City on Fire starts with narration confirming that Sam would always be at the club and find her way to the front to jam out. She never missed a show and every night would be better than the last, armed with her camera and snapping pictures of the bands.

This happens to be the bouncer being interviewed here, who informs Detective Parsa about Sam and her love for music. He reveals that she was with a “young dude” the night in question and makes an assumption that he’s the one with the urinated trousers, which the bouncer claims “sounds like him”.

As for Charlie, he wakes up with a numb jaw following that knockout blow last episode. Charlie heads up from the basement and reveals that he wasn’t snooping but actually showed up to find them, looking for help. He unveils the news about Sam being shot, along with Mercer standing over her.

He graphically describes how Sam had a bullet in her head and blood everywhere. He had no idea where else to go and he pleads with the band for help. He also reveals to them all that his father died in the North Tower, which is enough for Nicky to step forward, touch his arm sympathetically, and decide he’s going to help Charlie.

Under the dancing flames of a fire, Charlie feels guilty for not being there for Sam and helping. Nicky uses religion to try and help Charlie repent. And of course, it’s all a ploy to use Charlie to do their dirty work, including moving all the band’s gear from one room to another, switching out the rehearsal space for something far more dangerous.

Elsewhere, Regan wakes up in a grumpy mood. After all the stuff involving her father, it’s even worse when she learns someone has leaked the pretrial arraignment to the press. Amory is nonchalant to the endeavour, and goes on to claim that her father needs to focus on his health and he won’t be going into work at the office anymore. Regan’s father concedes to the terms, believing the board need to see that Regan can deal with the company on her own.

On her way out, Mercer urges Regan to show up that night so they can give William an intervention. William and Mercer have been deteriorating for a while, and the final straw is seeing the extent of William’s art, which results in a sloppy Stop Sign turned into a Spot sign.

Regan agrees to go but unfortunately, she’s also called to an emergency board meeting that night at the office. It’s time-sensitive but Regan is forced to choose between her dad and brother. “Goodbye Amory,” She says.

With the physical evidence in this case apparently “shit” (despite bodily fluids on the ground, fingerprints, potential ballistic reports etc.) Farsi tells Sam’s father that he’s working on this and trying to get to the bottom of what’s happened.

That night, Charlie is invited up to the rooftop where everyone toasts for Sam, claiming they’re doing this for her. Charlie has been kept in the dark though and wants to know exactly what “this” is. They’re all pretty cagey until Charlie claims he’s all in on whatever they’re doing.

The intervention goes ahead that night, as William shows up back home high on drugs again. The intervention doesn’t go to plan, as William lashes out at Regan and their father, calling them both cowards. William is having none of it though and decides to bail on everyone, picking up his drugs and leaving.

Flashbacks see more of Keith and Sam’s past, including how they hooked up in Sam’s dorm room. This gives context to Keith’s independent enquiries, trying to find out what’s happened to Sam… even though he’s literally been told a girl is in the hospital with a coma earlier in the episode. This is clearly all a ploy to get Keith on the radar of the police, but it’s a rather contrived way of doing it.

Regan shows up late to the board meeting, where more bad news awaits. Amory has been made the interim chair until they can find a suitable replacement for Regan’s father. That is not going to be Regan, and she’s not happy about how slimy Amory is acting, as if all of this has been planned as a major coup.

Meanwhile, Charlie heads out with the gang and is shocked to find a bomb… despite knowing these guys have been blowing stuff up at the end of episode 2. Anyway, the rebel group blow up a building, citing that the city will be on fire until it belongs to all the artists and musicians.

Keith shows up in the park and meets with Amory in the middle of the night. He wants to know who the girl is that was in a coma but Amory knows exactly what’s going on and insinuates that he’s responsible for Sam’s death.

The Episode Review

The writing in City on Fire is really poor and this episode exemplifies a lot of that right off the bat. Why is Charlie shocked that the band, who were testing explosives in a bath last episode, are now making explosives? Why does Farsi claim they have “no physical evidence” despite trousers nearby, urine on the ground (which still hasn’t been brought up at all) plus potential CCTV cameras at the edge of each park and all sorts of other parts of a crime scene investigation that are missing.

And then we come to the subplots, which are mundane and don’t really do much to push the narrative forward. We have this whole financial case with the big company and the drama involving William too, which are both dragged out far too much and could easily have been cut down in time. This episode really did not need 55 minutes for what’s otherwise a drip-fed bit of information at the end.

Still, the mystery of what happened to Sam is just about enough to keep coming back for more but City on Fire needs to really step it up a gear if it has any hope of keeping viewers glued to this mystery until the very end.

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You can read our full season review for City on Fire here!

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