City On Fire – Episode 5 “Brass Tactics” Recap & Review

Brass Tactics

Episode 5 of City on Fire starts with us in the past again, as Charlie and Sam walk together through the streets of New York; the flickers of attraction slightly sparking between them. They almost hold hands before Charlie is snuck into Sam’s “happy place”. This happens to be the dark room within the school’s photography suite. Together, they work to develop Sam’s photos together.

Whilst there, Charlie tries to broach the subject of Nicky, whom Sam apparently has “a lot to learn from” which explains why she spends so much time with him.

In the present, Detective Parsa questions Keith in the station over his suspicious activity with Sam. Keith points out Regan mentioned Sam being shot and he wanted to check on her. He also lies to the police too, claiming he was home alone that night when Sam was shot and his doorman can corroborate the story, apparently.

The thing is, Keith has motive to kill and he’s pulled up over this by McFadden, who begins grilling him over his affair. That is, until the chief arrives and breaks up this interview, with Keith allowed to go. The rule has come from above, which is of course Amory’s doing.

Outside the station that night, Keith thanks Amory before they mention the gun which has gone missing. Keith also brings up Sol and the others that beat him, deciding to leave and not strike a deal after all.

Charlie wanders back into the hideout again, where he claims to the others that he was just out for a walk and clearing his head. In reality, he was getting the camera roll developed. Sewer Girl is not so easily fooled by Charlie’s story. She knows his head isn’t clear and he’s having second thoughts.

Charlie confides in her and he reveals that he didn’t really have anywhere else to go but she’s simply playing him for intel, immediately telling the others that Charlie is being shady. Nicky finds the receipt for the camera developing center while Charlie is having a shower, giving him incentive to head out.

William continues to do his artwork, as he’s right in the middle of doing a huge mural depicting Sam and who shot her. At the same time, Keith and Regan sit with Will, who admits he took the gun for himself and also sent the message to Regan too. Apparently he was the one who hit the bird in the park and then threw the gun under their old house in Brooklyn.

In broad daylight, Keith finds the gun and throws it in the river to get rid of it, with Regan next to him. She’s not exactly happy about all this, calling him insane for even thinking this could be any sort of victory for them.

William heads in to the Hamilton-Sweeney building wearing a suit, where he greets Amory. There’s no love lost between them, but it certainly turns head when he shows up.

In Amory’s office, William admits he doesn’t care about the company but he does want to try and find out what happened to Sam. He apparently knows Sam’s world and believes it’s enough to take Amory and his empire down. He promises it’ll be Amory’s mugshot in the papers and warns him before they part ways.

Out front, Nicky and the rest of the gang start a big protest to rile up the crowd. Nicky has them all repeat the phrase “knowledge is power”, which is Nicky’s revenge for Amory firing them. However, Nicky receives a call from Amory in the midst of this, confirming that William is onto them and may well prove their connection together, prompting Nicky to give chase and try to track down William.

On the subway train after a footchase, McFadden catches up with William and he confides in her, especially as Nicky also happens to be onboard too. The time she reveals her badge is enough for William and Nick to slip away from the cop and bolt at the next station to the dock.

This eventually ends with William and Nicky together on the boat, with the latter holding a gun up to him and deciding they need to go for a walk together.

As for Charlie, he heads back to the photo center but despite getting the photographs back from the cashier, he realizes that 3 are actually missing. It’s clear that Nicky’s been there already and the worker actually confirms as much, nonchalantly revealing he was slipped a couple hundred bucks to let him see the pictures.

While this is going on, William’s mural is burned and the whole gallery goes up in smoke. Mercer happens to be watching outside and is shocked to see that happen. Speaking of fires, as Charlie sneaks into the photography area at school, he manages get the roll developed and sees pictures of Nicky outside a burning building. A building where someone died inside of, which we see via flashbacks. One of those pictures also includes Sam and Nicky together.

As the episode closes out, Sol sneaks up to William on board the boat and chokes him out, before dumping him overboard.

The Episode Review

City on Fire continues to drag its heels, drip-feeding out a little bit of the narrative across the 8 episode series, but doing so in a way that adds so many redundant scenes that could have been cut completely. Everything involving Regan and Keith could have been dropped to one scene and we wouldn’t have lost anything, while the overarching narrative just isn’t interesting enough to want to see how this mystery closes out.

It’s a real shame too because there’s definitely potential here but City on Fire squanders all of that in favour of a story that’s far too slow, lackadaisical and disappointing. Hopefully the episodes can improve as we go on but that seems like a long shot at this point.

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

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