City on Fire Episode 5: Recap & Ending Explained – What does Charlie find in Sam’s film roll?

City on Fire Episode 5 recap and ending explained

City on Fire Episode 5: In the previous episode, ‘City on Fire’ showed some major developments in its characters. Nicky Chaos was getting paid by Amory Gould to create unrest in the city. Since their deal did not go through, Nicky decided to rebel against the man. On the other hand, Charlie started questioning the validity of Ex Nihilo’s work after finding a camera roll that was kept hidden by Sam. William abandons his work and starts looking for the culprit behind the shooting. Meanwhile, the detectives find out some possibly incriminating details about Keith.

The fifth episode shows Charlie trying to find what was on the film that Sam had kept hidden. William keeps looking into his band’s connection to Sam’s shooting. Regan and Keith confront Will about the missing gun.

*Spoilers Ahead*

City on Fire Episode 5 Recap:

Episode 5: Brass Tactics

How does Charlie learn to process a film?

We see an incident from Charlie’s (Wyatt Oleff) and Sam’s (Chase Sui Wonders) past. She brings him to her university to show her happy place. It is a darkroom where she processes her film. She teaches him the procedure while he asks about her relationship with Nicky (Max Milner). He seems slightly jealous of the man she admires. Anyhow, he intently learns it for her.

In the present, he goes to a shop to get Sam’s film processed – the one that he found hidden in the Ex Nihilo’s crib. He asks the man to keep the stuff on that film confidential. The manager agrees. Charlie then returns to the band’s base. Sol (Alexander Pineiro) does what he always does – roasts the kid because he thinks the kid is a potential threat to their operation.

Sewer Girl (Alexandra Doke) thinks otherwise and asks Charlie why he returned. He says the bandmates are now his family. He thinks his answer would make her trust him. On the contrary, she becomes certain by their chat that he suspects something about their plans. He alerts Sol and the other band member about it. They approach Nicky (Max Milner) together to inform.

After that, Nicky goes through Charlie’s stuff and finds a receipt for a photo studio in his shoe. He steals the receipt. Afterward, Charlie starts looking for it. Nicky suddenly shows up in the room and scares him. He asks Charlie to join in their next adventure by putting on a mask.

At the police station, Detective Ali (Omid Abtahi) questions Keith (Ashley Zukerman) about the night of Sam’s shooting. Ali asks how he learned that the girl was Sam. He shares the research he did to reach that conclusion. Speaking about his alibi from that night, Keith says he was at his apartment. While the detectives try to press him for more information, their senior officer lets Keith go because of a superior’s orders.

Outside, Keith meets Amory (John Cameron Mitchell), who got him out of the insistent questioning. Keith reveals that the gun in his house – the one that Amory gave him, is missing. Amory starts drawing conclusions, thinking Regan (Jemima Kirke) did it because she had a motive (the affair). Keith gets angry and gets down from the car.

The detectives meet at a bar and discuss Hamilton-Sweeney’s empire. Detective Patricia (Kathleen Munroe) shares information about Bill Sr. – the billionaire patriarch. Ali thinks that the shooting incident may have something to do with their lucrative business. He believes someone might have wanted to replace Bill and, thus, made a mess.

William (Nico Tortorella) follows the drawings in Sam’s book and reaches Hamilton-Sweeney’s group’s private property. He becomes certain about the business’ connection to Sam’s shooting.

City on Fire Episode 5 recap and ending explained
A still from City on Fire Episode 5

Later, Gallerist Bruno (Felix Solis) arrives at William’s studio to offer an exhibition deal. He sees William working on something else and finds that fascinating. William says it isn’t a piece of art but an investigation into the park shooting. He is trying to find a connection between the incident, his ex-band, and his family’s business. Bruno tries to make him optimistic about his future by caring for his health.

Why does William go to Amory’s office?

Eventually, William goes to meet Amory at his office, which William finds a bit strange. He still decides to use this opportunity to use William’s voting rights. The artist, however, has only come to speak about the mystery of the Central Park shooting. He speaks about Nicky and Amory’s connection and blackmails getting in touch with the feds about it.

Once William walks out, one of Amory’s guards informs him about an ongoing protest outside the building. It happens to be organized by the Ex Nihilo members. Amory notices Nicky addressing the people and portraying himself as the Messiah. He understands that Nicky is trying to take revenge for firing him. He calls Nicky to ask him for another job – to get rid of William since he is trouble for them.

The detectives reach the building right then and notice Nicky running after William. While Patricia runs after them, Ali notices Charlie and tries to get hold of him. But before he can, the crowd stops his progress. On the other hand, Patricia enters the train after William. He offers to help Patricia in finding the culprit of the Central Park shooting. Unfortunately, William, Nicky, and Sol run away before she can get out of the train.

After the questioning, Keith returns home to find Regan sitting by the table. He shares that he was let go after minor queries. Then he talks about the gun, which has gone missing. Regan gets upset to know that they had a gun. She gets even more upset by his insinuation – that their son, Will (Chaise Torio), may have stolen it to shoot Sam – since he was angry about the affair. He thinks Will may have come to shoot him and rather ended up shooting Sam.

Did Will shoot Sam in central park?

Keith keeps thinking of theories – did Sam want to warn him about Will? Was she worried about it on that day? They conclude they should ask Will the next day. However, in the morning, they keep delaying asking their son. Eventually, they ask Will about it. He starts shedding tears when he realizes that his secret is out.

Will accepts sending the letters to Keith as revenge against Keith. Then he confesses he shot the bird and ran away right after. He did not shoot Sam and threw the gun into a river. While Keith is happy that they did this together, Regan does not want to look at Will’s innocence as their victory.

City on Fire Episode 5 Ending, Explained:

What does Charlie find in Sam’s film roll?

Charlie sells his father’s watch to get enough money to purchase the processed film. He then takes the photos but realizes a few are missing. He returns to the shop to ask about them. The man reveals that he sold the missing photos to another man, who paid him a lofty amount. Charlie asks the manager to print them again but understands he can’t pay for them. So he leaves in anger and decides to process those photos himself.

Charlie goes to Sam’s university and manages to get hold of a student’s key card. He then enters the photo studio to work on Sam’s film. He eventually stumbles upon a photo of Nicky running away from a shop after lighting fire. Turns out, in the past, Sol threatened Sam to give that footage. That’s when she sneaked inside a room and hid it. That is why she was worried for her life.

What happens to William and Bruno?

Back at William’s studio, Bruno reaches to speak with the artist but rather ends up finding an Ex Nihilo band member. He calls the feds just before the man beats him to the ground. Right after, he lights a fire in the studio. Mercer (Xavier Clyde) and Jenny (Levana Wang) reach the studio to find it almost destroyed. They worry about who was in there before it happened.

Meanwhile, Nicky follows William on a boat ride and pesters him. He waits till the night to do the deed. He brings William outside to kill him. The artist starts asking for Nicky’s connection to the shooting. Nicky does not answer and instead throws William’s body into the water with Sol’s help.

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City on Fire Episode 5 Links: IMDb 
City on Fire Episode 5 Cast: Chase Sui Wonders, Wyatt Oleff, Jemima Kirke, Nico Tortorella, Ashley Zukerman, Xavier Clyde, Omid Abtahi, John Cameron Mitchell
Where to watch City On Fire
Akash Deshpande

Obsessed, fascinated, and always nerding out about cinema! You can find me in the corner of a room ruminating over the last TV series I watched.