City on Fire Season 1 Episode 3 Recap – why do they start the fires?

By Adam Lock
Published: May 12, 2023 (Last updated: March 19, 2024)
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Apple TV+ series City on Fire Season 1 Episode 3 -The Family Business - Recap


At times pretentious and uninspiring, “The Family Business” only improves in its final third, offering up a few tantalizing plot twists to keep viewers coming back for more. Unfortunately, there are just no likable characters here to root for.

We recap the Apple TV+ series City on Fire Season 1 Episode 3, “The Family Business,” which contains spoilers.

The many mysteries in City on Fire continue to unravel in episode 3, “The Family Business.” The detectives start to hone in on a new possible suspect. Charlie (Wyatt Oleff) is brought into the band’s secret criminal world, Mercer (Xavier Clyde) instigates an intervention for William (Nico Tortorella), and Amory (John Cameron Mitchell) begins to put his deceitful plan into action.

City on Fire Season 1 Episode 3 Recap

Firstly, Detective Parsa questions the bouncer from the gig. The man remembers seeing Samantha with Charlie, who is quickly becoming the prime suspect in the case.

He then meets with Samantha’s father as he tries to build a broader picture of the student and her life. Samantha’s father talks about her love of music, offering Parsa her favorite LP and her zine to take as evidence.

Charlie wakes at the band’s headquarters after being knocked out by Sol. He worries he’s been kidnapped, but the band is concerned about what Charlie saw the night before.

The awkward teen walks in on one of their experiments, and the criminals fear their secret is out.

While they argue, Charlie brings up the shooting. The band was unaware that Samantha had been shot or that she is now in a coma.

Charlie blames himself for not protecting her. He asks the band for help finding out the truth about who shot her. Charlie shows his vulnerability, and the band seems to warm to him. Nicky forces Charlie to forgive himself and accepts him into the cult.

As the day progresses, Charlie starts socializing further with the other band members. He chats with Sewer girl and performs some roadie-style chores, moving their gear for them.

Elsewhere, artist William meets with his gallerist Bruno (Ozark’s Felix Solis), who wants to see William’s latest pieces. William asks for more time, but Bruno needs some new artwork now.

They head to his studio, although it appears William has nothing much to offer, having spent his days getting high instead of working.

Why is William given an intervention?

Both Mercer and Bruno worry about William’s addiction. He said he would quit, but he hasn’t. The drugs are affecting his work and ruining his relationships. Mercer decides to give William an intervention. He invites close friends and Regan to this gathering.

Regan decides to attend the intervention. She discusses the latest revelations about Mercer, William, and the shooting with Keith. The writers seem to be framing Keith as the possible shooter, although this could just be a red herring.

On hearing about the shooting, Keith acts suspiciously. Amory phones, Regan is needed for an emergency meeting about her father. Regan must now choose between her dad and her brother.

Bruno and Regan attend the intervention. William is predictably antagonistic, arguing with those closest to him. He attacks Regan for ignoring him for 15 years and Bruno for only wanting him sober for his financial gain.

Mercer begs William to stay, but the addict storms off.

Having heard about the shooting, Keith starts to investigate the crime himself. He tries calling Samantha and then visits her old dorm.

Samantha’s roommate is suspicious of Keith, so she calls the detectives. They’re looking for someone who matches Charlie’s description, not a 40-year-old, wealthy man, but they decide to check the CCTV cameras anyway.

Further flashbacks explore Keith and Samantha’s affair. They only met because Keith was dropping off payments at the band’s base. Samantha is unaware of Keith’s shady secret life, but he has many skeletons in his closet. Hopefully, these will be explored in future installments.

After the intervention, Regan races over to the board meeting. Amory has forced Regan’s father to retire early, and he has now taken over as the interim CEO of the business. His plan starts to fall into place.

Why do they start the fires?

The band initiates Charlie into their cult, revealing their secret criminal acts to the teen. They are arsonists who have been causing fires all across the city. Nicky states that their late-night crimes are to fight the snobbish elite, who want to steal the city from the minorities and the artists. Charlie is handed a stick of dynamite. He hurls the explosive into a derelict building.

City on Fire Season 1 Episode 3 Ending Explained

The episode ends with Charlie’s face being plastered all over the news; he is now a person of interest in Samantha’s case. Parsa found a photograph of Charlie in Samantha’s belongings, and the bouncer happily confirmed their new lead suspect.

In the final scene, Keith meets with Amory at Samantha’s crime scene. Keith worries that his secret will become public knowledge, and people will find out that he was sleeping with an underage girl while cheating on his wife. Amory knew about the affair, though, and it would seem he may have been involved in the attempted murder as well.

What did you think of City on Fire Season 1 Episode 3? Comment below.

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