Amory (John Cameron Mitchell)
"Amory (John Cameron Mitchell)," City On Fire, "Land of a Thousand Dances," directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, 2023, (Apple TV+)

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Why Keith drops off money to Nicky’s group is revealed, as well as who sent that letter to Regan revealing there was infidelity.

Amory (John Cameron Mitchell)
“Amory (John Cameron Mitchell),” City On Fire, “Land of a Thousand Dances,” directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, 2023, (Apple TV+)

Release Date (Apple TV+)

May 19, 2023

Director(s)

Haifaa Al Mansour

Writer(s)

Josh Schwartz, Stephanie Savage

Previously Noted Characters and Cast

Keith

Ashley Zukerman

Will

Chaise Torio

Sam

Chase Sui Wonders

Regan

Jemima Kirke

Nicky

Max Milner

Amory

John Cameron Mitchell

Charlie

Wyatt Oleff

Mercer

Xavier Clyde

William

Nico Tortorella

Detective McFadden

Kathleen Munroe

Detective Petra

Omid Abtahi

Solomon

Alexander Pineiro

Sewer Girl

Alexandra Doke

Plot Recap

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Who Sent The Letter? – Keith, Will, Sam, Regan

The answer? Will. Will caught Sam and Keith having sex on the couch, and thanks to Regan finding Will’s keyboard missing a letter, Keith puts one and two together.

Keith’s Drop-Offs – Nicky, Keith, Amory

As for Keith’s drop-offs? That was because Nicky and Amory had some kind of deal going. It isn’t clear what led to their relationship or how Amory benefited, but he was financing Nicky’s operation. However, using fireworks brought a little too much attention since now Nicky’s recent actions have been deemed a terrorist attack. With that, Amory cuts Nicky off, and threats are issued.

But, the only one who suffers is Keith since the middleman always gets hurt.

It’s Only Going To Get Worse – Charlie, Sewer Girl, Regan, Keith, Solomon, Will, Detective Petra, Detective McFadden, Sam, William, Mercer, Nicky

Answers to questions aside, Detective Petra and McFadden continue their case, and thanks to Detective McFadden reading Sam’s Zine, he is able to piece together certain characters in it are real people. C for Charlie, Preppy is Keith, but the others? That’s harder to say. However, with William being arrested for solicitation and enthralled by a fan’s attempted murder having a connection to him, he joins the case.

Naturally, not in an official capacity, but with him providing some information paired with his last name, Detective Petra drops the charges. However, nothing has been said yet about dropping the charges against Mercer or taking him off the suspect list. We only know that William has become manic because of Sam’s case and now refuses to go to rehab or even explain himself to Mercer, who increasingly grows worried.

He isn’t the only one worried, however. With little to no answers, Charlie is spiraling, and what doesn’t help is that Solomon is a bully for reasons hard to fathom. Luckily, Sewer Girl is much nicer and even helps Charlie get a haircut to lessen the chance of the wanted posters and newscasts leading to him being held. But, as they grow closer, Sewer Girl comes onto Charlie, and he promptly rejects her due to his feelings for Sam. Though this leads to mixed feelings, Sewer Girl reveals to Charlie her name, Lorraine, perhaps to be close to Charlie, even if there isn’t physical intimacy between them.

Yet, as Solomon, Nicky, and Lorraine join Nicky to escalate things beyond having Keith get beaten up, Charlie discovers a hidden roll of film. Now, what is on this film isn’t revealed, and being that it is 2003, it means it has to be developed, and we’ll have to be patient. However, considering Sam’s camera makes Solomon and Lorraine act weird, maybe they know something?

It’s hard to say, but as Sam’s murder and the investigation continues, Regan finds herself caught being adjacent to the crimes her father is accused of, which Amory may have set up, and now learning Sam was her husband’s mistress. Much less, she learns this from Detective Petra and McFadden as they piece together Keith was the one who visited Sam’s dorm, and now they are looking for him. Regan gives some kind of heads-up as she berates Keith, but he doesn’t get to evade the cops the same way Charlie does.

Will (Chaise Torio)
“Will (Chaise Torio),” City On Fire, “Land of a Thousand Dances,” directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, 2023, (Apple TV+)

No sooner than Keith learns the cops are asking about him and learning Will sent that letter, they are at the door. Also, Keith learns his gun is missing, and we’re shown Will discovering it the day Sam came to the apartment and had sex with Keith on the couch.

  1. Who Sent The Letter?

    Will

  2. Who Was Financing Nicky’s Operation

    Amory

  3. What Is Sewer Girl’s Real Name?

    Lorraine

  4. What Led To William Ending Ex Post Facto?

    The guitar playing OD’ing, which made him quit the band and, in his mind, end it

  5. How long has it been since William has talked to his family?

    Roughly 15 years

  6. Who are the characters in Sam’s Zine?

    Sam is Gloria Fan, Dirty Paul is Solomon, Piper is Sewer Girl aka Lorraine, C is Charlie, Iggy is Nicky, and Preppy is Keith.

Review

Highlights

William Going Manic To Solve Sam’s Murder

William remains a character who isn’t necessarily an asset to “City On Fire,” but him wanting to join the Sam murder investigation at least means we won’t be coerced into a secondary storyline dealing with his sobriety and the struggles of the people who love him. Yes, that still is part of what he will deal with, but hopefully, it won’t be a main thing.

Getting To Hear Some Of Sam’s Zine

From what we were told thus far, Sam’s Zine mostly seemed to be about local music acts. However, with this story about what she has done and witnessed, so comes the question of what may have been documented and how much Nicky and the rest know? Never mind, who are these subscribers, and what role may they play in her murder?

Charlie’s Love For Sam, And Lorraine’s Envy Of It

Sewer Girl aka Lorraine (Alexandra Doke)
“Sewer Girl aka Lorraine (Alexandra Doke),” City On Fire, “Land of a Thousand Dances,” directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, 2023, (Apple TV+)

At the heart of “City On Fire” is a boy in love, maybe infatuated, trying to solve his crush’s murder. He isn’t alone in this, as everyone’s connection to Sam conveys some sort of attachment. However, for Lorraine, things are different. While likely closer to Nicky than Sam, you cannot deny there is a major difference between the two. For Sam, she attracts people because of her talent, personality, her asking questions and her vibe. Lorraine? It’s different.

Not to discount her bodily autonomy, but her coming onto Charlie and, when rejected, giving her government name pushes the idea she is insecure. Now, whether specifically about her intelligence, what she can offer beyond her body, or something else? That’s hard to say. But, to hear a boy like Charlie so frustrated and loyal to a girl who never confirmed the feelings were reciprocated? There seems to be a bit of envy there. Maybe even the desire to, if Sam does die, see if Charlie could refocus his feelings on her, similar to how William moved from being addicted to heroin to seemingly addicted to Sam’s case.

Amory and Nicky’s Relationship

It isn’t clear how these two met or what was the purpose of their relationship, but the reveal benefited both. In some ways, it made Nicky into a hypocrite, for you don’t work for the devil and get to claim to be a revolutionary. Then for Amory, it truly showed him to be the type of man he touts himself as. An orphan willing to do what it takes to get what he wants but as for what he wants, ultimately, that remains hard to say. Not to forget, what led to him needing someone like Nicky or getting involved with Regan’s family.

On The Fence

Needing More Background On Solomon

Solomon is all muscle, has no development, and is becoming irksome. Surely there is a story there, and he isn’t just this brute with an attitude problem, right?

Regan’s Family And Business Woes

Regan (Jemima Kirke)
“Regan (Jemima Kirke),” City On Fire, “Land of a Thousand Dances,” directed by Haifaa Al Mansour, 2023, (Apple TV+)

Regan remains a character who strains to keep what is going on with her family’s company, family, and Sam connected. Due to her lacking anything notable about herself, it weakens the different things she is holding onto. Also, while Amory’s star is rising as a villain, as noted in past recaps, this doesn’t mean Regan is benefiting and becoming a heroine. If anything, everyone she is connected to just creates an increasingly notable eclipse that leaves Regan coming off as expendable a character as her assistant.

Previous Episode: Episode 3

More From This Season

Next Episode: Episode 5

More From This Series

Amory (John Cameron Mitchell)
City On Fire: Season 1/ Episode 4 “Land of a Thousand Dances” – Recap and Review (with Spoilers)
Overall
“City On Fire” remains a complicated show to watch as anything related to Sam has a hook, but anything beyond her influence lacks the consistency to add value to the show.
Highlights
Amory and Nicky’s Relationship
Charlie’s Love For Sam, And Lorraine’s Envy Of It
Getting To Hear Some Of Sam’s Zine
William Going Manic To Solve Sam’s Murder
Disputable
Regan’s Family And Business Woes
Needing More Background On Solomon
78

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