‘City On Fire’ Episode 3 Recap & Review: What Is The Ex Nihilo Hideout Used For? Does Regan Meet William?

City on Fire Episode 2 ended with Detective Parsa finding an Ex Nihilo poster inside the pocket of a pair of jeans at Central Park. Charlie is at the Ex Nihilo hideout. Regan’s father has been arrested. Mercer has no idea what he needs to do to make William understand that what he is doing will only hurt him more than anyone else. Let’s see if Nicky opens up to Charlie about what he meant when he said he wanted to burn the city down.


Spoilers Ahead


Detective Parsa speaks to one of the bouncers at Spring and Greenwich and finds out that Samantha had come to the club with a guy. He asks the bouncer to come by the police station so that he can describe the guy to a sketch artist. Charlie wakes up and realizes where he is—the Ex Nihilo building. He goes upstairs and meets Sewer, Nicky, Solomon, and Delirium. That’s when they find out about Samantha from Charlie himself. They are visibly shaken. Charlie came there because he had no idea where else to go, and he asks them if they know why she had left him at the club and where she went. Nicky assures him that they will figure it out together. We later see Nicky and Charlie having a conversation. Charlie holds himself responsible for what happened to Samantha. Nicky uses this opportunity to manipulate Charlie in a way that makes him look up to Nicky as someone who absolves him of his actions.


Mercer brings William to a restaurant where they are supposed to meet with Bruno, William’s gallerist, and his friend Jenny. Mercer is, in this way, trying to pull William’s attention away from the drugs and back to the art that he used to once love working on. William’s first art show even made it onto the Art Forum cover. While collectors are waiting for his pieces of art, there is no art as William is busy doing nothing. Mercer decides to take them to William’s workshop to show them what he has been working on. All four of them arrive at William’s workshop and find that he has worked on absolutely nothing other than a stop sign that he has, using his “artistic outlook,” turned into a spot sign. That’s because all he has done there is get high. Mercer is heartbroken. Bruno reminds William that he is wasting not just his talent but his life as well, and he and Jenny leave. It seems that William has reached the point of no return as he casually lies down on the couch with a teary-eyed Mercer staring at him.

Someone has leaked Regan’s father’s arraignment to the press. Regan arrives at her father’s house and finds out that he will never again return to his office. Amory tells her that it is an agreement that Regan’s father has made for his pre-trial release. But since he cannot just stop going to the office without raising suspicion, Alicia has planned a retirement party. Regan realizes that she can do nothing, so she leaves for the office. In the lobby, she finds Mercer, who tells her that he is planning an intervention for William. As much as William would hate it, he needs help, although he may deny it. So he invites her to his place. Some other of William’s friends will also be present.


Person Of Interest

Detective Parsa is at Samantha’s house. He tells Mr. Yeung that he believes that the shooter was an amateur but had a motive, as there was nothing stolen from her. In the absence of any useful physical evidence, the only way to track the killer is to look for that motive. But for that, he will need Mr. Yeung’s cooperation. Mr. Yeung shows him a picture of the band that’s her favorite [Ex Post Facto] as well as her magazine, which contains almost everything about her in her own words. Parsa returns to the department. The bouncer from the club has also come to help with the sketch. Parsa finds a photograph of a guy inside one of Samantha’s brochures and shows it to the bouncer. It is the same guy who was with Samantha on the night she was shot. It is Charlie Weisbarger.

Charlie asks Sewer about Nicky, who is the lead singer of the band. That’s when Sewer tells him that the band is the cover. In other words, it is just a cloak. But for what? She takes him to the band’s rehearsal room, which is about to be converted for a different purpose, which Charlie has yet to find out about. She tells him to clear the room. It seems that now that Charlie has seen the band and knows even a little of what they are doing, he cannot leave.


Regan tells Keith about the girl who was shot. Mercer must have told her about it. Keith is visibly concerned about it, but we cannot tell if he knows that the girl is Samantha, although he should know. It’s in the papers. Naturally, he doesn’t tell her anything. Regan gets a call from her uncle Amory telling her that there is a board meeting tonight at the office. She tells him that she will be meeting her brother, William. Amory is surprised to hear that she has gotten in touch with him. However, before he can tell her anything more, she hangs up. Clearly, William’s case is more important to her. She will be seeing him after 15 years. Regan leaves Cate and Will in Keith’s care. Keith may have cheated on her, but they are still family.

Zero Hour

Night falls. Nick and the others doubt if they should add Charlie to their team, but Charlie assures them that he is all in. It is his love for Samantha that’s doing the talking here. Well, it does work its magic, and he is inducted into Ex Nihilo.


One by one, Mercer ushers William’s closest friends into the apartment. They include Regan, Venus, who is a former member of Ex Post Facto just like William, Bruno, and Earl, another friend. William finally arrives, and as soon as he sees the people, he realizes what’s about to happen. Of all the people, William is most surprised to see his sister. Without saying a word to her, he decides to leave when Regan walks up to him and tells him just how much she loves and misses him. But all this confession is futile because it comes 15 years too late. He wanted her to come with him, but she didn’t. She couldn’t come because she had a family to take care of and a job. But she cannot lie about not knowing where he was because she could have easily found him. In any case, none of it matters for William now, and he has only come to take his cocaine. Will and Earl try to make him understand how one single decision can change the way he is living his life, but he just doesn’t want to listen. If the only way for Mercer to love William is if he leaves with Earl, who is probably a counselor or works as a therapist, William doesn’t need that kind of love. Saying this, William leaves. Regan wipes her tears, apologizes to everyone, and leaves as well. There is a board meeting she needs to attend. Sometime later, she arrives at the office, but the meeting is already over. And Amory has been elected as the acting CEO until the board finds someone permanent for the position. Regan tells him, in Alicia’s presence, how the simple explanation for everything that’s happening is that Amory figured out a way for her father’s retirement and took over the position of CEO. It is the easiest way to usurp her father’s throne, so to speak. Amory tells her that he needs her and then walks away, followed by Alicia, whose words Regan is least interested in.

Keith is on the balcony and imagines the days when he used to drop envelopes [possibly containing cash] at Cicciaro’s [Ex Nihilo’s hideout]. He also had a gun on him then. He dials Mrs. Santos. Who is she? Why did he drop cash at Cicciaro’s? And why did he carry a gun with him? Later on, he takes a walk to NYU and knocks on Samantha’s door. He then meets her roommate and asks her about Samantha. The girl appears suspicious, which makes sense as she doesn’t know or probably remember who he is. She tells him that Samantha is a freshman, which is not what Keith had believed. Samantha told him that she was going to be a senior this fall. Why did Samantha lie to him? The roommate enters the room and closes the door. Keith is left standing outside. Inside, she finds the contact card that Detective Parsa left for her [City on Fire Episode 2] and dials the number.


Does Charlie Torch The Building? Who Does Keith Meet At Central Park?

Nicky, Solomon, Sewer, and Delirium, along with Charlie, arrive in front of an empty building in the middle of the night. Nicky tells Charlie that the city belongs to the artists, and some “bad” people are trying to snatch it from them. What Nicky and the others are doing here is just snatching it back. And their way to do it is by burning buildings. For a new world, one needs to destroy the old one. If Charlie wants to find out what happened to Samantha, he needs to join the cause. Nicky then hands Charlie a piece of  dynamite and lights it. Charlie throws it hard at the building which goes up in flames the very next second. All of them then run away. A shocked mother of Charlie watches on TV as her son is declared a POI (person of interest) in the Central Park shooting on the 4th of July. She grabs her phone and dials someone. Is she dialing Charlie or the police, whose number the news has just provided? It is the same picture that Parsa found in Samantha’s brochure. The NYPD must have released it to the press and media.

Detective Parsa and Detective McFadden arrive at NYU and speak to Samantha’s roommate, who tells them about the 40-year-old guy who had come asking for Samantha. The detectives have no idea who the guy is. McFadden spots a CCTV camera and decides to check the footage. Parsa gets a call from the department. The mother of the kid in the photo, Charlie, called in. So, she did call the police.


Keith is walking in Central Park and arrives at the spot where Samantha was shot. That’s where he meets Amory. So Mrs. Santos, the lady Keith called earlier, is probably Amory’s assistant. Keith tries to tell Amory something about the girl but can’t put it into proper words. Amory asks him if there is any connection between the girl and him, who owes all his wealth to his wife’s family. That kind of potential scandal would be stupid and even dangerous. Keith wonders, just as we do, if Amory is responsible for what happened on the spot. City on Fire Episode 3 ends with Amory telling Keith that it is he who is responsible for what happened.

If we consider Amroy as the mastermind behind the shooting, his words make sense. If Keith hadn’t cheated on Regan with Samantha, Amory wouldn’t have had to get Samantha killed (although she didn’t quite die). If Amory did know about Keith’s affair, it means that he was the one who sent the note to Regan (City on Fire Episode 2) and was sure that Regan would divorce Keith. Is this Amory’s plan to kick Keith out of the family? But why? Was Regan’s father considering making Keith the CEO, and did Amory get jealous of this? Maybe that’s why he released information regarding Regan’s father’s arraignment to the press. So that he is removed from the board. This goes deep. Meanwhile, Charlie’s downfall has begun. We also have no idea what William is going to do or if Mercer will be able to bring him back home. City on Fire Episode 4 will reveal a lot more.


Episode 3 is, in a way, the beginning of the rest of the plot. Charlie is now a full-fledged member of Ex Nihilo. Amory is the new CEO of Hamilton-Sweeney. We also have our first suspect for the attempted homicide of Samantha Yeung, i.e., Amory. City on Fire Episode 3 manages to hold our attention from start to finish. Despite being a regular crime drama, it doesn’t let us feel bored. And that’s commendable.

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Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata Dutta
Shubhabrata’s greatest regret is the fact that he won’t be able to watch every movie and show ever made. And when he isn’t watching a movie or a show, he is busy thinking about them and how they are made; all while taking care of his hobbies. These include the usual suspects i.e. songs, long walks, books and PC games.

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ity on Fire Episode 3 manages to hold our attention from start to finish. Despite being a regular crime drama, it doesn't let us feel bored. And that's commendable.'City On Fire' Episode 3 Recap & Review: What Is The Ex Nihilo Hideout Used For? Does Regan Meet William?