A blackout plunged New York City into darkness in the City on Fire season finale, which aired July 16 on Apple TV+. As the day went on and the light dwindled, secrets were revealed and Sam’s fate was decided.
HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with Wyatt Oleff about the season finale, including Sam waking up from her coma. Charlie learned who shot Sam once and for all, and the truth left him blindsided. Wyatt opened up about Charlie’s journey over the course of the season, that shocking twist, and the possibility of a season 2. Read our Q&A below:
At the beginning of episode 7, Charlie goes to see Sam, and he’s talking about going to turn himself in and doesn’t know when he’ll see her next. Do you think at that moment he accepted that she may not make it?
Wyatt Oleff: Absolutely. I think that’s what that scene’s all about, and I think it’s reflective of him not going to see her earlier and him being able to finally go and see her. I think what was the most difficult for him was seeing her in that state. It’s not just like I don’t want to see her because I feel guilty or anything. It’s just like seeing her like that is very hard. Of course, it would be for anyone, but I think in that moment, absolutely. Him saying ‘I don’t know when I’ll see you again’ is 100% either he thinks he’s going to be turned in and he’s going to be able to be in jail. I think he’s fully accepting the possibility of: I’ll never see you again. Unfortunately, I have to be okay with that, and I have to be ready to move on. I think him going in and having that final goodbye was necessary for his character.
I know that Sam’s fate in the book is left open-ended, and book readers have debated whether or not she makes it. The show gives us a definitive answer. Was it ever discussed leaving it more open-ended, or was it always we were going to know that she was going to be okay?
Wyatt Oleff: I don’t remember too much discussion about that specifically. I think it was always intended that she was going to survive, but I don’t think it was ever like, oh, maybe we shouldn’t. There were a lot of things that did change about the ending, specifically with certain characters and certain threads, and I don’t know how much I’m allowed to say really, so I won’t say anything. But I think that one was originally intended.
Did you know going in who shot Sam? Or did the writers intentionally keep you hanging until the finale script?
Wyatt Oleff: They kept us hanging. It was like every time a new episode would drop, they’d release it to the whole cast and everyone would be talking about it. We’d come to set the next day and it’s like, oh, did you read that? Did you see that Charlie jumps out of the building? What? I think it was a fun way to unravel the story while we were also filming it. So we kind of got that experience as if we were watching it and seeing everything unfold and also being excited to do these scenes. Just reading that Charlie’s jumping out of the building, it’s like, oh, that’s going to be a stunt, and I want to be a part of that. Little things like that were so fun to have unfold because I’ve never worked on anything where I get to experience it little by little, like piece by piece.
Speaking of Charlie jumping out of the building, do you think he was prepared to die when he took that leap?
Wyatt Oleff: I think anyway that he would have been in that building. It’s either he does nothing or he tries to do something. I think what he tries to do is so courageous, especially considering his father. I think that’s his biggest character moment in the show is standing at that window and being able to jump out because it’s so horrible, those memories that it digs up, and being able to get over that and the fear of jumping out and everything. I think he was fully prepared to miss. I think anything in the last 2 episodes I think Charlie was fully prepared for any consequences.
We do learn who shot Sam. SG takes that first shot and then Sol takes over and shoots Sam in the head. I thought the scene between you and Alexandra Doke where SG confesses was so tremendous. Obviously, SG betrayed Charlie in a major way and kept this secret for way too long. But there’s that final look between them when Charlie is reunited with his mother. Do you think he’ll ever be able to forgive her?
Wyatt Oleff: That’s a really good question. I’ve talked to Josh [Schwartz] and Stephanie [Savage] about that, and I think it would take a lot. There is no bigger way to betray Charlie in that scenario, and I think her lying to him the whole time is just brutal. I mean, him feeling like he’s uncovering this mystery and working with these people and then realizing that he’s been working with the wrong people the whole time. And specifically with her, who he trusts the most out of that group. Charlie is very much a forgiving person, and I think it’s definitely possible. Maybe he wouldn’t forgive her, but he would move on from it. I think that’s what would happen. I don’t think he would be able to forgive but definitely move on.
If Sam hadn’t made it, I think it would be a hard no about forgiving SG. But I think now that she is alive, maybe Sam surviving could open that door, or at least keep it cracked a little bit in terms of forgiveness.
Wyatt Oleff: But I feel like also because now Sam’s back, obviously, Charlie is going to be with her as much as he can, and then the room to see her [SG] is obviously going to be less because if I was Sam and my friend was hanging out with the person who almost shot me in the head, I’d be like, ‘Look, I don’t like this is right.’ I think both of them will be like, ‘Let’s just take a break from that world and those people.’
We do get that amazing reunion between Sam and Charlie in the hospital. I felt like from just watching you the first time when he came in to visit her to this last time, it was an entirely new person as if a weight had been lifted off of your shoulders. Did you feel that coming in to film that second reunion?
Wyatt Oleff: Yeah, definitely. It’s weird because my experience filming this show has been so interesting and insightful for me as an actor. I’ve felt like I’ve grown from it and have experienced the emotions of the characters in a very unique way. And finally being able to film that scene took away so much emotional baggage that I was carrying, being able to act that out. I remember even just reading that scene in the script when we got episode 8 I was crying. I was like, I can’t read this scene too much because I know I’m just going to cry when I read it. I think absolutely I felt like a personal weight off my chest. We still had stuff to film after that, specifically, like a lot of the bomb stuff, but it was very interesting. I definitely felt that weight off my shoulders.
City on Fire definitely gave us one last twist. We learned that Regan is Charlie’s biological mother. We see that she knows who adopted him from that scene. Just from your perspective, even as just a viewer, do you think Regan will reach out?
Wyatt Oleff: I think what her character has gone through in season 1 definitely implies that she will. I think her unearthing her past is definitely an interesting plotline and one that I would like to see explored. I refer to Charlie as the Prince. He’s like a lost, orphaned prince of the Hamilton-Sweeney family, and it’s interesting how many ways that can unfold. I don’t think Charlie really is going to care too much. I think he’s going to be like, oh, that’s cool, okay. I do think he would care, but I think he already has his parents. I think he will accept this new family as well if they are pushing toward that. But I think he’s happy with his mom, and he loves his mom dearly. But I think definitely that connection with Sam and Keith will make it more complicated if all of us got together. I think it would be an interesting scene, but definitely I feel like Regan would reach out.
We live in a world where things go beyond the source material. Has there been any talk about a season 2?
Wyatt Oleff: I would love a season 2. I think there are so many threads and ideas for these characters that can be expanded upon. Obviously, you mentioned Regan going to see Charlie or all of those aspects. There’s definitely been talks and ideas of what would happen in a season 2. Unfortunately, I have no news on that. I have not heard anything. But I think there’s a lot there. I think it does work as its own season, and it could definitely stop there and feel satisfying and wrapped up. But I think there is also room for more. I think that was very intentional on their part to leave it either way because who knows what way it might go.